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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Far Cry 3.

TranscriptEdit

I am a banana. I say that partly because I like taking all my clothes off and hiding in bowls of muesli and partly because like a banana I feel I’m going soft as I get older. I’ve been liking more games lately, and I know saying that has just made someone who likes modern warfare shooters spit-take a mouthful of inexpensive supermarket whisky, but the games that exist outside that particular cum-bubble have been going from strength to strength. That could just be because absolutely fucking anything looks good alongside a cum-bubble, or perhaps it means I actually do have the power to make things improve as long as I unceasingly bully and insult it for half a decade. Although that seems unlikely because as has already been established, I am a banana, and the only influence I have is over one’s potassium intake.

But whatever the case a few years ago I did Far Cry 2 and though it would have been alright if it weren’t for a couple of rather glaring issues, and now Far Cry 3 has pretty much sorted out those glaring issues and therefore is alright. It’s fine. It fills the space; what do you want from me, I am a banana.

The glaringist of the glaring issues in Far Cry 2 was characters as in there didn’t seem to be any. Just a whole load of people doing stuff. Far Cry 3 meanwhile has a strong character focus, meaning there are still a load of people doing stuff, but now they wonder aloud if the stuff they’re doing is the right stuff after all. You are Jason Brody, an American tourist and a member of small group of preening self-centered rich gobshites, who to the immense relief of the entire known universe, fall foul of a slavery ring on a tropical island, run by a psychopath named Vaas, who’s name one can remember with a simple mnemonic: “Watch out for Vaas, he’ll enslave your arse.” Over the course of rescuing his surviving friends, Jason must shed his idle doughy Wonder Bread carapace and build himself anew from the steel and the bear-skins of the jungle. But by the time he’s reunited with his friends, and they’re all sitting around winging about torture, enslavement, and the lack of mobile reception, Jason must face the fact that he probably doesn’t have much to talk about with them anymore since none of them like Belgian takedowns or flamethrower bear hunting.

It is nice to see a shooter protagonist who doesn’t start out with years of off-camera special forces training and instead must gradually grow into that role through nonstop violence and taking massive amounts of drugs, to the point that his toenail clippings alert sniffer dogs. It’s a character arc: the character has to change and adapt rather than start out as a big meathead in power armor and end as the exact same meathead in power armor with maybe a slightly sorer throat. And I’m fond of how the game retains its focus on Jason’s internal journey by never leaving his first-person perspective, which is great for dream sequences but not so much for vehicle sections. I kept sliding off the roads because the cars are always a few feet wider than you think they are. It’s a lot like online dating.

But I digress. The character arc brings to mind the one in Spec Ops: The Line, as in both cases a hostile environment strips the comfortable hypocrisies of civilization from an everyman protagonist, until only a monster remains. Except in Far Cry 3’s case, you start thinking that he actually quite likes being a monster. And while you can never go back to your old life now that you have an itch that can only be scratched by adding to your necklace of testicles, at least you don’t have to queue up at the DMV now.

So what we have here is a truly organic sandbox shooter. It’s a free-trade parsnip while something like BLOPS 2 is a discarded KFC chicken wing on a dog turd. A typical combat mission involves scouting the area from a vantage point, marking targets, picking the optimal angle of approach, and taking down the baddies one by one. It’s quite relaxing really, like pruning a rosebush where the roses can get freaked out and call another rosebush to come and back it up. And it’s always very satisfying to pull it off without being spotted, although the nature of an organic sandbox can lead to some odd results.

One time I was carefully scouting an enemy base and just about decided on the best angle of attack when a fucking tiger lolloped into the base and fucking cleared it out with strategic maulings. What a right wally Mister Pussycat has made me look like, but it’s the sort of thing that’d never fucking happen in Call of Duty, isn’t it? Not unless Mister Pussycat was a programmed setpiece with ties to Al Qaeda. Anyway animal hunting is a big part of upgrading your equipment so after that I resolved to up my tiger quota in case the rebel army started thinking tigers might make better insurgents than random pasty holiday makers.

The funny thing was: after I’d murdered enough the animals to craft all the inventory upgrades and earn the title of parallel universe Noah, as well as gotten most of the upgrades I needed from the experience track, there was still about half the game to go. And this is without obsessive side questing. I did a few, but I spent more time flying randomly around on the hang glider imagining that I was pooing on enemy installations. It’s like the first half of the game is for upgrading into a badass mofo, and the second half is for pootiling around being a badass mofo, which I actually kinda like if that was intended. There are too many games where you only get the ultra-pussycat death beam surprise that rips off the enemies cock and writes their obituary with it right at the end of the game so you only get to use it on the end boss and maybe his goldfish. Giving us plenty of time to make the most of all the best toys is remaining true to the sandbox; no joining the dots from checkpoint to checkpoint, just set of tools and a target. You want to hang glide over an assassination mission and jump on the dude like he’s a fucking Koopa Troopa, then godspeed, you mad bastard.

Having said that though, the story mission can be a bit more checkpoint Charley and a bit less roaming Rambo. What’s most disappointing is that the major villains are all defeated with horrible quick-time-event cutscenes that aren’t so much boss fights as middle management disagreements. I appreciate that given the setting you can’t exactly have them piloting giant robots but still. Come to think of it, the story aspect is generally weaker in the second half, especially after Vaas the arse, the character who is the fucking face of the game mind you, disappears and is replaced by someone less interesting, and now that I’m on the complain train, stealthing it is fun, but intense firefighting gets annoying ‘cause your health drops like a fat dog from a hot air balloon and wresting with the weapons selector and health syringes under pressure is like rearranging the HDMI cables at gunpoint.

But this is nitpicking. As we established at the start, I am a banana and Far Cry 3 is fine. It’s alright. There is one last disappointment in the story ending though. I opted to stay on the island rather than go home but without wishing to spoil, that ending is shit. Don’t tell me the good ending entails a guy who machetes bears while high going back to civilization, ‘cause I’d give him a week before he’s making bootleg wallets out of fat people's ears.

AddendaEdit

Occasionally drinks tiger blood: Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw

You know what the first sign of madness is? Rubbing animal giblets on your reproductive organs

It's not really a holiday until you've napalmed a cassowary

Screenshots

Zero Punctuation - 275 - Far Cry 3.mp4 snapshot 00.17 -2013.02.28 14.51.05-

I am a banana

Far Cry 3 2

"Watch out for Vaas, he'll enslave your arse."

Far Cry 3 3

Earn the title of parallel universe Noah

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
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2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
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2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
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2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart

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