Far Cry 3 certainly looks like a Far Cry game, thanks to its tropical jungle environment. It also plays like the original. Knife in hand, sneaking behind an unsuspecting guard is no less satisfying. And when unprepared when facing an enemy encampment, things go wrong very, very quickly. The quintessential elements of Far Cry seem to be intact, which should sate fans of the original games. However, what makes Far Cry 3 such an interesting experience is what it tries to do new.
Ubisoft is taking a very aggressively "mature" approach to the story, and the story's focus on insanity has me curious to see how it all pans out. It's clear Far Cry 3 will touch a lot of sensitive, taboo subjects--drug use being one, but there's also a surprising bit of nudity as well. At the beginning of the demo, you see a naked woman seductively dancing above you. I don't think Fox News is going to approve of this.
Later on in the demo, I walked into a house. The door closed, and I appeared to be in a room with walls adorned with dozens of televisions. The screens flashed some worrisome commands: fuck, kill. The room erupts into flames, giving you no choice but to move forward. After a quick battle with some of his henchmen, you enter what appears to be a warehouse. The environment fades away, and smoke fills the blackened room, the floor adorned with the same TV screens you saw earlier. As his visage appears and world turns to black, he begs you to shoot him, and the game takes a Tyler Durden turn, as he talks about how "you are me, and I am you."
Of course, that's where the demo ends. It's all bizarre, and taken out of context, and has me quite puzzled. However, it's certainly an effective "hook"--I definitely want to see how the single player story pans out.
BOOM video 12967
Far Cry 3 also includes multiplayer. At a pre-E3 demo, we were allowed to try out the game's four-player cooperative mode. This objective-based mode had us facing AI characters as we tried to protect cargo. Once the objective was cleared, it moved to a bridge, where we had to plant and detonate bombs on a bridge.
I'm curious to see how stealthily you can approach co-op. Unfortunately, although I silently killed the first lookout, someone had already run ahead and alerted the rest of the goons. From there, it played like any other FPS, albeit with some annoying glitches indicative of early code. For example, a "boss" character spawned, an intimidating heavy guy that would not die, regardless of the number of headshots we collectively landed. Another glitch prevented an objective from triggering, causing my team to aimlessly wander until the game was reset. It wasn't a very positive showing of the game's co-op mode--but these kinds of experiences should be expected from in-progress games.
Both the single player and multiplayer demos were running on PC, and they did a great job of showing off the game's visuals. While it may look like how we remember Crytek's jungle island games looking, there's a clear improvement. Fire, in particular, looks great. The character models have a stylized look about them which strays from photorealism, but given the vibrant color palette of the game, it fits.
I still want to play more of the single player to see how the story develops, and hands-on with a better, more indicative multiplayer experience. However, Far Cry 3's brief E3 demo certainly leaves an impression.
BOOM video 12969
Watch the Shacknews E3 2012 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. This preview is based on a hands-on demo shown at a pre-E3 event.