Far Cry 3 vs Far Cry 2 - Hyperbolic Battle Royale
Far Cry 3 vs Far Cry 2 - Hyperbolic Battle Royale
It has been a week and I have been playing Far Cry 3 non-stop. Itís a great game and if you havenít grabbed it yet, go do it already, cripes. Didnít you read Joabyís review? Anyway, while I have enjoyed my time with Far Cry 3, I have a couple of issues with it - primarily the ways it fails to live up to its predecessor Far Cry 2. Begin spluttering... Now.
That isn't to say Far Cry 3 isn't an outstanding game and deserving of all of your praise and time and GOTY awards. Far Cry 3 is great in billions of ways, stealing its way across genres and punching every other game in the face. It's this year's Red Dead Redemption, a game of such staggering brilliance in such a sea of unmitigated tedium that its developers deserve awards and kisses from pretty ladies and gentlemen and expensive watches and other things you give to people you like a lot.
The setting - the Rook Islands are beautiful, truly gorgeous, and full of unbridled chaos as the various life forms cohabiting the area interact with you and each other. The gameplay blends shooter, RPG, open world exploration, action adventure and stealth into one gigantic smoothie and it does a fantastic job at almost all of them. If you are reading this, but still haven't yet played Far Cry 3, go and do it already. If you are one of those people who hated Far Cry 2, you are probably going to enjoy the heck out of Far Cry 3 just because of the ways it improves on its predecessor.
Far Cry 3 did one thing I never dreamed it would do though. It showed me that Far Cry 2 was even better than I originally thought.
This is an astonishing feat, because I love the freaking heck out of Far Cry 2. It's such a huge and deep game and more than any other game, when I play it I feel like I am there. Itís due to the game design - everything you do, you have to do as a character - if you want to look at the map, your character pulls out a map. If you want a more detailed map of your current area, you donít just zoom in - your character changes to a different map.
I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid.
Far Cry 3 retains elements of this - the use of syringes, picking up a hang-glider, kneeling to skin an animal - but it ditches it in others - like the aforementioned map, or the fleshy mass Jason picks up from the perfectly neat skinned animals (although I think Ubisoft was assuming it would be in poor taste to allow players to leave horrific pink masses of sinewy animal shaped flesh across the countryside.)
The map takes you out of the game now and while there are some people who no doubt prefer this change - it gives you easier access to a large amount of information right from the beginning and is much easier to navigate - it also ruins the immersion... and gives you time to think and act.
The effect this has on tension is ruinous. Worse however, are the outposts - and it was only after clearing all of them that I fully understood what they did for the game - and why Far Cry 2ís much deplored renewable checkpoints were better.
Once youíve cleared all 34 outposts in Far Cry 3 you are done. You might have some tigers or cassowaries to avoid, but outside of doing missions you will never be bothered by enemies again. The end game then, is running about a mostly peaceful island finding suicidal teens and gay husbands.
Now that's what I call a map.
As much as it was (and still is) derided, the constantly respawning enemies of Far Cry 2 meant no matter what you were doing you were still only about a minute away from death at the hands of enemy mercenaries. You were safe at the bars, you were safe in your safe house - and while you were relatively safe away from a checkpoint, a jeep load of enemies might drive in just to cause trouble.
Everything was a gamble. You might get to your destination without any trouble, or you might have to spend five minutes desperately fighting for your life as everything goes wrong around you. The worst that can happen to me in Far Cry 3 now is a bear might spot me, giving me a fright before I outrun it or unload a shotgun into its face.
I am in no way suggesting the only way to look at Far Cry 3 is by comparison to its predecessor, but itís an interesting exercise - and one we can learn from. And when we do, we see that Far Cry 3 does some things better than Far Cry 2, absolutely. Weapon customisation is fantastic, both weapons and vehicles handle beautifully and, as youíd expect, it looks a lot better - Far Cry 3 is preposterously good looking. Most importantly though, Far Cry 3 feels more alive than Far Cry 2, you feel like this world exists whether you are there or not.
In Far Cry 2, the best example which springs to mind is that worthless shack in the middle of nowhere up near PetroSahel, where two dudes just hang out. I'm fairly certain they aren't mercenaries to be honest - they shoot at you, but so would I if my partner and I were trying to live a simple and quiet life well away from any roads and some guy came barreling down, shot our yellow barrel and set fire to our crappy house.
This bear came to say hi while I was trying to get screens for this piece
Far Cry 3 on the other hand, has an ecosystem, it has guys breaking down on the side of the road. It has people in villages living their lives and various factions fight battles at random without you taking part. The animals are the most important element though - like a less bleak version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R (though admittedly not as complex) they hunt and interact and couldnít give a damn if you live or die - until you get too close, at which point they only want you to die.
I have gone to assault two outposts in the game only to find myself crouched in a nearby bush, scouting the area with my camera, as a leopard tears in and does my job for me. Not a leopard in a cage I shot the door off, just a leopard off the street. A street leopard who, seeing a bunch of guys standing around, flipped the heck out and tore them all to bits. I conquered the outpost by not getting eaten by a leopard. Itís a really good feeling too, since I have spent a good 99.9% of my life doing exactly that without even having it mentioned.
The animals and the hunting however, ties back into my issue with the end game. Once youíve cleared the outposts, once youíve finished the main mission there is nothing to do. Perhaps Iíve been spoiled by The Elder Scrolls, Red Dead Redemption, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and other open-world games, but I want more. I want to hunt animals just for the sake of it, but like hell Iím going to collect 96 tiger skins just to have to sell each one at a time and having to promise the game I actually do in fact want to sell this item I am attempting to sell.
Iím sorry Ubisoft, Far Cry 3ís map editor might provide so many functions already, but itís not enough. Hereís hoping somebody follows in the mysterious Dylanís footsteps and manages to add some life to Far Cry 3ís end game. Hereís a tip - make it more like Far Cry 2.
Comments on this Article
Thu 06 Dec 12, 1:45pmhoax86
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Thu 06 Dec 12, 3:15pmSweatyGremlins the II
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