Far Cry 3 Hands-on Gamescom 2012 Preview -- It's a Crazy, Open World Out ThereBy Eric Eckstein - Posted Aug 16, 2012
I had to go back to the island. I had played Far Cry 3 single player before, even messed around with their competitive multiplayer and co-op modes, but all I really wanted to do was explore the island on my own terms. No story, no handler telling me what I could do or not do, and finally, I got my chance.
My demo opened in a village with nothing but the icon of a radio tower on my compass map. While I was free to do whatever, I was given a hint of checking out the radio tower for deeper insight. Fine! This one last time I’ll listen to them. I made my way up a dirt trail to the radio tower in the distance.
After a long climb and a mild case of vertigo from sitting two feet from a 42” TV screen, I made it to the top of the tower. In the distance, I could see smoke plumes; these were areas of interest where main baddie Vaas’ bandits were up to no good. I broke the lock on a panel and ‘started’ the radio tower back up, revealing a number of new objectives, great and small. Think of the radio buildings like the View Point towers in Assassin’s Creed.
There were a lot of icons on my mini-map now, but the zone I currently was in was painted blood red. That’s because the area was still controlled by Vaas, in need of my help in order to liberate it for the rebels. To do so, I had to locate the outpost, appearing on my map to the north. Instead of climbing all the way down the ladders and stairs, I hopped a zipline to the ground, found a car, and began my trek to save the island.
But of course, there was a problem. A car drove up behind me, the passenger beeping its horn. I thought it was a civilian in need of help or that I was driving on the wrong side of the road. Nope, it was just a bandit wanting to take a pot shot at me. I took him out with a headshot as a buddy of his came from the jungle, also shooting at me. Suddenly, he was down. Dead. What had happened?
I went to investigate and was jumped by a wild dog! This is a living, breathing world, I’m informed, and the wildlife is also an important part of it. This dog had already taken one life, and while I wanted to just run away, I put the beast down and resumed my trip north as savior.
I reached the outpost fairly quickly, and without a good plan, I drove straight inside, brandishing iron. There were probably half-a-dozen or more bandits inside, and I was caught in a bad place. After dispatching a few of them, I ran up to a platform in the center of the outpost. What I didn’t know was that I had triggered the capture of the outpost, as I threw grenades down at cars to keep the enemies at bay. I took one hit too many and fell to the ground. Struggling to heal and almost dead, the rebels saved my life as, miraculously, the outpost was claimed.
This wasn’t a story mission, but just one of many quests I could have taken. Quests range from Wanted missions that require you to take out a VIP with a knife to Glider missions that have you soaring above the island. They don’t need to be completed, but doing so rewards you with money for the black market stores or other perks. For example, clearing the outpost also meant clearing Vaas’ soldiers from the area, allowing me to explore for more loot with impunity.
What was most captivating about the demo was how the world seemed to go on without me doing anything. As I stood around on the side of the road, I heard gunfire. I asked if that was just ambient noise, and was told, “No, someone nearby is shooting at something.” I used the directional audio to locate it, but couldn’t find the source.
Instead, I witnessed a pig being chased by a pack of wild dogs by a nearby hill as a civilian down the road skinned a boar before me. If I waited long enough, he’d finish his job, get in his car, and drive off , and if those wild dogs took a detour, they may set upon him, and he’d be dead meat.
While Far Cry 3 is still a ways away, seeing this all working fairly smooth was enchanting. I wanted to see more of this world, witnessing it from afar and interfering when necessary. Or when fun, as I then took that civilian’s car, ran him over, and dumped the car into the ocean. I would tell the other villagers that it was a horrible accident, that the handbrake must have been off, what a tragedy, and go on my merry way. That I can have a story like that in a first-person shooter is a great start.
Far Cry 3 comes to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on December 4.