Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Interactive Friction: Far Cry 3: Episode 18: Easy Choices

This is it. As of this posting, we have completed our Let's Play of Far Cry 3.

Overall, Far Cry 3 is not a bad game. As Sam and I have repeatedly stated over the course of this series, the game itself is extremely fun to play. The gunplay and stealth mechanics are both solid, and the upgrade system gives off a clear sense of progress. The variety of weapons and gameplay styles also makes it such that every player will be able to go through the game in their own unique way. (Like the example of Sam not using shotguns, while I relied heavily on them.)

At the same, there are deep-reaching, fundamental flaws. In the course of playing through this game, we hammered home just how unbelievably awful this game's story is. Jason's motivations for pressing on after saving his friends is never clear. As players, this means that we don't really understand what the whole point of it all is. There are also just so many missed opportunities in this story. Not only could they have done more with the premise, but the characters themselves do not take opportunities to complete their objectives when presented with them. All of these problems could be fixed with just slight chances, and a little editing.

Our main villain, Hoyt, could also have been much more threatening. On paper, he should be a scary villain. However, he has several problems going for him. The first one is that he is trying copy the same routine that was done by Vaas in the earlier sections. Since Vaas's performer did so well in that performance, he just doesn't stand up. Furthermore, the game keeps telling us that we need to wait for the right opportunity, but the story demands that we pass by 4 separate chances to take him out.

This could by letting him be a little less manic. Instead, he could have worked as a more subdued antagonist, acting a little more coldly, with a more plotting manner. And, in order to avoid the problem of us being in gun/shiving distance, they could have put some distance between us during the initial meeting, by placing in a large, auditorium-style area. Instead of the office scene, we could have had someone give us a message, or be contacted through the radio. There are just too many problems with Hoyt as it stands.

Now, when it comes to the final scenes of the game, I actually felt a fair degree of catharsis when the illusions of Liza pointed out just how stupid it is that Jason thinks he's a legendary warrior because you have weapons and a magical tattoo. That Jason is ultimate just living a deluded fantasy. In a way. this could also be seen as a admonishment of the player, which makes it more interesting. However, Jason deserves his punishment.

This came out before we got wise to Ubisoft's tendency, in their big budget games, to use the same formula. Once you are aware of that formula, it is hard to not see it. It is not a particularly bad games, and nor is it particularly good. However, it does work on a basic level. As I said in my final comments, this feels soulless. The process in which Ubisoft develops video games is far too diffuse for anyone to really inject their identity into it. I like Ubisoft games, but they could be so much better than they are right now.

Lastly, for those of you who are curious, posted below is a YouTube video of Sam taking the alternative ending path in Far Cry 3. There is none of us talking, and it exists mostly for completion's sake. Though interesting in its own right, I strongly feel like Jason wouldn't go for it given his established character.

And thus ends our adventure in Far Cry 3. However, this is NOT the end of Interactive Friction. Sam and I have already decided on our next game. We will be taking a short break between seasons, but don't be surprised when you see us come back in due time.

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