25 February 2013

Far Cry 3... the reckoning (part 1)

So, as you may have surmised from my last post, I'm playing Far Cry 3. I thought that I may as well post my thoughts on it as I go through the game and then follow up with a final "review". I've heard a lot of positive blurb surrounding this game but am going in relatively fresh so we'll see how my cynical self takes it.

Thoughts 1:

- Far Cry's visuals aren't blowing me away. I know it's silly, but... I remember the first game by Crytek. I was literally amazed at the open-worldedness of the game from the start. It was beautiful as well. This game is pretty... but somehow that's become average - even in an age when plush greens and sandy beaches aren't often seen in game landscapes.

- FOV controls? OH YEAH! Seriously, this is a huge selling-point for me. Okay, they're not unlimited in their application but as soon as I discovered them (about 20 minutes into the game) I switched up to 100 degrees... then, upon getting into a vehicle, I put the setting to the maximum. With widescreen displays and with me sitting less than 3 feet away from the screen (it's only a 21 inch LCD) I just get disoriented in every game that's set at a ridiculous 60 - 85 FOV. They feel so claustrophobic - especially when the weapons take up half the screen as if your character is hunching over the barrel of the weapon in question!

In many games that don't offer this as an option I usually try and look at console hacks to increase it past whatever it's set to... and even then, sometimes I set it higher - e.g. Dishonored; where I set it at 100 FOV despite having, IIRC, the option to set it between lower FOV settings manually.

I have a strange feeling that they're cheating though.. as the transition from 100 to 110 was not very noticeable compared to the same change in the quake 3 engine.

- The old "take control away and make the character/player look dumb" or as I like to refer to it as: "the FEAR clause" in in full effect. You're such a badass on normal (I should have put it on hard but had no idea normal would be this easy - it did say for players with first person experience!) and you level up so quickly that the enemies don't really have much of a chance to take you out and so they have to wrest control away from the player and have them defeated in a cutscene.

Notable entries in the FEAR clause prize-winners stable:

FEAR (and first generation expansions, both canon and non-canon) - I mean, how many times did Paxton Fettel lay you out for five minutes by blind-swinging at you from around a corner?!*

Fallout 3 - the capture by the other faction (I forget the exact name!) in the bunker.

LA Noire - all those times you were clotheslined!

Mass Effect 3 - any given boss fight.

- The save system is really wonky. The save option in the main menu does nothing and appears to only be a placebo like those seen in action RPGs. The save system will physically reset you to whatever random time it decided to save you from a mission or base capture. However, it WILL retain your level and loot progress. Still, for a PC game, not ideal.

- The voice actor for the Vaas character is really good... like Mark Hamill as the Joker good!

- I have WAY too much money and not enough things to even bother spending it on. This is something Far Cry 2 did really well - you wanted to get new weapons because they were better! In this, the bog-standard weapons are good enough - at least for the 6+ hours I've played - even though they are inexplicably unable to be upgraded as the other weapons can.

- I'm not convinced on the physical upgrade system yet. You can harvest loads of animals - most of which you won't need early in the game but which you KNOW you will later on (or at least suspect: as each upgrade moves you on to an ever harder and rarer animal)... but you have no way of stashing these prizes anywhere so you have a choice: either discard them and HOPE you find them later on or you lose precious space in your very limited inventory.
For my money, it's not a terribly interesting gameplay choice since the base weapons are all really powerful and ammunition isn't included in the carrying inventory... so all's you're missing out on is $10-50 items that you get from the pirates that you are forced to head back to base to sell - worthless junk. You can still loot all the money, munitions and ammunition you want. So, in summary, I have no idea why the developers put this in the game...

More to come!

*I can't speak to the sequels as I don't remember FEAR 2 at all and I haven't yet played FEAR 3 but since we kill him in the first game I'm assuming he's not around to do it again!

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