Far Cry 3

Did You See That?

A thrilling voyeurism and a dash of insanity make Far Cry 3 come alive.

By Scott Jones • December 6, 2012

Far Cry 3 opens with a handy-cam montage of a few boorish jerks on a tropical vacation together. Before downing a shot of booze, one giddily proclaims, “I haven’t done Sambuca since I was 20 years old! Woo!” Here they are flipping off each other as they skydive. Here they are in a nightclub, fist-pumping and woo-ing some more. Should the bros-and-brews spirit be lost on anyone, M.I.A.’s punchy song “Paper Planes”—“everyone’s a winner, we’re making our fame”—drives the point home.

A terrible tragedy is going to befall these people. We know this because Far Cry 3 is a first-person shooter, so it needs any narrative excuse to wield high-powered weaponry. And we know this because this sort of self-indulgent behavior in 2012 must have consequences. No one parties this hard anymore—not in this economy—and gets away with it, bro. So of course the jerks are captured, caged, and held for ransom by modern-day pirates. The game wants you to fear for these souls (or at least be mildly concerned for them).

One member of the group, Jason Brody, manages to escape the pirate camp. Alone in the jungle, he engages in some Woody Allen-style hand-wringing. He frets that he’s not a killer, that he doesn’t have the sand to do the awful things he must do to save his friends. Five minutes later, he’s happily disemboweling pigs and wielding an AK-47 like he’s John Rambo’s star pupil. Far Cry 3 has plenty of work to do—the game can clock in at upwards of 40 hours—but articulating Jason’s transformation from coward to hog-gutting hero unfortunately isn’t work that the game is interested in doing.

Far Cry 3

The star of Far Cry 3 turns out not to be Brody but rather the unbalanced island-dweller Vaas Montenegro. With his Travis Bickle mohawk, thousand-yard stare, and constant patter—the guy never shuts up—Vaas feels genuine, a credible (if deranged) villain. Nothing about Vaas, voiced by actor Michael Mando, is predictable. His sentences are rife with leisurely starts, stops, and awkward pauses. “I just hope you two pieces of fucks are more entertaining than your friends,” he says to his victims. That sounds like a throwaway line, one that would have been cut amid the more hurried pace of Far Cry 2. But there’s an irreverent violence—and intelligence—in everything Vaas says.

The game is set on the fictional Rook Islands, a piece of real estate that would qualify as impressive if so much of it didn’t look exactly the same. A mountain pass on the east side of the map is identical to a mountain pass on the west side of the map. I never felt like I was discovering anything other than more palm trees, more ferns, more rock formations. Yet while the jungle itself eventually proves to be repetitive and predictable, its half-crazed inhabitants and their oddball psyches hold Far Cry 3’s most intriguing mysteries. Vaas isn’t the only memorable weirdo. There’s a temple queen, Citra, sporting a shaved head and startling blue eyes. There’s a daft pervert, Dr. Earnhardt, consumed by a fascination with the island’s psychotropic mushrooms. It’s a nuanced cast of characters, expertly written and acted.

Far Cry 3

Your primary objective is to locate and save your captured friends. This is an open-world game, which means there are plenty of diversions to distract you to stray from the main path along the way. Some of those diversions, like conquering enemy encampments or reaching those far flung radio towers, feel like inherent parts of the overriding goal. Others, like sitting down to play a few idle hands of poker with the locals, all while your friends are ostensibly being tortured to death, are ridiculous.

As I cobbled together my own personal list of objectives in my head, a seductive rhythm began to set in. Maybe tonight I’ll kill a shark, I would muse, then plunder all the loot from a particular section of the island. Or maybe I’ll finally get those four dingo pelts I’ve been needing to craft a new weapon holster. For the past week, I’ve had a note on my desk that says “x2 deer, x2 buffalo, x2 goats.” Any game that prompts me to find a pen and write something down is doing something right.

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3, despite the fact that its hero is a jerk on a mission to save other jerks, does many things right. Drafting and executing these mental to-do lists feels like imposing your own personal vision on the world of the game—exercising free will.

Better still, there’s a poetry that organically emerges while playing Far Cry 3. You could, as I did, spend a not-unpleasant two hours hunting for those aforementioned goats—they live on the tops of mountains, making them challenging to hunt—only to realize that a leopard is also hunting you. You can miss a hairpin turn on a mountain pass, overturn your jeep, stumble upon a hang glider, and take flight above the ocean while a gentle rain begins to fall.

Or you might reconnoiter an enemy encampment with your camera’s telephoto lens—Far Cry 3 indulges our voyeuristic urges—and watch as a tiger wanders into the camp, prowling from tent to tent and whittling down your enemies’ numbers. The sensation is cathartic and forbidden at once. The game is often charged with the thrill of witnessing something you shouldn’t. It’s the slow accumulation of these personal digressions that make Far Cry 3 so electrifying.

Far Cry 3
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Price: PC—$50; PlayStation 3, Xbox 360—$60
Rating: M

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931 Responses to “Did You See That?”

  1. dreadguacamole says:

     Nice review. It hits upon my pet peeve with the game – that the islands aren’t very interesting to explore, and filled with collectibles that feel like busywork more than an incentive for exploration (on that respect, it’s worse than Asscreed3). My other main problem with it so far is the story, but I’ll reserve judgement on that until I finish the game; it’s a shame, because it’s incredibly well written and voice-acted at times.
     But yeah, the gameplay’s the thing. From the vehicle handling, where you’re barely in control at any given time, to the leisurely way you scout out enemy encampments, planning exactly how you’ll go about taking over it (this was one of the highlights of the first farcry game, and it’s been expertly implemented here) and the setpieces on the scripted missions – I can’t shake the feeling it’s a tad overrated, but it’s still pretty great.

  2. HobbesMkii says:

    So…the protagonist: better or worse than Far Cry 2‘s smorgasbord of different ethnic protagonists who changed all of one line in the long unskippable car ride into town that begins that game?

    • dreadguacamole says:

       This game’s protagonist not a blank slate;  You’re stuck with a white, upper-middle class slacker-turned-ultimate -warrior who ends up being the chosen one to a tribe of badasses who nevertheless can’t fix their own problems.

       Can’t really say yet whether it’s better or worse; FarCry 2 seemed to be all about making the protagonist’s personality invisible, so that you would inhabit him fully and interact more directly and immediately with the world.
       I’d say FarCry 3 tries to make the protagonist as similar as possible to what it perceives the average person playing it would be like, and what it thinks his (definitely not her) power fantasies would be.

       I’m not sure what the intentions are behind this switch – there might be something clever behind it, I’ll know when I finish the game. Until then, I’ll say that 2 was far more succesful at what it did; for now I pretty much cringe whenever Jason Brody’s personality comes to the fore.

  3. rvb1023 says:

    I played Far Cry back in the day, but skipped over 2 because of how bland it looked. This game’s boobtastic showing at E3 earlier this year did catch my attention, but how does this game actually differ from FC2? Does it fall into the trap of many open-world games where it is incredibly repetitive?

    • dreadguacamole says:

      The overworld is pretty repetitive, but it does a good job of setting up tasks for you that feel different enough; the various settlements, towers you need to climb, and unique hunts all feel varied and worthwhile. Just don’t bother with the collectables.
      The random interlocking systems don’t quite create as much emergent situations as I would like (I think 2 was better designed in that respect), but when, say, a tiger takes out the people who are hunting you down, it’s pretty glorious.
       The main story is a lot of fun, with a pretty big range of missions and some memorable setpieces.

  4. lokimotive says:

    “As I cobbled together my own personal list of objectives in your head, a seductive rhythm began to set in.”
    Look, I understand that this game is huge, and you may need to make a ton of lists of objectives, but I’d really appreciate it if you don’t upload your lists of objectives to my headspace when yours runs out. Please keep your list of objectives in your own head; I’ve got space concerns of my own.

  5. Haymz_Jetfield says:

    I had a lovely moment near the first town where two good guy jeeps got into a head on collision on a bridge, and then everyone (four in one, three in the other) got out and kind of stared at each other without doing anything for thirty seconds.

    The three people got back into their jeep, and then floored it into the four from the other jeep, seemingly liquefying them in unison and crashing into the side of the bridge and getting stuck on it. I love it when the AI bugs out and creates hilariously emergent stuff like this. 

    • Scott Jones says:

      I also encountered several “friendly” Jeep accidents, where all parties exit the vehicle then stand around staring at one another. Though I never witnessed any liquifications. 

      Sad face.

  6. Scott Jones says:

    Gameological Peek Behind-The-Scenes: My original title for the review was “Ed Hardy Takes A Holiday.” Which I am still fond of. Though I understand why John changed it. 

    Behind-The-Scenes Peek Pt. 2: I wrote much of this review while wearing an especially constricting pair of underwear.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      The second one seems less revealing about the writing process…or does it?

      • Chum Joely says:

        It does make me wonder if he maybe changed to more comfortable ones right before the paragraph that starts with “As I cobbled together my own personal list of objectives in my head…”

    • Did the underwear enhance or besmirch your opinion of the game.

      I need to know… for a friend.

      • Chum Joely says:

        “When the komodo dragon caught me off guard deep in the jungle, I besmirched my underwear.”

  7. I’m incredibly excited for this game, but with the STACK of unplayed/barely-played games already before me, I’m choosing to wait til it’s discounted to pick it up.

    But, were I to see a cheap release of Far Cry 2, is that worth playing in anticipation of this?  If I turn the settings way up (playing on PC), will it be visually up to snuff with a 2012 title?

    • Haymz_Jetfield says:

      I played Far Cry 2 on the 360 again last month in preparation for this and it looked surprisingly great for being almost five years old. I imagine the PC version will also look amazing with all the settings jacked up.

      • So is Far Cry 2 worth dabbling in?  Finishing?  Or just wait for Far Cry 3?  Seems like you’re already digging 3.

        • Haymz_Jetfield says:

          I never did get around to finishing, but I still put about 30 hours into it. Most of the issues with gameplay (namely the endlessly respawning enemies at checkpoints, along with a lack of fast travel options) got fixed in FC3.

          The one thing I can say about FC2 has that is rare among FPSes is that it has actual gravitas. You really feel like a terrible person in a worse place, and the fact that most of the missions involving amorally playing (?) both sides of a genocidal African civil war is actively depressing, and the flat, hurried voice acting from dead eyed NPCs that give you missions conveys the hopelessness of the whole thing. Killing is a much more labored process than in most games due to the enemies feeling overpowered and the inaccurate weapons themselves frequently jamming and exploding.

          I can definitely say it’s worth playing, but I don’t know if I would label it as ‘fun.’

        • That… doesn’t sound fun, but I am about 10 hours into Dark Souls and do get a certain masochistic kick out of it.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          If it wasn’t for the incredibly numerous hours spent commuting, the game would be just fine. The plot is… well, for a game of its type, the plot is certainly not sub-par, even if it greatly simplifies the conflict of African countries in a post-colonial upheaval. The locations are gorgeous, the jungle and grasslands are dense and believable, the gunplay isn’t bad. It’s just that the game is hampered by its own scale.
          You can bet that when you do a mission for an arms-dealer (blowing up a convoy, usually), that said convoy will be on the other side of the map.
          Gentler minds might say that we were supposed to experience the entire map, but I’d say it’s to artificially make the game longer.
          That, the somewhat annoying and at times almost dastardly timed flaring up Malaria and the lack of any kind of helicopter, which would really have helped take in the landscape, are the only issues I had.
          I finished it, the plot… whatever. But the action and look certainly kept me playing.

        • Sorry… Malaria?  That’s really a game mechanic?

        • Haymz_Jetfield says:

          I believe the malaria mechanic is used to control your movements near the beginning as certain quests get you medication for it so you’ll stop getting dizzy and passing out (particularly hilarious while driving along a cliff edge) but if I recall you get cured of it after not too long.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Oh, you didn’t know about the malaria? That’s one of the trilogy of things that people didn’t like about the game. Malaria, guns that frequently jam and/or explode, and enemies that won’t stay dead (they can respawn when you turn your back).

          I haven’t played but to me the first two points sound interesting, rather than annoying.  Well, maybe both, but still.

        • Simon Jones says:

           Far Cry 2 is a great game that I would none the less never play again even at knife point.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          I don’t remember ever being cured of the Malaria, having to pop pills throughout the game, which basically forced you to do those passport quests all the time.
          And no, it’s not a game I’d play again. Once is enough.

    • I put it as the one game I asked family to get me for Christmas and now I feel guilty because the mountain of games I own already are looking at me with eyes that say…

      Why hast thou forsaken me?

      • I feel you, the Steam Black Friday sale hit hard, and I have Alan Wake and Deus Ex:HR (I know) from even earlier sales sitting with 1 hour played apiece, going ‘What?  I’m not GOOD ENOUGH?’

    • Haymz_Jetfield says:

      @google-aa3d3e69ad6ac05b510b07fa7ce00830:disqus and @Effigy_Power:disqus:

      We all sound like total masochists.

    • EmperorNortonI says:

       I really liked FarCry 2.  The respawning checkpoints were annoying, yes.  Especially since I played it on hardcore, and could actually die in most battles.  However, it did prompt me to figure out interesting ways to use the terrain to avoid them.  Driving around everything on the desert edge, for example.  The desert terrain was just gorgeous, so I kind of enjoyed it.

      I hear a lot of people complained about the endless driving.  In my opinion, that was quite possibly the best point of the game.  I hate fast travel systems.  I really do, because if they are there, I will use them, and hate myself for it.  They feel incredibly cheap and gamey.  There’s something about having to get from point a to point b, and overcoming the challenges along the way, that added to the immersiveness of the game.  Combined with the diamond hunt, these two really made it feel worthwhile to explore the whole terrain.  I liked finding the different little settings the designers had written into the game.  It was fun.

      Sadly, the game crashed during a save when I was about 70% of the way through, deleting my game.  I didn’t have the heart to try again, and I un-installed it.

    • djsubversive says:

      I’m a bit late to this one, but Far Cry 2 is definitely worth playing. The respawning checkpoints and the always-just-a-little-faster-than-you jeep patrols get annoying, but the bus system and staying off the main roads helps you keep a low profile. 

      I loved sneaking up to a checkpoint, tossing a molotov cocktail at a pair of guys, unknowingly setting off the ammo supply and causing it to explode and start shooting bullets everywhere, while I fell back and moved around to pick off the remaining guys with a bolt-action rifle. Then the malaria hits, and I double over before I can take out the last guy. When I pull my gun back up and scan, he’s gone. Then, gunfire from the left – bastard flanked me! I spin, take him out, and then have to pry a bullet from my leg with a pair of pliers and a knife.

      Also, nobody seems to have mentioned the buddy system – you can find or rescue other mercs (the player character options that you didn’t choose, and a couple women) and they’ll hang out at the bar and give you side missions. During main story missions, your “best buddy” will call you up and give you an alternative method of completing the mission (that will, predictably, send you to a corner of the map far from your initial objective AND your current location). You’ve also got a “rescue buddy” who will save your ass if you go down in a fight – rather than a game over/reload screen, you get a short cutscene of your buddy helping you up, fighting off a couple attackers, and handing you a pistol after dragging you to safety (safety not always guaranteed). It’s really just a well-designed “extra life” but that doesn’t make it any less awesome when a crazy Indian with an AK-47 punches a guy in the face, hands you a pistol, and yells “I’ll hold them off, you’ve got to do something about those wounds!” (and then you rip a bullet from your hand with your trusty pliers)

      • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

         Oh yeah, I love how health is handled. It really feels like your character is actually becoming injured, even if it doesn’t really make sense.

    • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

       I found it for like $8 at gamestop. I’d say it’s worth it, if only for playing around with the fire effects. It’s super repetitive, though, so you sort of have add your own variety.

  8. Simon Jones says:

    Okay, this is something that’s been bugging me lately. Most of the stuff people are getting on the high horse about, like the bro-ness of the protagonist, the wish fufillment and the magical brown people who can’t help themselves is actually addressed over the course of the game.

    People still bitch about them anyway.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      Really?  How so?  And that’s not an internet-style dismissive rhetorical question, I’m honestly curious.

      • Simon Jones says:

         I don’t want to spoil stuff but a lot of it boils down to:

        The magical brown people are intentionally manipulating you, Jason is meant to come off as kind of a manchild and the wish fufilment is treated as adolescent wish fulfilment and it is a bad thing. The only person who actually says shit is magic is obviously crazy and Jason is pretty much force fed psychotropics by every single person on the island.

        That’s not to say that the game is canny natives trick the foolish whiteboy into doing their bidding and the islanders are still standard quest giving mouthbreathers but it’s  more nuanced than playing the first few hours suggests.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          It can be reasonably implied from the review though that @facebook-1231938607:disqus played it longer than a few hours (Paragraph seven: For the past week, I’ve had a note on my desk that says “x2 deer, x2 buffalo, x2 goats.”). So maybe he disagrees with your interpretation? Or maybe you aren’t specifically talking about this review? One of you needs to clarify so the Internet can declare a winner, as it is wont to do.

        • Simon Jones says:

           To be fair, if he’s still hunting for leather, particuarly starter leather,  he’s not actually that far into the game.

          But I am talking about reviews more generally, yeah.

    • William Pham says:

      I very much appreciated that the game’s narrative itself confronted the fact that the protagonist, though initially portrayed as a spoiled adrenaline junkie coward, quickly (via the player) becomes an ultra-competent slaughterhouse who probably doesn’t care all that much about rescuing his friends.

  9. The_Misanthrope says:

    Much as I like the make-your-own-fun business of many sandbox games or the sidequests in RPGs, it always saps a lot of the narrative tension.  There’s always some life-or-death/save-the-world goal on the horizon and here your character is, fucking around collecting mushrooms or getting some McGuffin for the shopkeep who is too lazy to get it himself.  It is hard to take the threat of the main plotline serious when you can basically start and stop it at your whim.  It also screws with the pacing; You wouldn’t enjoy a movie that put the plot on hold to show the protagonist getting a haircut or feeding his dog.  In RPGs, this usually leads to an overpowered hero trouncing the Big Bad; I remember breezing through the end of Morrowind in a matter of seconds.

    My two-cent suggestions to remedy this:

    1.  Keep the main plot relatively low-key and character-focused:  GTA: San Andreas does this fairly well, if not perfect.  There are some high stakes, to be sure, but everything is set out against CJ to lose.  He’s not some preordained chosen hero; He’s just some kid who cares for his family, his hood, and his gang who just gets caught up in something beyond him.

    2.  …or just eliminate the central plot for several concurrent sideplots:    This seems to be the point that the whole sandbox trend has missed thus far.  If you’re going to allow the players to explore the world at their own pace, why should there even be one fixed central narrative arc?  Just lay out a whole bunch of plots ans let the player chose which one to follow to the end.  Just to keep stakes high, certain plots will lock out over time or as a concurrent plot enters a certain phase. 

    3.  The player shouldn’t be the only one:  Why is the PC always the chosen one who has to save the world and do all these fetch quests for the NPCs?  Why aren’t there a bunch of people out snatching up these jobs and  leading the fight against the Big Bad?  Or maybe time progresses and no-one–including the PC steps up–and the Big Bad advances his scheme, making him that much harder to face in the end.  For that matter, if the hero has to have some save-the-world plot, shouldn’t the Big Bad have a counter destroy-the-world plot rather than just sitting around in his lair waiting for the hero to banish him with the newly reassembled magical McGuffin of power.

    Yes, I’m not a game designer, so I don’t know the unique problems ans stresses that they might have.  It just seems that the default “sandbox=more game content=better game” position is no longer necessarily true now that players are wise to this busywork design.

    • Nathan Rogers-Hancock says:

      I have a feeling a lot of this issue in RPGs is an issue of the genre really being an emulation a pen and paper/tabletop experience, in which the ‘macro’ plot basically goes on for as long as the players are interested. The need for games to work within a finite, concluding structure is in someways antithetical to the gaming  experience that inspires that whole genre. 

      Isn’t it the first Fallout where you can  pretty much ignore the macro plot as you want but if you wait too long the world just ends more or less?

      Of course when these ‘sandbox’ gaming conventions are porter from genres that originated from pen and paper roots (like RPGs) to shooters and other (principally action) genres a lot of very odd things happen, which I think this review is getting at a little bit.

    • William Pham says:

      The narrative of Far Cry 3 essentially recognizes the fact that the player is going to disconnect from the cowardly and unprepared protagonist as soon as s/he gains full control.  It doesn’t necessarily do so with a lot of grace or subtlety, but the writers tried.  (There are a few sequences that strike me as very reminiscent of Max Payne 1 and 2.)

      The gameplay is close to impeccable for an open-world shooter, with only a few caveats like a terrible save system, too-strict skill progression cordoned off by the main story quests, and overly linear gun progression.

      The repetition of island elements and outposts didn’t faze me; I treated each individual outpost as an FPS puzzle wherein I could apply my favored tools or try a more creative, experimental approach (hindered somewhat by the aforementioned save system).

    • – Games need plot urgency to maintain player attention

      -For me personally, it doesn’t bother me that characters get involved in sidequests when there are big main quests to handle. If a bunch of my friends got kidnapped on vacation I’d be concerned and want to help them, but it wouldn’t stop me from eating, drinking, working out, having sex, doing chores, paying bills, commenting on the internet etc etc etc. Especially if I’m not Superman and the rescue is something that I’d have to work out, prep and gain support for over a large period of time.

  10. hastapura says:

    I have yet to play this, but from what I’ve seen the dialogue is unusually great. The pace of the typical cutscene is just slow enough to seem unnatural and amateurish; here the dialogue is snappy, delivered and edited with believable urgency. I hate to use the word cinematic because it’s reductive…but the writing here has clearly taken the correct lessons from other media.* It and the promise of an improved Far Cry 2 are really nagging me to pick this up.

    *I think certain types of games, like this, are definitely aiming for a cinematic feel – that is, the player is the protagonist of an action-packed, expansive story that allows for diverting sidequests and the accumulation of power (abilities). Other games – the ones that usually get saddled with the art question – seek to communicate an emotional or didactic experience that may not accommodate player choice. Which is fine. I get riled when people think their whims are unconditionally the end-all of any given game. But that’s a different discussion. Carry on, you pieces of fucks! 

    • wpham says:

      The writing varies in quality, but the characterization is generally excellent.  Vaas in particular is one of the most memorable villains in recent memory.  I disagree with the reviewer in interpreting Dr. Earnhardt’s behavior as indicative of perversion; his faulty memory latches onto someone as a surrogate for his (presumably dead) daughter.  Sam and Dennis are great.

      • Simon Jones says:

         Essentially, yeah. In his little biography thing it says that he went off to be a drug addled wreck after his daughter fell out the window.

        • Fixda Fernback says:

          Oh man, those biographies and handbook entries are fucking hilarious in many cases. This is one of those games that I enjoy taking every part in, from the lore (which is incredibly well-written) to the island itself (despite it being samey in many aspects, it’s very pretty to look at, and the wildlife adds to it)

    • Wade says:

      Yeah, the dialogue is pretty entertaining. Vaas in particular as people have pointed out.

      I still crack up at an early taunt to Jason where he goes “Run, Forrest!”

  11. ryanthestormout says:

    Sorry if this has already been posted, but this might be the best game about the act of playing a game that’s ever been made. It’s pure wish fulfillment that plays with the idea of games as wish fulfillment. As Dreadquacamole wrote, you’re a white kid slacker who becomes the hero to a bunch of badasses, but that’s the key. Jason Brody is more like the average gamer than any other character that I can think of in the history of gaming (with the possible exception of Travis Touchdown who is more of a brutal parody of gamers).

    You’re an average first world guy with a technology obsession and a light drinking problem who finds escape though constructed danger, who then finds himself in a world where he calls the shots, where he controls the narrative. Over the course of the game, you distance yourself from all attachment to the outside world (your sweet but ordinary girlfriend, your judgmental friends who just don’t get it, your friends who don’t take it as seriously as you do, your brothers who connect you to the outside world and (spoilers) then die horrible deaths) until you’ve reached a point where you’re the hero of a Jack London novel, bedding sexy island natives and waving guns around just like a part of you always wished you did.

    The game even calls itself a game over and over again, and your character calls killing people “winning.” There’s no doubt that this is a purposeful choice on the part of the writers.

    In other words, this, along with Spec Ops, points to the evolution of the gamer as self aware. You’re in Rekall now, getting everything you ever wanted.

    • Wade says:

      That’s a good point. I’ve had a similar thought, but I like how you word it. The last game I played that had this kind of world, very open and beautiful, side quests that can be either meaningful or trivial, lots of busy work, and a pretty interesting cast of characters was Red Dead Redemption. I think that game is streets ahead in terms of main character arc and all, but the open world environment and perspective of the game is similar and what I am reminded of.

      It’s kind of like had Red Dead been a first person shooter instead of the 3rd person, it would be more like Far Cry 3. In that game, the 3rd person allows you to feel the right character beats and bifurcate the trivial nonsense that distracts you from saving your hostage family. With Far Cry, it’s more personal in the 1st person perspective and the trivial stuff seems like it shold be more trivial.

      Instead of being a close up spectator, where you are still a somewhat separate entity from the John Marston persona, in a rich drama, now you are a player in what *should* be a similar drama, but the 1st person perspective throws you into a much more vicarious state of thrill.