April 10, 2012

Exclusive: Far Cry 3 Multiplayer

Don't forget to sign up for the PAX East Giveaway! Far Cry 3 Swag guaranteed!

Far Cry 3 PAX East Set
Far Cry 3's Beautiful Set
Over  the last few days I got the chance to go hands on with Ubisoft's upcoming Far Cry 3. The set for the game was beautiful. Fake trees surrounded the gaming rigs that were set up on a makeshift dock. Netting was strung over the walls and the workers were dressed as the Pirates and Rebels, straight from the game. Some people argue that these environments are just to catch your eye, but I would have to respectfully disagree. It feels pretty awesome to play on Far Cry 3's beautifully rendered island while surrounded by a beautiful island set.

Far Cry 3 8 v 8 Domination
8 v 8 Domination
Myself and fifteen others were placed head on in a Domination game mode. Two teams of eight clashed over three control points spread across a luscious tropical island. Half of the map was riddled with shacks while the other half featured a rundown port complete with a cliffside bunker. The two sides were connected by two routes: the top of the cliffs overlooking the Scrap Yard and Fish Market control points, or through the cliffside bunker. Although Far Cry 3's maps aren't quite as big as the sprawling maps with multiple points of attack that the previous Far Cry games had, they are larger than the average shooter's. There were enough paths that one could sneak around the outskirts of the map and capture the control points without bumping into a person. If you prefer the run-and-gun technique, don't fret, you'll be able to get your fill if you stick to combatting over the central control point.

The game itself is beautiful. It was refreshing to empty my clip into an enemy in a map that wasn't made from just grays and browns. This was a pre-alpha build running on a PC and the game looked amazing. Trees and grass swayed in the tropical breeze and water splashed along the port. Explosions from a barrel bombs looked absolutely stunning, the contrast between the bright reds and oranges on the blues and greens of the island were breathtaking. The Far Cry series has perfected the island atmosphere but I would like for them to change things up in additional maps. If all the multiplayer maps are just similar bits from the same island it will not be long before I look for another game just for a change of scenery. A fantastic bit of news is that the map editor WILL be returning in Far Cry 3. Not much information is known at the time, besides the fact that fan-made maps, if good enough, will be thrown in to the normal multiplayer rotation. This feature will constantly make the game feel refreshing while providing new maps without having to shell out $10-$15 on map packs.

In line with the design changes to fit the average shooter, the gameplay follows suit. Anyone that has played Call of Duty will feel at home with the controls. Aiming was a bit tricky at some parts even while burst-firing. Aiming is by far the most important aspect of controls in a shooter and I was discouraged by how unpolished they felt. Other than that, everything was solid.The most notable changes are the ability to swim underwater, Battle Cries, gas attacks, and the new killcam system.

Swimming underwater gives the ability to really sneak up on your enemies. I can also foresee Far Cry 3 taking advantage of the swimming system by having special underwater passages leading to certain parts of the map. It is nothing that will change first person shooters, but it is a nice change of pace and definitely ads to the game.

Far Cry 3 Multiplayer Island
Beautiful Tropical Island
My class's team ability, or Battle Cry, boosted the health of the teammates in my general vicinity. There were a few other Battle Cries ranging from speed to increased max health. Battle Cries aim to encourage teamwork by providing benefits for sticking alongside a friend. The bigger your group, the more beneficial your ability becomes. It can be tough trying to get teams of strangers to work together but I can see the benefits of Team Abilities making it just a little bit easier.

One of my favorite moments from the match came from the team support abilities, or more commonly known as killstreaks. Unlike most games, Far Cry 3's team support actions aren't based upon kills but instead accumulative points that can be earned through capturing objectives, kills, and reviving teammates. At one point during the match, an enemy player unleashed a tier 2 (out of 3) ability that dropped a Psyche Gas container on my location. My screen became hazy and I began seeing black shadow figures running around my character. I began firing off my submachine gun into these creatures attempting to fight them off. It turns out that these creatures are either illusions or my teammates and with friendly fire on (only while gassed), Psyche Gas can become very dangerous.

Far Cry 3 Kill-cam System
Sexy Kill-cam System
When you end up dying, you have a short time to be revived. During that time period, Far Cry 3 shows off its sexy kill-cam. While action continues alongside you, ghost figures freeze in place resembling yourself and the enemy that killed you. Individual bullet tracers mark the path the bullets followed and where they met your body. The camera spins around the entire scene matrix-style as it highlights your enemies gun, equipment, and abilities. The entire kill-cam system made dying enjoyable.

Overall Far Cry 3 doesn't set out to change the genre but it does make some welcome changes that will be a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, at the same time it loses some of the originality of the previous games. I will have my full review up for the game shortly after release. I was lucky enough to score a free copy of the game for shaving my hair into a mohawk, best haircut of my life.

Mohawk for Far Cry 3
Mohawk for a copy of Far Cry 3


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