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Previews

Far Cry 3: Our thirty minute safari with Ubisoft's free-form shooter

CVG cleans up on isle three

We were directed to our seat by one of the game's art directors. On the screen, a giant overhead map of Far Cry 3's anti-paradise. "You're free to go wherever you want, do whatever you want", he advised. For the next thirty minutes, we proceeded to do exactly that.

The demo picks up the story immediately following the linear opening sequence, which establishes the context of your tropical adventure. As an assuming tourist named Jason Brody, you find yourself marooned on a distant archipelago in the Indian Ocean, with no way of contacting the outside world.

Worse still, the island chain's inhabitants - many of whom have become mentally unstable after being isolated from civilisation for years on end - are embroiled in a savage civil war for control of the island.

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During the course of the intro, Jason also encounters to one of the civil war's main antagonists, an insane cult leader named Vaas. It's a meeting from which he barely escapes with his life.

He's rescued by a rival cult who trains him how to fight and how to survive. After several months of this, Jason emerges from his cocoon with all the skills and abilities you'd expect from the star of a first-person shooter, and the game proper commences.

The demo begins in uncharacteristically peaceful fashion. We found ourselves amongst friends in a shanty village located in the mid-north of the main island. It's one of the few pockets of asylum on an island where everyone else - including the indigenous wildlife - wants you dead.

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The village acts as a hub area where you can buy weapons and supplies, earn money by partaking in a knife-throwing contest or just mull about chatting to the locals. But we didn't wander into Ubisoft's Gamescom booth to exchange pleasantries, so after stocking up with an AK47 and a couple of grenades, we commandeered a nearby jeep and drove out into the island's wilderness to search for someone we could shoot in the face.

We didn't have to go far, since the second you step foot outside the boundaries of your village bullets will whistle through your hair from all directions. As we discover, Vaas has complete control over this area, bar our little village, and the only way to diminish his influence is to travel to the nearest hideout and give its ring leader a good kicking.

Sadly, we had no idea where exactly that hideout might be, as the mini-map in the corner of the screen was scrambled. This kicks off what is in effect the game's first mandatory mission; although you've got the freedom of the island straight off the bat, Far Cry 3's structure mimics the Assassin's Creed series in that mission objectives are blurred out and unavailable until you scale and capture the various radio masts dotted around the island.

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With the clock already beginning to tick down, we decided to make a beeline for the winding, circular mountain path leading up to the nearest tower. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the mast was heavily guarded and before long enemy fire was raining down on our windscreen like a monsoon.

We seemingly only had two choices; get out of the jeep and stand our ground despite being horrifically outnumbered, or sit in our jeep and wait for the ominous smoke plumes to begin rising. On a flash of inspiration, we took a third option, hanging a hard right and ploughing our jeep into the jungle undergrowth.

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