Previews

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

CVG cleans up on isle three

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It proved an inspired decision. Our brief off-road diversion was rough on both the underside of our jeep and our hands (the 360 pad's rumble function went into overdrive as it vainly attempted to replicate the brutal way our jeep jerked around the screen, but it took us directly to the radio masts' front door, where we crashed fender-first into a couple of unprepared guards and parked up on their screaming corpses.

Then we hopped out the door, finished off the remaining resistance and quickly clambered up the stairs and disabled Vaas' comms system, restoring our mini-map to its full glory. The developers tell us that each radio tower is a 'puzzle', in the same way Assassin's Creed's peaks are. Later towers will require guile and planning to tame, but brute strength was enough to see us through this time.

Twenty-four minutes remaining. Our mini-map was now marked with various points of interest, including the whereabouts of the nearest hideout. The developers tried to coax us to go straight there, but ever the journalistic rebels, we turned our noses at their suggestion and careened off into the wild to find our own fun.

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Big mistake, as it happens. Vaas' hencemen weren't just clustered around the radio mast, as we assumed - they're scattered around the area with the same frequency as Far Cry 2's checkpoint guards, as until you take out the hideout their presence makes even the simplest task difficult.

Simple, such as retrieving an ancient artifact from a cave due east of the radio tower's location. We were spotted loitering around the entrance by an eagle-eyed patrol squad, kicking-off a firefight and distance.

Since it was only a small patrol, we were confident we had things under control, and we did - until a stray bullet grazed a wolfpack that had blundered into the crossfire. Angered, the entire pack chased us up a nearby mountain and in the confusion, we fell off the precipice to our death. All that was missing was the Benny Hill music.

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Between sniggers, the developer advised us that the island's fauna can help you just as much hinder you. Since animals don't 'do' politics they'll just as soon attack Vaas' goons if events play out differently. That knowledge came too late to help us this time, but we made a note to bare that in mind for the remaining twenty minutes.

Our second attempt went far more smoothly. We waltzed into the cave unnoticed and plucked the vase from its resting spot - and received a new tattoo on our left arm for our troubles. Jason's tatts reflect his progress through the game, and by the time you reach the end he'll have arms like Randy Orton. Having got the ink bug, we set a waypoint for another artifact - this time located approximately 200 metres off the island's north shore.

Needless to say, this one proved far more troublesome.

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