Could Far Cry 3 lead to a new era of first-person shooters?

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From awe-inspiring graphics that blur the lines between real and virtual to a psychotic new villain named Vaas, Far Cry 3 has all the essential ingredients needed to deliver an experience that might shake the very core of the first-person-shooter world.

When you look at typical FPS experiences, they are glorified Michael Bay movies with over-the-top, end-of-the-world storylines. They have steered clear from realism in favor of a linear, in-your-face focus with characters you couldn’t care less about.

The fuel for Far Cry 3 is its new hero, Jason Brody, a modern man you can actually relate to. He’s grown up in our technology-driven world. You, playing as Brody, have washed up on a mysterious island that is hiding a dark secret, your boat has been destroyed, and your girlfriend is missing. Even worse, everyone on the island is insane. This lush and seemingly serene location is brutal and lawless.

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What is truly scary about the island, though, is the madman who lives there, Vaas. Leaving archetypes in the dust, developer Ubisoft Montreal set off to work on an entirely new and unique bad guy. Vaas is a realistic, yet rather insane, pirate leader.

Upon meeting Vaas for the first time, the madman quickly became one of the most memorable baddies I’ve ever seen in a game to date. He’s impulsive, sadistic, and unstable, someone who’s been on the island for far too long.

Yet, while your first instincts would be to get as far away as possible from him, his unstable mind holds the one thing that is still near and dear to you, information on the whereabouts of your girlfriend. Find Vaas, and you’ll find your girl. If Vaas finds you, you’ll go through hell.

The island has forgotten right from wrong. It’s a place that thrives off the principles of violence. Your only escape is through drugs or violence, and luck is not on your side.

What really differentiates Far Cry 3 from the rest of the shooter genre is the open-world aspect fused with various role-playing elements. For example, in “The Medusa Mission,” Brody had to attack a beached ship to get to its radio tower. You cold either use a zip line to get in, guns blazing, or you could sneakily navigate the area, taking down enemies through hand-to-hand combat. The open-world gameplay offers players a wide assortment of different tactics when approaching a combat situation.

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From what I experienced, any concerns I had over whether or not ammo would play a crucial role in how you approached things were diminished. I saw Brody board the ship and lay out gunfire from an AK-47 assault rifle as if nothing was stopping him. Most enemy soldiers, however, drop goodies that you’ll need to survive and thrive on the island — though the extent of what these goodies will offer remains undisclosed.

If you choose to be the hotshot in combat, though, you’ll face consequences that will probably kill you. Ubisoft wants the artificial intelligence in Far Cry 3 to act and think like human combatants. Some enemies won’t be trained very well, and some will be really deadly. Personally, I think AI threats that intentionally act like humans are much more interesting to play against. They might even feel weird to shoot because they act so lifelike.

Single Player isn’t the only place where Far Cry 3 shines, however. Multiplayer is just as good. Ubisoft is encouraging players to work as a team rather than fighting solo. For those teams that fight together, simultaneously clicking the analog sticks with your mates will send out a battle cry, rewarding those who choose to fight together with slight advantages like minor health boosts.

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Domination and Firestorm are two of the modes currently available. Domination plays out similarly to Conquest in the Battlefield series or Domination in Call of Duty titles. While the game mode does little to distinguish Far Cry 3′s multiplayer from other competitors, the title introduces some flare through spiffy graphics and a few neat perks.

Psyche Gas is my favorite of these perks. Once you’ve acquired it, you’ll be able to drop a vial of gas over a specific area on the map. Enemies caught inside the cloud will immediately be affected. Their environment will warp into a sickly yellow shade. Friends and foes will appear as black silhouettes, so you won’t know who you’ll be killing since friendly fire is momentarily activated during this time.

The other multiplayer mode, Firestorm, begins with two teams positioned at opposite ends of a map. Each side has two nodes containing canisters of fuel. If you can successfully reach an enemy’s node, you can ignite it on fire. The fire will then sweep through a section of the level, dynamically changing the map and compressing your fights into smaller enclosures.

At the end of each match, the victorious team will have rounded up the bodies of its dead competitors and can choose whether or not to keep the opponents’ best player alive. These neat little touches and perks are what help make Far Cry 3 stand out.

From what I’ve seen so far, Ubisoft has some ideas that could revolutionize how we view shooters in the future. Longtime Far Cry fans will return to a beautifully remastered experience, and entry-level players will discover what might very well be the next big thing.

With Far Cry 3, Ubisoft has the opportunity to craft a groundbreaking new adventure

Chandler Tate

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Gamespresso; undergrad journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. You can follow him on twitter @chandlertate95.