Just when I got done obsessing over Tomb Raider 3, I had to go and find Far Cry 3 on sale for cheap. I played about an hour of Far Cry 2 but soon got bored by how involved and tedious it was. Far Cry 3 is less sim-like, and what it loses in annoying realism it gains in playability. Simply put, the game is a blast, at least for a while. They set up several different activities to do that all give you different types of gameplay experience as well as different benefits in the game. Hunting animals, for example, allows you to craft items so you can carry more weapons and ammo. Climbing towers opens up maps. Defeating enemy camps removes enemies from the area, making it easier to get around, and opens up side quests which provide experience points and rare crafting items. This is done so well that I was addicted to the game, playing every chance I could so that I could liberate one more area or kill one more shark to get a bigger pack.
The experience point system also encourages you to explore and play the game a certain way. You get three times the experience for stealth kills and stealth liberations of areas, which incentivizes you tread carefully rather than going in guns blazing. That’s a good thing, because going in guns blazing is a quick way to get killed.
However, ten hours in, the thrill is started to wear off. I’ve had several enemy camp liberations go cockeyed because of the tricky aiming mechanic on the sniper rifle, or because the enemy sensed me when I thought I was hidden. And after finishing just under half the missions and liberating a third of the map, I realize it’s a lot of the same old wash rinse repeat. There is something frustrating about opening up a chunk of the map only to realize you have to do the same thing ten more times. Now that I’ve crafted most of the items, hunting is less compelling. Now that I’ve unlocked several key skills, farming experience points is less compelling. So I’ve put the game aside for now, although I may get sucked back into it in the near future.