It usually takes a title of incredible quality to make any kind of lasting impression on gamers this late in the year, and Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 certainly has the potential to do just so. Set on a beautifully lush tropical island, this ambitious open-world first person shooter sees players saving their friends from a group of tweaked out pirates and human traffickers who kidnapped them during an ideal vacation gone very wrong. In addition to your friends, Far Cry 3 will also take whatever spare time you have hostage within the massive world as its sandbox-style gameplay and role-playing elements can have you scouring the island for hours completing tasks without forwarding the game’s compelling narrative.

By far, Far Cry 3’s biggest strength and weakness is its grand magnitude. Those with a lot of spare time will absolutely love all of the hunting, gathering, and crafting features the game has to offer, as it rewards exploration with the items needed to create pouches with larger storage capacity and medicines with various effects. Your encounters with the island’s ruthless inhabitants as you attempt to free your captive friends will net you the experience necessary to level up, in turn granting you points that can be assigned to various skill trees for abilities to thrive in this harsh environment. These skills also make combat a sadistic joy, appealing to all manner of action junkies.

Whether you like to go into battle with your guns blazing, enjoy picking enemies off from afar, or prefer the visceral feel of an enemy’s jugular spilling the last ounces of blood on your clenched hand as your jungle survival knife dances across his throat, Far Cry 3 has your action needs well covered. Stealthy takedowns are the key to taking out large groups of enemies without being detected, unless you happen to throw a perfectly timed grenade to eliminate a whole cluster at once.

While sniping from afar has its obvious strategic benefits, focusing on a single area tends to decrease your situational awareness – and the last thing you’ll want to do is meet the business end of a wild boar. The only time I want a boar’s head in my face is when it’s between two pieces of wheat with Swiss, not when I’m kneeling in the bushes waiting for an enemy’s patrol route to cross back into my line of sight.

Far Cry 3 is well worth the full retail standard MSRP price as the game has plenty of content to keep you busy for months on end. For those who prefer the multiplayer aspect of fps games, Far Cry 3 also features a slew of competitive modes and a sleek co-op narrative campaign that will force you to work together in order to survive the worst possible cruise imaginable. Think of the encompassing experience as less of a game and more of a minor hobby, and you might begin to appreciate how in-depth you’ll need to become in order to fully enjoy everything there is to do in Far Cry 3. If drug induced jungle warfare is your thing, then this title is worth the gritty bullet-ridden trip down the rabbit hole.

Far Cry 3 from Ubisoft is available now on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC. We’ve provided some gameplay with commentary by Robert Welkner to sample more of the game’s environment – enjoy!

Related Links:

Far Cry 3 Gameplay with Commentary

Far Cry 3 Official Launch Trailer