In some ways, the events of Far Cry 3 are plainly outrageous. A meek, scared young man is kidnapped by pirates and escapes his captors to become a fearsome warrior armed to the teeth and eventually kills all the bad guys. In the midst of all this, is sex, drugs, gun fire and explosions. Oh, and some apex predators from the animal kingdom are added to the mix.

We start the action with your character – Jason Brody – escaping from captivity with the help of your older brother, who’s actually a soldier. Unfortunately, your brother gets shot dead just as it appears you’ll be safe. In reality, why the two of you are looking at a map in the open where you’re easily seen, I have no idea. Anyway, you’re taken in by the Rakyat, the natives of the islands you’ve been kidnapped on. You can guess what follows. Guns are fired, people are killed and, in the game’s open world, loot is found and other items of interest are collected.

Speaking of the open world, the fictional Rook Islands in the game are frankly, gorgeous, yet not too taxing on the hardware. Vegetation is lovely, fire spreads naturally, water and reflections are all done exquisitely and really helps to create the illusion of a living, breathing world. Even the character models are fantastic and more realistic than a lot of other games of this generation. Although, that said, the last game I played with 3D character models was X Rebirth, and that didn’t turn out well at all.

To add that bit of spice and fun to the game, there’s an RPG element with three skill trees representing your abilities as the Rakyat’s “perfect warrior”. These relate to your toughness, stealth kills and even your ability to exploit your environment when harvesting craft items. They are very much essential to making life easier so that you can exact your revenge on those who kidnapped you and killed your brother.

While there’s admittedly not much meat to the storyline – rescue your friends, kill pirates and mercenaries – there are some really, really great characters with an innate sense of black comedy throughout the game. Personally, apart from the natives and your friends, every character you meet appears to be deranged in some way. From the friendly, but always high Dr. Earnhardt, to the cynical, CIA agent Huntley and especially the bad guys, Hoyt and Vaas. It really is a hell of a ride when you have to deal with them.

I honestly don’t care whether the gates to hell are on the Rook Islands. Far Cry 3 is such a blast to play that even if you’re not into first person shooters, you start to enjoy the game, because it is genuinely a masterpiece of integrating disparate game mechanics. Go buy this and play it!

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