So, Far Cry 3.
I can't say that I've been a fan of this series, but all the pre-release chatter had piqued my curiosity, and it seemed as though the game was going to attempt to tell a more serious, darker sort of story.
I put about six hours into it over last few days, and… I'm done. I am literally so bored that I am choosing to just quit the game and move onto something else.
Two big issues here. The first is that the story flat-out sucks.
Things started off well with a brutal introductory sequence, but it's hard to invest in the idea that a pasty, spoiled kid becomes a man-killing terror of the islands within the blink of an eye, and that's entirely apart from the fact that it's tough to feel sympathy for a rich douchebag who gets kidnapped while partying in the tropics alongside his rich, douchebag friends.
Making things worse is that the game throws in a lot of misguided mumbo-jumbo about magical tattoos and surreal dream visions. The writers don't really commit to the premise, so it feels stuck halfway between a serious shooter and something that could easily be more supernatural.
The second big problem is that play-wise, Far Cry 3 is as shallow as a dog dish, and turns repetitive a lot sooner than one might expect.
Since following the story doesn't give much satisfaction, the game really needed the sidequests to come through, but they all feel samey after doing just a couple. There's just not much motivation to keep on doing them—the manhunts, tracking down wild animals, delivering supplies… Sure, there's a lot of stuff to do, but it all feels like filler.
It's slightly more worthwhile to liberate a series of small outposts and climb a bunch of towers to unlock the map just because it makes playing the game easier, but again, the game asks players to do it too many times, and there's too little variety in doing so. It's like being handed a giant checklist of chores and working your way through them with a pencil.
The final nail in the coffin is the incredibly underdeveloped skill system. While it initially seems as though there are a ton of abilities to earn, I consistently had a pile of skill points that were going unused because nothing seemed worthwhile enough to invest in. I didn't have any abilities to look forward to, and once I did unlock a skill, I often didn't feel as though there was much difference or improvement—It's like the developers wanted to include a skill tree to give the appearance of depth, but the game doesn't support or need the skills that they've come up with.
Swimming 25% faster? So what? Shooting one-handed from a zip line? I didn't see a single opportunity to use it in the six hours I played. And so on, and so on.
While the game may be technically solid and certainly competent enough, it doesn't have much going for it apart from a huge area to cover and a whole lot of piddly little jobs to kill some time on. I guess there are worse games to play, but that's hardly a recommendation. With more variety and depth it could have been a winner, but as it is?
Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.
Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.
Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway