When was the last time you walked 34 miles over nine hours? Yeah, I bet never, because that sounds awful. Yet, that’s how many miles I walked in nine hours in "Far Cry 3."
Do you hear what I’m saying? This is a video game. Oh yes, it has guns, and cars, and hostages. But to me, it seems to be mostly about walking.
That’s because this is a contemporary "sandbox" game – an open-world adventure that takes place across a gigantic island nation.
There are forests, mountains, the sea, rivers and caves. It’s very visually impressive in scope.
But the downside is we must walk across that nation, because there aren’t enough cars to carjack, and those cars don’t travel everywhere. The game’s stat counter clocked my feet at 34 miles; that number is not a guess.
Please, you sandbox-game makers, heed my desperate plea:
It is heinous to walk 34 miles, virtually. I beg you to stop the boring madness. Go play "Just Cause 2" to see how a sandbox game should include faster travel. Thanks.
OK, now let’s judge the rest of "Far Cry 3."
It’s pretty good.
I portray this dude who goes vacationing with his brothers and rich friends on an exotic island.
But apparently while they were planning their trip, these trust-fund types didn’t realize this island-nation is run by sadistic pirates and a military that fronts a prostitution ring of kidnapped women.
Clearly, our heroes should have read about the island on TripAdvisor.com first.
Anyway, the dude I portray goes walking around, killing pirates and soldiers, while looking for his loved ones and vowing vengeance.
Most of the game play is entertaining and characteristic of sandbox adventures: kill villains and henchmen by using good guns; earn rewards; loot corpses of cash (and, um, crack pipes); and upgrade guns and personal traits, such as walking faster.
Fortunately, there are fast-travel spots that let me magically transport across certain parts of the island. But there aren’t enough of them.
I thoroughly enjoy some interesting creative devices. My favorite is when I climb 18 tall, decrepit power towers to restore tower service, which rewards me with maps of local areas. That’s weirdly fun.
The "I’m Gonna Get You!" revenge story is nicely fleshed out, although villains are written on cardboard, and the girlfriend situation feels like any old damsel-in-distress tale.
Disturbingly, it’s idiotic I must slay pigs and goats just to make wallets and holsters to hold my cash and guns. I mean, killing a murderous pirate to save people is one thing. Killing an innocent boar for an insipid gaming reason feels like "Far Cry 3’s" own sadistic touch.
But overall, "Far Cry 3" is a good outing for players who dig on sandbox routines and don’t mind walking and knifing goats, dogs and leopards to death before bending down to slice off their skins and leave their meat to rot. I kept thinking: This game could convince Ted Nugent to join PETA.
("Far Cry 3" by Ubisoft retails for $60 for Xbox 360 and PS 3; $50 for PC – Plays decently fun. Looks very good. Moderately challenging. Rated "M" for blood, gore, intense violence, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content and use of drugs. Three out of four stars.)
Contact Doug Elfman at delfman@review journal.com.NEW IN STORES
If you’re one of those people who thinks video games are the domain of nerds, you’re wrong – unless you’re talking about “Guardians of Middle-Earth” (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment).
“Guardians” is set in the universe of “Lord of the Rings.” You portray one of 20 characters, from Gandalf to Gollum and beyond. Then you and other gamers are thrust into online battles.
The omnipotent camera’s point-of-view comes from up in the sky, looking down on battlefields as players on opposing teams try to beat each other, using spells, potions and relics.
Your goals include building towers, defending and capturing bases, and slaying rivals.
Each battle can hold five-against-five teams. Gamers upgrade their characters’ abilities. You can portray a warrior, mage, defender, tactician or striker.
You win by destroying enemy fortresses and scoring high points.
In gaming lingo, this is a fantasy “multiplayer online battle arena,” aka an “arena role-playing game,” aka “nerdy.”
The game retails for $30 for Xbox 360 and PS 3. It’s rated “T” for fantasy violence.
(Ratings: “E” for “Everyone;” “T” for “Teen;” “M” for “Mature 17+”)
– By DOUG ELFMAN