Polygon 2012 Games of the Year #4: Far Cry 3

I come to bury Far Cry 3; not to praise it.

The story of a California dude bro playing white knight to an island of thinly-drawn natives is tasteless, despicable, a low-water mark in the already shallow pool of first-person shooter stories.

Male-on-male rape, female-on-male rape, forced drug usage, incest and the aforementioned racial subtext are performed throughout the story with the grace of a silverback gorilla in a tutu.

Sure, the story's wholly memorable, unlike the bulk of its competitors. And yeah, it's cogent and easy — even enjoyable — to follow. And certainly Vaas, the psychopathic villain, is one of the most inspired game characters since Andrew Ryan.

But let's not forget that the final act is far too linear and dull, nothing like the most beloved games of previous years. A secret tomb with lost treasure? A helicopter fight set to classical music? Who would enjoy such chicanery?

Are these troubles worth it if I can drive to the top of a mountain, hang glide over a waterfall and swim to the bottom of the ocean to collect shark skin for my syringe pack?

The climactic final missions simply can't compare to the first half of the game. Lo, how I remember killing sharks and tapirs to craft ammo pouches and syringe packs. I felt like a genuine hunter, stalking through a living island. And lest I forget the hours spent pillaging and gutting enemy camps like the ghost in the darkness.

In time, I felt truly like a trained killer, a hunter of men.

Far Cry 3 is too ambitious. Its cars don't feel like cars and its wingsuits don't feel like wingsuits — or so I assume, as I have never and will never fly a wingsuit. Its vistas are beautiful and its AI smart on PC, but on consoles both struggle to compare.

Are these troubles worth it, if I can drive to the top of a mountain, hang glide over a waterfall, and swim to the bottom of the ocean to collect shark skin for my syringe pack? Well, yeah, sure, maybe.

But Far Cry 3 is too violent. Too uneven. Too ridiculous.

It is all those things. And it is the game I'll still be playing a year from now. My heart is with Far Cry 3, and I must pause to go play it.

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