Be careful in this first-person shooter; the most beautiful things are often the most dangerous.
You have to be careful in Far Cry 3. It's not so much that you're trapped on an island full of dangerous criminals, or that said island has some bizarre mental force slowly digging its tendrils into your brain--though that's certainly not something to ignore. No, you have to be careful in Far Cry 3 because when it comes to survival, the beauty of this island can often be your worst enemy.
The demo Ubisoft brought to E3 this year provides plenty of examples illustrating that fact. You begin by swimming pristine, gorgeous tropical waters en route to a camp occupied by the game's archvillain, Vaas. As you approach the docks--staying underwater to maintain a low profile--you'll probably notice a sea turtle or two swimming majestically nearby. Do you continue your mission, or just hang out for a bit watching that sea turtle do its thing? You choose the latter, then suddenly realize you're still underwater and should probably get some air before you drown. Damn adorable sea turtles.
Once on land, you're able to creep toward the guards patrolling the walls of the base. It's a dense jungle flanking the base, letting you approach your targets from a variety of angles. But which weapon do you choose to eliminate the men standing between you and your destination? An assault rifle from afar? A knife if you can creep up behind them?
Well, if you're anything like us, you choose the bow and arrow. Far Cry 3 lets you go tribal on your enemies with a hunting bow for quiet and lethal ranged takedowns. Even better, you can choose from a few special arrowheads, be they flaming or explosive. We elect to take care of the first cluster of guards with the flaming arrowhead, which basically looks like an arrow with a miniature Molotov cocktail affixed to the end.
We loose the arrow and watch it fly straight into the group of enemies. They shout a bit, fire their guns, and suddenly remember that they should probably die now and proceed to oblige. But then something magical happens: the wind spreads the flames farther toward the camp and engulfs a few more guards that we hadn't even intended to kill. At this point, we've got magic on our hands.
We hop over the wall into the camp. Inside, it seems that Vaas was expecting us, as he's got a courtyard full of his thugs ready to start shooting away at us. It's a frantic scene as we try to stay alive, zip-lining from building to building, firing away at moves, and watching as each precarious bit of cover chips and crumbles away when we try to catch our breath.
Then we notice a wooden cage housing a tiger. We fire at the door and set the beast free. It thanks us by proceeding to maul Vaas' henchmen, taking down one armed thug after another and saving us the trouble of having to deal with them.
A moment later we spot a group of enemies we didn't see before and remember we've still got one of those flaming arrowheads. We fire away and let the flame do its job, but only a half-second before noticing that our new best friend (whom we've nicknamed Tony the Tiger) also happened to see those enemies. He dashes toward them in tragic sync with the flaming arrow, arriving on the scene just in time to be set ablaze alongside the very thugs he was trying to kill. We refrain from shouting "Nooooooo!" but we're certainly thinking that as we gaze at his charred tiger corpse.
But that's Far Cry 3. The very things you fall in love with about this island are also the sort of things that will either break your heart or, worse, kill you outright. Because let's be honest for a moment. If we hadn't set Tony the Tiger to that great big bowl of Frosted Flakes in the sky, he almost certainly would have mauled our face off two seconds later. It's tragic that he had to go out in a literal blaze of glory, but it's probably for the best. He was a damn tiger after all.