I wanted to see the exotic island… the crown jewel of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. I wanted to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture… and kill them. I wanted to be the first kid on my team to get a Team Support kill. You’re damn right, badly misquoted Private Joker, and that was my mantra this past week when Ubisoft Massive invited me to come and check out Far Cry 3’s multiplayer.
It was quite a show! There was a presentation, twice in fact, and over four solid hours of gaming down in a deep and dank basement which was shrouded in fake foliage and Japanese beer which I am still unable to pronounce.
I had my partner in crime, who for full disclosure is self-confessed to not be a first person shooter fan, and was geared up and ready to have Far Cry 3 blow me away with exotic, colourful environments and gunning down locals with a wide variety of weapons.
First off, the game will be released on September 6th, 2012. Secondly, there will be a Far Cry 3 iOS app which will help you to unlock skills, items, and weapons – and it will even have a social interaction element so your buddies can help you out by transferring points and weapons, as you can do back with them.
Thirdly, and finally, the Far Cry 2 Map Creator is making a comeback and Ubisoft (shockingly) promised that it would be bigger, better, and badder than ever before. Awesome news for all! Now what say we actually talk about the gameplay and that other irrelevant stuff?
If you’ve ever read my stuff before (and if you haven’t, I’m hurt!) then you should know that it is about time to breakdown some basic amenities and qualities which shall be contained in your Far Cry 3 multiplayer experience come September: Far Cry now has what they call ‘Team Support Points’ (killstreaks…) and they are used to spend on a variety of special weapons and perks which are only available through TSPs.
How do you get TSPs? You either revive your fallen comrades, using your ‘Battle Cry’, capturing mission objectives, and of course good ol’ fashioned killing people (though this earns you the least). A Battle Cry is when you press both analogue sticks down simultaneously and chant to nearby teammates. In essence it’s a proxy pep rally, so the more people who are around you when you use it the more TSPs you get.
Bizarrely, you can only earn a TSP to get these weapons but kills also count to towards it which leads me to believe this is a singular perk ladder for everything you do rather than just ‘supporting’ your team. You can now tag enemies and specific objectives using the back button, there will be a levelling system for your character, and of course weapon levelling.
The Team Support Points were spendable on only three rewards on the day, though there will likely be more options in the final product. They were UAV, Psyche Gas, and Napalm (not official titles). The UAV does what it says on the tin, shows enemies on the mini-map, like all great first person shooters.
Psyche Gas is a little more interesting as it drops an orange gas onto a selected part of the map the player chooses and causes every enemy in that area to see all combatants as demonic black silhouettes with glowing blue eyes; it also turns friendly fire on, so you best have been paying attention or talking to your teammates or you’re about to become extremely unpopular very fast.
Finally, the Napalm is the same premise as the Psyche Gas only instead of mind-altering hallucinogens it’s just fire. Lots and lots of fire. Basic stuff, but we have to cover it all. Now it is down to gameplay; come with me, friends![drop]The first of two modes we were permitted to play was a domination style game (I don’t recall them ever giving it an official title) where there are three capture points spread across the map and you must capture a majority of them, for a set period of time, until victory. Simple, basic, elegant, and perfect to demonstrate and talk about some of the bare bones of the Far Cry 3 multiplayer experience.
The ability to tag enemies with the back button was a seemingly endless task but well worth the effort, as was the reviving, as my biggest gripe was with the spawning. The gameplay was enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, the action was fast paced and explosively fun. The TSPs made the team actually strive to complete the objectives and not just run for kills, like other nameless first person shooters, and the Psyche Gas was particularly entertaining when you dropped it right onto a capture point to watch the enemy gun down their teammates as they came running to help capture it. However, the spawning was horrendous. It really drove me to the point of insanity.
Reviving is a constant in the game, in every mode, where when you’re ‘killed’ you’re down on the ground and can be revived – this happens every time you’re downed, and the enemy can’t kill you past that point – they can only leave you to bleed out.
You stay alive while downed by hammering the A button, or you bleed out quickly by simply pressing nothing at all. Regardless of whether you bleed out or hammer A until you bleed out, once you do, the spawn time afterwards is 10 seconds long. Therefore, you can be downed for around 15-20 seconds, waiting for a revive that may never come but is mandatory to help you achieve those TSPs.
Then you still get stuck with a 10 second respawn meaning you’re out of a 10 minute match for up to 30 seconds per death.
That, of course, assumes you don’t get revived because if you do and then get killed, you’re then stuck with a 15 second long respawn. I’ll accept that some of the spawn points being a tad unreliable is down to it being months away from release but waiting 30 seconds to respawn and then getting killed immediately for another long respawn left me trying to bleed out as quickly as possible because the revives just weren’t worth the wait. This, of course, leads to the team earning fewer TSPs and therefore fewer rewards.
I realise this issue is not game breaking, and the rest of Far Cry 3’s action with the multitude of weapons, levelling options, team supporting elements, and overall scenic environments go a long way to negating all of the spawning issues but I do feel they are worth mentioning.
My experience of domination was still hugely positive and using the PCs to trash talk through the chat in between games was extremely funny. Of course, this also includes the ending to the mode where the top player from the winning team gets to make a choice: to either beat or show mercy on the top player on the losing team. It’s an interesting little twist that I think is a truly fantastic thought from Ubisoft.[videoyoutube]You can unlock multiple ways of showing mercy or killing/beating, and as the person who was on the losing team’s number one spot quite a few times I can vouch that there was a lot more mercy going around than what I expected, but each and every time it did make me want to strike for more TSPs and victories just so I could put someone else on the receiving end for once.
The second multiplayer mode we got to try out was ‘Firestorm’. What is Firestorm? There are two ignition sites for each team, you must defend them with your life, and the objective is to ignite both enemy ignition sites. There is a time limit once you light one site to get the other lit, if you’re not fast enough then the first goes out and you have to start all over again.
Once both ignition sites are lit, by either team, then that particular side of map will be engulfed in flame and a radio appears in the centre of the map. If the team who’s side of the map was set ablaze capture the radio then a plane drops water down onto the fire and the match essentially goes back to square one, and if the team who set the fire capture the radio then a plane comes by and douses the flames in petrol – signifying a victory and making the enemy crispier than Walker’s own brand lettuce leafs.
Simply put: I am the God of Hell fire!
That’s pretty much it, all the former rules with TSPs and so on are all the same for this mode. Overall, I personally found this mode a little frustrating. I love the idea, and it was heavily stressed that it was still very much in development, but fires were started so easily that it boiled down to who could get to the radio first. It was essentially a race.
The fire was great, the idea was interesting but I’m hesitant to compliment it too highly until the final product is released where hopefully some of the balancing will be addressed. The fire effects were pretty spectacular though so within a few months I reckon this could well be quite an addictive and fast-paced multiplayer mode.
My non-first person shooter fan also offered these kind words of opinion for Far Cry 3 multiplayer: “I found it quite enjoyable, actually.”
Far Cry 3 will be released on September 6th for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. Assuming of course that everything goes smoothly.
This article was written by Duncan Aird.