Far Cry 3 preview - adventure through crazy town

Thanks to Vaas, Far Cry 3's mo-hawked madman with a penchant for waxing poetic about the “definition of insanity,” our previous peek at Ubisoft's gorgeous open-world shooter left our nerves frayed and spines chilled. Perhaps not wanting to completely scare us off, the developer opened their E3 demo on a decidedly different note. As island-stranded protagonist Jason Brody, we're greeted by a new character, Citra. And by “greeted,” we mean the exotic tribeswoman's giving us a lap dance. Oh, did we mention she's also Vaas' sister?

Unlike her sadistic sibling, Citra's one of the good guys (we think.) As the leader of the island's original inhabitants, she wishes to take back her people's territory by killing Vaas and his band of crazy pirates. More specifically, she wants Jason to tackle this daunting task...right after she entices him to do so with her bare-breasted sexy dance.

Before peeling Citra from his body and delivering a rousing speech to her Vaas-hating rebels, Jason lifts his arms to reveal an ornate tapestry of tribal tattoos. The inked sleeves, as it turns out, represent his learned skills and upgraded abilities. Taking place two-thirds into the story, our demo marks Jason's sixth week on the island. Once physically and verbally victimized by Vaas, he's grown into a force to be reckoned with...and he's got the ink to prove it.

Inspired by Citra's, er, pep talk, we dive from a cliff into the ocean. As we tread the beautiful blue water, swimming with tropical fish and turtles in our wake, we're nearly fooled into thinking we've won a dream getaway. That is, until we spy a dude up ahead dumping dead bodies off a dock. Shocked back to reality, we stealthily swim beneath the goon, pull him into the water and gut him like a pig.

Continuing our sneak-and-slay streak, we silence two more meatbags with what producer Dan Hay dubs a “chain-takedown.” As satisfying as it is cinematic, the move allows players to string together stealth kills by moving the left stick from victim to victim after initiating the first attack with the right. We only butcher two baddies with the move, but Hay says he's seen some of his testers tether up to seven kills.

With the pair's blood seeping into the sand, we equip Jason's bow and head for Vaas' compound. More pirates as well as attack dogs await, so we tag our targets by positioning the bow's reticule over them. This places a red skull icon above them - a symbol also representative of their faction - allowing us to spot them through terrain and track them on the HUD's mini-map. Upon planting arrows into the unsuspecting victims' chests, the hounds are alerted and unleashed. The pups briefly put us on the defensive, but we're able to silence their barking with a big hunting knife.

With our path cleared, we enter the building where more animal attackers await. Tigers and other exotic beasts pace in cages, but a Komodo dragon roams the dark room freely. Recalling Sharon Stone's husband's encounter with one of these scaly suckers (Google it), we unload a burst of buckshot into the ugly reptile.

While we're thankful the other predators are confined, Vaas' personal wild kingdom turns out to be the least of our worries. As we enter a room littered with old televisions, it's apparent the sociopath was expecting us. Vaas' menacing mug appears on the screens, the room fills with fire, and his madman musings taunt us from the TVs. We make a narrow escape to the compound's roof, but our safety's short-lived as an army of thugs waits below.

We're able to thin their ranks by igniting a few conveniently placed propane tanks, but Vaas' more fanatical followers don't seem to fear the fireworks. As we haul tail to ground level, Molotov cocktail-clutching attackers, as well as a mini-boss with a flamethrower, rush to meet us. While taking them out before they get within barbequing distance leaves us breathless, we're determined to finish this fight.

As we direct Jason into a nearby building, the pissed-off protagonist screams for Vaas. Sadly, he's silenced by a dagger to the belly, wielded by the very man he came to kill. As a hallway of TV monitors opens before us, it becomes clear the lethally wounded Jason's lapped into a hallucination. Creepy visions, such as a pole-dancing Citra morphing into Vaas, and more creepy broadcasts pave the way to the crazy-ass antagonist. Vaas pulls Jason's pistol-gripping hand below his mohawk and screams “Pull the trigger!” Then, in a more relaxed manner, says “You are me, and I am you,” all while an unsettling background voice whispers, “Jason Brody is dead.”

With our minds officially effed, the demo fades to black. Offering an intoxicating mix of stealth, action, and psychological scares, our time with Far Cry 3 impressed at every turn. We look forward to getting more tats, gutting more goons, and coming off our meds when the open-world FPS hits this Fall.

Matt Cabral
A full-time freelance writer based in Lizzie Borden's hometown, Matt Cabral has covered film, television, and video games for over a decade. You can follow him on Twitter @gamegoat, friend him on Facebook, or find him in the basement of an abandoned building hoarding all the canned goods, med-kits, and shotgun shells.