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It blows me away when I see some of the work being done in videogames today. I spend very little time writing about games here on the site, and part of the reason for that is that when I play a game, it is (A) far too infrequently for my tastes and (B) the way I choose to escape from that analytical mode that I'm in while watching pretty much any film or TV show these days. I love games. I love the way they've evolved over the years. And while I have strong opinions about the games I play, that has not been something I've consistently voiced over the years.
Right now, what intrigues me is the way the marketing of games is getting very sophisticated. The campaign for "Halo 4" was impressive, with that one live-action commercial that was produced by David Fincher, and I really dug the "Grand Theft Auto V" trailer that was recently released. But when it comes to really pulling out all the stops, I'm going to have to give it up for Ubisoft's new ten-minute sneak peek at the highly-anticipated "Far Cry 3."
I'm a little surprised about all the furor over this one, since it seemed like "Far Cry 2" was generally greeted as a technically-impressive but underwhelming first-person shooter. I tried to play the game several times, and while I was always impressed by the huge open sandbox they had created, it was curiously uninvolving, and it was perhaps too loosely structured to create much of a sense of urgency. I thought "Just Cause 2" ended up scratching the itch that "Far Cry 2" left me with, but part of the fun of that game was the cartoonish approach to the mayhem. What made "Far Cry 2" frustrating was just how good the mechanics of the game were, and how they were in service to what ultimately seemed like a really dull and unmotivated story to me.
What I like about the "Far Cry 3" trailer is that it emphasizes just how stunning the game is in terms of creating the world and also in terms of character work. It lays out the toes of weaponry we'll use, it lays out the dynamics of the society on this island where the game takes place, and it also just plain looks awesome.
Also, this may be the money quote of the year:
"Like Skyrim with guns."
Yeah, that's pretty much a no-brainer for me. "Skyrim" was amazing and satisfying and dense, and if "Far Cry 3" really can offer a similarly immersive experience, that is enormously exciting.
Sharks, tigers, bears, all in a world that is lush and gorgeous… it all seems to have been brought to vivid life by Ubisoft. There are so many amazing little touches in the ten-minute trailer that it's hard to imagine that this is all gameplay footage. It's amazing how much they've been able to squeeze out of this generation of game consoles, and it seems like they keep pushing things further. It makes me wonder what it's going to be like when we finally do make the next big jump.
All I know is that my holidays look like they're going to have a decidedly tropical feel this year, because my free time looks like it has been spoken for by "Far Cry 3," and I can't wait to lay hands on it as soon as possible.
"Far Cry 3" hits shelves December 3, 2012.