We have to say, it's rather pleasant to play Far Cry 3 again. There's a simplicity to it that we appreciate -- the wildlife is present but less malicious, the main antagonist is still wonderfully unstable, and the Rook Islands still make for an enjoyable, picturesque backdrop. That we are playing this entry through again on PS4 is funny, given Vaas' speech about the definition of insanity, but this is a slightly different version of the game, when all is said and done.
Far Cry 3: Classic Edition consists purely of the single player from the PS3 open world shooter, ditching co-op and the other multiplayer offerings found in the original version. As far as the story mode is concerned, this is beat for beat the exact same experience, only slightly polished up for its PS4 re-run. For those who may have missed out on Far Cry 3 the first time around, you play as Jason Brody, a 20-something, happy-go-lucky guy who takes a trip to the Rook Islands with a group of friends. After a fateful skydive, the pack of holidaymakers is captured by pirates, and following a daring escape, it falls to Jason to find and rescue his buddies.
It was never the greatest story ever told, but it remains an enjoyable enough tale -- even if the narrative does go off the rails at points. The way Jason transforms from a nervous kid who's never fired a gun to a psychotic murderer of man and beast is gradual, but tonal inconsistencies and other problems hold back the plot.
But this wasn't really a game celebrated for its narrative. The interwoven systems, dynamic firefights, and free-form progression were widely praised at the time, and although the formula has been spoiled somewhat by years of repetition - within and without the series - Far Cry 3 is still a compelling and chaotic first person shooter. We roll our eyes at the mere mention of fog-clearing towers, crafting, skill trees, and world maps peppered with icons, but the fact remains that this game does all of these things very well. If you aren't a fan of this school of design, the Classic Edition of course won't change your mind; this is very much a 2012 time capsule, in which the Ubisoft open world structure was comparably fresh and acceptable.
So what's different in this re-release? Well, it's graphically a bit of a step up from the PS3 version, and it certainly runs more smoothly. Where the last gen original struggled to maintain 30 frames per second, the PS4 port seems to be far more consistent. This isn't a remarkable remaster by any stretch, but it is nice to have the game running better, and visually it holds up surprisingly well.
The main problem we've faced is in control. Aiming your weapon in Far Cry 3: Classic Edition feels more difficult than it should, and that's down to an oversized dead zone on the analog sticks, which makes it hard to line up precise shots. Hopefully this is an issue that can be ironed out with a patch, because while it doesn't break the game, it makes the moment to moment gameplay less enjoyable.
This is a very straightforward port of Far Cry 3, a game loved and loathed in equal measure. The Classic Edition is a great way for newcomers to experience one of the best games in the series, despite some clunky controls. Many people will have made up their mind about Jason's journey years ago, but on its own merit, this is a competent re-release of a fun, if a little dated, open world shooter.