"The game is stupid," Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon creative director Dean Evans proudly proclaimed during a recent press event — not foolish pride, but pride in foolishness. Ubisoft has done great and terrible things with the game engine, transforming it into a nightmare world, where wild boars roam the purple plains, backs covered with neon graffiti.
Blood Dragon's story unfolds through a series of 2D cutscenes that wouldn't be out-of-place in an NES-era adventure. And when those scenes end, it's into a day-glo nightmare from the early days of MTV.
Far Cry 3 is an open-world shooter through and through. The setup is simple: You're set loose on a massive island and tasked with gradually conquering it, one dead pirate/tiger/shark at a time. Here's a gun. Have fun.
There's a story you can play through, but it's in the balance between the "story parts" and the "non-story parts" that Far Cry 3 finds success. The story parts are a long series of mostly linear, welcomely varied adventures Jason undertakes in service of this rescue/revenge plot. The non-story parts are the emergent action that happens all over the island between missions. As with many of the best open-world games, the story parts are fun, but the non-story parts are what make Far Cry 3 special.
Like a rollercoaster, 2011 was full of transient highs and enduring lows -- mostly the latter for PC gamers. The year began with a promising lineup, but title after title fell flat. Determined to redeem themselves, developers have readied yet another tantalizing roster.
In fact, many of last year's most anticipated titles have spilled over into 2012, including Diablo III, Guild Wars 2, Mass Effect 3 and Max Payne 3. As usual, we've assembled a list of the hottest PC games expected to hit shelves over the next 12 months.