Far Cry 3: Benchmarks and Review

The Graphics

If you've been itching for a game to showcase a new video card, or to rub in the faces of your friends, with their 2005-2006 Xbox 360s and PS3s, Far Cry 3 is that game. It eschews the space-gray corridors or military battlefields of other franchises for the lush tropical environments the Far Cry series is famous for, and the game absolutely shines. After years of cooling our heels as publishers delivered console titles for DirectX 9-era hardware, the game is a welcome breath of fresh air.

We've put together a comprehensive look at the game, from performance benchmarks to how it plays and whether or not it's worth your gaming dollar.

Far Cry 3 is an enormous, open-world game. Most reviews have focused on the graphics, and for good reason -- this game looks stunning. Foliage is beautifully rendered, the island environments are gorgeous, and the character modeling is some of the best we've ever seen.

The graphics artists that worked on Far Cry 3 outdid themselves. Even simple scenes (the screenshot below is from a drug-induced hallucination) are gorgeous. Stark, nearly monochromatic lighting is combined with a few bits of color and great texturing to create a memorable shot with minimal components.

The game, however, is absolutely capable of more. Feast your eyes.


There are, however, some issues with certain settings. The game offers three types of ambient occlusion -- SSAO, HBAO, and HDAO. Only one of these -- HDAO -- actually works properly. The other two produce extremely odd visual effects. We confirmed the bug on both GeForce and Radeon GPUs; the two brands handle the three settings the same way:

SSAO, HDAO, and HBAO shown from left to right. Only the middle image is rendered properly

SSAO gives the game a cell-shaded appearance, while HBAO is imprecise and overshadowed. The only way to turn ambient occlusion off is to edit the game's XML configuration file, and the setting will return to "On" if you change any of the other graphics options on the page.

Every now and then, an odd low-resolution texture pops up.

It's like Far Cry 1's ground textures hopped a bus to Far Cry 3. It's odd to see such a crappy texture popping out of otherwise beautiful landscape, but we suspect this is something that will be addressed in a future patch.

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