Far-Cry 2 remains the most immersive game I’ve ever played. The entire game was constructed to feel as real as possible: maps that you had to look at without pausing, rusty guns that jammed at the worst possible moments, and a huge game world completely bereft of useful fast travel. These elements didn’t necessarily make the game more “fun,” but they combined to engage me in the gameplay, to create real tension and a sense of involvement. All games require some suspension of disbelief, but the level of detail in Far-Cry 2 made its flaws – poor voice acting, endlessly respawning enemy camps – hard to forgive.
Far-Cry 3 abandons most of the attempts at realism of its predecessor to construct a game that is easier to play. It’s undeniably a good (great?) game, but the inclusion of convenient fast travel, or sub-missions where you race to deliver medicine to a camp on time…only to watch them amble around, disinterested, after this desperately-needed shipment arrives. It sacrifices immersion for gameplay. For the most part, this is fine: hunting a boar, or carefully planning your attack on a secluded outpost, remains uniquely thrilling. But sometimes I just wish that my gun would jam.