It’s getting a full release in a few weeks’ time but for owners of the Far Cry 5 season pass, Far Cry 3 Classic Edition is available for download right now – and to say it’s garnering mixed reports is something of an understatement. On the one hand, it delivers a night and day improvement in every regard compared to the original Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 console releases, but on the other, the reality is that it’s essentially a straight port of the existing PC game. And perhaps there’s a reason why this is dubbed the Classic Edition as opposed to, say, Far Cry 3 Remastered – because as far as I can see, the only actual changes made to the core content seems to be restricted to adding the work ‘classic’ to the logo.
In theory at least though, a straight PC port isn’t necessarily a bad thing – for two reasons. First of all, Far Cry 3 itself as a game still holds up visually in the current-gen era and it plays extremely well. A spectacular improvement over its predecessor, it was the first Ubisoft Far Cry game that truly delivered an open world (Far Cry 2 was constructed more as a series of play areas linked by ‘corridors’), its gunplay, melee and hunting mechanics worked beautifully, and while the sandbox is there to do with as you will, the narrative thread and variety in the tasks asked of you remains compelling – even today.
Secondly, Ubisoft Montreal pushed the Dunia Engine hard with this game – too hard, perhaps. Performance was sometimes shocking poor and the wobbly frame-rate and constant screen-tearing of the last-gen console releases is the stuff of legend. And that’s despite the development team using every trick in the book to somehow downsize a vastly superior PC game onto those machines. A range of techniques was deployed to claw back resources, from slightly reduced resolutions for better memory management, lower resolution alpha effects, and plenty more.
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