Video Games

Bullet Points: Far Cry 3 (Outposts Edition)

Apart from the animals, the enemy outposts are the best part of Far Cry 3. Handily, the animals sometimes play a part at the outposts as well.

Unlike the security checkpoints in Far Cry 2, the outposts in FC3 are generally big, well staffed, and once captured, don’t repopulate with jerks. (On the other hand, I just cleared the final outpost the other night, and I’m a little sad — I sorta wish there was an option to auto-repopulate them). FC3′s outposts are also way more fun to assault than FC2′s — there are a lot of options for causing havoc.

What follows is my bullet points list of what makes the outposts so much fun. I don’t think it contains spoilers, per se, but I did enjoy discovering the various aspects of the outposts myself as I played, so if you haven’t played FC3 yet, and want to go in completely cold, you might want to skip this.

  • Outposts can be seen from miles away.

They’re marked on the map with red flags, but you can also spot them from a great distance: just look for a telltale column of black smoke. The smoke is a pretty awesome touch: the map in FC3 is massive and cumbersome and can’t be used without pausing the game (unlike Far Cry 2′s fantastic in-game handheld map) so being able to spot an outpost from a mile away without having to consult the map every few seconds is a time-saver. Thanks, video game!

That’s a long walk, but worth the fun that results.

  • You can scout them with your camera.

Looking at enemies through your camera tags them with an icon, depending on what kind of enemy they are (see the screenshot at the top of this post). General goons get a little skull and crossbones, snipers/rocketeers get crosshairs, dudes who will run right at you get a lightning bolt.

(I think it might be more fun if the game let you tag them yourself: “That guy is on a perch and he might he holding a rifle; I’ll tag him as a sniper.”)

Once an enemy is tagged, you can see their icon no matter where they are. Maybe this is a bit too easy, but I like it.

This bear is probably the first and final step to capturing this outpost.

  • Some outposts have penned animals. Penned animals can be freed. Freed animals are awesome.

Sometimes the goons will have a captured animal inside a wooden cage, and you can shoot the cage open from cover. The escaping animal will cause a distraction, or maybe a death or two, if it’s a dog or a giant bird. If it’s something like a bear, your work is pretty much done: the bear will kill the shit out of everybody and capture the camp while you sit somewhere safe and watch. Thanks, bear! You’re the best. Also, I have to kill you now, because I want to loot the place.

Tigers are also grrrrreat for completely wiping out enemies.

  • The guards can call for reinforcements by triggering alarms. If you let them. Don’t let them.

Alarms look like a telephone pole with an electronic horn on top. They’re important: alarms will be used by goons to call in reinforcements unless you disable them, and the goons will try to sound the alarm the instant they know they’re under attack. Reinforcements aren’t a joke, either. It’s not like a couple guys show up in a jeep. There’s a big swarm of goons who show up: in vehicles, in boats, on foot. I’m not saying it’s not fun, but the fight can quickly get out of hand when multiple squads arrive.

Alarms have a control panel near the base of the pole, which can be disabled in a few ways. If you sneak into the outpost, you can disable them– all of them– just by manually turning off a single panel. If you’re not confident you can stealth in, it can get tricky: there’s usually more than one alarm pole, and there’s often not a clear shot on all of the panels from the same location, so circling around the camp for a bit is essential to find a good sniping spot where you can hit both panels. If there’s anyone standing nearby, though, they’ll notice the shot, even if you have a silenced rifle.

  • You can completely stealth-kill the whole outpost, but I tend not to.

You can stealth-stab dudes pretty effectively, especially since you can throw rocks to distract them and get them to turn their backs. Working your way through an entire outpost, offing dudes quietly, isn’t without its charms. Thing is, I’m coming to FC3 straight off of Dishonored, and, I dunno, I kinda had my fill of lurking around stabbing dudes in the neck, I guess. I did one or two outposts by skulking around and stabbing, and it was satisfying, but with all the guns and toys in the game, I’d rather have some big loud messy fights.

  • Proximity mines are great, unless no one steps on them.

If I do decide to sneak into camp to disable the alarm, rather than shoot the panels from a distance, I also make sure to drop a proximity mine next to the alarm panel. Even if the alarm is disabled, someone will probably try to ring it once your attack begins. Now they have a little present waiting for them. While you’re scurrying around during the firefight, there’s nothing more satisfying than hearing the boom of someone stepping on the mine you planted, and knowing there’s one less guy to face.

If I can get away with it, I sometimes plant additional mines in likely spots for foot traffic. Next to a vehicle is a good spot: if you’re sniping from a distance (I often am), someone may decide to jump into a Jeep and come after you: the mine will blow when they get close to the vehicle. A gap in the fencing is also a good spot to lay a trap for anyone who decides to rush out after you.

The only problem is, sometimes no one steps on your mines. This isn’t a problem for you specifically: they won’t go off if you step on them. But once you’ve captured the outpost, your allies will immediately show up, often in a speeding vehicle, and start walking around talking to themselves. If you have a mine or two on the road, it will blow up their car. If you have some scattered around the camp, they might walk over them. If one of your allies gets blown up, any others will blame you, and you’ll have to retake the camp all over again, this time from your friends. Which, admittedly, can be kind of fun. Still, I generally try to avoid harming my comrades, so after I win the outpost I have to rush around collecting all my mines before they get stepped on by my homies.

  • Outposts are often filled with explodey things already.

Some outposts are essentially explosions waiting to happen, littered with gas canisters, propane tanks, or standard-issue exploding barrels. At the very least, they’re a great distraction, and will draw out enemies who are inside of buildings. At best, they’ll take some bad guys with them when they explode. It can also be fun to drop some C4 near them while you’re skulking around, and detonate them remotely from a safe distance.

He is neither stopping, nor dropping, nor rolling.

  • Molotov dudes are fun/scary

There are these dudes who walk around with a bunch of Molotov cocktails strapped to their bodies. Shooting them will, as you might expect, cause them to burst into flame, which causes things around them to burst into flame, which can be quite useful. What you might not expect is that, while they are on fire, they are not quite done with you yet. They will run right at you, setting everything on fire in their path, which can be a rude awakening if you have a nice little sniping spot you’re fond of.

  • Unpredictable things happen.

It’s completely satisfying when things go according to plan. I handle the alarms, my mines get stepped on, I drop the snipers before they spot me, an animal thins the enemy herd, a fire I’ve started forces goons out of cover, or I take down everyone silently. But it’s also fun everything goes wrong.

Once I was moving into position when a boar attacked me and I freaked out, firing a million noisy bullets that alerted the outpost to my presence. A few times, an enemy patrol drove up just when I was getting started, giving me extra enemies from I hadn’t prepared for on a flank I hadn’t mined. Once, I was driving toward an outpost and didn’t realize it was located at the bottom of a cliff: I couldn’t brake in time so I had to jump from my vehicle, which plunged down into the outpost, more or less announcing my arrival (killed a couple dudes, but they were replaced with reinforcements). And, once I was sneaking around planting C4, got spotted, and ran out, frantically detonating the C4 to cover my escape, only I’d laid the C4 along the route I was escaping with and blew up my own stupid self.

  • This dog killed a dude and then teabagged him.

Good boy.

Not a standard feature during an outpost fight, but it happened.

 

Comments

  1. The enemy camps really are the games icing. I would happily live in the game full time if the camps repopulated. I think my favourite encounter came from an alarm that rang out far too long. It was only late game that I discovered alarms can attract helicopters, and a well timed grenade can fill the role of a missing rocket launcher.

    The smoke columns really do make up for the map downgrade. I found myself banning the map screen and using the smoke or radio towers as my waypoint, even when sidetracked I knew the view from a hill could reset my path. I also banned syringes, as they require more game pausing, but mostly because the amazing bone breaking animations only show when your out of health sticks. And I’m still not tired of the returning bullet bite from far cry 2.

  2. Good Mr. Livingston, what is the worst thing about Far Cry 3? I want to buy the delicious game but you keep talking about it’s shortcomings and I don’t want to spend £30 if it’s a terrible dealbreaker. Is the game fun regardless of what you might soon be mentioning?

    • Christopher says:

      I’ll get to that in detail tonight, but essentially: there’s no quicksave. There’s no multiple slots to save games in separately: every time you save, you’re saving over your last save, which is annoying. Loading up your save doesn’t start you off where you saved it, but instead starts you at the nearest safehouse, which can be confusing. If you’re doing a main objective, you can’t manually save AT ALL, it only uses checkpoint saving, which is spotty.

      And the game’s menus are garbage, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but is, since you have to use the menu constantly for saving and crafting and stuff. The on-screen notifications are constant and annoying: your main objective is constantly being flashed on the screen in a giant box, even if you’re doing some exploring and even if you’re currently doing your main objective. Combined, they’re major irritations, though the longer you play, they either become less of a factor or you just get used to them.

  3. One time I sniped the passenger-pirate out of a vehicle driving away from me, and the driver tried to turn around so hard that he flipped his Jeep and killed himself. Another time I was slowly walking down a cliff only to hear a giant crash off to one side. I looked over and it was a Jeep that had tried following me off the cliff(even though it hadn’t spotted me), killing both occupants.
    Sometimes the .50cal sniper rifle you get will not kill a bear in one hit. Two allies found that out the hard way when I tried to save them.

  4. All of this stuff … Is awesome information.
    The thing that gets to me is the multiplayer. I can sometimes find CO OP to be a tad more fun than versus.

    Some of the game’s pre-made maps are filled with options. A lot of players crouch in their stealthy positions and move around corners to pick off rushers. They end up staying there and waiting for that person to come back for revenge bringing along his allies.. Sometimes the enemy i’m shooting, can take an entire clip of my ammo, before another comes up and kills me while reloading. You run out of ammo fairly quick while online, and this leads you to pick up a fallen player’s gun.

    The custom maps that are made by the community of Far Cry 3 is what’s best in my opinion. Most aren’t set up as an island but more of a complex building or city. These maps allow you to spot players easily, which then turns to an “who has better aim” situation.

  5. phenom_x8 says:

    Nice writes up mr livingstone. The best 2012 game I’ve ever played. No matter how great dishonored and any other contender, Far Cry 3 is the only game give me a very chill feelings like when I was playing Prince Of Persia for the first time in my Junior High School PC (I know it seems disconnected, but I’m sure I remember how it feels back then).

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  1. [...] the tower so you respawn right at the base. That’s nice. Also, if you’re approaching an enemy outpost, it saves for you and respawns you where you were approaching from. These are handy. The rest is [...]