The blast from a nearby grenade hits me like a shockwave. From behind the smoke a group of four rebels emerge and open fire on an ammo depot I'm set on defending. Two of the invaders are felled in a hail of shots from my submachine gun. Two other foes scatter and leave me standing alone. The area is mine, and mine alone.
I hole up, waiting for a flanking attack -- but nothing happens. Seconds later I hear a crack in the air. A blip registers on my radar. Then another crack and I fall to my feet, dead.
What seems fairly standard turns into something new and interesting. Like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare before it, Far Cry 3 reveals lethal enemy positions via a kill cam. But unlike other titles, Far Cry 3's system may be the best that I've ever seen at detailing critical strategic information to downed players.
Pulling back from its first-person perspective, a ghostly image appears on the screen, similar in style to Splinter Cell: Conviction's 'last known position' character outline. This third-person perspective details exactly where players are located before succumbing to enemy fire. But the data doesn't end there. The camera shifts up into the air as lines form on the screen, revealing the direction of enemy bullets. Based on the lines on screen, two shots were fired in my direction -- the first audible crack missed terribly, but the second was a perfect headshot.
Panning along the gunshot trail, the camera finds its way to an enemy sniper hiding in tall grass --- outlined in red to reveal his location during my demise. The effect is simple, but does a great job of dissecting gunfights. As more elements are involved in fights -- namely groups of battling foes -- the information becomes exponentially more diverse.
Getting killed in the middle of a large battle shows a progression of the slaughter. You don't just see where the killing shot came from, you're treated to outlines that showcase the last landed bullets; like a storybook of your recent, horrific death.
Using this historical data, a wealth of information about your foes are given. You can see how they've reacted to firefights. Did they duck or strafe as you engaged? You can see how accurate their shots were. Did they aim for the head or land at center mass? This translates into information that you, in future situations, can utilize against those enemies.
One of my adversaries fired high during every engagement, which made crouching to battle against his wildfire a good strategy when we came face-to-face in future scenarios. It's the little things you can pick up on -- how players act and react -- that make it such an interesting and crucial tool. (See Far Cry 3's multiplayer mode in action in the video above.)
I feel like, in many cases, kill cams in other games have become more of a cinematic tool than a truly useful one. Far Cry 3 looks to change that.
Far Cry 3's multiplayer experience, otherwise, felt fairly standard. The map was made up of three capture points throughout a jungle complex. Players had access to a number of preset classes, all sporting specific primary and secondary weapons with achievable abilities for gaining points (via kills, capturing points and more) throughout the match.
Ubisoft's test now is to polish Far Cry 3 in time for its 2012 launch on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Weapons need balance tweaks, graphics are rough around the edges, and the destructibility left over from battle (like fire burning through the land in Far Cry 2) seems to be gone. If the developer can keep the overall experience as refreshing as the kill cam they've included in multiplayer, Far Cry 3 could be a worthy successor to a fantastic sequel.