"Far Cry 3" begins nicely enough, with a group of friends enjoying a vacation in a tropical paradise. One skydiving trip later, and they find themselves on a descent into madness, embodied primarily by main character Jason Brody. Jason takes an arc from spoiled rich kid to warrior as he struggles to free his friends and brothers from the clutches of pirates led by a man named Vaas, one of the more memorable villains in games this year. The gameplay is varied, ranging from full blown combat to more stealthier sections. As Jason explores the island and completes tasks, he can level up along 3 different skill trees, making him more capable to survive on Rook Island against not only pirates but the local wildlife as well. Hunting is important, as you need to collect both animal hides and plants to craft items to aid you in your quest. Along the way you meet assorted characters who will help or hurt you, some nearly as insane as Vaas. There are plenty of side missions to do in addition to the main story, which can take you around 20 hours to complete. Doing everything can add an additional 20 hours or so to the game, and there are two endings, adding a bit of replay value. Controls are smooth, the graphics bright and well detailed, and the voice acting is among the best in gaming for 2012. As terrific as the game is, it's not without a few flaws. Load times are long, especially if you die. Some enemies and animals are bullet sponges (especially the predators like tigers and bears), and healing animations can drag on too long, leading to a few cheap deaths (though, on the plus side, this is a bit more realistic and does add a bit of tension to combat). The flaws don't detract from the overall experience, however, and the game is often fun to play. Between the varied wildlife, missions, and vehicles to operate, this is one of the best open world shooters to come out this year. Well worth playing.