Surprisingly, I spent most of my time at PAX East 2012 at the Far Cry 3 section. Every year, there’s one floor exhibit that “gets it right”. In 2011, it was THQ booth and Red Faction Armageddon. They had four or five stations setup, with exactly 60 seconds of play time with a goal of getting the highest score possible. The player with the highest score at the end of the day, won an iPad. The “60 seconds” aspect was key because it kept the line moving and gamers did not have to wait long to try the game. Plus it was addicting! In 2010, the folks over at EA (look at that…something positive about EA!) and Skate 3 had a demo called “Wreck Yourself”; again, you have 60 seconds break as many bones in your body as possible, and if you get the highest score, you win some prize that I can’t remember.
This year, Ubisoft had 16 stations setup where gamers could play a domination styled map, 8v8, for 10 minutes! The player with the highest score on the winning team, got to play in a tournament at the end of the day to play for a spot in an upcoming tournament and win some prizes. Getting 16 players in and out was seamless. The maximum amount of time you would be waiting is 20 minutes, which would put 32 people in front of you and the 10 minute play time was well worth the wait-to-play ratio. Compare this to the 2 hour wait to play Max Payne 3 or the 2 hour wait to watch an “exclusive trailer” to Assassins Creed 3 was a complete waste of time. At the Far Cry 3 booth they actually give you a place to sit down too; an extra bonus!
Far Cry 3 multiplayer demo (which was a Pre Alpha Build) was fun. The domination mode separates players into two teams, the Pirates and Rebels, and they fight against controlling certain points on the map. The fact that you get to play against your fellow gamers was a treat and the fact that you are actually playing for a reward makes it competitive. There are seven classes to choose from, all having different advantages and disadvantages as well as different weapon config. Far Cry 3 was running on PC, but we were given Xbox 360 controller to play- so aiming wasn’t as accurate as it will be with a mouse and keyboard. The gamplay was pretty standard run and gun- like you would find in any Battlefield or Call of Duty multiplayer map. The map we played only had three capture points so it kept the play area small and action packed. Like any multiplayer mode in today’s gaming market, there is also a leveling system built in for each class giving different bonuses the higher you climb.
Ubisoft also built a revive system into the multiplayer modes where if a player dies, they have the option of pro-longing their incapacitated state by button mashing. Keeping yourself alive may be beneficial if your teammates are close to revive you and you’re trying to lock down a capture point. But if you’re fighting alone, it may be a better idea to choose death and respawn somewhere different on the map. Ubisoft also took a page out of the Call of Duty franchise and built in a team point system- the more points you acquire like reviving a teammate or capturing an objective, the more you can spend on air strikes and perks for your teammates. Overall this appears to be a solid multiplayer effort built into the attractive new storyline in the Far Cry series.
To further promote Far Cry 3, Ubisoft hired a tattoo artist and hair dressers that were giving out free tribal themed tattoos from the game and free Mohawks in exchange for a copy of Far Cry 3 (to the first 100 volunteers). Maybe if this was Half-Life 3 or Diablo III I’d have considered it…