Among the many things I like about the wonderful Far Cry 3, one of the most remarkable is how polished it all is. This is an ambitious, massive game, so it's all the more noteworthy that everything works so well.
Ubisoft Montreal has nailed all the big stuff, sure—combat is punchy and fluid, guns feel great, stealth is consistent and fun, and traversal feels grounded and solid. But they've also gotten so many little things right, and it's in those details that Far Cry 3 truly sets itself apart.
Of all things, the climbing encapsulates the game's polish for me. Check out the video above—you're walking along, and you'll see these vines hanging down from a cliff. Obviously, they're a subtle signpost indicating that they can be climbed. Up we go.
But where most games would have you scale the wall while a climbing sound plays, likely skating above the vines, Far Cry 3 goes the extra mile. Jason Brody's hands actually grasp the thickest vine and climb it all the way up. Check out how he flattens his hand when he reaches the top, levering himself up realistically. Then, on the way back down, he braces his legs and slides.
It's in the little things, the believable physicality of Jason's movements, that Far Cry 3 sets itself apart from most shooters. In the past, only Call of Duty games have so realistically placed you within the shoes of your protagonist. I'd argue that Far Cry 3 outdoes even Call of Duty in this respect. Comparisons notwithstanding, it's just nice to play a big-budget game that is both this open-ended and this polished, and Ubisoft's attention to detail is simply one more reason Far Cry 3 is such a resounding success.