Far Cry 3 features a varied and highly enjoyable arsenal—you'll use all the first-person shooter staples, from silenced sniper rifles to grenade launchers to my favorite, the silent Rambo bow. But as cool as these deadly tools are, the way the game describes them all is just as cool.

Right off the bat, you get a "Handbook" menu that gives you background information on the characters and locations in the game, as well as the flora and fauna of the Rook Islands, and each of the weapons you'll be using to fight your way through them. In a smart move, Far Cry 3 takes a note from Assassins Creed and keeps the entire handbook in the fiction of the game.


Assassin's Creed III's Animus notes were written by the cheeky Brit Shaun, and each one drips with his dry humor, biases, snarky asides and human insight. Similarly, Far Cry 3's handbook was written by a character in the game, though at first it's something of a mystery:

His descriptions of the game's weapons are funny, colorful, and informative.

(Do I want to know what "Bulgarian Beet Thigh" is?)

(Ha! Arizona zinger!)

(Do I detect an FPS Russia shout-out?)

(Throughout the handbook, you will get a distinct feel for the author's feelings about his ex-wife.)

(I enjoyed this one.)

(The fact that this gun is basically a more-powerful AK47 was actually very interesting. I've been using these puppies in video games for ages, and never knew that.)

They paint a picture of an island that has long acted as a waypoint for the drug smugglers and weapons dealers of the world, where surplus guns and bombs wind up falling off the truck to create a unique arms ecosystem. They're often crude, racist, and sexist (particularly towards the writer's ex-wife), but it's all presented in a way that's in character for the guy talking.


A ton of writing went into the handbook; in addition to weapons it also has an entry for every vehicle:


and animal in the game:

And they're all pretty funny. It's another example of how Far Cry 3 goes above and beyond to fill every nook and cranny with fun stuff to see and do. I love it when games do this kind of thing—The Witcher 2 also had its questlog written by the in-game character Dandelion, which made it actually fun to read through the lore catalogues and story recaps.

You can read my full review of Far Cry 3 here.