Far Cry 3 is so well done that just describing it requires a rich list of comparisons.
Take some Grand Theft Auto.
Add some Skyrim.
Toss in great first-person shooter gunplay and explosives.
Never miss a local story.
There you have it. That's Far Cry 3, the latest in the shooting series.
You'll be hooked the moment you start playing as you realize just how open and beautiful the world is around you.
It's hard to stop playing the game, yet it's also easy to get in a 20- or 30-minute session and accomplish something. It's not like a complex role-playing game that requires hours on end to do anything.
As you go about rescuing friends from pirates, you gain experience that lets you upgrade your skills. Completing objectives also rewards you with money that can be used to buy better gear and weapons.
The world is so open, though, that you can spend hours doing nothing except killing pirates if you like. You also can pass your time hunting for wild animals with a bow. Yes, that's right. You can just go hunt tigers and bears.
The only downside to the game is there's nothing left to do once the main story line ends and the island is cleared of pirates. Unlike other titles, you can't do an enhanced game in which you retain all your weapons and upgrades. And you don't want to start over because it'll take too long to get upgraded again.
It would be good to have a reboot button or something similar after the story ends that would refill the pirate bases with enemies and perhaps add some more side missions.
The PC version also includes the ridiculous Uplay digital distribution application that acts as some kind of game-launcher but really just crashes a lot and is a nagging and annoying app.
But those are minor quibbles compared to the experience you'll have when playing.
So go pick it up now.
Video game review
'Far Cry 3'
About: The latest installment in the first-person shooter series.
Players: Single, multiplayer
Pros: The amazing visuals and audio complement a rich open world full of fun gameplay options.
Cons: Once the story ends, there's nothing left to do. The PC version requires Ubisoft's Uplay digitial distribution program, which is useless.
Availability and price: $59.99 on Xbox 360 and PS3, $49.99 on PC
ESRB rating: M
Manifesto's rating: 9.6/10 (PC)
Metacritic rating: 8.8/10 (PC)