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Far Cry 3 gameplay trailer - Dissected

We nail down the Pacifics of the latest footage...

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The next slice of gameplay begins with a wounded Jason driving away from the latest crime scene. (Fortunately, his jeep seems more stable than Far Cry 2's irritating crapboxes - not once does he have to get out and crank it back to health.) It's unclear where this scene fits in chronologically relative to the cargo ship level, but it's not unreasonable to think that it could immediately follow it.

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Willis advises him to visit a quack named Dr Earnhardt, who - surprise! - turns out to be somewhat of an unsavoury character. He provides what we could charitably call 'herbal remedies', which goes some way to explaining why he's completely off his tits when we first speak to him. His formulas do seem to be rather hit and miss. "Don't try the yellow ones", he advises. "They'll kill you".

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Nonetheless, we need his help and he needs ours, so we're shipped off to a nearby cave to collect for him a very special kind of mushroom. Not many enemies here (read: none), but who needs those jerks anyway? The design philosophy behind Far Cry 3's island geometry was that it should be so much fun to navigate that the game would hold water, even if there wasn't a single gun to fire in the entire thing,

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At first, our spelunking expedition seems to be going well - the occasional tumble into a ravine aside. But then things take an unexpected turn. Our hands start steaming and the cave walls begin glowing vivid purples and yellows, as if they'd suddenly remembered they were on rental from Shivering Isles. Jason blinks, and he's back in Earnhardt's office.

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Weird, huh? But weirder still, his mushroom collection is floating around in mid-air and the windows are spontaneously shattering and flinging their pointy remains into Jason's face. Now it becomes clear what's going on - our hero is, as they say, 'tripping balls'.

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Madness is one of the central concepts in Far Cry 3 - the entire story is said to concentrate on Jason's gradual descent into insanity, which is nice. Certainly, it looks like it's going to be more focused than Far Cry 2's fragmented narrative. Anyway, Jason pulls it together long enough to realise that shards of glass aren't actually flying into his face. The stinging sensation he can feel is actually caused by a cloud of bats clipping his ears as they swoop past him. Much better?

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With the cave mushrooms acquired, a patched-up Jason feels up to having another crack at Vaas' army, this time aboard a fully-functioning ship. The gunplay looks just as slick as anything Call of Duty has served up, but we've only had the chance to see it operate in carefully-managed close quarters situations thus far. It remains to be seen how well it will translate to an open world environment.

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The footage ends with the unwelcome discovery of a bomb, which promptly goes off right in Jason's bat-scarred face. Good News: He survives the explosion and manages to bust his way out of the sinking ship. Bad News: the blood of a thousand dead grunts has attracted the attentions of a whopping great shark overhead. And with that, the trailer fades to black.

Although Ubisoft are still keeping their cards close to their chest in many respects, this trailer offers subtle indications that Far Cry 3 could become one of the most compelling and imaginative shooters of this generation. The idea is that you'll have the space and time to plan your strategy carefully before each mission, but in-between random hallucinations and a hostile ecosystem, it's fair to say that your carefully laid plans won't often follow the script. Welcome to paradise, indeed.

For posterity, here's the trailer once more in full. What can YOU spot?

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