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Sore Thumbs

12/19/2012

Sore Thumbs_farcry1‘FAR CRY 3’ (M)

****1/2

Ubisoft

Xbox 360

Jason Brody and his fellow vapid trust fund kids have parachuted into the wrong tropical paradise — one in which the locals dabble in narcotics manufacture, human trafficking, and — most recently — ransoming vapid trust fund kids. “Far Cry 3” is a hyper-violent and often hallucinogenic chronicle of Jason’s transformation from spoiled brat to ferocious warrior. Borrowing a few ideas from fellow Ubisoft franchise, “Assassin’s Creed,” the third installment of “Far Cry” presents players with a vast open world to explore. Scaling rickety radio towers yields a view of the surrounding area, adding to your map more mission objective icons, which can be tackled in any order you see fit. Pirate encampments can be dealt with in a variety of ways, including direct assaults, stealthier approaches or even the strategic release of tigers, bears and other large predators to wreak havoc while you pick off the few enemies who manage to steer clear of a mauling.

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The single-player campaign is filled with memorable characters — particularly Vaas, the psychotic leader of the local pirate operation. Your aristocratic brethren are almost too vacuous to evoke any sense of compassion, but your contempt for their upper class nature (as well as your own) will allow you to really enjoy what otherwise might have seemed an uncomfortably monstrous transformation into beast-man. Following either of the narrative’s two shocking endings, a separate co-op campaign awaits. Apart from its much more linear structure, it retains the strengths and graphical beauty of the single-player campaign. And the adversarial multiplayer features all the standard modes that gamers have come to expect. The small innovations of “Far Cry 3” won’t have it dethroning “Call of Duty,” but its compelling story and solid gameplay make it a welcome addition to the crowded first-person shooter marketplace.

 

Sore Thumbs_ratchetbox‘RATCHET AND CLANK: FULL FRONTAL ASSAULT’ (E10+)

***

Sony Computer Entertainment

PlayStation 3

Part third-person shooter, part tower defense game, “Full Frontal Assault” offers a mash-up of real-time strategy and the kind of cartoony running-and-gunning that will be instantly recognizable to Ratchet and Clank fans. The three part multiplayer bouts involve generating revenue, purchasing defenses and assaulting the rival team’s base. Unfortunately, if you screw up step 1, there’s little hope of rebounding in steps 2 and 3. However, if you’re up against an evenly matched opponent, this budget-priced “Ratchet and Clank” spinoff can be briefly diverting and sporadically entertaining.

 

Sore Thumbs_personabox‘PERSONA 4 GOLDEN’ (M)

****1/2

Atlus

PlayStation Vita

The most beloved entry in the “Shin Megami Tensei” role-playing series gets an improved and expanded port to Sony’s new handheld platform. For the uninitiated, “Persona 4” is a quirky JRPG that alternates between the trials and tribulations of high school and the trials and tribulations of battling bizarre shadow creatures within an alternate reality known as the TV World. Discovering how events in one world affect the other is half the fun. In addition to enhanced graphics and a new widescreen aspect ratio, “Persona 4 Golden” adds a new character, bringing even more content to what was already a generous 60-hour campaign. CV

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