Jason Brody may be the star of Far Cry 3’s tale — a tale that wobbles about atop a tightrope between offence and offensive — but in its PC release, at least, the modding scene and the modders powering it are this game’s true heroes. From subduing the hyperactive UI to altering the ballistics system of every weapon available on the Rook Islands, more than Far Cry 2 before it there’s a mod for most every quirk or annoyance Far Cry 3’s mass-appeal heart may have introduced.
And while no number of modders – no matter how ingenious – can alleviate the woes of Brody, his overly-talkative mouth and the rashness of his tale, today we’ll be looking at those that ensure the time in between all of the ruckus – those moments of planning, silence, and execution – are at their best.
Nothing announces Far Cry 3’s departure from Africa louder than its UI – an antithesis to Far Cry 2’s map-in-hand and the joys of self-governance – instead littered with icons, pop ups and a constant reminder that “Hey…uhm…you might want to go do that story quest maybe sometime soon!…?”.
What makes it more surprising is that the Rook Islands, detached from the obtrusiveness of its overlay, communicate much of what its developer-controlled UI is repeatedly ramming in your face, only much more eloquently than text ever could. Plants are colour-coded, smoke and fires announce enemy encampments and watchtowers rise up on the horizon like beacons tempting an inquisitive traveller. Such a shame, then, that few will ever see just how smart this island can be.
In that case, there are a multitude of ways to deal with this obstruction between you and the Rook Islands. While FC3’s latest patch allows control over much of its UI, elements do still remain.
If the minimap is all you want rid of, then R. Sporkington’s Map Removal does just that.
Alternatively, if you’d still like to use the minimap, but find its colourful overabundance of information too overbearing, then tom.solo’s Compass works wonders, transforming the map into a minimalist compass, with new, understated icons for every map object in the game.
Meanwhile, Khenaz’s Better Sights overhauls weapon sights, making some subtle, yet appreciated, alterations: reducing the glow/glare of the pre-existing sights to help aim and visibility.
Haoose’s Hardcore Mod may have the largest impact of the lot, offering multiple versions of a mod that removes various icons – such as enemy class type, creature type and notifications – from the game world, the mini map, the overworld map or all three.
Not only does this mean you can use your camera without inadvertently marking enemies, but it also greatly increases the challenge and believability of encounters, tipping the balance back towards Far Cry 2’s more fearful firefights when you were never quite sure where an enemy was or what he was doing.
Finally, for those who miss the ability to holster weapons and wander the Rook Islands without a Flamethrower obscuring the view, tom.solo’s Enhance to Weapon Holster means you can take in its sights weapon-free. It isn’t an ideal implementation – there isn’t a single button to push, but rather actions that leave your weapon holstered – but without any other alternative it’s a fantastic addition for those who find more interest in an open world than mowing down flaura and fauna 24/7.
If nothing else, when a combat awakes – unannounced – from amongst the fronds and trees of the Rook Islands’ forests, there’s no mistaking Far Cry 3 for anything other than a Far Cry game: a more playful execution on the series’ love of unplanned chaos.
Modders may not have been able to work Malaria back into the fold, or weapon jamming for that matter – at least not yet – but while the respawning guards of Far Cry 2 are long gone, the slow decay of the liveliness of the island given their absence is a noticeable, and to some a negative, one.
To that end, Chorizosss’s Neverland V2 is Far Cry 3’s most ambitious mod to date. With it enabled, outposts are no longer taken over automatically once they’re cleared, instead you’re presented with the option of either taking the camp or not. Yes, and all plays out as it would in vanilla Far Cry 3. Choose not to take the camp, though, and the real magic happens.
Friendly forces will still roll in to occupy the camp, but Pirate patrols will remain at the same level they were before the camp was taken, ensuring that feeling of threat and chaos that is Far Cry at its core is kept alive. Not only that, but when you quit the game and load your save, those camps you cleared but didn’t take will be occupied again.
While it may not be to everyone’s taste – namely those that congratulated FC3 on its move away from the respawning checkpoints of Africa – for those who thrive on the series’ claustrophobia and fear, it’s the mod of this ever-increasing collection.
That doesn’t mean that those of you already infatuated with the way the Rook Islands treats its outposts need to suffer. For one, Chorizosss’s other mod – Hereticus Weapons Mod – deals with the other big alteration Far Cry 3 makes to the weapons system, tackling the Watchtowers and their weapon-based rewards.
Hereticus Weapons Mod comes in three variations – all three unlocking all weapons from the beginning – offering different ways of obtaining them. From a closer-to-vanilla experience where you need to purchase them yourself, or unlock them for free by climbing Watchtowers like the vanilla game, through to having to climb the game’s final Watchtower or simply disabling the watchtower unlock-for-free system altogether. As an extra bonus, the mod also includes the Better Sights additions, as well as enabling attachments for all weapons.
On the topic of attachments, there’s Leechmonger’s Attachment Mod, which enables extra attachment slots for weapons, as well as giving more attachment options to specific weapons, perfect for those looking to go toe-to-toe with pirates and crocodiles alike on their own terms.
Finally, there are a number of mods that tackle the weapon ballistic/behaviour of Far Cry 3’s expansive loadout. More than most, these mods all come down to personal preference, though it’s worth checking out the two major ones of note: PanzerJager1943’s Realism Mod, and fnx’s Weapon Ballistics mod. Both mess around with things like weapon damage, reload speeds, magazine sizes and even effective distances. It’s worth checking the release notes and comparing the two to see just how hardcore you’d like to go, lest you start up Far Cry 3 and question if you haven’t started ARMA II by accident.
Now here’s the quandary – there’s a limit to the number of mods you can use at once. Namely, you can only use one. You wanted to use all of them? Well, it’s your lucky day, as this is where Compilations come into play – modders who have combined a bunch of mods into one package – meaning all of those changes work together. Unlike a game like Oblivion or Skyrim ,where compilation packs are shunned in favour of finer control over single elements, compilations really are the preferred method of getting multiple changes working at once. It’s just a matter of choosing one that includes the mods you like, in a variation you enjoy. We’ve highlighted three of the more far-reaching, game-changing ones below.
Swartz Mod Compilation:
Swartz’s Mod Compilation is likely the less inclusive of the two big packs, with an eye towards detail and more specific changes, like player sprint speed and weapon firing rates. Still, it includes most of the more notable mods mentioned above – from Neverland V2 to the weapons attachment/unlock mods – and will likely please more people with its less intrusive, appealing inclusions.
30day Compilation Pack V2
30day Compilation Pack is the furthest-reaching of the two, including the go-to additions like Neverland V2 and a modified version of Leechmonger’s attachment mod, while also including options for tom.solo’s Compass mod and a “use if you dare” HD texture pack that’s a little less all-encompassing than the name sounds.
By being so inclusive, 30day is likely to include more additions that irk some: the fog-of-war-less map or maybe the unlocked second island, but for every minor niggle there’s another inclusion that cements its spot as the go-to for compilations – its re-skinned, red-no-more pirates to name just one – especially for anyone looking for an excuse for a second playthrough. It’s essential.
Compilations don’t always have to be all-encompassing, and for those of you who have no bones to pick with the moment-to-moment chaos of Far Cry 3 will find something to appreciate about Beverhund’s small collection of UI mods. Not only does it include Sporkington’s map removal, but it also adds the Hardcore Mod and Better Sights. A nice collection for those looking for a quick, all-in-one UI fix.
A Few Notes on Installation:
Unless otherwise stated as a part of the mod’s description/installation instructions, all mods are simply copied into their respective folders in the base Far Cry 3 directory – “Ubisoft/Far Cry 3” – overwriting the files that already exist there. Almost all mods are made up of four files – patch.dat, patch.fat, FC3.dll and FC3_d3d11.dll – the dat and fat files being placed within the data_win32 folder, and the .dlls going in the bin folder. As always, check the mod installation instructions.
An important thing to take note of, though, is that only one mod can be used at any one time. While some of these alterations are simple HEX edits of files – meaning you could further customise mods to add other mod effects, by downloading a tool like HxD Edit and editing those files yourself – as every mod is running a modified version of those original four files, more than one can’t run at once. Which is why Compilations are so useful.
Also, as ever, make a backup of the files you’re replacing. You don’t want to have to reinstall the entirety of Far Cry 3 to replace four measly files.
Finally, while links are current, it’s always a good idea to check for newer versions of the mods listed, as newer patches and older mods don’t usually mix well.
Oh, and did I mention make a backup!?