The unhinged mentality of Far Cry 3’s cast of characters seems to have seeped out of the game into its fledgling map-making community; a glance at the fast-growing archive of custom levels will reveal floating islands, human-scale hamster pipe mazes, and a 1:1 remake of Helms Deep.
There are already hundreds of maps to sift through. So, rather than dive into the madness headfirst, take a guided tour with five of the maps I’ve enjoyed the most.
To access these maps you’ll need to find the custom map archive in the multiplayer menu and then search for them by name using the filter bar. From there, if you can’t find enough players to get a game going, you can alter the match settings to drop the minimum player to one, this at least lets you walk about and have a look at these creations.
XXM Event Horizon
I’ve changed the level’s time from night to day to make it easier to see its structure.
I appreciate a level designer who recognises their players’ wants. If you build a floating level then I will want to see what happens when I jump off it. That was the first thing I did in Unreal Tournament’s DM-Mobius and that was the first thing I did in XXM’s Event Horizon.
The bulk of the level is constructed out of wire mesh tunnels, meaning that you can always see the drop below you. At the centre is an octagonal stack which stretches up about three stories with internal ladders letting you scale its height.
The top of the tower captures the two things that make this level fun. Because all the tunnels are wire you can see all the other players, meaning you never get the sense that a firefight is going on just out of sight. Plus, you can try and get the drop on the enemy. Which leads to the second thing, the tower has four girders stretching out into the air from its rim, roughly above the tunnels below, and each of them is a diving board into potentially empty space followed by a long free fall.
Airport of Vaas
Exclusively a Firestorm level, Airport of Vaas uses the rules of the game mode to force players to fight over precious little space. The fuel dumps which the two teams are fighting over are placed within spitting distance of each other making the battle to light your enemy’s oil barrels in quick succession a real challenge. Then, should you manage it, the radio tower you need to transmit from to win the round is placed above a burnt out helicopter, holding the point puts you in an extremely exposed position.
It’s by no means a perfect effort from Frageur, however. All the action of the level takes place at one end of the level’s runway, leaving half of it entirely devoid of use. Putting a sniper tower there, or something that would allow a team to provide cover for the player trying to transmit, could make better use of the space.
By Rhyan Blacic
Blacic’s recreation of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings’ Helms Deep fortress is ridiculously impressive. Firstly the sheer size of the thing, it’s easily the grandest level I’ve come across so far; the image gets across the design of the thing but it’s not till you’re in-game and you see the walls stretch up over you that you realise the time it must have taken to build.
Which leads to the second thing, Blacic’s resourcefulness. For instance, he’s used a particular wall asset, replicating it and matching its seams to hide the volume of little objects he’s arranged to create the impression of one single construction. A very canny move and one that doesn’t cause any noticeable slow down. More than that, he’s guessed that the first thing fans of the films will do is try and follow the assault from The Two Towers and so has used destructible wooden gates to bar the major entrances, causing you to have to satisfyingly blast them apart with grenades and C4 to progress to the central hall.
It’s likely a little too large for a decent multiplayer map but it’d be easy to throw an hour or two of messing around in this recreation.
Similar to Airport of Vaas, Desert uses the Firestorm game mode to draw players into a close quarters firefight. Unlike Airport, Desert provides a wealth of cover; this makes it so advances are made in two ways, organised advances, where a team creeps from one conveniently placed crate to the next, and mad Leroy Jenkins-style dashes which cause a team to bolt forward and hit a fuel dump before the defenders can get their act together.
While Desert suffers from the same issue as Airport, in that the action takes place in only a small portion of the map, the density of cover hides this fault in a way that a strip of empty runway doesn’t.
Lucy Sky Diamonds
Looking like something off the set of Avatar, Lucy Sky Diamonds is set upon a chain of floating islands linked by rope bridges. Again, this isn’t so much a map to play with friends as simply one to explore. Whether it be the church with a congregation of posed corpses listening with rapt attention to a seemingly holographic evangelist or the multitude of temples decorated with fairy lights and a vast quantity of heroin, every building’s designed to be a tiny encapsulated madness. The fact that drug manufacturer Dr. Earnhardt’s house sits unchanged upon the island without being out of place is telling of the overall tone.
Currently it feels as though it’s more of a proof-of-concept than a finished level, like Buttaz024 is experimenting with the assets on offer to create a style, hopefully there’ll be something more directed and multiplayer focused in the future.