The recent delay of Far Cry 3 to 29 November raised some eyebrows and sparked speculation about the title’s long and seemingly troubled development.

Thankfully, judging from our recent hands on the game looks finely polished, with new features and modernising touches separating it from the previous instalment.

Most noticeably, the game’s location has reverted back to a tropical archipelago, much like the first game in the series. The Rook Islands are crawling with pirates, paramilitary units, man eating wildlife and hallucinogenic drugs.

By creating this surreal microcosm in which almost everybody is insane, maybe even the player, Ubisoft Montreal aim to rationalise their chaotic sandbox gameplay within a twisting psychological narrative. We will have to wait until the full game is released to pass judgement on the plot but it seems ambitious and promising.

The new setting also brings stunning visuals: bright green jungles, sparkling blue lagoons and thick earthy browns all look incredible from the tallest palm tree down to the smallest shrub.

Weapon detail is equally spectacular with extraordinary attention to detail both visually and audibly. The rest of the environment, the buildings, vehicles and characters were spectacular too.

The game isn’t just aesthetically pleasing however. The gunfights are engaging and challenging as enemies regularly take cover and attempt to flank and outmaneuver the player. This in turn encourages a more tactical approach to combat – your best Rambo impression will only get you so far.

One minor qualm arose when killing an important enemy as part of a mission objective. He had to be taken down using a knife; any other method fails the mission. This is fine, but totally unnecessary and completely nonsensical. This isn’t Mortal Kombat, and it’s hard to see why they decided to force this into the game. An optional animation for doing this would have made far more sense.

Transport includes jeeps, cars, quad bikes and hang-gliders, the latter being an entertaining way to get around, but not practical. The same can be said for the road vehicles – they handle erratically. The slightest nudge left or right was enough to put the wheel into full lock in that direction, causing you to career off the road, and making tight roads nearly impossible to navigate at speed.

This also results in a lot of collisions, which can be frustrating in timed scenarios. This was an issue present in the previous game and despite the simplicity of implicating gradual turns the problem still persists.

The leveling elements also look interesting, with the ability to upgrade and specialise your character and weapons a welcome addition.

Far Cry 3 looks like a solid title and despite some issues, the overall game should be great as the strong foundations laid out by its predecessors are strengthened and expounded upon.

Watch the trailer: