Tobold's Blog
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Far Cry 3 motion sickness

After only 3 hours of playing, I just uninstalled Far Cry 3. That isn't counting the 1 hour I spent surfing the internet trying to find out how to turn of the extreme head bob of that game. Apparently there is no way, and the general advice of increasing FOV only made me even more nauseous. These days there aren't many games any more that cause me motion sickness, but Far Cry 3 is rather extreme.

While I would have liked to follow the story a bit more, the 3 hours were sufficient to understand the Far Cry 3 game concept. It is the famous Ubisoft Formula, an open world where you climb towers to unlock side quests in various sub-regions. Just instead of Assassin's Creed close combat, Far Cry is a first person shooter. I didn't see more of the story because the open world part determines your gear. The obvious solution is to *not* follow the story, but go hunting after various animals the moment you leave the tutorial. Once you have all the necessary skins for weapon holsters, backback, ammo pouches, etc., you don't constantly run out of ammo or inventory space any more, and the game becomes a lot more playable. If it wasn't for the head bob causing me motion sickness.

The good news is that I didn't pay full price for Far Cry 3, but had picked it up at some Steam sale. And for once I wisely refused to buy Far Cry 4 before trying out Far Cry 3. Apparently even the brand new Far Cry Primal has head bob which can't be turned off in the options, which is really a design oversight. I just wished there was a list available somewhere which games have head bob that can't be turned off, so that people who are susceptible to motion sickness can avoid those games.

For me the problem with motion sickness seems to be: the more detailed a game trys to show the "real" world the easier it is to get me motion sick. My brain probably has an easier time to get over the fact that there is no real motion running around in a more cartoonish environment.

Or maybe I'm just getting old ;)

I will definately buy some VR system, probably second generation next year. Will be interesting if motion sickness will be a bigger problem.
I do have to say that FC3 is 90% about the exploration, 9% about action and 1% about the story. In my opinion they could have cut the story in half and the game would not have suffered. Actually the whole game could have ended a lot earlier preventing tedious repetition in the second half.

Also the spoilt college boy is really difficult to identify with, and his whiney/mental "friends" even more so. At least the enemy NPCs are well characterised and reasonably convincing.

I find open world games (whether they are made by Ubisoft or not) to be perfect wind me down games after a hard day at work. There is no pressure to finish the story (which is usually pretty trivial in any case) and there is always something to explore or some side mission to tackle. Assasins Creed X, Far Cry 3/4, Just Cause 2/3, Shadows of Mordor, Mad Max. None of these games has left a lasting impression on me. Their memories all blend together but I like to have one of then on the go for a bit of casual relaxed gaming.

Sorry to hear about your severe motion sickness issues. The only solution I can think of (which you have probably tried already) is to sit farther back from the screen and play in console mode.
Weird, this reminds me I used to get motion sickness when playing FPSes, but mostly back in the PS1/PS2/Dreamcast/Xbox days. Somewhere around 2008-2010 something changed and I stopped getting motion sickness (notable exception: Mirror's Edge). It's a weird phenomenon, not sure why it disappeared, though.

I'm a big fan of the Far Dry series though, one of the few open world games I enjoy just exploring at a liesurely pace. I did finish FC3, but am still meandering in FC4 and Primal, hardly even close to finishing the "plots."
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