"Far Cry 3" shells out nearly continuous pulse-pounding excitement.

The open-world shooter dumps you on Rook Island, a place sanity forgot, and forces you to survive.

When a vacation goes horribly wrong, sheltered rich kid Jason Brody and a group of friends end up captured by pirates -- a heavily armed militia deeply entrenched in the illicit drug and human-trafficking businesses. Jason escapes and sets out to free the rest from a slave's fate. Along the way, Jason is forced to shed the shackles of his humanity as he hunts down the people responsible.

"Far Cry 3" is an above-average shooter as far as basic gunplay is concerned. But the game augments this status with one of the best stories of the year. Couple that with a world richly populated by evil pirates and jungle beasts, all bent on tearing you to shreds, and you've got hours of entertainment lined up.

'Far Cry 3'
» Systems: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
» Prices: $59.99, $49.99 PC
» Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Jason's conversion from timid city boy to ruthless killer is handled with a touch of class. It doesn't come easy for him at first, and he voices parts of this existential crisis as the fighting rages on.

Where "Far Cry 3" truly shines is in the writing. This nightmare tale is speckled with memorable, crazed characters and events. But the pirate leader Vaas steals the show. His personality yo-yos between thought-out evil and whacked-out rantings.

There are a few flaws in this entry in the series. Even though there are tons of weapons available, a lot of them just seem like filler. Also, when your character dies when he's not on a mission, be prepared for a long hike back to where you were. These two major islands in "Far Cry 3" are massive and take a while to traverse, even with the fast-travel points.

"Far Cry 3" hurls a ton of plot and moral ambiguity at you. There's sex, drugs and plenty of violence. But the story will hook you and leave you dying to learn Jason's fate.