Am I the only gamer who is getting tired of waiting for games like Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 to hit the shelves so I can finally test out my pricey fire-breathing PC? It seems so sad to have all this powerful gear crammed into my tower, only to find the only thing that might ever tax it is a PC benchmark. The wait is finally over, (no Half-Life 2 or Doom 3 haven’t been released early) as Far Cry from Crytech and UbiSoft is simply the best looking game I’ve ever played to date, period.
Since I don’t feel like boring you with the whole backstory, here’s the short version: you are on a boat with a woman, the boat gets blown up by some bad guys. You make it to shore but have no idea what happened to your lady friend. You find some guns, shoot the bad guys and try to rescue the lady…oh yeah, watch out for the monsters!
Over the past few years, First-person-have focused primarily on their online multiplayer component. More often than not, the single-player modes are nothing more than playing the multiplayer maps against bots. Others include a single-player campaign that only takes a little time to finish, making it seem like the single player game was just an afterthought. Although Far Cry isn’t the longest game I’ve ever played through, it will take around 20 hours to complete in single-player and it never gets dull or repetitive.
As we all know, just because a game is pretty it doesn’t mean it’s good. Well, we can all thank the gaming Gods, because developer Crytek has not only released the most graphically advanced game to date, but has also given us one of the best single-player FPS titles in recent years. I can’t praise Far Cry’s graphics enough, the screenshots you see don’t do justice to the jaw-dropping water effects or how real the plants and trees look. The foliage in the jungles is so real as to look lifelike. Many times, I found myself stopping and staring at the plants in amazement. The environments are richly detailed; with birds flying overhead, bugs buzzing around and schools of fish swimming in the beautifully rendered ocean. It’s as close as you can get to being on a tropical island without having to leave your desk.
The character models are sharply rendered though there needed to be a broader variety of models for the bad guys. If I were a real nitpicker, I’d have to mention how human skin looks too shiny in the cut-scenes. Oh, I guess I just did. The lighting and shadow effects will make even Splinter Cell fans say “wow” as they watch the sun cast dynamic shadows from trees swaying in the breeze. While the graphics are breathtaking, you’ll only be able to enjoy them at max settings if you have a high-end PC.
The gameplay in Far Cry is mostly run-and-gun with a small amount of stealth. To help with the running and gunning, there’s a variety of vehicles at your disposal to help you zip around the island. You can take control of jeeps, armed boats and even a hang glider. It’s totally up to you if you want to jump in a vehicle or just go it on foot. While objectives are locked onto your radar, it’s totally up to you to decide on the how and when of completing your objectives..
For stealth fans, the jungle foliage comes in very handy as you crawl past heavily armed guards and sneak past patrol points. However, it can also be used by the AI to sneak up on you, so keep your eyes and ears open.
The AI in Far Cry is just as impressive as the rest of the game. Enemies will spot you when you’re noisy, toss grenades to flush you out of the foliage and generally work well as a team There are instances of AI opponents running straight into a hail of gunfire, but for the most part they are very smart and coordinated. If you snipe a guy from a hundred yards away his buddies will do everything they can to find where the shot came from, rather than just stand there as in so many other FPS’.
Far Cry’s weapons are based on real-world armaments including the M4 carbine, G36 assault rifle and the P90 submachine. The hit detection is pretty well done, as headshots will kill instantly while armored opponents will require several shots to take down. The rag-doll physics will make your enemies’ bodies slump over crates, fly back against walls and fall from towers to the ground in satisfying, yet disturbing, ways. It never seems to grow old to shoot a barrel, causing it to explode it in the middle of five or six men, blowing their bodies into the air and watching them land in all types of awkward looking positions (I’m just sick like that).
There’s not much to say about the sound in Far Cry other than “it’s great!” The music is excellent, as are the sounds for the weapons, vehicles and environments.
For the those that hate to play alone, Far Cry features an online multiplayer game. It includes a free-for-all mode, team deathmatch mode and a team-based assault mode (a variation of CTF). At the time of this review some of the weapons seemed too overpowered and unbalanced in the multiplayer game, which will hopefully be fixed with a patch. The vehicles aren’t of much use because you can only drive on the paths and roads, and are easy targets for explosive weaponry like grenades and rockets. The sniper rifle is far too powerful, and in the hands of a good shot can be used to camp a flag from afar so no one can even get close to it. The maps are just huge, and unless there are 16 or so players it can take ages to even find someone to shoot at. The multiplayer honestly is not this game’s strong point. It’s not horrible but it’s not great either. I would suggest playing through the single player campaign first then trying out the online game.
All in all, FaCry is an outstanding game. While the multiplayer game is only fair at best, the single player adventure more than makes the game worth its purchase price. This is a game that’s well worth owning.
- Gameplay: 9.5
- Graphics: 10
- Sound: 9
- Replay: 9
- Overall: 9
- If you want a thrilling single-player FPS with the best looking graphics to date, then FarCry is for you.
— Buzz Kilgore