It’s always a pleasure to review a game that brings something new and interesting to an otherwise over done genre. After reading what Far Cry was going to offer the FPS community, I wanted to give it a go and see if it was worth its weight in advertisement.
The opening movie for Far Cry doesn’t really inform the player of the situation they’ve gotten them selves into. It’s more of a collage of different scenes and memories. At any rate, the story is that of Jack Carter, you the player, an ex-military type person who has since retired and started up a little boating company in the South Pacific. On this day, you take on a passenger conducting research. Your ship is blown up by some guerillas and the scientist is captured. The story starts here with you trying to rescue the researcher, which leads to the uncovering of biological horrors.
The first thing that will grab your attention when you play Far Cry is the graphics. This game simply looks amazing. If you have a 64MB video card or you’re old schooling it and have the Voodoo SLI setup - don’t bother - this game will squeeze every last drop of performance out of your graphics chipset. If you play it on low settings, it still looks okay but you won’t be doing the CryEngine justice. Stop pretending.
The CryEngine is able to render roughly 800km of distance around the player which allows for some really nice looking outdoor environments; sprawling hills and jungles filled with dense vegetation that you will eventually have to trek through after you get done ogling at their beauty. Seagulls and parrots can be seen flying gracefully through the sky and if it so moves you, they can be used as target practice. The water looks great as it ebbs and flows off the beaches, and if you take a swim, your vision is slightly obscured when you dive beneath the surface. The sky boxes are mixed with lighting that is really well done, especially at night, and it all blends very well together, not leaving an “out of place” feel.
The water in Far Cry is extremely well done and a pleasure to look at and swim through. As mentioned earlier, your vision gets obscured while underwater; a very nice effect. You also have your rippling water, crashing waves, and lovely caustics. Also of note, when you shoot an enemy and they happen to fall into the drink, they will float to the surface and then start to bleed profusely into the water, and the blood will dissipate realistically – nice touch. Now if only sharks would…never mind.
The character models are well done and are supported by some rather nice animations and physics. Enemies will have mini conversations, smoke cigarettes, and go about their patrol routes when they are not aware of your presence. They will go flying when blown up and slide down stairs when shot. Barrels and other items have their own physics and you can roll them down hills to crush unsuspecting minions below.
The voiceover acting is pretty decent. Some of the VOs are lacking in believability, but for the most part are acceptable. The other sound effects are great and achieve in adding to the immersion instead of taking away from it.
The gameplay in Far Cry is that of your standard FPS game, mixed with a side of stealth. You can carry three weapons at once while running around and blowing objects and people to bits. It also forces the player to think out some form of strategy, such as – Do you want the Rocket Launcher now to take out that vehicle down below, or the sniper rifle to take out that guard with his own Rocket Launcher up in the tower just off in the distance? Decisions…decisions.
The stealthy aspect comes into play thanks in large part to the CryEngine, which bestows upon us the dense plant growth that populates the islands. You can utilize these jungle as cover as the AI will actually lose you if you take refuge within. You can also go around enemies or wait for them to pass if you stay still while in the dense growth.
You also have the ability to drive trucks and boats with mounted weaponry, and man stationary machineguns or rocket launchers. Personally, I simply adopted a Rambo-like style of gameplay and used the cover of shadows only when necessary.
Multiplayer in Far Cry is fun and you have a few game types to choose from: your standard free-for-all or team deathmatch, and a team fortress style of game where you have to advance on a defending team and blow up or conquer certain objectives.
Far Cry is definitely worth the cash as it delivers on all fronts: graphics, story, and especially gameplay. The only downside is that those with lower end machines are going to have to drop their graphics and resolution down quite a bit to achieve an acceptable frame rate.