With the recent release of Ubisoft Montreal’s hit game Far Cry 4, I thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at the game that started it all, the original Far Cry. Originally released in 2004 on PC, it’s actually the only main entry in the series that wasn’t developed by Ubisoft Montreal. Also published by Ubisoft, Far Cry was developed by Crytek.
Far Cry is a pretty simple game, and reminds us that sometimes, even simple games can still be jam packed with action without becoming boring or repetitive. This game follows an ex-US Army Special Forces operative by the name of Jack Carver. Now if that’s not a badass name, I don’t know what is.
Anyways, the plot of the story takes Jack to an uncharted island in Micronesia. This provides us with some beautiful and varied scenery. Despite being 10 years old, this game has aged gracefully, and look surprisingly good with all the settings maxed out. Sunken ships, beaches, forests and swamps all look fantastic, even if they aren’t to the standard of modern games.
Let’s talk about gameplay. I mentioned that this game was simple. That’s because unlike its more recent iterations, Far Cry doesn’t contain any RPG elements to it. You don’t gain any experience for killing enemies in a certain way, taking outposts or unlocking any bell towers. In fact, none of that stuff even exists! Far Cry is a linear game, meaning the story drives you from point A to point B, with very little exploration. Sure, there are a few moments in which you can take the left path as opposed to the right path, and you might be rewarded with some extra ammo, armor, or health, but you’ll still end up in the same place. It all comes down to you moving forwards towards the progression of the story.
In this sense, Far Cry is a standard first-person shooter, but it’s an exceptionally good one. Jack Carver has binoculars that he can use to mark enemies and even eavesdrop on their conversations with. In the forest, the trees provide ample cover from the mercenaries that are lurking on the island. This also means that you can’t see them as easily either, which makes the game challenging. You can carry up to four weapons at a time. Personally, I make do with a pistol, an assault rifle, a sniper rifle, and a rocket launcher for when things get real hardcore. Grenades are available, as well as other explosives.
What I like about this game is that it’s not Call of Duty. Not that there’s anything wrong with that series, but Far Cry just feels different, and that’s welcome. Attempting to run balls to the wall into an enemy stronghold will only end in your certain death. You need to make stealthy, tactical approaches to these encounters. If you’re spotted, mercenaries will sound the alarm, and the longer you take to disable it, the more bad guys will be thrown after you, slowly diminishing your chance at survival.
From my time playing, I only managed to find one silence weapon, meaning for the most part, your shots will be heard. Mercenaries also tend to be out in the open and in pairs, so this game isn’t so much about stealth in the sense that you want to be a ghost. No, the real challenge comes in taking out your enemies while staying hidden. Take an enemy out, and move locations before you’re spotted. Rinse and repeat.
Surprisingly enough, this formula doesn’t get old throughout the campaign, which is of decent length. If anything, it might get a bit frustrating. The AI is well developed for a game of this age, and enemies tend to actually pose a threat. They’ll move forward to find you, and if you’re spotted and they become fully aware of your presence, they’ll lay down suppressive fire, move forward in groups, and even attempt to flank you.
In the outdoor sections of the games, you are given more freedom to go about completing your objective. The map is fairly open, meaning there are multiple entry points to a stronghold. However, in the indoor sections of the game, it’s much more linear. If you look hard enough, maybe you can find a hidden path that’ll lead you behind the enemy, but that’s about it.
As for the story that drives this game—it’s what one might expect from a first person shooter. It does nothing exceptional, and contains a few plot twists that will either take you by surprise, or you will have seen coming from miles away. The game starts off with Jack Carver being hired by a woman named Val Cortez to take her to an island in Micronesia. Val rides off in a jet ski, and soon after, the boat that Jack is on gets blown to bits.
Jack makes it to land, and comes in contact with a mysterious man named Doyle. From there, you fight through the island as well as others nearby, killing mercenaries who stand in your way, as you try to rescue Val. Jack learns that the island is a center for genetic modification experiments, after encounters with mutated beasts. The story is an interesting ride, but I won’t spoil the rest for you.
Far Cry is a ten year old game, but it’s definitely one I would recommend, especially at the low price with which it can be purchased at nowadays. It looks and plays well, and it’s interesting to see how much the game has evolved since the series’ inception, as well as seeing what elements have been there from the start. However, the lack of RPG elements and it’s fairly linear story mean that once you finish the game, there’s not much else to do other than play it again.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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