Rating: 8/10 - A great game.
Platform: Microsoft Windows
Far Cry is almost two years old. Why does it still look so good?
As technology marches on, older games are supposed to pale compared to the newer games. Yet Far Cry not only matches newer games, it outshines most. In the specific area of outdoor levels, I've never seen a game this good looking.
The plot is simple enough. You're a ex-military type. You're started a simple business renting your sailing ship to tourists to tool around the Pacific. Your latest paycheck disappears off on a jet ski. You climb you mast to scan the horizon for her when someone rudely blows up your boat with a rocket propelled grenade. It's clearly not going to be a good day.
You wash onto a small island. A bunch of heavily armed mercenaries are wandering around. You find a radio and get in touch with a scientist who slowly explains what is going on. It seems a large corporation is, yet again, working military technology that is illegal and immoral. In this case, mutagens to turn animals and people into killing machines. (Unsurprisingly, the horrible scientific experiments get a little out of control later in the game.) You've washed up on one of a number of jungle islands the corporation is using. At first you fight to survive. Later (minor spoiler), you learn that your tourist is actually a CIA operative and she wants your help to shut the operation down. You'll travel from island to island, battling mercenaries and the mutants.
Far Cry shines outdoors. In many places you can see several miles in the distance. Armed with the sniper rifle you can be killing people a half mile or more away. Closer up, great use of sprites is used to create a lush, convincing jungle. Indoors the engine is very solid with some nice shiny surfaces.
Given the long distances, you'll have access to a number of vehicles, both boats and wheeled. Most are armed with machine guns and many with rocket launchers. The vehicles are fun to drive. In a few places you'll be driving long distances, occasionally through firefights and frequently while chased. It's all fun.
The combat is generally fun. The AI isn't great, but it's good enough. You'll try to disappear into the lush jungles and stay under cover. You're rewarded for precise shooting. The enemies do have a frustrating knack for finding you in even the best hiding spots. Once you've alerted them (say, by popping one in the head), they'll all instantly know where you are. Still, it's a blast to seek cover, scan the beautiful terrain for enemies, and try to get them before they get you.
The game is hard. A slight mistake can quickly lead to your death. Several of the tougher enemies are "two hits and you're dead". You cannot save, you're stuck with checkpoints. Between the two, you'll spend lots of time replaying the same section over and over.
Regrettably, the game's ending left me frustrated. The final two battles amounted to an insanely difficult boss fight followed by a grand battle. Both were out of proportion with the rest of the game. After many, many, many deaths, I gave up, threw it into God Mode and finished it off.
Far Cry has some very rough game. But it's a joy to look at and most of it is really fun. A solid recommendation for any fan of first person shooters. That it's several years old and relatively cheap (I got my copy as a freebie with a memory upgrade) makes it a steal.
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