Every so often a game comes to us that surprises everyone. Something with a engine that hasnít been used in every other title that has come out, with surprising AI and such like. Most titles come along with slightly improved graphics, AI that either irritates you or is far too easy to work around, but what we have here is a title that really comes out on top when the first person shooterís released recently have become stagnant in terms of improvements and quality.
You play as Jack Carver, a man who was previously running his own boat charter business, the latest assignment has you escorting a journalist called Valerie Cortez to the Island of Cabatu. Something that should have been easy changes suddenly as your boat is destroyed and the woman vanishes.
You are then left on the island with no weapons and not knowing what has gone on. The game begins with a very simple training style walk through where you learn the controls as well as pick up various weapons and get into the gameís story.
As mentioned earlier, Far Cry is a first person shooter. The first thing to mention is that the game has excellent AI, I canít say that a game has had as good AI as this since Half Life, and that was released years ago. To give you an idea of the difference this game has compared to others, if you are creeping through the jungle, you can do so without the enemy knowing where you are without actually seeing you, the enemy rely on where they last saw you or where you have been heard. This is even better when you can throw rocks to put the enemy off of your tracks and have them running and looking in a different direction altogether.
The AI that you come across indoors is not so hot though; it becomes pretty easy to take the enemy out when they almost always tend to come through the front door instead of round the back of you.
The game also has an excellent arrangement of weaponry, each of which seems to be well balanced. Various weapons have different firing modes too allowing you to use ammo sparingly (which is vital as ammo for the better weapons isnít lying all over the place). For some of the harder enemies such as the creatures you get rockets and shotguns, but it doesnít end there. You also get to take out the vehicles in the game as well when fighting, more on that in a minute. There are also a number of grenades that you can make use of as well, these are things like frag and smoke grenades, these are pretty important when you want to get out of a fire fight.
Now the vehicles, there are quite a few that you can take control of in the game, from jeeps to hand gliders, each vehicle has a unique feeling and itís always fun to come driving along and smash into various soldiers who are on patrol and who only see you for a few seconds before they go flying off in the air. There are problems with the vehicles though, they are quite hard to control both in the first and third person views due to the difficultly of seeing through the trees and that the mouse movement just isnít as quick as it should be.
Praise must be given to CryTek for the environment they have put you into, when you compare it to other outdoor first person shooters there is little comparison due to the open-ended style that has been created, there are never any walls to stop you going into an area, there are always different ways to get to positions across the islands, it all feels fresh. There are, however a few niggles, you canít really destroy the environment you are in bar glass and canisters that are lying around. Yes a few small houses can fall down, but itís nothing special, you do tend to notice that you canít destroy trees though.
The also has one of those like/hate/donít care about save systems where it will save the game at set checkpoints, this is all well and good for of us who like to get the most out of a game instead of quick saving all the time, but I can see why a game that encourages you to explore will only save at certain places. The game also has a number of sound problems (at least for me) where sometimes when you load the game, it wonít have full sound, itís a problem relates to your Windows speaker setup, as the game likes to change it.
Believe me though; these small problems donít get in the way of what is an excellent title. There are so many moments when you feel something special.
Graphics & Sound
Iíve already gone on about how good the actual gameplay is in Far Cry, but itís the graphic engine that has become the most talked about part of the game on the internet. Far Cry is beautiful, it has a massive 1-kilometer viewing distance, something that I can only remember Giants coming close to a while back. Far Cry is full of plants, trees, great lighting, particle effects and more, it is easily the best looking game engine out right now. Having an engine like this means that the game style is perfect for it as it gives you lots of hiding places.
Sound is excellent (when it works for me!), wish some great music that is played dynamically depending on what is going on at the time. The voices are well acted, but not all of them fit into the feeling the game gives out visually, not every soldier in the world talks like a dumb grunt.
Far Cry is a great game, possibly a game of the year contender, especially with Half Life 2 becoming a constant delayed title. Graphically nothing can touch it right now if you have a system that can run it in full detail.