copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

Far Cry  



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Impact: Relatively memorable

Is there a person who doesn’t yet know the name Far Cry? This game is part of the revolution that slowly built itself up starting from 2002 and exploded in 2004. Far Cry is one of the first games to lay down a new path in the jungle of graphics as well as gameplay. The release of this game was the kind of historical moment that people wanted to be there when it happens.


GAMEPLAY


The game starts as Jack, an ex-marine (but of course…) and a touring guide, is approached by, seemingly, another tourist lady. When he brings her to her desired location, the boat gets attacked and blown up sky high. Washed ashore with no tourist and no clue to what just happened, Jack begins his journey through the island. Soon he finds someone who says he’s a friend and claims that he knows the location of the girl. Instead of looking for some food and means to get off the island, Jack, as any true action character, sets off to get to the bottom of what’s happening.


Although the story is linear, the freedom of the action in the game is so large, one feels like breathing in deep. The open air maps in FC are huge. These maps are filled with life: birds, fish, all kinds of greenery and mercenaries, of course. Moreover, the game comes with a map editor which allows the player to build maps that are as big as their processor can handle. A noticeable feature is the complicated physics. Stuff can be knocked over and FC also introduces chains that, from their look, use some serious calculations.


The islands are full of well-armed mercenaries. To get passed them the player must rely either on stealth or the available weaponry arsenal. The arsenal includes weapons for every occasion, from a pistol to a rocket launcher.


The AI of the game is probably the best I’ve ever seen. Enemies are organized. They will patrol their area, but once the danger is spotted they will run to your approximate location and then slowly try to find you. They will have to because the foliage forms a great concealment. Mercenaries will throw grenades from behind cover and they will sometimes call for reinforcements, which arrive on the Blackhawk helicopters. The behavior of mercenaries and the setting makes them quite easy to kill. There’s not much strategy needed. The distances are big enough that it takes a while for the enemy to get to you. Once it closes in, it still has to find you, so you have a lot of time and opportunity to take the enemy out. Later in the game enemies turn from smart tacticians into violent brutes as the player is put against the monsters.


The game comes with a multi-player. Can’t have a quality shooter without a multi-player mode. The player can also make his own custom missions with a mission editor. There are manuals for the editor and it’s friendlier than some of the other editors the player might’ve come across, but some things are still very confusing. Fortunately there are many maps posted on-line by other players.


VISUALS


Well…where do I begin? Far Cry set such a high visual standard for games to follow that it’s hard to find what’s not pretty about it. Playing FC is like traveling to a tropical resort. Exotic fish is circling in the calm clear waters, contrasting against the white sand. The scorching sun is cutting through the openings in the palms’ canopies, leaving interesting textures on the objects below. The vegetation under the palms, by the way, is very diverse and plentiful. A small shed, a fishing boat…the only thing missing is a glass of ice-cold soda.


The detail of models is remarkable. Faces are smooth to the last curve. Strong complex shadowing is present, which we also see back in games like Doom 3. The game also features distortion effects from heat and shock. All of these things combined produce an unforgettable experience.


SOUND


The sound is not too bad either. The ambience features different insects, birds and other things to remind you where you are. The actors play well. Mercenaries talk to themselves and to each other, showing their personality, which is a lot of fun to hear. The music, however, holds back most of the time, and that’s not necessarily harmful to the game because the music would only steal the feel from the player that the other sounds provided him with. When the music is present, it’s creepy and fits perfectly.


PERFORMANCE


Well, of course, such awesome technology comes at a price. And I’m not talking about the huge price tag. I’m talking about the 15-minute loading times. I’m also talking about the high system requirements. The game ran very choppy on a 2 GHz Pnetium 4 with a Radeon 9600 video card, even on medium to minimum settings. That is still more than enough to enjoy the game, though.


VERDICT


Far Cry is a technological marvel. It’s a trip that combines long-range sniping and close quarters shoot outs. There are cool mercenaries and merciless monsters. There are babes and evil scientists. The combination of everything done well is what makes this game so excellent. This beautiful, over the top action game should be enough to keep even the most demanding gamer satisfied.