Life can be bliss sometimes. Sailing on a boat with a good-looking babe, beneath a magnificent blue sky, in the vicinity of a deserted isle, while the sun is shining. Paradise on earth, so it seems…until your boat is hit by a bazooka rocket and you are violently thrown overboard. Miraculously, you survive and you wash ashore on the island. A little while later you find a pistol and completely pissed-off you start looking for the assholes that have just ruined your chances on a wild night. It’s time to kick ass!
Some games make you believe that everything about them is great, even after just two minutes. Far Cry is one of those games. The main menu already shows you the beautifully rendered island. Tropical beaches, waving palm trees, in short: heaven! I immediately wanted to start playing. After some adjustments in the options menu, I was ready to be sucked into the world of Far Cry.
The first level is actually a tutorial. You get to learn the controls and enemies are nowhere to be seen. As an experienced FPS-player, I found the tutorial somewhat boring, but a first time shooter player will surely appreciate it.
After that, the story really starts. You start to look for your loved one –a women with large…you know what, that apparently appeared in Baywatch before- but soon you find out that the island isn’t just what it seems. Amidst the jungle you discover a research lab where apes (and even men) have been subjected to genetic experiments. As was to be expected, the “cute” animals escaped and are now trying to kill everyone still alive. Of course, you get to be the hero and it’s your job to exterminate them all. The storyline has a lot of plot twists, so you don’t know what to expect next. Very well done!
The first time you see the vast outside levels, you’ll undoubtedly be amazed, mouth wide open with drool pouring out of your mouth. The graphics of this game are that incredibly beautiful that for the first two minutes you’ll only observe and enjoy the wonderful scenery. This is clearly the first of the “next-generation shooters”. The visuals the CryEngine creates are pure eyecandy. Never before have you seen such clear and realistic water, such varied plantlife and such an impressive sunset. The huge levels and the multiple ways to your target surprised me even more. You are free to do what you want, when you want and where you want it! Just wonderful!
No matter which path you take, the AI will always change its behaviour, depending on your actions. Do you like the “full-frontal” approach, where you rush into an enemy encampment, guns blazing? Go ahead, the mercenaries and mutants are dying to see how bullet-proof you really are. However you can also try to flank them or take them from behind (no pun intended ). First they will look surprised, giving you the opportunity to fire some well-placed shots, but they’ll soon regroup and call for backup. They always attack in numbers and they won’t wait for you to pick them off. Let me give you an example of the amazing AI. One time I had to fight my way through a well-guarded creek. Luckily I brought along my faithful sniper rifle and binoculars (that also detects lifeforms). I went prone in the long grass en started to shoot some ignorant goons to thin out the resistance. After about two minutes or so a mercenary started shooting at me from point blank range and I barely survived. That meant that the damned bastards sent out recon patrols to flush me out! Where have you seen such a brilliant non-scripted AI before?
And the list of positive thing goes on… Far Cry also features revolutionary physics. Barrels, crates, corpses, it all behaves realistically. For example, when you use a car to drive against a telephone pole, the pole bends and takes down all the other connected ones. When you throw a grenade into the ground, a crater will appear. In short, the environments are interactive and the physics engine does a great job here.
Speaking about vehicles, Far Cry has loads of them. Ranging from 4-by-4 ‘s, buggies, heavy trucks and boats to even a glider! The vehicle controls are similar to Halo’s but this time you drive in first-person view mode. At first I thought, the view wouldn’t turn out fine, but I was wrong. Just like the rest of the game, this was also well thought-out. The most amusing part about driving a vehicle is the fact that you can drive the “Carmageddon way”, meaning you can squash mutants and mercs to lessen the amount of enemies. Unfortunately no bonus points are awarded for spectacular road kills
How weird it may sound, the games does have its flaws. First of all this game is what is sometimes referred to as a “system-killer”, meaning that you better have one hell of a computer ready, because the system requirements are insanely high! The launch of the Geforce 6800Ultra couldn’t have come at a better time, but hey, it’s the price we pay for the most beautiful graphics in a videogame to date. Another big minus is the fact that we have to deal with checkpoint saves. No quick-saves whatsoever in this game, something that can really get on your nerves when replaying a specific part of the game for the fifth time, because of the challenging AI.
The multiplayer mode of the game isn’t bad, but it isn’t very special either. There is the obligatory (Team) Deathmatch, but more interesting is Assault. This mode is like Enemy Territory made simple, but with huge levels. You have 3 classes (sniper, support, soldier) that will have to work together to fend of the attackers (or obliterate the defenders-depending on how you look at it-). A little more classes and more varied objectives could have made the multiplayer great. The MP mode is certainly better than most games but as it stands the real online hits (Enemy Territory, Battlefield 1942 & Vietnam, Unreal Tournament 2004) have nothing to fear.
Far Cry is a MUST-HAVE game. There isn’t a doubt in my mind about that. The eye-popping graphics, the brilliant AI, the impressive physics and the unprecedented freedom are more then enough reasons for you to rush to you local game store and snag a copy of the best FPS available. All this has a price though. The system requirements are very high, but when you have the computer to play Far Cry the way it should be played (No nVidia pun intended), you’ll simply be amazed.