Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Far Cry

Post-Launch Review
Far Cry
Developer: Crytek
Released: March 2004

Note: before you begin playing Far Cry, you may want to consider installing the 64-bit update and exclusive content patches. When you install, redirect it to Program Files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/common/FarCry. Make sure you use the 64-bit launcher in the bin64 folder to start the game.
These patches are not included in the Steam version. Using the 64-bit version will disable the Steam overlay while in-game.


Far Cry is an FPS following Jack Carver, an ex-special forces operative stranded on a jungle island chain after being attacked by mercenaries. A man named Doyle helps Jack get his bearings and assists in his search for Valerie, the journalist who had chartered Jack's boat. As Jack explores and fights his way through the jungle and mercenaries, he discovers that a scientist named Krieger has been using the islands to experiment with genetic modification, making the place much more dangerous than it first appeared.

At Launch

Far Cry's reviews averaged just under 90%. Critics were very impressed with new developer Crytek's CryEngine and polished first effort, noting great environments and seamless large-scale levels.

Post Launch

A few manual-install patches were released, the most notable being the 64-bit update and exclusive content patches, tied to some new AMD computer hardware. The patches upgrade the game's draw distance, lighting effects, and textures.

The Good

Binocular Recon
You've got some fancy audio detection gear, which means enemies show up on your compass briefly when they're firing. However, you can use your binoculars to scout and permanently mark enemies on your compass - at least until you murder them all. It's a neat way to encourage reconnaissance, stealth, and planning before engaging the enemy.
The landscape sure is pretty, especially for a 2004 game. Yes, many of the textures get muddy up close, but when you're looking a kilometre across the bay or into a dense jungle, you're not going to notice. In fact, the jungle vegetation is often so dense that it obscures line of sight, which is very helpful when scoping out enemies or sniping.
Since the landscapes can be pretty big, there's an assortment of vehicles to help you get around. You've got some standard stuff like a jeep with a mounted machine gun, but you can also play with a hang glider at times. The vehicles handle well and give you a nice feeling of power compared to your normal measly hit points.
War Zone
At a certain point in the game, Jack shouts that it sounds like a war zone outside. And when you get outside, it actually is! You've got two factions firing at each other and completely ignoring you (until you start firing on them of course). There's gunfire and explosions and it's actually crazy out there.

Outside of combat, the game's music steps back and lets you hear the rustling leaves and wildlife of the jungle. When you start fighting, the music appears, and it's some pretty solid action stuff.
Free Roaming FPS
Interior stages are pretty linear, but outdoors you have complete freedom to approach your objective any way you see fit. You can follow the path – literally – by keeping to trails. You'll get to your destination quickly, but it's a bit more dangerous. You can sneak through the jungle and scope out the target before you attack. You can grab a jeep and barrel down the road, running over anything in your way.

The Neutral

The compass isn't bad, but it could've been better.
Your compass only shows is the direction and proximity of your objective, and any enemies you've marked with your binoculars. There's no scale to determine how close something is – enemy markers get bigger as they approach, but there's no way to definitely tell how close the enemy is if you've lost your line of sight.
A map would have been very useful. Not even within the compass; just a map screen that you can open up and use to plot your course. I guess it makes sense not to have a map when you've unexpectedly ended up on an unfamiliar island, but the compass just feels... lacking. It doesn't really make sense to have the information you do without the context.

The Bad

Jack Carver
The player character is crap. The voice acting plus the horrible dialogue means he comes across like a cheesy B-movie ass. He's a dick to his teammates for no reason and I don't like him at all.
On the level Pier, I had a missing texture bug, which you can see in the above screenshot. The forums tell me that this was not caused by the patches I installed, but is an issue with the game.
Also, I crashed a few times. Not that awful because the checkpoints are pretty good, but still. Bleh.
Feels Unfair
A lot of weapons and attacks can kill you in only one or two hits, and while that's realistic, it's frustrating to not know why you're dying. At the same time, there are armoured enemies who take a few dozen bullets to down if you can't hit the head, or even multiple sniper bullets to the chest, which is much tougher than you are.
Worse yet, in one level I was spotted and fired upon from literally almost a kilometre away. And I don't mean literally as in hyperbolic emphasis, I mean literally as in I used the range finder in my binoculars and measured the distance at nine hundred metres. And at that range I'm being hit and killed by assault rifle fire. Not even a sniper rifle. What?!
The End
Speaking of feelsbadman, the last level of Far Cry is ridiculously hard. Many players have described a couple of the fights as unbeatable. They're not, but they're extremely tough even on normal difficulty. Worse, I was crashing constantly – at least five or six times (between all the deaths) in that level alone. The end is abrupt and the payoff is garbage. Actually, you know what? It's not garbage, because that assumes that the payoff actually exists.

The Verdict

Recommendation: play it.
Far Cry has some cool tactical elements that you don't often see in FPS games - namely, stealth and recon. They're optional, but the game gets a lot easier if you scout around and plan your approach before engaging the enemy. And even though the game was released eight years ago, the environments still look pretty good (despite a few muddy ground textures), tightly packed with vegetation and detail. The level of freedom of movement and the number of options is nice. It can get awfully frustrating at times, but if you like a challenge, I guess that's a good thing.
If you like either Far Cry or Crysis and you haven't played the other one, I'd recommend doing so. They're similar in all the good ways. Probably because, you know, they're made by the same guys.

1 comment:

  1. 900m is not literally a kilometre...haha. But yeah, that's pretty terrible to get killed by an assault rifle from that far away.