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Far Cry Review
Far Cry deserves praise simply for being so different in this world of walk down this hallway, then that one, linear first person shooters. The fact that Far Cry pulls off being a non-linear shooter smoothly, plus delivers a game longer than most better replay content than most, and with only one found (though it's a big one) bug, impresses me greatly.
The game's story is paper thin, but, since it's not brought up much, it's also perfectly fine. As it goes the player is Jack Carver, boat captain extraordinaire, who also is a commando, or navy seal, whatever, its means the player has a license to kick ass. Jack's boat gets blown up by a rocket and he's soon tied up in some Island of Dr. Monroe meets Bond film story of genetic engineering and mercenaries. Lots and lots and lots of mercenaries. Somewhere in there is a female CIA chick who you have to rescue a few times, because she's a classic fuck up. However, since this story is only briefly touched on, it doesn't take away from game play time or enjoyment.
Far Cry innovates in its game play. This game changes my future expectations for first person shooters, especially if the first person shooter is claiming to be a 'next generation shooter'. Most of this change comes from the game environments. Usually this weight on what is essentially graphics would not be brought up, but it does affect game play enough to be note worthy. The game takes place mostly outdoors on a series of tropical islands. The change? The islands are free roam, without the trees forming invisible barriers that make the player take just that one path. These forests are also beautiful. You truly can hide in the underbrush, and spend time just looking at the foliage. The improvement is big enough to shift expectations for out door levels in games everywhere permanently. Instead of fixed pathways the game lets the player cross the islands at his leisure, choosing to stealthily bypass enemies, or just go Rambo. Having played through the game both ways, both are fun (while Rambo being a lot harder). The open ended-ness of the game play means that every scenario can be approached from different directions, and creates replayability most first person shooters don't have. Mostly someone replays a FPS to beat it on a harder difficulty level, but here the player might find himself replaying it just to try a different approach method, or to go through the islands using different paths.
Plan attacks carefully, to make sure all enemies are tagged on radar.
The next big gaming innovation in Far Cry comes through the vehicle
control. Back in the day all vehicles were stuck on tracks. One of the things
was letting the player have the ability to drive vehicles in an FPS freeform,
banishing track based cars to obsurity. However the driving took place in a
and the levels were still linear rat mazes. With Far Cry, consider
Halo one-uped. In Far Cry the player drives from the first person
perspective with a great
interface allowing him to drive and shoot at the same time. The vehicles
and the feel of driving through the jungle gets modeled greatly, with
the character's vision bumping up and down as he crash through the bush.
Plus since the levels are far more open, the player can drive all over
the place. Further its not just drive. Vehicular assault can be air
based too. Some levels can be flown over in glider and islands explored
both of which have innovative controls, and both of which also allow the
player to shoot and move at the same time.
Far Cry also capitalizes on stealth and recon. Using binoculars the player can zoom in and view target areas from afar. However, what sets this apart from every other FPS binoculars is that only through viewing enemies in them are the enemies tagged on the player's radar. This is a great touch which rewards planning ahead and scoping out possible danger zones over head first charges into unknown territory, in close combat, I found myself constantly flipping out the binoculars and scanning the brush to make sure I had spotted all enemeis. Further, Far Cry adds Cryvision, an inferred that helps the night levels greatly and allows players to see through the dense underbrush of most levels.
Far Cry's major achievement comes in the successful mixtureof stealth features and normal FPS game play (aka shooting things). Far Cry is neither too one hit kills you; you must stay in shadows at all times, nor is Far Cry a game where the player can take 100 bullets and keep standing, or one where the guards only see the gamer when he is within 15 feet of them. Instead Far Cry places the player right in between the two, which is a great place to be, with the player having to be stealthy, but not so much that if the player is seen, he is dead, nor is there the constant pressure to reload (the game that is) because health is so tiny and hard to find.
One thing to mention about Far Cry, since it matters to some gamers, is that Far Cry has a check point based save system. This means no Quicksave or Quickload. However, Far Cry does this with a very good amount of checkpoints, so only a few levels ever feel to have too few checkpoints (River being my only complaint). Further by using checkpoints Far Cry successfully raises the tension in game, making the player think before they shoot more than the usual FPS does.
Enemies in Far Cry are also a nice spread. Jack starts by fighting mercenaries armed with M-4s and wearing T-shirts. As the game progresses the player work his way through the ranks of mercenaries all the way to elite guards decked out in full body armor with Riot shields. However, mercenaries aren't the only problem. Soon enough the player will face off against the Island of Dr. Monroe aspect of the game. Apparently someone has been playing god with monkeys. Needless to say this turns walking through the jungle in Far Cry into a scene right out Jurassic Park. Just replace velocaraptors with monkeys and a shotgun with a full auto SAW.
Bad monkey! We don't maul the guests!
This leads into the next great aspect of Far Cry, firepower. The game lets the player carry up to four weapons at a time, and offers a great array of firepower. Being able to carry only four makes one think about which guns to take, but not to the extent that it limits the player's arsenal as Halo's two guns only system sometimes did. Beyond the starter weapons of a knife and a pistol the game includes a M-4, a silenced M-5 SMG, a Jackhammer auto shotgun, Rocket Launcher, Sniper rifle, P90 SMG, Scoped AG 36, and my personal favorite the OICW Advanced Assault Rifle. All guns have a zoom, with the non-scoped ones simply letting the player look down the gun sights for a minor increase in sniping ability. The arsenal is also fairly diverse. Each gun has uses. There are the stealth weapons (M-5, Sniper Rifle), the close range weapons (Jackhammer, P90 SMG), the heavy weapons (Rocket Launcher, SAW), and the assault rifles (M-4, AG 36, OICW). With this set up the player will always have plenty of guns to experiment with; allowing him to get through fire fights in the way he wants to.
With all these pluses the game has very few negatives. In terms of level
design, the indoor environments just don't live up to the outside levels.
outside is pure freeform, indoor areas are right back to guided path, linear,
levels. Luckily, most game time is not spent indoors. Further Far Cry does
have bugs. From two full games I encountered a bug where one level would
because a cut scene would not fire. I had to bypass the end with cheat codes.
Needless to say I was not pleased with starting the next level with out my
kickass arsenal. However, it was clear that this was one of the few bugs
in the game, over all it was very well polished in its 1.0 state.
Far Cry comes nothing short of genius for the FPS genre.. Anyone interested in action games should give Far Cry a chance, I can't fathom how anyone could regret it.
needles of black tar heroin to make this game good?: 0