Far Cry: Golden Sand, Hawaiian Shirts & M4 Rifles
There's a new store in my town: "CEX," it's called. It's a store that dedicates itself to buying and selling games, DVDs and anything electronic which is pre-owned or "second-hand"* if you're not trying to compete against GAME and Gamestation. Nevertheless, after finally upgrading my PC, I decided I would treat myself to some new PC games. Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare, Assassin's Creed and Medieval 2: Total War were all on my list, but as I was about to head to the checkout, I noticed "Far Cry" sitting on the shelf. Picking it up, the price tag showing £1 made it seem almost impossible not to buy and having heard of Far Cry for its demanding system specifications, I thought I'd try out the original for starters.
After a week of playing the game, ladies and gentlemen, here is my Far Cry review for the PC.
Gameplay and Story
You are Jack Carver, a boat skipper who thought he'd seen all the South Pacific had to offer. But nothing could have prepared you for what you are about to uncover on these islands. Heavily armed mercenaries are just are just the beginning of this gateway gone to hell.
I've never really been one for the beach. The sand sticking like glue has always put me off, but I'd go nonetheless. Far Cry, however, has certainly got me thinking differently! You play as an American character trapped on a tropical island filled with mercenary thugs who really aren't too keen on the idea of you escaping. After recovering your phone, you are contacted by an unknown associate who happens to be able to track you as well as have a good idea of your beach surroundings. You must battle through the tropical islands along with several separate scenarios inside jungles and even wrecked ships in order to escape this hell hole.
The mercenaries which you fight, however, are quiet something. Ranging from perhaps 2 skins, you fight a very "similar" enemy in order to escape the island. They are littered almost everywhere and are quiet hard to kill in some cases due to the annoying recoil and the amazing ability to absorb a full clip of M4 bullets before finally kicking the bucket. However, the AI, surprisingly, certainly does have some intelligence in Far Cry - perhaps better than that of Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare. When injured and trying to hide from the enemy, you have a short amount of time to reload and possibly find that medipac you passed just earlier. However, the enemy is now smart enough to walk through doors rather than wait outside in hope that you'll surrender easily. If you're not hiding in the nearest building, the enemy will be tactically hiding behind the closest object to protect themselves, adding a better sense of realism when you consider the game was manufactured in 2004. For such a feature I really do congratulate Crytek - well done, chaps!
I like sand. And I like boxes. Unlike most other first person shooters, Far Cry offers its very own unique sandbox feel. The game allows the player to fully explore the scenery and even explore complete islands, in some cases. Whether it's via foot, vehicle or even machine gun-manned dinghy, the choice of being prescriptive or descriptive is really left up to you adding a great sense of freedom to the game. For Crytek's sake, I really cannot find fault in such a feature as playing Call of Duty I've had to take the path filled with very angry Arab men as the road leading towards the unguarded path of swimming pools and chocolate rivers has been blocked by a small boulder. Freedom!
However, for all its potential goodness, the game certainly does have a very "arcade" feel to it. Whether it's contextually based on the 2004-genre or simply due to the lack of development with first person shooters, I certainly wouldn't mind a sense of realism or two, here and there. The story features several very basic missions which consist of shooting men in order to reach the bad or escape route. And then going home. That said, there are a few surprises along the way. I was surprised to find myself lost in a "treetop village" filled with mutant human-zombie-Pokemon. Again, realism - something other first person shooters seem to offer.
Despite my criticisms, the game certainly is a very enjoyable play. But it's all very Far Cry-y...
As lovely as the game is, there are a few reported errors with the game upon installation. Fortunately, my OS is Windows 7 and can resolve it easily when using a 32-bit system, but for others results have been different. It disallows the person installing the game to continue on Vista and some Windows 64-bit systems meaning it must be run as an administrator from the root .exe file. Again, my solution was simple but I do remember reading about the scores of other problems people were having with the same issue.
The graphics for Far Cry are hardly demanding even for those who still need to blow the dust off of their AGP slots. As stated in my specification below, I am using AMD's Radeon HD 6570 card which is able to deliver games such as Call of Duty 4 at full whack so I guess it came as no surprise that I was able to run Far Cry on "very high." Playing this game I received around 90-120 frames per second. Not bad, huh?
Despite the era of the game, I was shocked when I first entered the game itself. The graphics for a first generation game are absolutely brilliant! Don't get me wrong, the detail isn't what you would get from a modern game as developers spend more time focusing on each delicate grain of sand, but it does the job no problem! Colour and a reasonable amount of detail are displayed along with the inescapable arcade feel. The beaches are golden, the water is blue and the trees are green - period. But the good kind of green!
I was almost tempted to post a yellow man suggesting I was pleased with the graphics, but instead I decided it would be best if you were to see these bad boy graphics for yourselves:
System: 1GHz CPU or equivalent
RAM: 256 MB
Video Memory: 64 MB
Hard Drive Space: 4GB
I've owned the game for little over a week now and have enjoyed it thus far. It keeps me entertained, its story line is certainly a very unique and entertaining one but sometimes I can't help feel I get bored of the repetitive killing. But then I spot a jeep...
However, if I were looking for a first person shooter, Far Cry would certainly not be my last choice. As much as I hold the game in high regard, it is, at least in my eyes, a game purely for the occasional killing spree to help fulfil the nostalgia and exclaim your retro ways to your old school gaming friends.
And for £1 why not?!
Story: 5/10: If I'm completely honest, thus far I've played the game taking absolutely no notice of the storyline. It's only recently that I've pieced the puzzle together as the gameplay and story seem somewhat irrelevant at times only when you're phased by a giant man shouting at the screen after you've finished dealing with a bunch of macho goons. Sorry, Crytek.
Gameplay: 8/10: Indeed, ol' boy! Fantastic gameplay highlighting were most of today's modern games really did take off from. I'm not claiming it to be a FPS landmark, but it certainly does raise the bar for its year and offers more than you can imagine in its sandbox-style ways.
Graphics: 9/10: For its era, I can't help but pass up the opportunity of rewarding it a nine! Sure, it's nothing in comparison the modern day era, but the ultra-high graphics and large monitor display make it seem like a pornographic blur of colours to my puny little eyes. It's bootiful!
Personal rating: 7/10: "Fun, enjoyable, a good game" - just a few words I might use to describe Far Cry. In comparison to Far Cry 2, it is well off the shelf and will now be found on the shady black market with men in beige trench coats offering you Russian cigarettes and poorly copied Blu-Rays. But nevertheless, I have enjoyed it so far and can see myself playing it in the future. Perhaps, for now at least, this is the coolest old school FPS game I own.
Take that, Counterstrike!