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Far Cry

Score: 90%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Crytek
Media: CD/7
Players: 1 - 16
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Graphics are obviously the first thing that will grab your attention about Far Cry. The game is simply stunning and could easily go toe to toe with what we've seen from the current graphical golden child, Half-Life 2. The island is huge and filled with all kinds of realistic looking flora and fauna that sway in the gentle island breezes. Water looks just as incredible as it gently laps the sand and sun soaked beaches. Far Cry would be paradise if it weren't for the detailed, fluidly animated mercenaries who were out to kill you. Just a like a ticket to a real life paradise, the graphics in Far Cry come at a cost -- literally. The recommended specs to experience the game at it's fullest are pretty pricey, so unless you happen to have a really high-end machine or a couple hundred dollars hanging around, don't expect to see everything at its fullest. However, Far Cry still looks good, even on a system that meets the minimum requirements. The engine scales nicely and even at lower levels still looks great.

Sound is good, but the voice work is a little silly. The complete aural presentation is akin to that of an action movie with loud explosions, wild cracks of gun fire and a rousing, orchestral score.


When you stop to think about it, the premise shares a few things in common with Gillian's Island... at least, if Gilligan was armed and shot the headhunters on the other side of the island. You are Jack Carver, ex-Ocean Patrol officer who now spends his time giving tours of the South Pacific. Things go wrong when a beautiful reporter asks you to take her to a remote island. What starts out as the beginnings of a fantasy come true (wouldn't you like for a beautiful woman to ask you to take her to a remote island??) becomes a nightmare. Not only does your boat blow up, but you are stranded on an uncharted desert isle, the girl is missing and a group of mercenaries are out to kill you.

Far Cry has a lot going for it gameplay wise. What initially looks like a run and gun jungle stomp turns out to be a very cerebral game. Given the open-ended mission structures, as well as the danger lurking all over the island, you can't run around and shoot everything in sight -- otherwise you're dead. For the most part, the game follows the standard FPS set up; you get a basic weapon, kill a few guys and steal their better weapon and repeat. Where Far Cry differs is that the entire play structure is open to exploration. You are given objectives by an enigmatic face in the PDA, but how you plan on completing these missions is up to you.

Far Cry also offers a sound, if a bit unbalanced, multiplayer mode. Aside from the typical online play modes, Far Cry's Assault mode is where the real fun is. Here you select from several job/class types (Engineer, Medic, Soldier...) and take on teams of players.


In short, Far Cry is hard. This is due both to an incredibly smart AI as well as a save system that leaves much to be desired. The mercenaries on the island aren't the type to stand around and wait for you to attack. And, when you do attack them, they certainly won't leave themselves open. They are constantly dodging, planning and fighting back -- making for a tough experience. There are, unfortunately, a few cheap moments where the AI tends to cheat a little. These moments tend to happen during the stealth aspects of the game. Enemies seem to be able to see or hear you no matter how far away you are, placing successful stealth in the hands of luck at times. The game offers five difficulty levels, with the main difference between degrees being the accuracy of their aim.

The save system is pretty bad, at least by PC game standards. Progress can only be saved at check points, which are sometimes hard to come by. When combined with the difficulty level, this leads to numerous times where you have to replay areas and hope you make it through okay. The option to save anywhere (or at least a limit to number of saves per area) would have been helpful.

Game Mechanics:

You're limited to a selection of 10 real-life guns ranging from a Falcon .357 pistol to an AG36 assault rifle. You also have access to a machete and a silenced pistol for when you have to do your work without drawing too much attention. In what is becoming a trend in the FPS genre, you are only allowed to carry four weapons at a time, making your selection crucial. Jack's arsenal isn't limited to just hand-guns and rifles. Scattered across the island are mounted turrets, grenades and a few gadgets. These include things like binoculars which not only let you see farther, but let you eavesdrop on people. In order to make travel across the island easier, Jack can also hop behind the wheel of seven different vehicles. These range from a Humvee and patrol boat to a delivery truck and, eventually, a hang glider.

Overall the control and general interface is good. The HUD shows you only what you need to know by fading out useless items, such as the weapon select bar. Running around the island is easy thanks to the game's responsive controls, although the vehicles don't always feel that great. Given that this is relatively uninhabited island, the conditions aren't always that great for jumping in a jeep. This lends a realistic flavor to the game, but also takes away some of the 'coolness' of getting in the vehicles in the first place.

Though difficult, Far Cry is a must have for any FPS fan. Yes, the system specs are steep and will certainly keep some people from the full graphical experience, but the gameplay is just as tight and something you don't want to miss.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

1GHz P3 or Athlon (2GHz P4 or Athlon XP 2000 Recommended); 256MB RAM (512MB RAM Recommended); 64MB 3D card (128MB 3D card Recommended); Direct X 9; Internet Connection for Online Play; 4 Gig HDD space

Test System:

Windows XP; Pentium 4 1.7 GHz; Radeon 9100 128 MB; 40 Gig HD; 640 MB RAM; Broadband Internet

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