Where to start, where to start? Well, first let me tell you that I am a huge FPS (first-person shooter) fan, whether it's mindless fragfests like Serious Sam or stealth-oriented action like Deus Ex or the Thief series. I've been waiting for the "next big thing" in FPS for quite some time, namely Half-Life 2, but I think the next big thing has arrived sooner than expected, and its name is Far Cry.
Using the supercool Crytek engine, Ubisoft has created a game that features sensational graphics, terrific AI, decent plot, and unusual locales, namely the Caribbean. Where this game stands out is its graphics engine, which lets you see for miles and offers an unparalleled setting ever seen in a computer game. But be warned: don't expect to just walk into huts on the sand and start blasting away at mercenaries. These guys are good, calling for cover and flanking you every chance they get. You'll have to think about how you're going to approach each mission, and even then, you'll be required to make quick adjustments, thanks to the assault jeep that just showed up right behind you or the gunship that is raining missles from the sky. No two missions are alike, as the AI learns as they go, adjusting to your moves and reacting accordingly. Terrific stuff.
The voices are a little over-the-top, which absolutely fits this very over-the-top game. The standard "mad scientist creates some monsters from human DNA" plot is a bit trite, but the presentation of the entire game makes up for it, with engaging cut scenes and terrific direction to your next objective. Overall, though, sounds lend a distinct feel to the game, as the birds chirp when you're outside on the island and waves lap against the shore, or your pinned underneath a palm tree with a chopper armed to the teeth sending death from above, the whup-whup-whup filling your ears as the world goes black.
Real-world weapons are at your disposal four at a time, and they do the job very nicely. Crouching and arming yourself with an MP90 in the islands has never been so much fun. And you can drive many, if not all, of the vehicles in the game, including jeeps, assault trucks, gunboats, and even hangliders, which is a nice change of pace from the usual duck-cover-shoot tasks involved with each mission.
Each mission is very well defined, but by no means is this game linear. You can get to the endpoint any way you want. If you want to take the whole guerilla army on headfirst, go right ahead. If you want to sneak around and shoot them from underneath the huts, you can do that too. Ubisoft has put the entire game in your hands, and it makes for some truly exciting, innovative gameplay. Some people will have a problem with the difficulty level and overall problems with getting it running at decent speed on a minimally equipped system, but look past this. Also, the auto-save system is a little annoying (no quick saves), forcing you to go through the same mission until you get it right and it reaches the next auto-save point.
Not since Half Life has a game been so immersive, so unique, and so rewarding in its gameplay. Far Cry presents PC gamers with a tough challenge that shouldn't be missed.
Radeon HD 5970
Core 2 Quad Q9550
6 GB DDR2
64-bit Windows 7.