Ubisoft’s Far Cry has certainly come a long way since it first appeared. Back in 2004 – the game became a beacon for PC gamers who wanted to show off. It’s beautiful graphics and open gameplay attracted wide praise and lots of attention from the gaming world – rightly so too. In the years since, the series has landed on consoles and only gone from strength to strength. But not every outing has been a success. Fitting the game on all those consoles means cuts had to me made, and in some cases, those cuts ran deep. Let’s dive in and rank the Far Cry series of videogames!
10. Far Cry Vengeance (Wii) – The term “Wii Exclusive” in a multi-console series should have been a health hazard. Vengeance attempted to deliver the original Far Cry experience on Nintendo’s under powered console – to wildly varying degrees of accomplishment. The graphics look like garbage, textures blurry and smudged beyond laughable levels. The controls barely worked as the Wiimote desperately fought against your desires, trying more often than not aim at trees off to the side. Add in some of the worst cutscenes in the series, with laughably poor voice acting along with some of the worst scene editing I’ve seen in a AAA-franchise – and it’s clear why Vengeance is largely ignored by the series.
9. Far Cry Instincts Evolution (Xbox) – Continuing the Instincts line of the Far Cry series, this game went more over the top with the powers afforded to the main character. The decision to focus on this lends the game some interesting new ideas, but none of them deliver a satisfying gameplay alternative. The graphics look fine for a late-stage Xbox game but they’re nothing to shout home about. Interestingly the game featured a multiplayer mode that I’d argue was even better than the single player component. Shame you can’t really check that out anymore – as it was the best thing this title had going for it.
8. Far Cry Instincts (Xbox) – As a more rounded experience, the original Far Cry Instincts is the better experience in single player. Ubisoft sanded down the open-ended gameplay, offering a more cinematic and linear experience. While this ran contrary to the series core principles, it allowed the developers to have a more cinematic experience and delivered something different. Options were still available to the gamer, who had a wide selection of vehicles and weapons on offer. Using the world for cover was a hugely exciting feeling back in 2005 – and easily delivered one of the more impressive console shooters on Microsoft’s Xbox.
7. Far Cry Primal (PS4/Xbone/PC) – On the one hand, I have to applaud Ubisoft for taking their series into such a wildly different direction. Out went the machine guns and vehicles – in came woolly mammoths and spears. All the while, the game retains a huge sense of fun and interest. On the other hand, the Stone Age setting fails to mask the fact that the series was beginning to feel old and tired by this stage. It felt a little too similar to Far Cry 4 – which arguably did everything this game did better. It’s a noble effort, but one that doesn’t ultimately fit into the better experiences of the series.
6. Far Cry (PC) – Far Cry broke a lot of ground when it arrived on PC in 2004. While it wasn’t the first game to feature prominent shooting, vehicle riding or open-ended gameplay – the fact that it managed to marry all of these things together under one tight package was a hugely entertaining. Far Cry is a tour-de-force for 2004 shooters – brilliantly fun and beautiful to look at. The combat was fun while the vehicle sections had enough novelty about them to engage. This all being said though, around 2/3 of the way through the game – things take a notable nose-dive as the story seemingly plummits off a cliff. Things get very cheesy, the plot becomes inconsistent and the tropical locales become more and more populated with indoor corridors – arguably the games weakest aspect. Certainly a brilliant game – it hasn’t aged quite as well as you’d hope.
5. Far Cry Instincts Predators (360) – Basically a high-definition version of the original Xbox Instincts. The only reason this goes higher than that is because it bumps the graphics and takes advantage of the high-definition luxuries offered up to it. Predators retained a lot of the interesting ideas from the original Instincts, creating a decent first person shooter on the early 360 game. It’s the same solid experience, with a great multiplayer component.
4. Far Cry 2 (360/PS3/PC) – I’ve always had a thing against Far Cry 2, and I’ve not really understood why. When I played it the first time, it was hugely ambitious in scope. It was this huge open world experience, where you could explore and do things at your own pace. Sadly the characters within were always forgettable while the plot meanders wildly from interesting to outright dull. There’s plenty to do in the game, but not enough variety to hold such a grand stage up. The African setting was an interesting change of pace though, and it certainly laid the ground works for the series later outings.
3. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (360/PS3/PC) – When you’ve shifted as many games as Far Cry have, there’s always room for experimentation. Blood Dragon completely ejects the aesthetics of Far Cry 3 – replacing them with the 1980’s retro styling that made gamers gush. From the heavy 1980’s movie clichés all the way through to the corny catchphrases and 1980’s lighting – I can’t help but love every second of this game. Sure it gets a touch repetitive – but the DLC form factor works to Blood Dragon’s benefit here – delivering a quality action offering in the process.Blood Dragon is an outstanding slice of DLC that stands alone from the main series – and arguably deserves a revisit.
2. Far Cry 4 (Xbone/PS4/PC)– Rather than revolutionise the wheel, Ubisoft simply evolved it. Far Cry 4 is a more rustic game, with ambitions in the right places. The setting is gorgeous (Brought to life on current gen consoles like never before) while the villains of the story make for some of the best in the series. Exploring this world doesn’t feel like a chore, but an exciting adventure. Perhaps the most impressive feat – the game opened itself up to co-operative play. It was a great step for the series and while it feels slightly too similar to Far Cry 3 (A problem made worse in the Primal spin-off) there’s a lot to like with this game.
1. Far Cry 3 (360/PS3/PC) – Could it be anything else? Far Cry 3’s arrival marked a huge transition for the series. While up to this point the games had been fun, it always felt like it was trying to achieve technical brilliance over effortless fun. Here the borders are ripped down, as you’re handed an entire tropical island to explore and the keys to do as you please. Sure you can follow the main plot – but you can also go off and do any number of side-quests. The gunplay was effortless while the story was actually interesting for a Far Cry game – managing to make exploring the beautiful paradise an exciting prospect. Far Cry 3 is arguably the most rounded, well-thought out entry in the series – and it shows throughout. There’s very few games on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 that managed to capture the sense of adventure quite like this game. Certainly a contender for one of the best games of the last console generation.