Far Cry 10th Anniversary Retrospective

Jungle to jungle.

Crysis may be the series that we most associate with developer Crytek, but it was Far Cry that put it on the map. The original Far Cry was a visual marvel, featuring a vast and gorgeous tropical island to explore, but it was more than just pretty. It was also a highly immersive game that made getting lost in its world both tense and joyous as it introduced elements that were more and more removed from the reality we know.

While some new Far Cry adventures would make their way to consoles packaged with the original game, it wasn't until 2008 that a proper sequel arrived, courtesy of Ubisoft Montreal. The game met with mixed reactions, but it found a passionate audience that loved its African setting and weapon degradation. Far Cry 3 met with wider acclaim, but it's the original game that has proven most important, providing a foundation not just for the Far Cry series itself, but for Crysis and its sequels as well.

Daniel Hindes

The thing I most fondly remember from my tropical vacation in the first Far Cry was the only thing that was excised from the series' later installments: its tone. Protagonist Jack Carver's bright orange Hawaiian shirt was a constant reminder of Far Cry's playful origins. This was a first-person shooter that didn't care about the evils of arms smuggling, or about the definition of insanity. It cared about saturating you with its colorful, open levels, and keeping you on your toes with what were, at the time, some of the most intelligent enemies I've ever seen in a shooter. These mercenaries actually used the jungle for cover, creeping behind plants and--get this--not shooting at you until they had snuck right up behind you for a kill shot. I can't remember a time in a game since then that an enemy has surprised me like that.

Of course, what's not surprising now is Crytek's desire to change up the enemy roster halfway through, such as the introduction of Crysis' aliens, or here, mutated apes. Once I started fighting these trigens in a volcanic caldera, I checked out. But until that point, Far Cry was a pure and refreshing shooter about bright colors, big guns, and loud shirts.

Kevin VanOrd

There comes a "Holy crap!" moment just minutes into Far Cry when the sight of your lush island prison is revealed to you for the first time. It's one of the most stunning sights I've ever witnessed in a game, and at the time, I couldn't believe my eyes. How could a game look this incredible? What was in store for me in this violent paradise?

I couldn't believe my eyes. How could a game look this incredible?

It was the best birthday present I could imagine, and the game arrived only a week after the awesome Unreal Tournament 2004. My time was split between both games afterward--Far Cry for its single-player thrills, and UT 2004 for the continuing excitement of onslaught matches. Far Cry was my personal jewel, however. I can still envision the heightened tropical ambience when swimming underwater, surrounded by impossibly vibrant fish and perfect round bubbles. I can still remember the opening cutscene, which begins with a rewind shot depicting floating flotsam reassembling itself into a sailboat. I still remember using the different rendering options, which let you change the look of the entire game. If you grabbed the recently released HD version (called Far Cry Classic), try turning on the cartoon setting, which makes the game look rather like Borderlands.

Crytek moved on to Crysis, and Ubisoft now handles the Far Cry franchise, and while both Far Cry sequels were great on their own terms, I miss the Island of Doctor Moreau vibe of the original. The series tastes best with a touch of the unnatural.

Shaun McInnis

My experience with the original Far Cry requires a little bit of backstory. Back in 2004, I was a sophomore at the University of Washington. In between reading stacks of 18th-century English novels and trying to convince myself that dirt-cheap beer wasn't so bad once you got used to it--college is a weird place--I somehow still managed to find time for video games. So here I was, browsing reviews on a little website called GameSpot.com, in search of that one game I should check out next. And that's when I saw it: Far Cry.

It was a review done by former GameSpot editor Jason Ocampo. I mention that because one year prior, I shared an English literature class with him and had absolutely no idea he went on to write about video games for a living. And that's what grabbed my attention. Yes, Far Cry looked great, but my PC at the time was a feeble Dell laptop--I was a console gamer back then. But seeing someone I had taken a class with was just too weird for me. I had to see what this game was about.

I'm glad I did, because that game was really something else. Even on my sad little laptop, Far Cry's jungle environment was amazing. The way prowling through lush foliage made you feel like a predator stalking its prey, the freedom with which you could approach enemies, the way everything just felt so reactive--it was one of the first games I could remember where I really felt like I was using the world around me as a weapon.

And it's a series that I still love to this day. Even as Crytek has moved on to different projects, I still enjoy the legacy that studio created. I'm just happy that a wild coincidence convinced me to take a shot on it in the first place.

Written By

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play Rock Band because he always gets stuck pla

Want the latest news about Far Cry?

Far Cry

Far Cry

Discussion

92 comments
billy19joseph
billy19joseph

I'm playing Far Cry Classic right now on PS3. Even after playing through the beautiful (yet ultimately mundane) Killzone Shadow Fall on PS4, this 10 year old legend still looks ok. Sure the textures, shadows, facial animation and everything else seem clunky, the overall vibrant aesthetic of the game holds up well. 
Crytek made this with a full colour spectrum, not every shade of grey and brown the way most FPSs are made today

wilhelmalexis
wilhelmalexis

Far Cry is the prototype to Crysis. Without Far Cry, there is no Crysis.

Gocha1
Gocha1

Everything that makes you impressed for the first time is always the best one, some could say it about Far Cry 2 as well, even not to mention Far Cry 3 and so on on any other franchises out there...

DieselCat18
DieselCat18

The original FarCry is and will always be the best of the series...I remember reading pre-release adds in different gamer mags and told myself I can't wait till this game comes out.


FarCry is on my all time 10 best list...That was a great time for gaming.

Paoksis
Paoksis

The first Farcry was simply amazing.Nostalgia all over damn it

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

I really wanted to like the Far Cry games -- to the point that I bought 1, 2, 3, and even the hilarious 


But in no case did I ever make it past 3-4 hours in any of them.  They're just... so... BORING. FC2 was undoubtedly the worst of the bunch, since the environment and characters are utterly uninteresting (not to mention the annoying malaria gimmick).


Worst feature: The save systems (or lack thereof).  SO annoying.


[clarification: I've literally spent thousands of hours in open-world games and FPSes over the years, and Far Cry's engines were always impressive.  So why can't they make anything engaging/interesting with those engines?]


Tr2et
Tr2et

Well, the original Far Cry is the best IMO since it gave me enough freedom without having me to do some useless work outside of the main story. At the time, it was really computer-killer and have much better visual (IMO) than Half life 2 and Doom 3 (released not long after Far Cry 1).

The only thing I disappointed is the last level, it is completely different from other level with lava flowing and monster shoot rocket on the plain hill, really stupid and hard level.

alien33
alien33

All FC games are excellent! The 1st has the best story and feel of an action/sci-fi movie (eg Predator), the 2nd has the best setting and the 3rd has the best gameplay mechanics and wild, Rambo-esque action.

billlabowski
billlabowski

 I heard they had to dumb down the A.I. for the console peasant edition. 

me3639
me3639

What i remember most is it was really difficult and the AI at the time was pretty smart.

anthracisb
anthracisb

2004 was a true landmark year in gaming. UT2004, Far Cry, Doom 3, Half Life 2, CS:Source, WoW, EQ2, WH40K: Dawn of War, City of Heroes ... and those are just the PC titles. Freakin' nostalgia city, yo.

Printul_Noptii
Printul_Noptii

FarCry 2 on the PC is still the best FarCry game.

Blankkus
Blankkus

I think the thing that awed me the most is how well cryengine ran even on low end machine. I was so surprised at the time that I was able to run the game on my pentium III with a geforce2 ultra. Of course I had to turn everything down but the game was very smooth and very playable. Going from outdoor than exploring inside an old WWII aircraft carrier was something that really blew my mind at the time.

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

The original Far Cry is a landmark in computer gaming history.  No question about it.  Far Cry 2, on the other hand is seriously under-rated.  I can't help but thinking that most gamers didn't get that game,  You need to play it on PC for the full visual experience, but it is passable on last gen consoles.  Graphics aside, the game is f'n brilliant.  If you play it and think "just another run-of-the-mill FPS" then go read Robert Conrad's "Into the Heart of Darkness" and play it again.  It's pure genius.  Spec Ops The Line (another great game) also leverages this same theme.  And you do realize that FC2 is a stealth game right?  I mean, only a fool would take the guns blazing approach and miss out on all the subtlety.

ruhcaleb
ruhcaleb

My best memories, playing Far Cry. One of the most inmersive experience i ever play.

ashb85
ashb85

One of the best games I've ever played.I started playing the game in 2007 and finished it on 2013 :-) . Very difficult game tho

Johny_47
Johny_47

Thanks for reminding me of my age, Gamespot *sarcasm*. I seem to be getting in your face reminders lately but the thing is, I honestly don't give a f*^k because I feel like a teenager, act like one a lot too haha =P


Great game, it's the only Far Cry I really love besides the cool Blood Dragon expansion.

vadertherad
vadertherad

As much as I enjoyed FC 2 and FC3, to me nothing tops the original. The first half or so of that game struck the *perfect* balance between free reign and beaten path. You could go check out various islands for sniper spots but you were also directed down a narrative. Stalking mercs through the jungle and listening to their banter never got old. Crysis 1 comes close to topping FC1, but even that didn't give quite as much of a "I love this" feeling. 

couly
couly

10 years holy crap. I remember thinking Far Cry was better than HL2.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

Far Cry was such a great game, and personally I enjoyed it more than Crysis.

The lush environments, the ability to drive a variety of vehicles (and a hang glider), the AI that stalked you through the jungle, and the choice to avoid some of the enemy camps if you wanted to, all made it a refreshing experience at the time.  Unfortunately I think they made a mistake with the Trigens, which became rather annoying, although I still managed to finish the game.  The later levels also became more linear as they funnelled you towards the final battle.

Far Cry remains one of my favourite FPS of all time, along with Half-Life 2 which was released the same year.

Drkr_Zen
Drkr_Zen

I need to play the original some day. My first FC was Far Cry 2 and I loved it. Recently played Far Cry 3 and let's just say I'm glad I only paid $15 for it... very disappointing compared to what introduced me to the series. But I guess that's kind of the way of a lot of series, especially with Crytek. First game is amazing, second is good and the third is just meh.


I'll have to nab Far Cry Classic the next time I think about it.

chechak7
chechak7

Farcry  was great game ....first open world game 

NightmareP3
NightmareP3

So many great memories playing this game, it was also the only game where me and my father played a single player campaign together to the very end.

We'd both gather around our PC and play the game for a good few hours straight, taking turns everytime one of us died which was often since Far Cry 1 would kick your ass alot.

captainwonton
captainwonton

I loved far cry instincts on the orginal xbox but that game froze on the last boss, and I tried to buy the wii version but that was truly terrible

manutdarsenal
manutdarsenal

"Hey Danny, I coulda totally slapped you but I didn't. Now do you trust me" lol

Daian
Daian

The first Far Cry will always have a special place in my gamer heart, it was like nothing before it and such an amazing setting. I hated the brown, repetitive FC2 though.

hitomo
hitomo

this game was maybe decent but the first Crysis took all of it and made it epic


FarCry only deserves to be mentioned as the game that came right before Crysis


especially since its brought donw to its knees by becoming a casual shooter for consoles

billzihang
billzihang

This is a classic game, remember it well-- especially the boat mission.

cratecruncher
cratecruncher

I'm more an rpg guy but I bought Far Cry based on a Gamestop recommendation.  Like Daniel Hindes, I remember being outflanked by an enemy squad I couldn't see and thinking "Shxx, these guys aren't screwing around!".  The level design wasn't just different, it was strategic.  I found myself playing levels over and over just to try different approaches.


The series has had it's ups and downs but I still think the original is the best one of the bunch.  Never before or since have I had so much fun with a shooter.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Bought Far Cry on Steam not too long ago now and tried playing it.

It runs like absolute garbage.  I can get frames well into the hundreds on Far Cry 2, but it drops down into the teens sometimes in the original.

Makes it completely unplayable.

hystavito
hystavito

@me3639 I wouldn't say it was highly difficult but yes the AI was impressive, and like Dan's comment, I feel as though AI in games has been stuck for ages or even going backwards.

XIntoTheBlue
XIntoTheBlue

@Printul_Noptii Don't know about that, really. I stopped playing FC2 some point in the middle due to lack of interest. Didn't help that the means to unlock access to more gear meant watching a caravan drive around in circles until you dealt with it. There were no consequences if you failed, you just waited until it drives full circle to get another shot. Wasn't my cup of tea. Then FarCry 3 came along, realizing all the extra things the player can do is copied all over the map. Already climbed a radio tower, hunted for a few things, delivered medical supplies, and liberated some outpost? Yay, you get to do all that over again for each section of the map. Not my thing, I guess.

AO490
AO490

@Printul_Noptii it was really fun game no doubt, hardly any games utilize Africa even though there's enough turmoil, sadness, beauty and many rich cultures to explore through video games. But the car damage and enemy spawning could get annoying real fast.  FC2 did a good job hardly giving you anything but a paper map to get around. 

mwamba1
mwamba1

@SingletreeAve I agree Far Cry 2 is underrated despite its flaws. Graphics aside, I still say it was good on console as well (thats where I played it). Nothing describes the tension of hiding in the grass with no radar and listening to guards to try and figure out where they were. Really good game. One of the best of last gen in my book

anthracisb
anthracisb

@SingletreeAve Agreed. I think FC3 was a greater let down. It felt way too "console" for me, and that's nothing against consoles - it just didn't have the authentic Far Cry feeling of 1 or 2, in my opinion.

vadertherad
vadertherad

@SingletreeAve Yes I loved the brutal combat in FC2 (much more than FC3). I loved how the UI was very minimal and you weren't constantly bombarded with glowing confetti all over the ground. Playing that game on hard made me feel like an actual predator. I loved entering the outskirts of a massive enemy base and picking individual guys off from damn near a mile away with that bolt action WW2-era sniper. I   preferred the slight depth of FC3's leveling system, but that was it. 

alien33
alien33

@chechak7  Wait... TES: Morrowind and GTA3 had came out before it!

Maxxgold
Maxxgold

@Daian The first game was awesome. These last 2 are junk. I'm amazed that they keep getting high scores because compared to the first Far Cry they are just bad. I'm not getting 4 unless they get back to the basics. 

terrariafan247
terrariafan247

@naryanrobinson Funny because my 'budget' laptop that I use for indie games with it's Intel Celeron processor (hold on to your hats!) runs it perfectly fine. Try dropping the graphics settings a little.

Paoksis
Paoksis

@hystavito @me3639


they fact that the AI was impressive is what made every moment of Farcry intense for me and thats why i have such feelings for this game.The fact that you had to be always on lookout and crawl in the jungle,use your environment because you knew that enemies were actually smart not some ragdolls,it made you feel like you were inside the game itself

SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

@vadertherad @SingletreeAve Oh yeah!  Glad to hear that someone else gets it.  Crank up the difficulty and use your wits to survive.  I also like the strong FC2 protagonist much better than FC3's Jason Brody, who is a very weak character in my opinion.  The dude wouldn't have lasted two seconds in FC2.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@Maxxgold I don't know what you dislike so much about FC2 and 3 (three in particular, I found 2 to be fairly monotonous).  I did kind of prefer the map style of FC1 and Crysis  though, where it was kind of pseudo-open-world, and had several very large stages that you work your way through.  I find that makes for more interesting environments in most cases than a full on, entirely open world.  

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

@terrariafan247 Is there one graphic setting in particular that destroys performance in this game on AMD cards or something?

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@hitomo  Lol, nope.  Crysis obviously built off the idea of Far Cry, but FC is still a great game in its own right.  The only thing Crysis really added was more physics and a power suit.


No idea where this "derp console garbage" comes from... obviously you're a noob and a PC fanboy....  PS,  Crysis is on console too.