I’ve never been that keen on First Person Shooters… or even first person games at all… if there is an option to play in first or third person then I go for third person every time… what’s the point in customising your Fallout character if you never see them on screen?
I’ll “occasionally” switch to first person when I’m creeping through a new location and trying (and usually failing) to stealth my way through… but that’s about it… the first person genre is just not my bag so to speak.
Naturally there are exceptions… if the game has something that makes it stand out from the crowd then I’ll bite the bullet and give it a go… enjoyed the rebooted Wolfenstein… but not enough to rush out and buy the DLC or the sequel, I had some fun with rebooted Doom but this ran out around two thirds of the way through the game and by the end I just wanted it to be over.
And then there are two franchises that I adore… Bioshock and Borderlands.
Bioshock stands out, the stories (at least in the first two) were decent enough and the inclusion of the Plasmids and Tonics worked really well in keeping the combat varied enough to keep me not only playing, but going back and replaying the games… the DLC for the sequel, Minerva’s Den, is one of the best chunks of DLC that I’ve ever played.
Borderlands is out and out the best loot game I’ve come across… the anticipation of opening up a weapons crate to see what it contained still holds strong, and I have to fight my urge to buy the Handsome Collection on the PS4 every time I see it on sale... the original also contains some decent DLC, the sequels DLC being very hit and miss.
In both these cases the third instalment is a bit of a let down… Borderlands The PreSequel was not a good game, felt padded out with a lot of repetitive tasks to drag it out to a respectable play time, and Bioshock Infinite was a triumph of visuals over story with one of the most obvious twists known to man, one so obvious Rhianna Pratchett could have penned the script.
Which brings me to the title here… my first visit to the world of Far Cry was the third numbered release, and one that a lot of people believe to be the best… myself included.
Saddled with a December release date the game was almost sent out to die, it had missed the big release dates of September and October and had just three weeks to sell before Christmas… not that I cared, it was a first person shooter and I don’t care for those.
Over the weeks I heard it being praised on various podcasts, not just a little… a lot, heaps of praise landed at it’s door and, when I saw it on sale after the holiday break for half price… I bought it.
And loved it.
It struck the right balance of exploration, combat, actual character progression (even if Jason Brody was a bit of a prick) and allowed you enough leeway that, should you so desire, you could just wander off and explore and totally ignore the main quest until there was nothing left to do.
I collected the Relics, even beyond the requisite number needed for Achievements, all the Lost Letters, all the Memory Cards, spent ages scouting out Command Posts to try and take then out without being spotted, dropped off supplies, went hunting rare animals to make myself a bigger wallet of weapons pouch… hunted pirates that were tormenting local villagers… blew up a lot of enemies and generally had a good time… before returning to the main quest when there was nothing left to do.
The panic that came over me when, having jumped into a large lake, I was instantly grabbed by a crocodile… which I didn’t even know were in the game, or on my first hunting trip looking for Boars to expand my inventory slots suddenly coming face to face with a Leopard armed only with a pistol.
That realising, in the second half of the game, that every time I jumped more than a couple of feet I was going to get the prompt to open my wingsuit even though I was clearly climbing a radio tower and would not be needing the sodding suit at all… in fact I only ever used that once in the game and that was when the plot decided I needed to in order to reach the southern islands.
Jump forwards a few years and I buy Far Cry 4 on the PlayStation 4 when I see it going for pennies on Ebay… granted I haven’t played it yet but I’ll get there soon.
Jump forward again and the setting for Far Cry 5 is revealed and I’m sold already… who doesn’t want to take down redneck bible bashers, explore nuclear bunkers filled with conveniently placed medical equipment and ammo, taking down hordes of soldiers to take over another outpost… I was sold.
Because the Far Cry formula works for me… I didn’t mind clearing radio towers in Far Cry 3 because they were a challenge, I don’t mind slowly taking back control of the area by clearing out outposts, slowly moving onto better weapons through progression, crafting medicine on the fly… I love all that.
So when half of this was all present in 5 it was almost a relief… I understand the formula needs a refresh… and with the progression through the story punctuated by taking down the siblings before confronting Joseph Seed once more (having started the game out by going to arrest him) was fine by me… even the weird scenes when you were out of your head on Bliss were fun… and despite the rather dodgy ending… I had a ball.
Even some of the DLC was passable, sure it got worse with each chunk… the Vietnam one being by far the best, and the only one that made the best use of the base game… having read the blurb for the final DLC that went untouched.
But… the best part of the season pass was getting a copy of Far Cry 3 Classic Edition thrown in, now that sells online for £24.99 on the PSN Store, the Gold Edition of Far Cry 5 cost me £58 so effectively £33 for the main game and the DLC… bargain, I’d have rebought Far Cry 3 any day of the week… as soon as it hits a sale on the Xbox I’m in there to go through it for a third time.
Going back to Far Cry 3 was a wonderful experience… sure Jason Brody is a bit of a prick (already said this but it needs repeating in case you were in anyway unsure) and there are occasions when the enemies guarding an outpost seem incredibly gifted at spotting you amongst the foliage when you take out a sniper from over a hundred yards away, steaming towards you when they shouldn’t even know which direction the bullet came from as they didn’t see the guy fall, just stumbled over his body.
I did my usual trick of ignoring the main quest when I hit the second island until I had nothing left to do (all collectables found, all outposts liberated, even a few of the short and sweet side missions were cleared) and then romped to the end of the game virtually unhindered.
I’d forgotten much of the story, not the hideous escort/protection mission early doors, nor the confrontations with Vaas… but I’d forgotten Sam the Mercenary on the south island and his demise later in the piece… I had so much fun with this replay that I went against all my playing for fun ideals of this year and activity went searching for a few hints to make sure I could Platinum the hell out of the game… such was my enjoyment.
Part of me wants to go through this all over again, part of me wants to ignore the 49 games currently in my backlog and order New Dawn now, despite the reviews it is, after all, more Far Cry goodness… what’s not to like?
Yet… I couldn’t give two f*cks about Far Cry Primal… I don’t care that they’ve reused the map from Far Cry 4 (after all they’re reusing a lot of the assets from 5 for New Dawn) in the slightest… but the game has always been about the gunplay, in the wrong hands or at times just for fun, the Far Cry games can turn into full on run and gun shooters… not spear throwing, rock axe wielding nightmares with animal taming thrown in for good measure… Primal is the sort of game I wouldn’t pick up even if it were free.
Years after picking up my first Far Cry game I have yet to regret it… even as a hater of the genre there’s something about these games that makes me forget that I can’t see my character… and if that means I can have fun, then I can happily continue playing the games for many years to come.