With the Far Cry franchise riding higher than ever thanks to the critical and commercial success that Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon received over the past year, it makes sense that Ubisoft is hard at work on the next entry in the series. Before they get to that though, the company has decided to revisit the franchise’s roots with the release of Far Cry Classic. Originally developed by Crysis creator Crytek, Far Cry does not feature the open world environment that made the latest entries in the series such a hit, but it does lay the framework for it.
In Far Cry Classic, players step into the shoes of local business man with a mysterious past Jack Carver. After taking a young woman by the name of Val Cortez to a mysterious island in Micronesia, Carver’s ship is destroyed by a group of mercenaries. After swimming to shore, Carver is contacted by a local man named Doyle in order to stop ruthless Krieger Corp. CEO Dr. Krieger from unleashing a dangerous chemical on the public.
This is a very simple plotline that Far Cry still doesn’t exactly execute. For starters, Jack Carver is not a particularly fun protagonist to control. He’s either complaining about having to do anything or even worse, making awkward attempts at humor. Hearing him whine all the time is not exactly a compelling reason to keep playing and it’s not like you can get rid of him either. The other major storyline issue has to do with a plot twist that I will refrain from spoiling. If you have played the game before though, you probably know what else lurks on this island and probably feel very similar to how I feel about it. It was poorly planned out in the original title and it hasn’t gotten better with age.
Much like the storyline, the gameplay also hasn’t aged particularly well. Since this a port of a title released almost a decade ago, the gameplay feels as creaky and old as you would expect it to. The shooting mechanics were never particularly great in the original Far Cry to begin with, but they feel even more sluggish and stiff in comparison to later titles in the franchise. This is to say nothing of the vehicle controls, which are so sloppy and frustrating that I often preferred to spend more time walking around a mountain than attempt to drive a much faster truck.
One of the more ballyhooed features of Far Cry when it was originally released was the supposedly advanced enemy intelligence. In theory, the enemies are supposed to utilize the environment to their advantage and work in teams to overwhelm you. In practice though, the enemies are either crackshots who can sense your presence from 30 yards away with their back turned or idiotic bullet sponges who will charge at you until they drop dead. Neither is particularly welcome, mind you, but some consistency would have been nice at least.
The lush, tropical locales of Far Cry have also taken a major hit with this port. While the water effects and detailed foliage may have been top notch back in 2004, they are far from impressive now. In fact, the graphics may be even worse here due to some major pop-up issues and the occasional bout of crippling slowdown. There should be no reason for these mistakes, as again, this is a game from 2004 that Ubisoft claims they optimized for the Xbox 360.
When it comes down to it, Far Cry Classic feels like nothing more than a cheap cash grab from Ubisoft. The storyline is still terrible, the enemy AI hasn’t improved and the impressive graphics that helped mask those problems originally can’t save the game this time around.
Even at the low cost of entry, it’s hard to recommend Far Cry Classic over the subsequent entries in the series. Far Cry 3 does everything this game does, but better. It looks better, it plays better and the storyline is much better. Simply put, I can’t think of any reason why you would want to play this over the other games in the series, other than wanting to do so for completion’s sake.
This review is based off the Xbox 360 version of the title, which we were provided with.
As cheap feeling as they come, Far Cry Classic is a sloppy port of a game that already had its fair share of issues.