Preview By: Gabriel Strange | Posted: 06/03/2004
Theres many things Far Cry is and many things it isn't, for one it, won't end world hunger, it wont be the best game of all time, and it won't be the last game you will buy and rave about, however it's one step in the right direction. All I have to base this on is the five level preview, so I can only draw a few conclusions, and cannot give the game the full rating yet. From what I have experienced I have a mixed bag of feelings. Though this game should appeal to me, I have a feeling I probably won't like it as much as I did games like Quake 2 and Unreal. It's not that's it's a bad game, but I think it's keyed to a specific audience, and I'm not really part of that audience.
The audience I can see this appealing to the most is the 'Online Gamer' and 'Moding people.' As this is only five levels and roughly a quarter of the game. I can say the single player game is not what this is about; it took me about one hour to complete the first four levels of the preview.
Yet I could not even get to the first checkpoint of the fifth level, because its mutants were just too damn hard. When I say hard I mean it, head shots won't kill them and it takes about five shotgun blasts at close range to do them over, by which time they have hit you once and removed about 80% of your health, with no grenades to start with I just gave up.
Though the preview was not the first five levels of the full product, they were levels taken from different areas of the game, so the difficulty level will jump around, but it went form a being rather easy, to completely impossible. This I hope does not reflect upon the real game, if it does people will be really annoyed they have managed to get close to the end in a few hours and now they cannot get through the last few levels. I think the difficulty curve needs some refining before the game is released.
The basic story form what I can work out is thus: you play Jack Carver, a chap who was running his own boat business in the islands of Micronesia, his past is something you wouldn't want to tell your mother about. While doing work for your new assignment for Valerie Constantine (No relation to John Constantine, I hope.) Soon after meeting her you start to realise, paradise is going to hell. You start the game after your boat has been destroyed by mercenaries and have escaped to a deserted bunker.
Overall I was impressed by many aspects of the game, even if a few things did get on my nerves from time to time.
Once you have settled down with your keyboard and control configuration, much of the actual game play is flawless. Though I have not had chance to test this online yet so I cannot comment on how well it works in a multiplayer. Most actions are smooth and you get a good vibe from the way everything handles in the game.
The gun combat has been designed to be very realistic (well until the later levels). You can zoom in with most rifles and take out the enemy at what I would say is about half a mile away. With the Sniper you can get head shots at the same distance.
Other aspects, such as the 'Artificial Idiocy', have come along leaps and bounds. Though not perfect, it works well, from team tactics to grouping and formations. The only real problems are the jumpy enemies, who jump in and out of cover to try and see you, it looks a bit silly. Oh and the cover seekers, when an enemy get the idea to run for cover they will do at all costs, even if it means running directly past you. While running for cover they tend not to shoot, so it makes them easy pickings.
After some tweaking with the options I managed to get the game to settle on something which looked good and played well. Though if your hardware is not up to scratch you will experience many graphics glitches with higher quality options. This is odd really considering I'm running a 'Quadra DCC 700XGL', a card similar to what the developers might be using and I still have problems with glitches. Ah well I guess I will have to look into getting an upgrade in the near future. Still once settled on a good set of parameters the game ran smoothly and glitch free.
Each level is rich in detail, and has a view point which stretches in to infinity, so no fogging or obvious popup. The only problem I found with the graphics in not actually the graphics but a lot of the foliage seems pointless, so you may as well turn down the environment detail to low. As is seems that you cannot hide in the tall grass because most of them are just decoration and the enemy can see directly through them even though you are not visible. This is sad really as the game looks good with all the extra stuff in, but you cannot use it for cover.
Most of the character models and other aspects of the game are done well, everything seems quite smooth and well thought. One glitch I did notice with the game engine and I should think this will be sorted for the final release is drastic frame drop. This happens on occasions when you change some settings, I have tried everything from restarting the game to shutting down the PC and that doesn't cure the problem. The only way around it I found was to go back to checkpoint two for the first level, and walk from the interior to the exterior, and the problem is cured. If this is not fixed by the time the game hits the shelves, just remember level one, checkpoint two, and walk outside, I used this section of the game to test all my settings. I'm not sure what causes this whether it's a bug in the code or my PC configuration. At least now you know how to solve the problem, and work round it if the developers cannot hammer the bug out in time for release.
Not the best aspect of the game, some sounds such as the voices of the enemy and gun fire are great and realistic. Others just get on your nerves, such as the walking sound and swimming sounds are just too repetitive. However there was a note with this preview to say they are working on some of the sounds so lets hope that these are just place marker sounds and something new will be developed.
Things that go boom in the night?
A lot of work has been put in to the game engine, you can tell this by shooting many of the things you find around the island. Gas barrels are my favourite as the blast radius is mental, you can watch boxes go flying past you and all sorts of stuff get blasted away. Other neat aspects make you sit and think the developers have put a lot of thought into creating the next generation of FPS engine. But sadly I think the single player mode is lacking.
Other cool things like the physics engine is great, you can even sit and watch your kills slide down steep slops, or push a barrel down a hill to knock out your enemy.
At this stage of development, I have mixed bag of felling about Far Cry, it could be a ground breaking game or it could just be the next online gamers dream. Only time will tell on this.
If the single player aspect stays linear and as easy and short as it is, then this game will still do well with the online community.
However it is still impressive in places and a big let down in others, overall the engine is superb and the developers need to give themselves a good pat on the back. But let's hope something better happens to the single player before release. As I hate games you can finish on the day of purchase and I feel this is going to be one of those. Or maybe they are planning a sequel which will be more single player bias, like the old games Midwinter and Hunter.
Current Rating I would give the game: 68%
Far Cry is like a box of Chocolates, theres always the flavours you despise.