Jack Carver makes his living transporting cargo and tourists around the remote islands of the South Pacific. When he is hired by a journalist named Valerie to escort her to one of these, the trip turns out to be anything but routine. As they approach an uncharted island, Jack's boat is blown out of the water and when he comes to his senses Valerie is nowhere to be seen. Suddenly, Jack finds himself being hunted by mercenaries. However, someone named Doyle, who seems to know a lot about what's going on, makes radio contact and steers him in the direction of where Valerie is being held captive. Unfortunately the island is crawling not only with mercs, but also with genetically engineered monsters. The odds are not in Jack's favor.
This game is very hard. On normal mode, you will die often. Strangely though, it's not nearly as frustrating as some games where this happens. I suspect it's because each replay offers considerable choice in how you approach the problem, so that you don't have to do it the same way over and over again and get bored. The environments are huge and you can creep around in the lush growth and stroll along the beaches as much as you like. Well, maybe not stroll, as the mercs are everywhere. As this is my second time through this, I didn't stop to smell the roses on this round, but the first time I wandered around for hours exploring everything.
Jack can carry a flashlight and up to four weapons plus three types of grenades. If you come across a different weapon, you'll have to discard one in your inventory. Pick-ups also include health, armour, ammo, detonators and keycards. The most useful item by far, however, is the binoculars. It has a motion detector that allows you to find and track distant enemies and a directional mike that allows you to hear noises from a great distance. Once you capture an enemy on the binoculars, he shows up in your HUD as a colored triangle, which grows larger as he gets nearer to you. The best strategy is to scout areas first with these, keeping in mind that you may not catch those who are hidden and can still sneak up on you. This keeps you constantly on your toes, but by far the binoculars are your best friend.
The game employs both stealth tactics and open combat. Jack is almost always outnumbered. Often there is danger from the skies with armed mercs firing on you from helicopters as they drop fresh troops when you trigger the alarms. The island is replete with sniper and rocket launching watchtowers as well. There are also plenty of vehicles to be stolen in order to traverse the vast spaces, but if you lose it, it can mean a long walk. However, using vehicles will draw unwanted attention to yourself and may not be the best strategy. Not too far in, monsters will be added to the mix. There are several different kinds and some of these are very fast and dangerous and need to be taken out from as much distance as possible. One hit from them can do serious damage.
I have to repeat that this game is exceedingly challenging even on normal. The AIs, for the most part, are not dumb in this game. They will not stand around waiting for you to kill them, but will call for help in numbers if alerted. If conflict takes place outdoors, there is plenty of room to maneuver and change tactics and approaches, but indoors combat becomes a little more traditional in style.
The one thing you may not like is the checkpoint system of saving. Officially, there is no quicksave or manual way of saving your game. (see tech issues below for a way around this). Although the checkpoints are not really far apart, they are usually before and after a particular mission is accomplished. This can be a little frustrating after you have eliminated all but the one maverick who gets in that lucky shot. You will then have to start from the last checkpoint and do it all over again.
The cryENGINE renders this game pretty seamlessly and it shows and plays really well. It would be nice to have a real holiday in the South Pacific, but if you can't afford one you might want to purchase Far Cry just to experience the virtual vacation. I can't think of a better place (minus those pesky guys with the guns of course.) You've never seen such blue skies, white sand and crystal clear waters. This game is a total visual panorama.
The controls are just what I like; not too many and not in awkward combinations. Given the vast expanses and differences of scenery, there was no lag or loading problem like in many sandbox games. FarCry received high praise and rightfully so. It's undoubtedly one of the best of first person shooters around even by today's standards. It's hard to find any of its various elements to complain about. It has just about everything you could want, a great story, spectacular visuals, more than your money's worth in length, challenging and has great replay value. So what are you waiting for? This is a must have if you like this genre.