Ever wanted to feel like the legendary John Rambo?
If you did, I might have some good news for you.
In Far Cry you will impersonate the unlucky Jack Carver, a poor tourist who didn't know that sailing for a certain unnamed island in the Pacific could have been his last vacation: once there, in fact, his boat is hit by a rocket, his girlfriend kidnapped and he is chased by an entire army of mercenaries.
Even if it has a couple of nice twits, the plot is quite clichèd and fairly uninteresting, but don't worry: this is not a game you play for the narrative, but for the excellent gameplay.
Alone, cornered and unarmed, you will have to fight like a Commando while moving throughout the archipelago, working hard to survive and overcome the overwhelmingly bad odds that being and intruder in a secret operation area don't fail to provide.
Despite what you might have heard, Far Cry is neither a Stealth game nor a real open world one; in its core, it is a quality first person shooter trough and trough, with some basic stealth elements that perfectly blend in and with a good number of large and open maps that allow the player to choose how to approach their objectives. Under this regard, there are always many radically different ways to complete an outdoors map; the same cannot be said about the very linear indoors ones, yet they represent a minor part of the game -and they still remain much more interesting than those you may find in the average post-2005 shooter.
While sometimes you will be able to entirely avoid encounters by sneaking away form the danger, this game is clearly based on combat, and stealth just serves to enrich the array of possibilities you can engage the enemies with: since the mercs will always outnumber and surround you, you will have to conceal yourself in the foliage, proceed slowly to remain unheard and crawl through narrow spaces to reach a vantage position.
The detailed realism plays a big part in the combat system: each weapon (there are many, but you can carry only four at a time) has its own peculiarities, varying from the others not only the rate of fire, precision and sheer power, but also for weight (influencing both your moving speed and accuracy in aiming), noise, recoil and fire modes; targeting different body parts results in different amount of damages, and just a few bullets can prove to be lethal, for you as for your enemies; health and armor do not regenerate, forcing you to rely on medkits and bulletproof vests; the physics, especially for what concerns driving vehicles (both on land, water and air), are always very believable; the line of sight and awareness of the AI emulates reality, meaning that each time you can see someone, no matter how distant, that someone may also see you, especially if you are not hidden I the jungle and if they have scopes or binoculars. Also, the mercenaries will not simply come towards you like zombies (as most shooters -or worse, “role playing shooters”- seem to do, today), but will try to flank you, use cover, move away from your line of fire and call for help or reinforcements -sometimes via air or water.
A point I have particularly appreciate dis that the game does not hold your hand: sometimes the difficulty can be really brutal (I played it one step below the maximum), but that pushes the players to focus on survival, making them rely on predatory tactics, ambushes, carefully aimed shots and attention to the sounds (you may hear enemies talk, reloading or crawling through the grass, foreseeing their moves or try to locate and hit them before you can actually see them).
A big criticism I could move is that, if you are shooting from very far away (when you can barely see them with scopes), all those positive aspects suddenly disappear, making enemies dumb like a practice dummy.
The graphic engine works wonders to enhance the experience: 11 years have passed since its release, yet the Cryengine still does not fail to impress, with remarkably detailed polygonal models, textures and effects (imo, the dispersion of blood in water is among the best I have ever seen).
The lush tropical island offers many breath-taking views, and the zealous attention to details makes exploring it a real pleasure.
All in all, I have really enjoyed Far Cry, and I could recommend it to every lover of “survival” shooters.
Edit: The full list