Farcry appeals to skill and sense

Farcry, developed by Crytek and published by Ubisoft, is a milestone in first-person shooter games. It seamlessly blends technology into gameplay in a completely new way. Despite being system intensive, Farcry brings so many new concepts to the genre that it shouldn’t be missed.

The story is minimalistic. The player controls boat captain Jack Carver who is hired by a reporter to sail out to an island. Upon getting close, a rocket fired from the island demolishes the boat. Jack washes ashore, wakes up and the game begins.

Graphics are immediately the most noticeable feature. Farcry is easily the prettiest shooter out there, with incredible detail and insane draw distances. The variety of fauna, brilliant lighting and environmental effects all create an unmatched ambiance.

For example, in one level the player’s goal is to demolish a satellite dish that sits atop an island. From the starting point – a small boat in the water at the base of the island – I could see all the way to the satellite on top of the island nearly 2 miles away. Using binoculars, I could even pick out guards walking near the installation.

Extremely realistic-looking enemies and robust AI add to the experience as well. Since the guards are sharp, most of gameplay will be spent sneaking through the island’s underbrush to get the drop on the guards. The graphical prowess of the game actually puts the player there, making such moments tense and exhilarating.

From time to time, the player can commandeer a number of vehicles, ranging from a jeep to a giant truck to a hang-glider. This adds some flavor and variety to gameplay. During one point in the game, you even battle a Blackhawk helicopter from a hang glider – a scene that captures the over-the-top action feel of the game.

The game plays through similarly to Half-Life, with a long load at the beginning of every level. Other than a brief auto-save at certain checkpoints, the rest of the level continues interrupted.

The single-player campaign comes in at about 20 hours, which is quite respectable for a first-person shooter. Multiplayer is present, but not as ground-breaking as the single-player experience. It offers deathmatch, team deathmatch and assault.

Due to all of the graphical niceties, a beast of a computer is required to run this game at full potential. A two-gigahertz machine with a modern video card is recommended, but not necessary.

Farcry brings so much to the table that it’s the first game of a new generation of shooters. The incredible graphics, sound, AI and level design all combine seamlessly to present a game that’s not only a marvel to watch, but also a true delight to play.

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