Improving on the Past
Throughout the years the Far Cry series has dipped players into a number of interesting, corrupt and overall dangerous worlds filled with unique characters and enticing gameplay mechanics. While the core of the series has largely stayed the same, many aspects have come and gone in the series mostly making for a much more enjoyable experience.
With Far Cry 5 Ubisoft Montreal has discarded many unnecessary aspects that, more often than not, hindered a few elements of the experience. While initially these ideas helped add a unique twist to gameplay, discarding the otherwise minor annoyances has allowed the series to continuously grow into a thrilling sandbox adventure title that keeps players coming back for more.
Far Cry 2 brought the series to life with a bigger emphasis on exploration, as well as a much heavier dose of a true survivalist experience. While the realistic details at the time were something not found in standard gaming, as players pushed their way through Central Africa many of the new ideas were slowly wearing thin. One of the most aggravating when in the midst of combat was the slightly irritating weapon degradation system.
At first, the thrill of your gun jamming based on the status of your firearms was an unpredictable and exciting occurrence. It added a sense of depth and realism to the FPS genre that was able to truly immerse players within the combat itself. As players obtained more currency and opted to purchase brand new weapons in hopes to negate the jamming issue, eventually even new weapons degraded. Of course, repairing weapons was also an option, but the further players pushed into the game the more redundant the constant jamming/repairing became. Although realism to a degree is exciting and can often become a game changing experience, there’s a fine line where certain aspects can hinder the gameplay altogether.
Also presented in Far Cry 2 – as well as a slight appearance in Far Cry 4 – the GPS tracker offered a unique take on discovering nearby key items or precious loot. In Far Cry 2 players would follow the blinking green light on their equipped GPS device leading them to rare diamonds hidden within Africa. Pulling out your GPS, staring down at the little light which blinked in response to the direction players would face and following it to the location of the precious diamond eventually began to feel more like a bothersome chore than unique side content.
Using the blinking green GPS tracker was indeed a unique spin on exploration and discovery, but also halted the often fast-paced gameplay that accompanied the game’s formula. After awhile finding the hidden rocks grew tiresome and soon felt like busy work to help fluff up the massive open world. “Scavenger hunts” and “lost and found” tasks are great when provided in small doses, but as a method of discovering some of the game’s most prized currency certainly feels like more of tedious grind fest than invigorating progression.
Ever so gradually the Far Cry series has began to open players up to the idea of tackling massive open world maps in any direction they choose. Hindered in the past by multiple islands, one being locked until around the halfway point of the game – players were able to complete the first areas with a subtle sense of freedom. Not until the most recent release in Far Cry 5 have players had the chance to tackle the entire game in whichever way they see fit.
It’s not just the essence of embarking on your journey in any direction right off the bat in which makes the latest entry so thrilling, but having the ability to continuously shift from one region to the next whenever you’d like. In the middle of liberating the southern region but events seem to be heating up quicker than you can keep up, then pop on over to one of the other two regions and start trying your hand for a while there. And if things stack up again, head on over to the last region and began your county-wide reign.
And if the cluttered progression isn’t your thing, you’re always welcome to accomplish tasks and missions the old-fashioned, more linear method of yesteryear. It’s the option to do so which makes the new-aged Far Cry much more approachable and intriguing than in the series’ past.
Live Action Map Screen
Realism in gaming is a much-welcomed addition to any team looking to add more depth into their open world. Bringing up pause menus and map screens are about as unrealistic as they come, allowing players a quick breather to regain their focus, or perhaps just check out the surrounding areas on their map. In Far Cry 2, the presence of a live map pulled up by the protagonist’s hands in real-time was one of the most unique features found in the modern-day FPS title.
However, the realism doesn’t always sit well with fans after some time has passed to digest the foreign ideas. Bringing in a map screen in which doesn’t pause the game proved frustrating for many players who’ve been relentlessly mowed down by enemies all because they were trying to locate the nearest safe area on their on-hand map. The realistic look of pulling out your map was certainly a thrilling sight, but proved more trouble than it’s worth later down the line for the Far Cry sequel.
Another abandoned child of Far Cry 2, when struck with a severe case of malaria near the beginning of the game players would be tied down by this ongoing ailment for the rest of the campaign. Taken over by a yellowish tint, hindered movements and eventually passing out, players would be forced to ingest medication in the middle of whatever they were doing continuously throughout the game.
The malaria outbreaks were timed events that was a part of the survival in the hot African territory. Popping the specific pills in the midst of an attack was every part of the Far Cry 2 experience as firing a range of impressive firearms. The constant nagging of sickness probed at players and was easily one of the more frustrating aspects to the true survival approach in the game. Luckily, malaria is pretty scarce in Montana.
Perhaps the most welcome change within the Far Cry series – the repetitive task of scaling radio towers to unlock portions of the map left players immensely burned out over the years. Not only is the disappearance of the tower climbing in Far Cry 5 one of the many highlighted changes in the game, but also allows a more natural method of discovering the land around you within the game.
Unlocking huge sections of the map, additional tasks, designated hunting areas and valuable loot all by scaling tower after tower became part of what is commonly referred to as “the Ubisoft formula”. The repetition branched even further outside of the Far Cry series and began taking over nearly every open world game from the veteran publisher/developer titan. After a very vocal community, it seems Ubisoft has listened a bit in turn leading to some very impressive recent releases ridding themselves of similar tedious fetch-questing tasks in previous entries; and their most recent release of Far Cry 5 just might be their most impressive yet.
After the majority of the Far Cry games have seen a healthy dose of success, it’s nice to see large developing teams still looking for new ways to increase the entertainment value for long-running series, such as Far Cry. Be sure to check back with us soon for our official video review of the recently released Far Cry 5.