Way back in 2004 a then-unknown developer called Crytek released the first game in what would become the Far Cry series, wowing players with its impressive visuals and sprawling, outdoor maps. Crytek moved on to creating the Crysis series, Ubisoft bought up Far Cry and continues to make new entries to this day. Some 15 years and 11 games later, the franchise’s mix of open-world exploration and over-the-top FPS action continues to make it one of Ubisoft’s most popular.
Every Far Cry game likely has its fans, but some are definitely better than others. So, with the recent release of Far Cry 6, it seemed like a perfect time to revisit every Far Cry game and rank ‘em from worst to best.
10. Far Cry Instincts / Evolution / Vengeance (2005/6)
Ubisoft’s first move after acquiring the property was to develop an Xbox port of the PC original. It cut out a lot of the open-world gameplay and added some weird superpowers that were fun, but not as much as the lush, open maps of the PC version. Ubisoft would follow this up with another console-only sequel, confusingly named Far Cry Instincts: Evolution. This was more of an expansion than a full-on sequel, got ported to Wii as Far Cry Vengeance, and few people have reason to remember it in 2021. Which is fine. None of these iterations are much worth revisiting today.
9. Far Cry: New Dawn (2019)
The post-apocalyptic Far Cry 5 spin-off, New Dawn, looks stunning, with pops of neon pink and other wild colours everywhere. But it brings back the powers from Far Cry Instincts, which is odd, while also adding more RPG-like mechanics to the usual Far Cry loop. It’s all fine, but a meh storyline and bland villains make it hard to rank this one too much higher.
8. Far Cry (2004)
The original that started it all, Far Cry, now feels like an odd instalment in the series it spawned. This is a very different game than what would follow. Its levels are huge and give you many different ways to take on objectives, but it’s not an open-world shooter. At the time it was visually stunning, and its gameplay (mostly) holds up in 2021. However, the introduction of weird monsters and some other baffling late-game design choices make it harder to return to these days.
7. Far Cry: Primal (2016)
I’ll admit, I rolled my eyes when I heard Ubisoft was making a prehistoric Far Cry starring cavemen. But it was a lot better than I expected. I still vividly remember running through its stone-age jungles at night, a torch in hand, terrified of all the huge animals lurking in the shadows. Primal also introduced the animal companions that have become a big part of the series. Its major downside is that all the cavemen grunting and “talking” in their made-up language makes it hard to care much about the paper-thin narrative.
6. Far Cry 5 (2018)
Setting a Far Cry game in America was a bold choice, and one which felt like a smart move at the time. But Ubisoft doesn’t really take advantage of the setting or the characters, pulling its punches and not picking any side with its middle-of-the-road narrative about cults and religion. Thankfully, the rest of Far Cry 5, including its open world, combat, and side-quests, make up for some of this. In particular, its prepper stashes are perfect, featuring small puzzles and platforming challenges hidden in different parts of its digital recreation of Montana.
5. Far Cry 6 (2021)
The newest entry in the franchise, Far Cry 6 features a gorgeous tropical open world filled with fantastic side-quests and activities. It also contains a large cast of useful animal amigos, including an alligator and a deadly chicken. Its main villain doesn’t get enough screen time, which is becoming a trend in recent Far Cry games, but I still had a blast exploring the world. The hidden treasures are especially fun to find and complete, and the weapon modification system gives you more options for how you want to arm yourself.
4. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (2013)
The first “weird” spin-off, Blood Dragon is a smaller take on what is now a franchise tradition. Like Primal and New Dawn, Blood Dragon takes the engine and assets of the most recent mainline entry (Far Cry 3, here) and builds upon them to create something smaller, weirder, and memorable. Blood Dragon is a neon-soaked parody of all those hilariously terrible ‘80s era sci-fi action films. It also roasts video game tropes, like tutorials, and features some of the coolest weapons ever seen in the series. There’s a reason that, all these years later, Far Cry 6 and other Ubisoft games still reference Blood Dragon.
3. Far Cry 4 (2014)
In many ways, Far Cry 4 is just more Far Cry 3. But considering how great Far Cry 3 is, that’s not a bad thing. And after all the tropical and desert settings from the previous games, setting a Far Cry game in a more mountainous and snowy region was a smart move. I also think Pagan Min might be my favourite Far Cry villain. He’s both evil and formal, the kind of guy who will stab you in the face for sneezing, but with style and a scary smile. Far Cry 4 also added more vehicles and introduced the grappling hook, adding more verticality to the world.
2. Far Cry 3 (2012)
Compared to what would come after, Far Cry 3 feels simple. The world isn’t as big as in later games, there aren’t as many guns or vehicles to play around with, and there’s no loot or gear to find. But I think the overall gameplay loop of Far Cry 3, which has you hunting for towers and animals to find new missions and unlock upgrades, is still satisfying. It’s just nice to explore these scenic islands, which feel quieter than the action-movie-like worlds of later games. And Vaas, one of the game’s main villains, is also iconic, with his (admittedly hokey) insanity speech still referenced to this day.
1. Far Cry 2 (2008)
There exist some Far Cry players who hate Far Cry 2. They despise the way weapons break, or the more realistic tone and approach to combat. However, these features, along with the buddy system and a unique African setting, also make Far Cry 2 stand out among all the other games. No Far Cry title has quite captured the feel of Far Cry 2. You really do feel like you are fighting for your life at times.
While some may find it a bit dull compared to later outings, it might be time for this slower and less bombastic tone to return. The Far Cry 3 formula has had ample chance to develop. It’s overly familiar now. Now seems like the best time to shake things up and return to the more grounded, survival-focused feel of Far Cry 2. As former Kotaku writer Harper Jay once said, “[Ubisoft] should look back to Far Cry 2, a game that wasn’t afraid to let things break.”
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