It may be far shooting, but it's not overly far from being an above average shooter!
The game market nowadays seems to be flooded with FPS's. From your classic brain-dead kill-fests like Serious Sam 2 to your underwear staining 'shoot 'n run away screaming' horror shooters like F.E.A.R., any fan of the genre has plenty to choose from. This means that each game has to earn its pricetag, in order to convince you to part with that cash. That means either being really original, or being really cheap.
With Far Cry, it does that job somewhat sufficiently due to a combination of those two.
Far Cry (Note that some people can spell it without a space, much like how it is spelt on the game's cover.), from Ubisoft, is an amazing shooter that falls short due to it's equally as amazing ability to tax your system.
You play as Jack Carver, a boat skipper who happens to have military training, which is mentioned in the game about once briefly. On a routine trip with some woman named Val, your boat is inexplicably hit with an RPG, leaving you alone and without transport on an island teeming with people trying to kill you, or at least that's the impression you have. Why else would they have RPG'd your boat? Anyway, you soon find a comm device left behind convieniently by a merc, with which a man named Doyle contacts you and gives you directions, objectives and such. After that, it's pretty much shoot the people, drive the car/boat/hang-glider, jump out, shoot the other people, etc. Not very innovative.
But the AI certainly is innovative. Far Cry is one of those elite few games where the developers knew that AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, not something like Anti-Intelligence or Artificial Idiocy. These mercs will flank you, guide you with their bullets and generally make you think twice about starting an unneccesary firefight. Chances are you'll buy the farm a couple of times before getting much into the game itself, due to their powers of team based smack-down.
Not that you'll be defenceless. Over the game you'll come across rather a few guns, such as the classic M4 Carbine, the ever so capable P-90 and the rather meaty OICW. As Jack has only 4 shots for weapons (3, if you do what I did and carry a knife at all times), you'll often have to trade in your old guns for some new ones, but the mercs often co-ordinate their armaments, so ammo should never be too far away.
And if ammo is rather distant, you could always get a ride. There are quite a number of vehicles in Far Cry, ranging from armored jeeps to patrol boats and even a hang glider to use at some points. Usually when you need a vehicle one will be convieniently supplied to you, possibly under merc protection. If a vehicle is just handed to you, chances are you can 'borrow' a better one from the mercs anyway. Just, make sure not to get your squishy grey matter all over the ground.
The nicely rendered ground. Far Cry has some of the best graphics I've seen yet in a video game. Unfortunately, I couldn't see them in all their shiny glory as my rig just isn't powerful enough to handle Far Cry at full strength. But, from what I can tell off the screenshots on the back, I'm not that far off. I did struggle to play it on a 256mb RAM machine, though. Now that I've boosted it to 768mb, it runs quite a lot smoother, but I still get some lag, particularly when using CryVision (Heat vision, Far Cry style!)
You'll note that, apart from the intro sequence, I've not mentioned the story once. Well, that's because all the time I was playing, I didn't notice a story at all. Not a bit. All I saw was Doyle giving me objective after objective, all the while telling me that what I was doing would help me and Val get off those accursed islands for good. Normally, when engrossed in action like this I notice the story (I understood the plot of MGS3, basically), but for Far Cry, it just slipped right past me. Not that I care, all I could think about was trying to kill the human, semi human and ex human foes in front of me without getting killed. Again.
I am yet to try Far Cry online, as to do so you need an Ubi.com account, and I have a 56k connection, which blocks me from pretty much any counter-op gameplay, which is the entire focus of all of Far Cry's online modes. I will not let this affect my scoring of the game. Rest assured, though, that there are plenty of Far Cry servers out there for you to try your luck on.
You'd think that a hardware guzzling game without any story that only has mindless killing and other generic FPS stuff would get chewed up and spat out by critics like a bit of nasty, Army Men flavoured spitting tobacco, but Far Cry is just not bad. With the gorgeous graphics where firefights can break out over very large distances, to the AI that is actually a challenge even on the lower difficulty settings, Far Cry is actually a pretty decent game. And, since it's been lowered in price recently, the game is all that much more appealing. I would reccomend Far Cry for any person with a decent gaming system who wishes for another great game to add to their collection, even if they don't have the ability to go online for some player on player slaying.