As with most other video game properties, the Far Cry franchise has seen its share of highs and lows since its inception 15 years ago. Though few can be considered poor in quality, some lack the spirit of adventure that the series prides itself on. The best Far Cry titles deliver on all the thrills that fans have come to expect yet simultaneously manage to explore the human psyche in ways that video games often shy away from. The following is our ranking of all the games in the franchise so far, in order from least impressive to those that left the most impact.
9. Far Cry: Vengeance
Far Cry: Vengeance is by far the worst game in the series. This Wii exclusive remake of Far Cry Instincts (which in itself isn’t good) suffers from poor graphics that may make fans think they’re playing a title from the Nintendo 64 era. The title’s Wiimote and Nunchuck control scheme is novel and reminiscent of another Ubisoft property, Red Steel, but motion detection problems frequently get in the way of the experience. To top it off, the game’s AI is hopelessly dumb and only shoots in one direction.
8. Far Cry Instincts
As far as presentation goes, the Xbox exclusive Far Cry Instincts isn’t that much more impressive that Vengeance. This remake of the original Far Cry for PC was an attempt by Ubisoft to recreate the franchise’s first entry on consoles. The game does manage to preserve a lot of the game’s substance, like its narrative and core gameplay elements, but has to sacrifice the size of open world areas in order to achieve that. New additions, however, include never-before-seen weapons, multiplayer modes, and abilities. Instincts mostly succeeds as a remake, but ultimately feels like an experience that isn’t worth the effort of hooking up one’s Xbox again.
7. Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 is unique in how it gives fans a chance to explore the United States rather than some exotic tropical locale. Side quests are worth experiencing if only to to recruit another fighter to one’s cause, and the game’s open world seems perfectly modeled to go on ATV joyrides. Unfortunately the title’s other elements aren’t as memorable. Joseph Seed isn’t as compelling as Pagan Min or Vaas from earlier entries in the franchise and multiplayer modes aren’t worthwhile. Far Cry 5‘s endings are also pretty bizarre, though they presumably serve to set the scene for New Dawn.
6. Far Cry 4
Ubisoft had a lot to live up to after Far Cry 3 and Blood Dragon‘s unprecedented success. While the company did deliver with Far Cry 4, the improvements aren’t as impressive as one might expect. Pagan Min is just as menacing as Vaas, but somehow fails to leave as great of an impression. There’s freedom to experiment with gameplay mechanics, but some abilities are far more powerful than others. Wild animals are bigger and more dangerous than in prior entries, yet still don’t seem remarkable. Far Cry 4 isn’t a bad title by any stretch of the imagination. It just doesn’t evolve the series in a meaningful way.
5. Far Cry Primal
Primal steered the franchise in the right direction after the repetitiveness of Far Cry 4. Players are encouraged to work together with their tribe to survive against rival clans and hunt roaming herds of woolly mammoths. Because the game is set in 10,000 BC, it trades firearms and automatic weaponry for spears and stones. This forces fans to rely on melee combat throughout the experience, which fortunately feels fun to use, especially in combat.
Animals can be recruited to fight alongside players in battle too, adding a nice wildlife companion element that the series hasn’t experimented with before. Though the game’s open world environments feel bland, Primal succeeds in reinvigorating the franchise’s imaginative side.
4. Far Cry
The original Far Cry may look dated by today’s standards, but it was an ambitious title when it released exclusively on PC in 2004. It was one of the most open games of its time, despite it being more linear than its sequels. It’s much more challenging than any other entry too, as players frequently have to lure enemies away from their comrades one by one in hopes of taking them down. Though some may consider the title unfair in its difficulty, it did successfully cultivate an audience pining for first-person shooter mechanics in an open world.
3. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
The Far Cry series was pretty solemn before Blood Dragon released. When the standalone DLC dropped, however, it proved how zany Ubisoft could get even with its more mature offerings. The expansion is one big homage to the ’80s, complete with VHS filters, neon lighting, robotic sci-fi elements, and a Little Richard song.
The blood dragons themselves are pretty cool, as they glow in the dark and shoot lasers out of their eyeballs. It’s a shame that the developer hasn’t worked imaginative concepts like these into subsequent entries, though it’s possible Ubisoft makes something similar for New Dawn.
2. Far Cry 2
From the outset, Far Cry 2 revolves around the concept of survival. This is clear when the protagonist falls ill with malaria, his health failing him more and more as the narrative continues. It’s here where the series starts to hone the mechanics that make it stand out from other first-person shooters on the market, as players are given more gameplay freedom and larger environments to roam around in.
Enemies aren’t as unforgiving as they are in the first game, though they also aren’t as easy to deal with as Joseph Seed’s cult. Some aspects, like sloppy aim, keep the title from being the pinnacle of what the franchise has to offer, but this second entry definitely comes close.
1. Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is the game that helped skyrocket the franchise into mainstream popularity. Vaas’ explanation of insanity is a perfect commentary on the nonsensical battle of good versus evil that nearly every video game explores. It’s a criticism of the medium, yet that doesn’t take away from the thrill of spiraling into madness while on Rook Island.
The series has yet to explore a narrative as profound and rife with important themes as it did in its third entry. That’s not to mention the careful polish added to the game’s exploration mechanics and the addictive gameplay loop it introduces in securing outposts, hunting animals, and climbing towers. It’s hard to overlook this title’s influence on video games as a whole.
Far Cry New Dawn has a lot to deliver, considering it’s a continuation of Far Cry 5 and explores a post-apocalyptic setting — something the series hasn’t done before in the franchise. Hopefully the entry will be able to balance all of its elements nicely and meaningfully add to it, thereby ushering it to the top of this list. No matter what, it’s a safe bet that this franchise will remain one of Ubisoft’s staple properties for a long time to come, as its themes of power and forbidden paradises always find a way to be relevant.