Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Far Cry Classic

       Shorter post than usual, and less polished - between work and Word crashing every five minutes, this was the best I could do to get a post up on time.

        One of the problems with playing games from a decade ago is that their limitations are now much more apparent than they were back in their original release. This is true in most games, but are best exemplified in Far Cry Classic, a HD remaster of 2004's Far Cry.
         Far Cry tells the story of  ex-Special Forces Operative Jack Carver, who is shipwrecked on a chain of islands, and has to stop the mad scientist Dr Kreiger from unleashing a mutagen that will issue in the 'nexte step of Evolution' (aka turning everyone into mindless killing machines). You're helped along by the mysterious Doyle and CIA agent Val Cortez, both of whom are incredibly ineffectual.
          The core basic gameplay of Far Cry is exactly what you'd expect from a first-person shooter. You have your small arsenal, and are tasked with traversing levels and killing everyone in your way. Where Far Cry differed, however, was in its open levels. I use the term 'open' loosely, of course - the levels aren't particuarly spacious or even that traversable, as a great many areas are inaccesable except through the established roads.
          The greatest joy in Far Cry's large levels is that it gives you different options when approaching problems - as contained as the levels are, they do offer enough alternate routes, allowing you to pick you're preffered method of dispatching your enemies. If you need to enter a specific area, you could sneak you're way around, and remain undetected, or you could go in guns-blazing. The choice is yours, and it does allow for plenty of experimentation and variety, if you open your mind to it.
         The downside here is that the easist way of getting through the levels is simply to run and gun, taking down enemies quickly and efficeintly with a few shots. Whilst this does draw attention to you much faster than stealth, you can use the inital shock from your attack to take out a great many guards before a fire-fight begins. The only problem is in the chance of enemies sounding alarms or in snipers, but alarms can easily be disrupted and snipers can be quickly dealt with.
          Stealth in Far Cry is actually a mixed bag. When stealth works, it is one of the more rewarding parts of the game and can lead to many tense and exctiting moments. However, the stealth mechanics are intirinsically flawed, with enemies often spotting you through walls and solid objects, hearing the slightest sounds (such as turning your head), and spotting you despite having no line of sight. I was spotted by an enemy that was in a valley below me, whilst i was laying prone on the floor and not moving - the enemy had simply turned and detected my presence.
       This is compounded by the inconsistancy in how loud the melee kill is. On occasion, killing an enemy in melee will pass unoticed. Other times, every enemy will hear that slight gurgle of the dying man, and instantly shoot in your general direction.
       The actual combat of the game is excellant, and the guns have plenty of puch and weight to them. Sniping an enemy is incredibly satisfying, as is unloading a shotgun round into the nearest guard. The guns have the approapiate kick to them that adds an extra level of satisfaction to the gunplay.
         The games biggest issue comes from the game's story. The game's plot is rather bland and chessey at best, and even the main character calls the plot out on being really stupid. Unfortunately, the game only acknolwedges this rather than addresses it, making it seem more idiotic by acknowledging it's stupidity.
          This isn't helped by the fact that the dialogue for the game is all generic, poorly written (and acted) trash, written by someone who believes the story is irrelevant to the game. This isn't helped by the poor representation of Val, who spends 90% of the game beign kidnapped or failing to be useful. Her desing is clearly sexualised, and a cutscene where she bathes in a waterfall is incredibly forced and serves only to enforce the idea of her being sexy. Between this and the plot, the game feels as though it was written by a 14 year old boy.
          The audio in the game suffers from some poor mixing, particuarly in terms of volume. The Music is far louder than anything else, and the syncing of soundeffects and voice acting ranges from passable to terrible. It removes a lot of the joy from the gameplay when your gun only plays the shooting effect a few seconds after you've shot it.
          Far Cry classic is not a bad game by any means, but it is certainly a game that had aged poorly. The ideas and gameplay mechanics that made the game have thankfully been improved over the game's sequels (ignoreing Instincts and Predator, which seem to have been dismissed from canon). Far Cry was very good when it was released 10 years ago - now it is funstional, and thats about it. 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Selections from my Sketchbook, 2014 Edition (part Two)

Everything Orignal here is, of course, copyright of Andrew Stalley 2014. Anything based on existing works is copyright of its owners. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Selections from my Sketchbook 2014 edition (part 1)

Everything Orignal here is, of course, copyright of Andrew Stalley 2014. Anything based on existing works is copyright of its owners.