Ever since participating in the Far Cry multiplayer beta I've been desperate to see if the single player portion of the game could match the multiplayer's potential. I'm pleased to report that the single player demo has been released today and it locks Far Cry in as a must have for me. It's worth the time and effort to download the huge 496 meg demo.
Once the demo finishes loading you are immediately presented with a large, tropical island, sparkling blue waters and a couple mercenaries discussing the finer points of fishing with grenades. The moment you walk out from behind a bush you will be spotted but only if the mercenary turns his head and happens to see you. No magic NPC radar in this game as far as I can tell which means hiding and moving quietly will serve you well when you need to.
Sexy! Huge landscapes coupled with colorful, detailed graphics and it runs smoothly to boot. Not to say Far Cry isn't a hog, you will need a meaty system to play with everything turned up but dropping some details will still leave you with some nice visuals while maintaining a smooth frame rate. I'm very, very impressed with the Crytech engine.
Good sounds so far as I can tell. I don't seem to lose any noise because I happen to be facing the wrong direction like some games tend to do. one neat feature is that the binoculars will funnel sounds from great distances to you when you look through them. So you can zoom in on a couple mercenaries and listen in on their conversation from a mile away. Nice touch.
Much has been made of Far Cry's AI and with good reason, these guys are quick on their feet. Not to say they're tactical masterminds but they don't just rush you and they do find cover fairly well. For example, I sniped a guy standing with a couple buddies and they actually reacted! What a treat. Not only did they react, they jumped in a boat and came after me with the on-board mini-gun. Another telling feature is that reloading a save game will often yield different reactions and results. Your enemies don't just stand around, they walk patrols, they stop to talk and sometimes they come at you from areas you never expected them to turn up.
The damage system reminds me a lot of the Soldier of Fortune series. You can take a few hits but this isn't Quake and a well placed shot can put you down in a hurry. Luckily, the same goes for the bad guys.