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Average User Score: 6.7Jan 4, 2015I’ve rated this game relative to what I think of it as a stand-alone experience. But I have some rather scathing things to say when takingI’ve rated this game relative to what I think of it as a stand-alone experience. But I have some rather scathing things to say when taking history into account.
There was a time when the word 'sequel' meant bigger, better, and more features, and implied innovation and a desire from both the developer and the consumer for the game to exceed the boundaries set by its predecessor.
Well, now it's the 21st century, and Ubisoft has done away with such outdated and archaic notions as 'definitions' and 'innovation'. The number '4' in the title Far Cry 4 does not denote it's place in a series, only it's place in the chronology of releases, for Far Cry 4 is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same game as Far Cry 3. Ubisoft has internally redefined 'sequel' to mean 'a minor variation of the previous iteration in order to draw the game closer to being a mass-appealing cash factory'. And it found its mark with FC3. Returning in FC4 is the same gunplay, the same game mechanics, the same unnecessary upgrade system, the same graphics engine, the same 'everyman-cum-superhero' protagonist, the same enigmatic villain, the same fetch quests - albeit with a little more polish: the visuals are marginally prettier and utilise some nice new lighting effects, the gunplay is a little tighter and more enjoyable, and the menus are filled with more 'things' to spend your cash on. But it seems that Ubisoft has forgone the opportunity for innovation in favour of seeking to address the main complaints in the laziest possible way, for example: replacing FC3's unlikable protagonist with FC4's safe, bland one. And, as is typical with this game, this is a change, not an improvement. It's as if Ubisoft heard the complaints about the FC3 protagonist and instead of understanding that the real issue was a lack of depth and congruity within the character, they simply thought that people didn't like a guy that was a dick occasionally. So instead of making a deeper character, they sucked all the personality out of the protagonist - which would be fine if they hadn’t gone out of their way to give him a distinct presence in the game, which refuses the player the chance to imagine themselves as the character. Ajay Ghale isn’t faceless, he’s just empty within. And it’s not even as if they’ve given the player the courtesy of being self-aware about how lazy they’ve been. After stealthily slaughtering a dozen soldiers, one of your character’s first lines is ‘I’m not a soldier, but I want to help’. BAM - immediate incongruity. It’s insulting to your intelligence, and straight away it triggers the same disconnect you felt in FC3.
Now, in saying all this - the game is FUN. And creating a fun, popcorn shooter that’s all-adventure all the time is a completely valid endeavour. In some ways I feel that FC4 has gone the way of Saints Row in that it seems to go out of its way to give you tonnes of vehicles and OP weapons from the very beginning, foregoing all restraint in order to maximise the raw FUN factor. But I can’t stand the fact that Ubisoft has, once again, gotten their hands on a series that I loved, assimilated it into their formulaic release equation, and once they get their hands on a money-making combination, churn out carbon copies with a successive numerical value slapped on the end.
So should you buy it? Believe it or not, I do think that there is a genuine, no **** condition under which this is a good purchase. I read a review that stated that if you liked FC3, then you should buy FC4, which I feel has it all wrong, because if you like FC3 and buy FC4, you're paying money for what is essentially the same experience in a different setting, and that is a rip-off. I liked FC3, and after playing FC4 I was bored half an hour in because I’d done it all before, and I would not recommend buying it full price. *HOWEVER* if you don’t own FC3, then I think that FC4 is potentially a better game, if only ever so slightly.
What do you like – mountains or islands? It’s basically the same experience.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.8Sep 14, 2014While all of the Crysis games have their points of excellence, none of them are perfect. Crysis 1 is still, 7 years after release, a benchmarkWhile all of the Crysis games have their points of excellence, none of them are perfect. Crysis 1 is still, 7 years after release, a benchmark for pc graphics power, and allows a degree of open-world freedom not seen since Far Cry before it, but the enemy AI is terrible. Crysis 3 is one of best-looking game ever released and extremely well optimised, and yet its writing and story is so poor and emotionally vacuous that it's insulting to the player's intelligence.
Crysis 2 similarly has its own high and low points, and as far as I can figure, a comparison between the three is the only way I can properly outline why, despite the fact that I don't like this game the best or hate it the most, it's still worthy of your time and money.
GRAPHICS: C2 lacks the visual clout of both the other games in the series. It's a case of optimisation for consoles taken too far in that direction. Crytek corrected this in C3, which remains the best playing AND best looking game in the series, allowing those on PC to milk the CryEngine 3 for all it's worth. In saying that, it doesn't look BAD by any stretch, and when compared to most other games of it's time it's still miles ahead of the pack. There's just a general near-imperceptible blurriness that falls over all things, making this the least impressive visually when compared to it's high-achieving bretheren. In order of preference: C3, C1, C2
SOUND: The C2 soundtrack, scored by Hans Zimmer, is by far the most memorable and emotive of all the games. C1's soundtrack is pretty standard fare, filling in the ambience but not really engaging the player, while the pompous and bloated orchestral score of C3 was indicative of my problems with that game as a whole - it is a poor attempt at making the player emote to something that isn't emotionally engaging or interesting. In order of preference: C2, C1, C3
GAMEPLAY: C2 feels more like a corridor shooter than C1, but at least this feeling is contextualised because you're playing in the city streets. C3 had the same basic design, but threw a field in every now and then to con you into thinking it was 'open'. The problem was that there was nothing interesting to see or do unless you moved towards the objective. At least C2 is honest about its intentions and makes the most out of what it's giving you. In order of preference: C1, C2, C3
STORY: None of the Crysis games have been perfect when it comes to story. In terms of my preference however, C2 and C1 are closely linked. The best part of the story in C1 is that they didn't try to flesh it out too much. The sense of mystery held up for a good part of the game, resulting in genuine wonder when you're faced with the truth, and even then explanations weren't just handed out, which was fine by me as it made sense that no-one knew exactly what was happening, and when the people in the game react in a relatable way, you can then relate to the people in the game. The problem I have with C2 is that they try to explain an inherently silly story with 'science', and you can throw as much 'science' at me as you want, but it's not going to make me believe in something that is inherently ridiculous. As a by-product of this, the game seems to take itself way too seriously, and this was a step towards the nightmare that was C3's story, in which the entire game feels like it's TELLING you to feel something, rather than being crafted well enough to actually MAKE you feel it. In order of preference: C1, C2, C3
OVERALL: Crysis 2 holds a place closer to my heart in retrospect than it did when it was released. I was expecting a bigger, better Crysis 1, and instead I got a stripped down, streamlined game that was clearly aimed at the console market. In saying that, and after playing all 3 games in close proximity to one-another, Crysis 2 holds many of the most memorable moments of the series - the music and the city locations and some of the action set-pieces are indeed standouts in a series that always ostensibly tries to one-up itself in terms of spectacle. And while it lacks the grand scope of the first game, and it isn't as pretty as the third, it is a much smoother and less buggy game than C1, and it isn't the empty, phoned-in mandatory sequel that Crysis 3 is.
Crysis 2 feels like the developers still had an idea of what moves a player emotionally, what engages them in terms of gameplay, and what they remember in terms of experience.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.6Sep 13, 2014One of the best looking games to date, but certainly not groundbreaking. Everything has a superficial polish, but under the hood the gameOne of the best looking games to date, but certainly not groundbreaking. Everything has a superficial polish, but under the hood the game lacks anything truly great.
VISUALS: The graphics are amazing, but the FOV and hud mean that you can't see much of the world at any given time.
STORY AND CHARACTERS: The writing is by far the weakest part of the game. It tries to be much smarter than it is - the characters are always one step behind the player in terms of the twists and turns of the plot and you feel like the writers take you for an idiot when something telegraphed hours ago finally happens and everyone is in shock except for you. To put it simply - if they say something can't possibly happen, it's happens. And they try to tackle the ethics and morals of 'man vs machine' but it's handled so clumsily it's as if a high-school student wrote the dialogue. This isn't assisted by the fact that the characters are boring and you can't form emotional attachments to any of them because they don't think and act in any relatable way.
GAMEPLAY: The gunplay mechanics are smooth and fun and the seamless integration of the nanosuit technology makes this one of the game's strongest points. However, the battles have an episodic feel to them in the sense that the enemies only pop up once you reach a certain point on the map, and never exist dynamically in the world. So you kill a bunch of guys, move to the next area, kill a bunch of guys, etc, etc. On top of this, the use of vehicles is shoe-horned in and is completely redundant, and the game takes control away from the player for in-game cutscenes far too many times, and in completely unnecessary situations. If they had let you control the ship you're in rather than putting it on rails, or let you follow the characters actively and observe your surroundings, rather than watching passively the game could have had more life to it.
OVERALL: Somewhere along the line, Cryktek forgot what made the original Crysis so fun, and even though Crysis 2 bored me, this is my least favourite in the series for the simple fact that while number 2 felt like a corridor shooter compared to the original, it took place in the city streets so at least this feeling was contextualised. Crysis 3, on the other hand, tries to pretend it's much bigger and grander than it is. It has the corridor-shooter feel of the second game, but tries to hide this fact by adding some open fields for you to trudge through. That's all well and good if there's something interesting to see in the field, but the only interesting scenery is on the horizon, and the only place worth going is towards the objective.
I give this a 7 because the engine is amazing and the gunplay is genuinely good. But a qualitative rating would be an 'eh' out of 10.… Expand
Average User Score: 3.5Feb 12, 2013I wasn't sure what to expect with this game before release, I pre-ordered it, which is something that I rarely do, and desperately hoped thatI wasn't sure what to expect with this game before release, I pre-ordered it, which is something that I rarely do, and desperately hoped that it wasn't ass. Usually I will wait for the game to be released, have a look at the general consensus of online opinion, and then buy the game if I feel it's worth it. But I'm glad I didn't wait, because my opinion of this game is very different from the consensus so far and in hindsight it would have been a shame to miss out on it. Graphically, the game is solid, if a little dated at times. There is some evidence of console-porting in that the items that matter (guns, creatures, characters) are highly detailed and look pretty damn good, but many incidental environmental textures, such as certain switches, signs, monitors are quite low-res, presumably to save memory usage. At first I was a little disappointed but it stopped bothering me very quickly as the overall atmosphere, look and feel of the game drew my attention. I hope that perhaps there will be a high-res pack for PC users released as there was for Crysis 2 and Skyrim, but even if there isn't, it still looks pretty awesome. The sound design is simply amazing, weapon and creature sounds, music, and almost everything else that you can think of is taken straight from the films, and serves to completely immerse the player in the world. The sound of a battle of Xenos vs. pulse rifle-wielding marines really got my heart racing many times. While the story leaves a bit to be desired, I didn't find that a hinderance to my enjoyment. The game was rather well paced, with moments of high-tension interspersed with action setpieces at complimentary intervals. I was constantly excited to see where we were going next, what locations we would discover, and frankly, I didn't want the game to end. Complimenting this are some spectacular moments, e.g. a space battle between two FTL ships, your first sight of Hadley's Hope as rain pelts you sideways and debris falls from the sky, the eerie silence of the ruined corridors when you first set foot inside the colony, and the enormous interior of the derelict ship. Lastly, the voice acting is full of emotion and truthfulness (the only exception I felt was, surprisingly, one of the original film's actors, who sounded rather dead a lot of the time). I found all this was enough to keep me eagerly moving through my 6-hour completion time of the campaign. Now if you are inclined to complain about the length of the campaign, I ask you to think of any of the modern CoD games, which all can be completed in 6 hours or less. I'm not implying that this is a virtue, but merely offering a comparison. For example, Modern Warfare 3 was repetitive, entirely derivative of its predecessors, and poorly paced with an overemphasis on mindnumbing and relentless action, and yet it gets 80% across the board and this gets 40%? Ridiculous. One more thing I'd like to mention is the MP. The MP aspect of the game is equally as rewarding as the single player campaign. It pits Aliens vs. Marines in alternating teams, in a number of nuanced, and varied locations. At first I felt that the teams were unbalanced, as I began as a Xenomorph and had trouble competing with a skilled group of marines hiding in a corner. But after a short while I came to see how deep and rewarding the combat system was Xenos must be cunning, finding ways to surprise Marines and force them to respawn whereupon they can be tracked down and taken on 1-on-1, while Marines must work together and cover each other, blocking each possible method of infiltration. The variety of Xeno classes allows varied tactical opportunities for the skilled player. Similarly, a strong sense of team-work and one eye on the motion-tracker is invaluable to a Marine. There are bugs, tow be sure the wall-climbing is not quite perfect, and my game locked up when I used the Lurker's pounce ability, but I have no doubt that a simple patch will fix that right up. All in all, I am loving this game. I can only imagine that the nay-sayers are playing on console, or held immense expectations. I however, found it to be as entertaining, and more immersive than I had anticipated, and the MP is truly enjoyable and compelling.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.4Feb 10, 2013Look, I want to love this game. I really really do. The effort to create a believable and enchanting world is evident, and the attention toLook, I want to love this game. I really really do. The effort to create a believable and enchanting world is evident, and the attention to detail is everywhere you turn, but there are some basic elements that just destroy the experience for me so much so that I registered for Metacritic after years of using it just to write this review. The context of this review is that I finished the game once quite soon after release, immediately deleted it from my hard drive, and then attempted to give it a second go from scratch this week.
A misleading sense of free-will
Little replay value With respect to the stylised intention of the game, the graphics are terribly outdated. While the visual style is imaginative and alternately colourful and cold where necessary, at its core it looks like I'm playing TF2 the textures are flat and lacking true detail, and the environments are often low-res. As stated, I understand that the intention is to create a more stylised, hand-drawn-style look, but you can do that and include detail at the same time. On a similar note, the character animations are ass the rigid and programmed nature of the facial and body movements take me out of the world and leave me feeling like I'm watching a game made before mo-cap existed.
The game gives you a choice of play-style and then punishes you for doing anything other than stealth ease of progression, achievements, and a positive conclusion to the story all hinge on you taking a stealthy tact. Corvo is fast, deft with a sword, and, for the most part, outfitted for combat you're given grenades, a pistol, and the ability to perform sweet counter-attacks and surprise assaults. HOWEVER, if you choose to utilise these weapons you're forced to deal with attacks from many enemies, a 'negative' outcome at the end of the story, and less achievements. I understand that there are real-world repercussions for being so brazen, but why give me the choice if you're going structure the game in such a way that the only real reward comes from one way of playing?
Finally, and in my mind, most heinously, is the fact that you can't replay earlier missions with the powers you've unlocked later you're forever stuck with the powers you had the first time you played the level, and are effectively, always handicapped. By the end of the game, Corvo is a super-soldier, and I don't see how you can overlook the fact that the single greatest part of RPG-style character building is reaching a point where you can cut through the enemies like warm butter. To allow me to craft my own super-soldier, to become familiar and efficient with him, and then shackle me to a certain diminishing skill level as I replay old missions just feels like a you'.
There are positive elements, to be sure a beautifully realised world, intelligent enemies, exciting combat, and lovely sound design among others, but I feel that I can't rate it any higher than 6 because it accurately reflects my disappointment at the fundamental boundaries that the designers have imposed on the player.… Expand