Far Cry is one of the most popular and enduring first-person shooter (FPS) franchises in all of gaming. Since 2004, the series has taken players to exotic locales where they must survive against all odds. The open world environments never fail to impress, and the open-ended gameplay ensures no two players have the same experience. Few series have the storied reputation of Far Cry.
With the release of Far Cry: New Dawn, now is the perfect time to look back on Ubisoft’s beloved series. More specifically, to rank the entire franchise. This is no mean feat considering how there are hardly any duds in the whole catalog. Still, it’s worthwhile examining the series to determine which titles rise above the rest.
Here’s every Far Cry game ranked from from worst to best.
Far Cry Vengeance
Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember Far Cry Vengeance. This Nintendo Wii exclusive was a remake of the Xbox version, Far Cry Instincts -- which was itself a remake of the first Far Cry. Everything wrong with Wii ports was on full display here, namely subpar graphics and inconsistent motion controls. One cannot blame Ubisoft for trying to bring the then nascent franchise over to the Wii, but the results were less than satisfying.
Far Cry Instincts: Evolution
A follow up to Far Cry Instincts, Far Cry Instincts: Evolution is essentially a glorified expansion. It retains the same basic gameplay and environments from Instincts. Like its predecessor, Evolution features a multiplayer mode. Though it didn’t exactly push the envelope in the gameplay or narrative department, Evolution was a decent enough entry.
Far Cry Instincts
Trying to get the original Far Cry to run on sixth-generation systems in its original form was an impossible task. Instead, Ubisoft made a version tailor-made for consoles. Though it failed to have the giant levels, open-ended nature, and graphical prowess of Far Cry, Instincts made up for its deficiencies with new weapons, abilities, and even multiplayer. Far Cry Instincts doesn’t hold a candle to the original but it was an above-average shooter for the original Xbox.
Far Cry Instincts: Predator
This Xbox 360 exclusive contained both of the Xbox-only Far Cry Instinct games. Despite being on a more powerful console, Far Cry Instincts: Predator was a visual disappointment. Fortunately, its gameplay was solid and enjoyable.
This is the one that started it all. Like its Crytek-developed sibling, Crysis, Far Cry was (and is) a graphical powerhouse that demanded a lot from gamers’ PCs. It introduced series staples like massive jungle/forest environments, a variety of vehicles to drive, and fast-paced run-and-gun action. It not only influenced all subsequent entries, but the FPS genre as a whole.
Though structurally similar to its sequels, Far Cry contained its own unique elements. Players had more freedom to complete missions however they chose -- whether that meant going in with all guns blazing or taking out foes silently. Enemy A.I. adapted to players, making encounters far more unpredictable and exciting. The original Far Cry may not have aged well, but back in 2004, it was nothing short of revolutionary.
Far Cry: New Dawn
Far Cry: New Dawn is both a standalone entry and a sequel. Based on one of Far Cry 5’s alternate endings, New Dawn is set in a post-apocalyptic Hope County. You play as “The Captain,” whose mission is to help the settlement of Prosperity defend itself against the marauding Highwaymen and their leader the maniacal Twins. This entry features replayable outposts, expedition missions, co-op gameplay, and a lush, neon-colored world to explore.
Like Far Cry: Blood Dragon and Far Cry Primal, New Dawn is a self-contained, compact adventure. Even if you’ve never played Far Cry 5, you can thoroughly enjoy what New Dawn has to offer. Fans of Far Cry 5 will appreciate seeing what became of Hope County and the resolution to the Joseph Seed storyline. While not as over-the-top as Blood Dragon or original like Primal, Far Cry New Dawn is a worthy offshoot.
Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 was ahead of its time and featured things which are now ubiquitous in gaming. Taking over outposts to control territory -- something which is now hated by many -- made its debut in Far Cry 2. One’s companion could die permanently. Permadeath is now a key feature of survival and battle royale games. Taking medicine to control the player character’s malaria is akin to the need to eat in survival titles. The way guns eventually break down and the limited amount of health items (syringes) is also something seen in survival games.
The game also other interesting features. If the protagonist is in a critical state, he must manually remove bullets, bandage wounds, and snap bones back into place. In order to find objectives, one must pull out an in-game map and use a GPS tracker (similar to Firewatch). The way players can use fire to destroy entire encampments is also notable. The African setting, dynamic weather, and day/night cycle were amazing in 2008 and hold up even today. Series fans should definitely give Far Cry 2 another look.
Far Cry 5
All previous mainline Far Cry titles took place in exotic locations. Far Cry 5 differentiates itself by being set in the Western United States. However, despite the domestic setting, it still contains series staples like a charismatic main villain, endless hordes of crazed foes, a vast, explorable open-world, unpredictable wildlife, and dynamic combat.
Far Cry 5 suffers the same fate as 4 -- namely that it’s not as memorable or groundbreaking as Far Cry 3. Still, it’s easily the most robust entry in terms of playable content and map size. With the release of Far Cry: New Dawn, folks will no doubt want revisit this title.
Far Cry: Blood Dragon
While officially an offshoot of Far Cry 3, Far Cry: Blood Dragon is nothing like the title it spun from. Though built on the basic framework of Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon is a wholly independent affair. It’s also completely insane.
Far Cry: Blood Dragon is one huge love letter to action and sci-fi movies of the 1980s. It makes constant overt references to The Terminator, The Predator, Robocop, Tron, and many other classic films from the Reagan era. If you’re a child of the 80s or are a fan of movies from the time, then Blood Dragon is for you. Even if you’re not a fan of the 80s, the gameplay is more than enough to keep you hooked.
Far Cry Primal
After the release of Far Cry 4, some felt the series had grown stale. Thankfully, Far Cry Primal came along to shake things up in a massive away. Set during the stone age, Primal puts players in the role of a hunter in the Mesolithic Age. Ubisoft even created a language with the help of historical linguists to play up the realism.Because of the prehistoric setting, the game features weapons like bows, clubs, and spears. Survival mechanics such as crafting and protecting oneself from the elements is also vital.
One big draw of Far Cry Primal is the ability to tame wild animals including wolves, bears, and saber-tooth tigers. They not only protect you from other wildlife, but they’re also great against human foes. Also, riding on the back of a saber-tooth tiger or mammoth while flinging spears is just plain awesome.
Relying on a bow and arrow instead of an AK-47 is certainly a big change for the franchise. However, players who want a fresh take on the Far Cry formula will certainly appreciate what Primal brings to the table.
Far Cry 4
It’s clear Ubisoft didn’t want to deviate too much from its established formula with Far Cry 4. . Despite that, it is still one of the very best games in the franchise and of the current generation.
The Nepal-inspired Kyat is arguably the most impressive environment in the entire series. Not only does it look gorgeous, it facilitates more vertical gameplay. Players have to frequently climb gargantuan mountains in order to reach objectives. Thankfully, the new wingsuit makes going back down to earth simple and fun. Taking over enemy strongholds is a highlight, as is riding war elephants to attack said bases.
The story is somewhat of a mixed bag withPagan Min stepping in as a Vaas clone. On the other hand, protagonist Ajay Ghale being in Kyrat to bury his mother’s ashes gives the entry a more personal touch. This hero is far more relatable than Far Cry 3’s Jason Brody.
Far Cry 3
While Far Cry and Far Cry 2 are solid games that introduced many series staples, it’s Far Cry 3 that truly put the series on the map. Even six years after its debut, it casts a long shadow over the entire franchise.
Far Cry 3 codified and enhanced many of the series’ core gameplay elements. The open world felt more alive and vibrant than before. Wildlife plays an important role, and can either help or hinder players. Despite some scripted elements during story-based missions, players had the freedom to approach objectives however they pleased. The game introduced new features such as skill trees, experience points, crafting, and even first-person cover shooting.
The main reason why Far Cry 3 is so highly regarded is due in large part to its main antagonist: Vaas. Though he's a loathsome psychopath, one can’t help falling for Vaas’ charm and eloquence. Vaas seemed to know the player character, Jason Brody, even better than he did. Vaas set a high standard for all subsequent villains and none have managed to overtake him. This is also true for Far Cry 3 overall.