We recently reviewed the Far Cry demo, and no sooner were we done with that than Ubi sends us a preview build of Far Cry. The preview consists of two singleplayer levels. One is about the size of the level in the demo, though it’s spread out more along a coast, rather than up a hill. The second level is gargantuan, spanning three islands, the last of which is bigger than the other two combined!
The first of the missions has the player breaking into a research facility and shows off the the Cry Engine’s surprisingly robust ability to render complex indoor environments. Performance was the most pleasant aspect of the engine. Our expectation was that the Cry Engine would be focused on the out of doors, but in fact our experience was that the interiors run more smoothly than the outside.
Of course, the preview code doesn’t seem as optimized as the demo was, so that might have contributed to our observations. The preview also seems more RAM hungry than the demo, which is understandable given the size of the levels. My P4 2.0GHz, 512MB machine spent a long time clearing the Windows swap file after I quit the game. Far Cry is clearly intended for top of the line hardware, and we doubt that even the best that’s out nowadays could play Far Cry at 60fps in 1024x768 with maxed settings, never mind with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering turned on. However, by the time the game comes out, we should see the next generation of graphics cards, which we expect will be able to handle the load better. More importantly, the game is quite playable at medium settings as it is, despite not being completed.
There’s little else to say that we didn’t cover in the demo review
, except to emphasize the incredible change in gameplay that the giant levels have. There are multiple paths to each objective, most not overlapping until the very end. The vast distances permit true sniping. In order to minimize weapon swaying, the player must go prone, steady himself and press the spacebar in older to hold his breath (which has the incidental effect of zooming in even further.)
Finally, we’d still like to see “iron sights” implemented in the game. Looking down the barrel of a gun is far more immersive than looking at a cursor. Anyone who has played Call of Duty or Vietcong knows the effect this difference has.