A distant cry of delight. How did Far Cry surprise us 18 years ago?
18 years ago, Far Cry was released – one of the most technologically advanced shooters of its time, which became the progenitor of an entire series. Today we will remember what pleased and upset Far Cry back in 2004.
Perhaps every generation of gamers has a game that becomes a milestone, which divides the industry into “before” and “after”. There are such games and individual players – sometimes they may not coincide with the generally recognized pillars. That for me was Far Cry, which gave rise to the now living franchise. Let’s try to explain how this shooter was surprised and disappointed 18 years ago.
Let’s start with the background. The year is 2004, and every respected gamer is looking forward to Half-Life 2 and, to a lesser extent, Doom 3. Well, the players from the expanses of the former USSR were waiting for STALKER, which for a long time “was about to come out”. Naturally, dozens of other games were announced and released at that time, but it was these shooters that were the most anticipated, it was the very “nextgen” after which, it seemed, the games would not become more beautiful.
Naturally, the development of Far Cry was not hidden, but who needs it? Especially when Igromania remains the main source of news, and there is still no opportunity to study in detail the potential of each product before the release of the game. You don’t have hundreds of publics, blogs, or news portals. In general, “in our time” (draws out in a hoarse old voice) the game was released when a copy of the conditional “Fargus” appeared in the local “Department Store” or your friend became the owner of the disc. At least that’s how it was in my small town.
So on one of the first summer days, when there were still some school things left, but with all your thoughts you are already on vacation, my classmate suggested that I go to the city center. His friend has some kind of “coolest” game, and right today we can throw money in so that he writes it down for us. Without going into details and not remembering the names, I agreed: you can skip the consultation before the exams, there are a couple of bills in your pocket, and we’ll take a walk in the end.
Soon we were standing at the counter of our native “Department Store”, choosing blanks. But a classmate reminded me that I need three discs, and four is better (in reserve), so my budget determined the choice – the cheapest Esperanza, and a large four-disc box, which was my first. With this farm, we went to the mythical acquaintance of my classmate. “Mythical” – because I have never seen a person in my circle who bought licensed discs, even soon after the release. Not that everyone around was villains, but ideological pirates. It’s just that the license, of course, was more expensive, and therefore, apparently, it was not taken to the local departments with disks. Maximum – a shelf with not the most recent publications from 1C, which stood in the farthest corner.
Soon I was at home with discs adorned with a “Far Cry” marker, and patiently changing discs in the drive at the request of the installer. I even had to remove a couple of games to have room for Far Сry. Such a scope was striking and gave rise to doubts – will it go? After all, I did not see the requirements of the game. But everything went fine and now I’m in some catacombs. Although no – I ended up in the catacombs after an excruciatingly long load. Even though my PC had exactly as much RAM as recommended by the developers, the machine worked to the limit and each location loaded in record time. I even kept a couple of issues of Chip magazine or Igromania close by on purpose to amuse myself while I waited.
And as soon as I got out of the catacombs, for a second I lost control of my jaw, which involuntarily fell. What a beauty! Space, mountains, such a real sea, sand, and such a living jungle. And you see that this is not scenery, that soon you will get there. It is important to note here that all this happened at a resolution of 800×600 and, perhaps, almost the lowest graphics settings.
The game was based on the upgraded CryEngine 1, which was created back in 2002. The engine made it possible to draw open and closed locations seamlessly, and advanced physics supported the rag doll – a once-surprising feature that forced young players to fire bursts at already defeated opponents – to see how this set of textures moves virtual limbs.
But this is a theory, but in practice Far Cry was amazing – yes, in the way that the much more technologically advanced Doom 3, which I had a chance to try on a powerful machine, did not hit, feeling all the capabilities of the engine. And this is the first advantage of the game – space (it was drawn at a distance of up to 2 kilometers) and the rejection of corridors and crowding. And it was not just a decoration, but a moment that affects the gameplay.