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Starting back in 2004, Far Cry has become one of Ubisoft’s biggest and most successful franchises of all time. Sure, the first game was technically developed by Crytek, the same folks who would later go on to make the Crysis series, but after that initial game, the rest have been handled by Ubisoft. These open-world shooters mix RPG mechanics, driving, stealth, and so-so attempts at satire with big, exciting, and often fun-as-heck adventures.
But no Far Cry game is perfect. So, here are the best and worst parts of every game in the franchise listed in order of release. Oh and if you are curious about which game is the best overall, check out our list ranking every game in the series from worst to best.
Best: A Gorgeous, Tropical Paradise: The first game in the series feels a bit clunky to go back to now in 2023. But at the time, its open-world tropical paradise was both gorgeous and fresh. And being able to explore this world and take on missions however you wanted made it highly replayable.
Worst: The Console Ports: We will get to the mess that is all the ports and semi-sequels the original Far Cry got, but suffice it to say it’s a messy and bad situation that Ubisoft has thankfully never tried again.
Best: Feral Powers: When porting Far Cry to Xbox, Ubisoft had to make some changes. The open, large island map from the original PC game was removed and replaced with more linear levels and missions. Another big change was the addition of Feral Abilities, which let the main character Jack Carver run faster, jump higher, see in the dark, among other things. Silly? Yes. But also very fun!
Worst: Confusing Ports and Re-releases: Far Cry Instincts is the name of the Xbox port of the original game. Then it got a sequel, Evolution, which contained a new and much shorter campaign. And that same year, both games were ported into a separate Xbox 360 release which featured improved visuals. Then all of this got merged and ported to the Wii and Ubisoft added motion controls and….it’s just a weird mess of a situation.
Best: Uhhhh: Pass!
Worst: Everything: It was a terrible, rushed, ugly, and not-very-fun-to-play arcade game which has been promptly forgotten by everyone, and once you are done reading this entry you’ll forget about it, too. Which is good. Let’s move on!
Best: Difficult But Rewarding Open World: While Far Cry on PC was basically an open-world game, it wasn’t until Far Cry 2, set in Africa, that the series truly embraced the genre. Now your map was covered with places to visit, side missions, checkpoints, and enemy bases. Exploring and surviving in this open world was tough, too. But that challenge helped elevate Far Cry 2 and made it a fan favorite.
Worst: Kind Of A Slog: While Far Cry 2’s difficulty and intense world is still fun to revisit, I also find some of it to be the wrong kind of slog. Respawning enemy checkpoints, guns breaking all the time, a lack of movement options as the player, and the overall grungy look of FC2 make it hard for me to come back to this entry as often as others.
Best: A More Gorgeous Tropical Paradise: Far Cry 3 returns the series to tropical islands and lush jungles as we first saw in the original game. But thanks to the leap in technology, this new tropical world looks better than Far Cry’s islands and beaches.
Worst: The Narrative: Gorgeous worlds that are fun to explore but saddled with bad writing and shitty characters quickly became a common theme with the series starting here in Far Cry 3. And FC3 might be one of the worst offenders. The main characters in FC3 are annoying, privileged tourists and the overall narrative ends up being a frustrating mix of bland dialogue and boring tropes. Nobody was playing this game because they liked the main character Jason Brody, is all I’m saying.
Best: Blood Dragon’s Style: At first, people thought this spin-off was an April Fool joke. But nope! Ubisoft in fact created a small open-world game covered in ‘80s jokes, colorful neon, and, yes, dragons. It’s still hard to believe this was made but I’m happy it was, if only for all the style it oozed, like a lost 1980s action film you found on an old VHS tape.
Worst: So Short: Too much of a good thing can be bad. I know. I get it. But I still wish Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon was like twice as long. But perhaps the Xbox 360 and PS3 weren’t able to handle that much neon. I bet next-gen consoles can, though. So come on Ubisoft, make a new Blood Dragon game.
Best: Riding An Elephant: Far Cry 4 (which as you can tell now is not the fourth game in the series) switched things up and was set in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat, complete with snowy mountains and elephants. And riding one of these massive pachyderms is still one of my favorite bits from a pretty solid entry in the series.
Worst: Bad Binary Choices: Throughout the course of the main campaign you have to make some choices about how to help lead this revolution. The problem is these choices tend to be mostly binary options and both options tend to suck. I get that Ubisoft wanted to make things morally grey and all that. But it really just makes it hard to care about anything when you realize you are going to have to make bad calls throughout the story.
Best: Being A Caveman: Something I adore about video games is their ability to let you experience something you can never do in real life. Like flying around with superpowers, killing aliens with laser guns, or being a caveman. Far Cry Primal lets you do that last one, and it pulls it off wonderfully. Here, you feel like a weak, unarmored caveman trying to survive terrifying nights filled with dangerous pre-historic creatures that are hunting you at all times.
Worst: Dealing With Other Cavepeople: Look, I get that Ubisoft talked to experts to create their in-game caveman language. And I appreciate all the craft that went into this game’s cutscenes and animations. But after like 20 minutes of hearing cavepeople talk in a made-up language, it becomes hard to take its narrative seriously.
Best: Boomer: It’s not even a contest. Boomer the loveable hound from Far Cry 5 is the best part of that game. Yes, the switch to an American setting was interesting, and the improvements to combat and stealth were nice. Whatever. All I care about is Boomer, the best boy in the world. This helpful pup will mark baddies, attack enemies and help you scout out bases. And he’s very cute and loves pets. Really, he’s the best partner you could ask for.
Worst: Tripping On Drugs: This has become a staple in Far Cry games and I hate it every time. It’s always the same: Slowly waltzing around semi-trippy-but-mostly-just-bleh-looking environments while a character talks endlessly about shit like “Freeing your mind” or “Seeing the real world.” Each time it happened (and in Far Cry 5 it happens a lot) I’d grab my phone and check Twitter instead.
Best: Expeditions: Easily some of the best parts of even the worst Far Cry game or spin-off are the new places you get to explore. In the post-apocalyptic spin-off, Far Cry: New Dawn, Ubisoft built a bunch of new, smaller open-worlds that let players take on short missions inside these areas via in-game Expeditions. Guess what? These were awesome, letting you see different parts of the world while also condensing the best parts of the franchise—sneaky action and big bases—into bite size set pieces! Seriously, what a cool way to add more variety to the main game while not breaking the formula too much. More of this, please.
Worst: Once Again, The Narrative: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but New Dawn has a neat world that’s worth exploring but a terrible story. The main issue this time around is not much happens until the very end and then the narrative goes so off the rails you forget that the main villains of this one are probably the least memorable in the series.
Best: An Even More Gorgeous Tropical Paradise: If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: I love tropical settings in Far Cry games. Far Cry 6’s next-gen beaches and jungles are the best the series has ever had. I spent many hours in Far Cry 6 just walking around and exploring the various islands, caves, and sandbars in the game. Honestly, Ubisoft should just make a non-combat-focused adventure game using FC6’s map. It’s wonderful.
Worst: Giancarlo Esposito: Wait! Don’t get mad! I don’t hate Esposito’s performance. However, he barely plays a part in Far Cry 6 and when he does pop up it just reminds me how little screen time he has in Ubisoft’s game. You could cut him and replace him with a generic bad guy and the game wouldn’t change at all. What a waste of a great actor.