Far Cry titles are the definition of open-world sandbox and mayhem. The series is almost two decades old at this point. The first game in the franchise was released back in 2004, and since then it has seen countless mainline releases and a few spin-offs as well.
The series, which was once developed as a technical showcase for Crytek's new CryEngine, has evolved into a behemoth that has defined the modern open-world landscape.
These games are widely remarked as the most influential titles that greatly affected the perception of players towards the open-world genre as a whole, both for good and for worse.
The series features some really excellent games that are some of the most immersive gaming experiences out there, while at the same time there are more than a few bad eggs that have hampered the series' reputation of delivering the best open-world sandbox experience. Here's a ranked list of all the mainline Far Cry titles from worst to best.
Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's opinions.
How do Far Cry titles fare amongst each other?
9) Far Cry New Dawn
With New Dawn, Ubisoft aimed at changing the series and turning it into a Borderlands wannabe, with artificial RPG mechanics that greatly hindered the experience.
On top of that, the game's setting was a direct continuation of the fifth mainline entry, about 17 years after the nuclear doomsday event. This gave developers a reason to reuse the same map from the previous game with mild visual differences.
The narrative of New Dawn was a cookie-cutter post-apocalyptic affair with bland and forgettable characters. Even the series' signature gunplay was turned into a boring affair in the game, with bullet sponge enemies and arbitrary level requirements.
8) Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6 is extremely derivative of the series' long-running tradition of less innovation and needlessly bigger maps. The game features all the traits players have come to expect from the series. However, it lacks a unique feature that can be used to distinguish the game from other titles in the series.
It tried too hard to replicate the magic of the third title in the series, but in pursuit of that, it lost any semblance of its own identity. Although the game's narrative can be quite fun at points, it is ultimately very forgettable and so are most of its characters (except Giancarlo Esposito's "El Presidente" Anton Castillo).
The game isn't bad, far from it, but the lack of innovation and new ideas is still holding it back from being an amazing title in the series.
7) Far Cry Primal
Far Cry Primal was an interesting addition to the series. The game was a bold new take on series' traditional FPS gameplay and setting, as Primal took players back to prehistoric times.
Given the game's setting, players expected an entirely new experience both in terms of narrative and gameplay. However, Primal plays like just about any other game in the series, with slightly tweaked combat mechanics to fit its time period.
Primal features some interesting additions like the animal taming system. It allows players to befriend a variety of animals that they can find in the wild and use them during combat and stealth sequences. However, for the most part, the game is operationally similar to other titles that came before it.
6) Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Blood Dragon is a standalone expansion, which narratively has no ties to the third mainline title in the series. Instead, the game features stellar gameplay in the third mainline installment and infuses it into a fun and humor-filled 80's retro-futuristic parody flick.
The game is filled with comedic moments that greatly contrast with the series' often serious tone. Blood Dragon has a relatively short runtime, which is justified as its not a mainline title in the series. However, its action-packed gameplay and wacky narrative make for one of the best experiences in the entire series.
5) Far Cry
Far Cry was the original title that started it all. The 2004 game was more of a technical showcase for developer Crytek's CryEngine, which was later used for the graphical and computational powerhouse, Crysis.
However, upon its release on PC, the open-world title was immediately heralded as one of the best video games, alongside classics like Half Life.
Players were genuinely astounded by the physics, graphical fidelity, enemy AI, and robust gunplay that the game offered. The game, although dated, has aged very well, with an entertaining narrative, groundbreaking visuals (for a game of 2004) and fun gameplay.
The only issue is its compatibility with modern PC hardware, or lack thereof, and general technical issues like bugs and visual glitches that weren't completely ironed out.
4) Far Cry 5
Far Cry 5 is a game where Ubisoft tried to reinvent the core mechanics of the franchise without straying too far from the core esthetics. And for the most part, the developers succeeded in creating a fresh experience for players.
Although the game features a similar gameplay loop that players associate with the series, it has also implemented some new mechanics and changes that drastically affect the moment-to-moment gameplay.
One such example is the non-linear story, which gives players complete freedom over progression, and the lack of a minimap, which encourages organic exploration of the open world.
3) Far Cry 4
Far Cry 4 is basically the same game as its predecessor, but in a new setting. The premise was interesting yet very derivative of the game that came before it.
In the fourth mainline entry of the series, players get to explore the Himalayan country of Kyrat, its local inhabitants and wildlife, while also going face-to-face against a tyrant ruler with the aid of a resistance.
Gameplay, narrative, and even the antagonist are built around the idea of recreating the magic of the previous game. The gameplay systems were exactly the same as the previous title with very slight quality-of-life tweaks.
Despite the similarities, it is undeniably a fun game to play, in part due to the already solid foundation of the previous title.
2) Far Cry 2
Far Cry 2 took a drastically different approach than the original title. Instead of opting for a vibrant and lush tropical island, the game is set in the gritty African subcontinent.
This sequel was built on the principle of delivering a fresh experience without straying away from core components of the first game — and the developers truly nailed that sentiment.
It took a darker and much more grounded approach with both its narrative and gameplay systems. The graphics and gameplay were massively overhauled for the sequel, making it one of the best-looking games of the seventh console generation.
1) Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is the benchmark for open-world video games. It has a gorgeous and intricately detailed world that is filled with various activities. The title also has robust gameplay systems that drastically improved upon the previous entries.
To cap it all off, there is a spectacular narrative that is filled with amazing character, which keeps players immersed throughout the entire experience. These are just a few reasons why the third entry in the franchise is the most beloved.
The game is a masterpiece of storytelling and world-building without ever steering away from the franchise's core values. The changes this title brought to the open-world genre as a whole are still being replicated for most modern games in delivering a cohesive and engaging open-world experience.