If you don’t know what a Wild Expedition pack is, then don’t worry because neither did we until Ubisoft tapped us on the shoulder and kindly explained, in those dulcet French undertones. Mmm. Apparently, a Wild Expedition is when you slap four corking titles together in one salaciously priced package and jam it onto shelves both physical and digital faster than you can incredulously exclaim ‘Well would you believe it, a Sumarian Tiger is chewing my arm!’ Ahem. Here are four reasons why Ubisoft’s 10-year anniversary celebratory collection, which contains all entries of their bush-hiding, island-invading, malaria-contracting, tiger-fighting, insanity-defining, first person shooter series Far Cry, is worthy of your attention.
Far Cry Classic
If you remember this, you’re right old. I mean. Not THAT old, but you’ve got to be getting on a bit. Far Cry, Crytek’s debut foray into what would become their household domain, broke new ground by allowing the player to leap into the nearest collection of foliage, rendering all your enemies temporarily blind and stupid. It was novel and fun. Innovatively, the game also afforded you the then new-fangled opportunity to approach a given mission in numerous ways; knocking on the front door and asking the bad guys to hold your bullets in their torso just a second, or speed- boating round to the other side of the island and sneaking your way in like Sam Fisher on holiday in Benidorm. The beautiful tropical vistas were stark and striking for its time, and though it’s looking a little ropey nowadays (some 10 years on, of course) I reckon this HD upgrade’ll be a nostalgic blast regardless. Along aside the full retail package, Far Cry will release as a standalone downloadable title on XBLA and PSN for the simple sum of £7.99.
Far Cry 2
The second Far Cry was a colossal leap for the series, sending the game vaulting raucously into a new generation, and unleashing upon the player a new understanding of the popular phrase ‘Oh Christ I’m lost in an African jungle’. Unfortunately the leap in technicalities didn’t quite filter down to gameplay level, and while it was over-furnished in the neat-touches department, the game turned into a frustrating, muddled chore toward the end. THAT said, the level editor was an incredibly powerful, endlessly life-lengthening addition, if you’re into that, and its newly upgraded core mechanics were still fun too. There’s definitely something about rattling off a few AK47 rounds amidst the dark, dense foliage of that game’s expansive and foreboding jungle playground. For what it’s worth, Far Cry 2 is still worth a bash, even for the uninitiated. Not convinced about how long you’ll stick with it though.
Far Cry 3
If you haven’t played Far Cry 3 yet, you’re a royal fool. Having my expectations well and truly trodden on by the second game, in true Ubisoft fashion, FC3 righted many of the wrongs, listened to player feedback and ultimately came up with this absolutely killer entry, the crowning jewel in the series. The visually arresting, and inarguably beautiful island map, the driving, the hunting, the emphasis on exploration and discovery, and every other gameplay component is refined and addictive and exciting. Enough so that you can forgive the potentially screaming error that is the mostly awful narrative. Which is generally a deal-breaker, as far as I’m concerned. Enthralling, action-packed, dynamic; it’s all the buzzwords and plenty more besides, I loved every hour I put into what became my Game of the Year 2012.
‘It’s incomparably visceral, making for immensely exciting firefights, car chases and airborne excursions, and it’s the mix of these elements that makes the game feel utterly unrelenting in terms of experience.’
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
When the trailer for this first beamed its way onto the internet, nobody believed it was real. Or at least, I didn’t. Blood Dragon takes the chugging and whirring underneath bit of Far Cry 3 and paints an outrageous, neon-soaked 80’s cyber action parody over the top, in what is undoubtedly the most ‘If Only’ moment in video games come to life and realized in the most glorious manner imaginable. With a full single player campaign, in which you play a man called ‘Sergeant Rex Colt: Mark IV Cyber Commando’, inspired writing that might well inhibit your ability to breathe, lasers, robots and enough 80’s references to break a VHS tape in two (I don’t know), Blood Dragon took a leap of self-jest and made it to the other side accompanied by the thumping soundtrack of hard-hitting, lights-down disco retro electronica. Or something.
Despite a few hiccups, as it were, we’re big fans of the Far Cry series, and this 4 in 1 in basically the be all and end all if you’ve haven’t at least had a go at them all. And to top it all off? The Wild Expedition will hit retail shelves next month, 14th February at the agreeable price of £29.99. The download version of Far Cry Classic will appear on XBLA and PSN two days prior on 12th February.
Going to make Valentine’s Day a cosy night in on every Far Cry game there’s been? Why not eh? Actually don’t answer that.