The hype machine for the Nintendo Wii would have you believe that every game that crosses the machine turns to gold. That’s blatantly not the case, as in truth only two or three of the first round of releases have proven themselves worthy of replay value. And one of those was given away free with the machine itself.
Meanwhile, although Nintendo’s fortunes have been in the ascendancy, the Far Cry franchise has been in slow decline. Since the phenomenal original PC release, which is still easily worth the now-£10 asking price, a series of console releases have been good, but nowhere near the majesty of that first outing. Sadly, Far Cry Vengeance marks a desperate low point for what was once a mint gaming franchise, to the point where you wonder whether it can recover.
The problem, of course, is that original developers CryTek aren’t involved anymore, leaving UbiSoft in charge of the franchise. And its thinking, to be fair, wasn’t too bad. In putting together a version of the FPS that relies on the motion of the Wii controller, there’s potential for plenty of fun.
But Far Cry Vengeance is horrifically undercooked and has been released in quite a state. It’s as if someone somewhere realised that the game wasn’t clicking and decided to cut their losses. The results are there for all to see.
From the off, it lacks the visual sparkle that’s been one of the hallmarks of the franchise to date. Granted, the Wii isn’t the most powerful console on the market, but surely it can deliver far better visuals than are on offer here. It’s a real backward step and words can’t do justice to just how shoddy the game looks in motion.
Furthermore, the game itself simply isn’t much fun to play. The level design shows little cause for celebration to start with, and when coupled with the staggeringly inept artificial intelligence of your opponents, Far Cry Vengeance emerges as an outdated, undercooked waste of a once-awesome franchise. Rarely, and not for a good decade, have we found ourselves fighting such fundamentally thick opponents in a video game, and we’re not keen to do so again.
The control system isn’t bad and the Wiimote has been quite intelligently used. But the effort is wasted, given the fact that the core game is such an atrocious mess. There are odd moments where you get offered a smidgeon of entertainment, but there’s not a Far Cry game released thus far that’s not at least three or four times better than what UbiSoft have offered here.
We’re really quite staggered at just how poor it is, and question not only whether the Wii will ever convincingly hold a first person shooter, but also whether the days of the Far Cry franchise are simply numbered.