The Far Cry series is among the best in the genre because it features some of the most unique and interesting environments.
To help you decide which of the many Far Cry games to play, we’ve arranged them all here in chronological order.
Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of Far Cry; our game recommendations are sure to change that!
Let’s get started with a comprehensive rundown of all the Far Cry titles.
The History of the Far Cry Games
The Beginning (Far Cry, Far Cry Instincts, Far Cry Instincts: Evolution)
The original Far Cry was one of those games with goals so lofty that they inevitably went too far. There was some stealth gameplay, but your enemies could still track you for half a mile through the steaming jungle. Anyone who tried to use stealth to defeat the enemies rather than just running in and shooting them would have thrown their controller across the room in disgust.
The seemingly supernatural foes were actually a byproduct of the developer’s efforts to give the enemy AI some actual intelligence, much like in Half-Life; this aspect of the game was widely praised. The AI or the visuals, or sometimes both, were mentioned favorably in the vast majority of reviews. Even though it was released in 2004, it was hailed as “near-perfect” and “quite possibly the best one-player, action-intensive shooter ever.”
Even before the first Far Cry was released, it was being considered for the lowest of all possible honors: a film adaptation by the notoriously bad director Uwe Boll. We aren’t against the idea of a Far Cry movie, we’re just against the idea of Uwe Boll making a Far Cry movie, Ubisoft Montreal’s LP Pharand said after the film’s inevitable failure.
In any case, this wasn’t the only change that was made. Since the Xbox couldn’t handle the massive open world of Far Cry 1, the developers ported the game to the console in a slightly more linear form known as Far Cry Instincts. The short sequel Evolution to Instincts was largely a rehash of the original. Nothing to be ashamed of for a remake that received an 89% approval rating from critics.
The Rumble In The Jungle (Far Cry 2)
The gameplay in Far Cry 2 wasn’t much better than the first game. In this world, the moment your car passed through a crossroads, armed men would begin a pursuit. The development of practical stealth mechanisms had not even begun. Although the game’s strongest feature is its story, Far Cry 2 added the grimly realistic mechanic of your guns wearing out and eventually jamming on you during firefights.
Far Cry 2 ditched the campy B-movie monsters of the first game in favor of a more realistic, gritty, and occasionally unpleasant experience. Heavily influenced by both the original Joseph Conrad novel and the loose film adaptation Apocalypse Now you were The Jackal, a mercenary who had been dropped into a war-torn African country in search of an arms dealer. Since your guns are the only real way to interact with the world, you find yourself fighting for both sides of the civil war and hanging out primarily with other mercenaries. Let’s just say that your character is not very likable. Finding blood diamond caches and picking up malaria treatment are two of your many side missions.
The Jackal was the game’s most compelling figure despite appearing primarily as a series of meandering, nihilistic audio logs. Perhaps it is telling that the player character from the first Far Cry, Jack Carver, was not brought back for the sequel because players had forgotten about him. In video games, the protagonist is often just a blank slate for the player to fill in (though, oddly, protagonists who are steadfastly silent, like Link from The Legend of Zelda or Gordon Freeman from Half-Life, tend to be more memorable than your average Jack Carvers). In any case, this created a need for more interesting characters that the antagonists have been happy to fill.
In contrast to the first Far Cry, which was set on a generic tropical island, the open world of the sequel was something players were eager to explore. With a massive map of 31 square miles, the game’s environments varied from barren desert to dense jungle. This is roughly the same size as Grand Theft Auto V, another game that came out five years later.
Everyone who has played the game has complained about the same things: having to constantly unjam your gun, take your medication, and deal with enemies who have nothing better to do than chase you. In spite of these problems, however, Far Cry 2 received a similarly enthusiastic reception to its predecessor, with almost no reviews giving the game a score lower than eight out of ten.
The Tyrant On The Island (Far Cry 3, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon)
One could argue that Far Cry 3 marked the beginning of the series as we know it today. Combat progressed beyond “fire in their direction until they stop moving” now that they had the equipment to make stealth mechanics work properly. The odds of landing a headshot improved, and close combat was introduced.
Close combat was technically covered in the previous entries, but only in the sense of “swipe ineffectually at them with a knife that might as well be blunt.” Starting with the very first mission, you’ll be able to sneak up on your enemies and hack them to pieces with a machete. You could hack down one enemy, then spring over to the next and slice them up too, or you could pull your victim’s sidearm and wipe out their friends. These methods became available as you progressed through the game. Cracked didn’t call Far Cry 3’s “freestyle murder system” the game’s best feature for nothing.
The plot of Far Cry 3 was big, bold, and stupid, with none of Far Cry 2’s attempts to show the horrors of war. Michael Mando’s Vaas stole the show as the obnoxious, over-the-top antagonist who was inherently more interesting than the bland hero or his tedious friends.
Similarly, Far Cry 3 adopted a feature from Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft’s other blockbuster game, that has since spread to far too many open world games: a tower in the center of each sub-region, which you climb up to get a cinematic pan around the nearby landscape. For a while, this was a hallmark of the series, but by Far Cry 5, the game was appropriately poking fun at the concept.
Critical reviews for Far Cry 3 hovered around a respectable nine out of ten, proving that all the experimental fumblings of the first two installments finally paid off. It won a dozen awards, and Vaas himself took home several of them for his “did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?” monologue.
Similar to Grand Theft Auto, it wasn’t until the third game in the series that the formula for what we now know as Far Cry was established, and similarly to GTA, the games in the Far Cry series aren’t necessarily meant to be played in chronological order. The next installment, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, took the story to a whole new level of absurdity. It took on the neon-lit, synth-heavy aesthetic that represents a fever dream version of the 1980s.
There was more to Blood Dragon than just a name. In keeping with its exaggerated style, it featured the usual predatory fauna alongside giant, laser-breathing lizards. Although it was obviously a sideshow and not nearly as substantial as Far Cry 3, it was still universally praised as a fun little blast.
The Shouting On The Mountain (Far Cry 4, Far Cry Primal)
Not much had changed in Far Cry 4 since Far Cry 3. It was mechanically identical, feeling more like an expansion pack than a true sequel; however, it was a bloody good expansion pack, providing a lovely new location (the definitely-not-Nepal fictional nation of Kyrat), a plethora of new toys, and not one but five hammy villains to shake your fist at. Far Cry 3’s success gave Ubisoft the opportunity to establish a foundation and begin making adjustments based on what they learned.
It also had a few minigames in the arcade style, with the main antagonist, Pagan, providing regular commentary on your actions via radio. Similar to Vaas, he was able to steal the show from the protagonists despite their lack of interesting qualities.
Positive reviews for Far Cry 4 were universally disseminated. The most common complaint was that it didn’t do much to advance the series beyond Far Cry 3, but even among those who found little to praise in the game, the vertical exploration of Kyrat’s mountainous terrain was frequently cited as a positive addition.
The developers of Far Cry 5 likely saw how similar Far Cry 4 was to Far Cry 3, so they decided to completely revamp the series by setting it in the prehistoric era. Sticks and stones replaced firearms and explosives in Far Cry Primal, setting the action in what could have been central Europe some 10,000 years ago. In place of ATVs and motorcycles, you could train a saber-toothed tiger to serve as your personal mode of transportation.
Primal was more divisive than the previous Far Cry games, with players either praising it as a breath of fresh air or slamming it as a repetitive boondoggle. However, even the most harsh critics gave it a three out of five, praising the game’s consistent primeval setting and the animal-training dynamic despite its implausibility. The public, too, found little to criticize, and the game was the top seller in the United States in February 2016.
Going Bananas In Montana (Far Cry 5, Far Cry: New Dawn)
The action in Far Cry 5 took place in a modern setting, complete with firearms and explosives, but instead of the usual exotic locations, the game took place in a rural area of Montana that had fallen under the control of a doomsday cult. This cult, like the one in Bioshock Infinite, was covered in overtly Christian imagery without ever directly referencing Christianity.
Some critics found Far Cry 5’s tired cultist characters uninteresting in comparison to the more colorful ones like Vaas and Pagan, leading to some of the game’s most polarizing reviews. Over 70,000 copies were sold in its first week, making it the fastest-selling game in the franchise’s history and twice as successful as Far Cry 4. This time around, it wasn’t just the critics who praised Far Cry 5 for its stunning visuals and picturesque setting; the state of Montana’s tourism board also got behind the game as a public relations tool. Enjoy the outdoors and fishing? You should do it in practice. However, try not to set off any explosions.
Without giving away any spoilers, the unnumbered spinoff of Far Cry 5, New Dawn, was set in a nuclear wasteland. However, New Dawn opted to make its landscapes greener than ever before, with nature reclaiming the ruins of civilization, rather than the usual grimy, grey post-apocalyptic so beloved by, for example, the Fallout games.
EGM rated it a dismal 2/5, saying that, like their own post-apocalyptic society, New Dawn was cobbled together from the discarded remnants of earlier endeavors. More positive reviews appeared elsewhere, but even they pointed out how similar it was to Far Cry 5 — more so than the spin-offs Blood Dragon and Primal had been to their parent games.
The Future (Far Cry 6)
Of course, Far Cry 6 will release later this year, and veteran baddie Giancarlo Esposito will play the role of the game’s latest charismatic bad guy. We now know that Ubisoft has spent a lot of time honing these games down to their finest qualities. However, the central formula of open-world first-person shooting games appears to be here to stay for quite some time. Even though you’ll eventually rebel against Esposito’s petty dictatorship in Chapter 6, evolution, not revolution, is what you can expect in the long run.
The Complete Far Cry Games List in Order
The following list of Far Cry games and statistics are compiled from various online sources, including Game Informer, Ubisoft, and Wikipedia.
All of the Far Cry games are listed below in chronological order:
12. Far Cry – (2004)
Far Cry, the original game in the series, was released in 2004 and serves as the starting point for our comprehensive list of Far Cry games.
The first-person shooter Far Cry was created by Crytek and published by Ubisoft for PCs, with console ports for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 following.
In the game, you play the role of ex-special forces soldier Jack Carver, who is sent on a mission to find a missing journalist whose boat was attacked by mercenaries. It’s a first-person tropical adventure set on a mysterious island chain.
The open maps and wide variety of weapons and tools available to players make it possible to accomplish each objective in a number of different ways.
The release of Far Cry was met with high praise due to the game’s impressive visuals, engaging gameplay, and expansive open world. Within four months of its release, the game had already sold over 730,000 copies, and it went on to sell over 2.5 million copies around the world.
11. Far Cry Instincts – (2005)
Ubisoft developed and published the next game in the series, Far Cry Instincts, for the Xbox in 2005.
Since the Xbox lacks the processing power of the PC version, this remake is much more linear than the original.
Like the original, players take control of ex-special forces soldier Jack Carver and lead him through a series of missions and objectives to save “Cortez,” a CIA agent sent to save a mysterious voice calling himself “Doyle.”
Instincts adds a plethora of new weapons, ferocious abilities, and a cooperative mode to the mix.
Critical reception to Far Cry Instincts was positive, and the game’s commercial success led Ubisoft to announce a sequel, which is the one we’ll be playing next.
10. Far Cry Instincts: Evolution – (2006)
The Xbox release of the sequel Far Cry Instincts: Evolution came out on March 28, 2006.
After the events of Instincts, series protagonist Jack is hired by a woman named Kade to mediate an arms deal between the government of Micronesia and some notable pirates.
However, not everything goes as planned, and the agreement is attacked by rebels. Jack is falsely accused of carrying out the attack and must now find a way to clear his name.
New weapons, vehicles, a more robust map editor, and a second multiplayer mode are just some of the additions in Evolution.
The 360 version of Instincts is not compatible with the Xbox version, so you will not be able to play any maps made for the Xbox version.
When it was first released, Ubisoft’s Far Cry Instincts: Evolution was met with lukewarm reviews.
9. Far Cry Instincts: Predator – (2006)
Ubisoft, the creators and publishers of Evolution, also released their game Far Cry Instincts: Predator on the same day.
Both Far Cry Instincts and Evolution have been updated and expanded graphically for this release. It includes a brand new map editor where players can make and modify their own maps.
The developers of this installment worked hard to ensure that players would have a smooth, high-definition gaming experience that would do justice to the Far Cry world.
Players will notice enhanced chase scenes, enemy vehicle AI, and more adrenaline-inducing action sequences thanks to the game’s use of the Xbox 360’s multi-core next-generation engine.
Predator received mostly positive reviews from critics upon its release and received a decent Metascore.
8. Far Cry Vengeance – (2006)
The third Instinct game, Far Cry Vengeance, came out in the same year as its two predecessors.
This remake of Far Cry Instincts: Evolution for the Nintendo Wii is a first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft.
There are three new levels to play through, as well as new weapons, vehicles, and controls.
The series’ protagonist is back in action as he sets out to rescue Kade from the rebels’ clutches; however, things take an unexpected turn when he learns that Kade is actually helping Semeru and the rebels.
Critics were not kind to Far Cry Vengeance upon its release, citing issues with the game’s visuals, cutscenes, and enemy AI.
Despite not looking “half as good as the year-old Xbox version,” IGN still called it “fundamentally a fun shooter.”
7. Far Cry 2 – (2008)
Our comprehensive list of Far Cry games continues with Far Cry 2.
It is the second main installment in the Far Cry Series, following 2004’s Far Cry, and was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft.
A new style of gameplay gives players more leeway to roam Africa’s deserts, jungles, and savannas, and there are new characters to meet along the way.
Conflict erupts in modern-day Central Africa in Far Cry 2. The player takes control of a mercenary who is on the trail of “The Jackal,” a ruthless arms dealer, to bring him to justice for his atrocities.
Both single-player and multiplayer modes are supported in this first-person shooter.
The game’s settings, open-ended gameplay, artificial intelligence (AI), and visuals were praised, while bugs, design choices, and writing were criticized.
More than three million copies of Far Cry 2 were sold around the world, despite the game’s fair share of criticism.
6. Far Cry 3 – (2012)
The third major entry in the Far Cry series, Far Cry 3 was developed and published by Ubisoft.
The first-person shooter is set in the fictional tropical archipelago of the Rook Islands, which players are free to explore at their leisure.
Jason Brody, the protagonist, must save his friends from pirates while on vacation in the Rook Islands.
Players can defend themselves from both wild animals and human enemies with a wide variety of weapons, and the gameplay focuses on a mix of combat and exploration.
Upon its release, Far Cry 3 was praised by critics for its engaging story, memorable characters, and innovative gameplay and world design. It received several nominations for “Game of the Year” and other awards from the gaming industry.
5. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon – (2013)
Our comprehensive list of Far Cry games continues with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
This first-person shooter from Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft was released in 2013 as a spin-off of Far Cry 3.
It’s the eighth main entry in the Far Cry series, and it’s available on PS3, PC, and 360.
The retro-futuristic island of Blood Dragon is the setting for a parody of action movies, video games, and cartoons from the 1980s.
Rex “Power” Colt, a cyborg Sergeant in the military, is the protagonist. His world has been devastated by nuclear war. All of Rex’s missions revolve around him trying to “get the girl, kill the bad guys, and save the world.”
After being nominated for several industry awards and receiving mostly positive reviews, Blood Dragon took home the VGX trophy for “Best DLC.”
4. Far Cry 4 – (2014)
Far Cry 4 is the fourth game in the series that we recommend.
Ubisoft Montreal created and published this first-person shooter for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows in 2014.
It’s the sequel to Far Cry 3 and the fourth game in the Far Cry series.
Set in the made-up Himalayan nation of Kyrat, the player controls Ajay Ghale as he becomes embroiled in a civil war between the Royal Army and the Golden Path.
Players use a wide array of weapons to defend themselves from both human foes and dangerous wildlife, as in previous entries in the series.
The game received high marks for its innovative open world, stunning visuals, engaging soundtrack, and memorable characters, especially the villain Pagan Min.
With over seven million copies sold by the end of 2014, Far Cry 4 was a commercial success and the biggest launch in the franchise’s history.
3. Far Cry Primal – (2016)
As a direct offshoot of the main Far Cry series, Primal saw a worldwide release for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in February of 2016.
Ubisoft Montreal created and published the game.
The protagonist of Primal, Takkar, is determined to rise to the position of tribal leader at any cost, making this the first Far Cry game to take place in prehistoric times.
The game is experienced in a first-person open world setting.
Back to the basics, this installment only features melee weapons like clubs and spears and ranged weapons like bows and slings, with no use of firearms or vehicles.
These are helpful in the struggle against the dangerous predators and hostile tribes that inhabit the area.
Far Cry Primal received mixed reviews from critics but still managed to top the UK retail software sales charts in its first week of release.
2. Far Cry 5 – (2018)
The latest installment in the Far Cry series, Far Cry 5, is the direct sequel to 2014’s Far Cry 4 and the fifth main installment in the series overall.
Ubisoft Toronto created the game, and Ubisoft released it in 2018 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The plot of this installment revolves around a young junior deputy sheriff in a made-up part of Montana called “Hope County” who tries to stop a doomsday cult from making everyone’s lives miserable.
Players are tasked with fending off wild animals and enemy soldiers with an arsenal of exotic weapons, as is customary for a Far Cry installment.
In addition to the standard single-player campaign and multiplayer modes, this installment includes a map editor.
Upon its release, Far Cry 5 was well-received by critics and quickly became a commercial success, selling over $310 million in its first week.
It also broke records for the Far Cry series for sales velocity.
1. Far Cry New Dawn – (2019)
New to the Far Cry series is Far Cry: New Dawn, which follows the events of Far Cry 5 from a narrative perspective.
The 2019 video game was created by Ubisoft Montreal and released by Ubisoft. It included many of the series’ signature features and established gameplay elements, such as a massive open world, co-op/AI companions, and the capture of outposts.
On the other hand, it adds some RPG staples like a customizable base and a greater emphasis on crafting with dwindling resources.
Set seventeen years after Far Cry 5, the main story follows a group of people who have survived “the Collapse,” a global catastrophe, and have decided to rebuild Hope County.
Compared to its predecessors, Far Cry Primal and Far Cry 5, Far Cry 5 was met with mixed reviews from critics and ultimately sold fewer copies.
Despite this, it was the top-selling retail game in the UK its first week on sale and was nominated for multiple awards.
The following is a list of all Far Cry games, in chronological order.
Far Cry is a first-person shooter franchise that hasn’t done too badly over the years, especially when compared to other franchises we’ve mentioned.
We’ll choose Far Cry 5 over Grand Theft Auto and Need for Speed any day.