Far Cry Vengeance
by Vanor Orion

I bought Far Cry Vengeance earlier this year for 12 bucks through Amazon.com. I still paid too much for this game. Oh god, where do I begin?

Far Cry Vengeance is a first-person shooter. You play a guy named Carver who gets embroiled in the affairs of local rebels who are fighting against the tyrannical(?) and nameless government of their nameless country/chain of islands where the game takes place on. Blah blah, the plot is just an excuse to go from point A to point B killing as much stuff as possible. There's nothing interesting or fresh that we haven't seen before a billion times, and in some cases done better.

And the graphics. Oh boy, are we in for a treat here. Now, I'm not one to nitpick on graphics for the most part. As long as the graphics in any game I play are decent, then I'm usually happy. But the graphical presentation in this game isn't just bad, it's a downright travesty. Let's start at the beginning. There are CG cutscenes in the game. It's kinda hard to tell the difference from the in-game cutscenes because there doesn't seem to be much difference. Except that during the CG scenes, there's a huge amount of graphical breakup and glitching going on, especially when there's movement. It's just really hard to ignore, and smacks of lazy programming. And get used to the word "lazy" because we'll keep coming back to it during the length of this review.

But let's not stop there! The in-game graphics aren't much better. On the one hand, the game has huge environments and their scope is quite vast, which is pretty cool. On the other hand, the environments themselves are kinda washed out and feel as though I'm walking in a jungle made of plastic trees. There's lots of architecture and a variety of environments, but it all looks bland and lackluster. Nothing jumps out and grabs your attention. This is doubly true for the enemies you fight in the game. When you go indoors, everything feels empty for the most part. I'm easy to please when it comes to graphics, but again, everything just screams "lazy" to me in this department. The programmers could have done better than what they did, but it's obvious that coding the graphics was a rush job, much like everything else in this game.

Good god it looks like they carved his arm from an oak tree!

Okay, so the graphics are about as bland as skim milk. That can easily be compensated for if the gameplay is exciting, right? Well, not in this game. First off, the Wii controls are pretty decent. You move with the analog stick, aim your weapons with the Wiimote, switch your weapons the control pad, jump by gesturing with the nunchuck, and etc., etc. Everything is fairly intuitive here, though it would have been nice to have a fully customizable UI and control scheme like The Conduit has. But really, there's no problems with the controls here.

The problem is with fighting enemies: They're about as smart as bricks. First time I played the game, I came up on a pair of guards standing in the middle of the road I was travelling on. One had their back to me, the other was facing him (and me), so I blasted him first. The guy with his back to me starts freaking out and shouting out, taunting me to show myelf, even though I'm standing right behind him! Really? The enemies just don't react like normal people would in this game. It breaks the game by making it really easy to mow over certain enemies at times when you're not embroiled in a huge gunfight. But that's not all.

Aiming in this game is suspect. I seriously do not kid when I tell you that you don't really have to "aim" in this game insomuch as you just point your weapon in the general direction of the person you want to die and they're pretty much assured to cartoonishly drop dead, not unlike the scene in Hot Shots Part Duex where Topper Harley runs out of bullets for his gun, so he just grabs a handful of machinegun bullets and throws them at an oncoming wave of soldiers, and watches as they all cartoonishly flail about and kill over.

Seriously, you could make a better game out of this!

Grenades are crap in this game. But usually grenades are crap in most FPS games. Seriously, I know in real life that most grenades don't have a huge blast radius, but realism doesn't always translate into fun. Criterion understood this when they made Black, arguably one of the best single-player FPS games ever made for a console, and that was for the Playstation 2.

Your main charcter has a knife, which you waggle the Wiimote to use, and it's pretty effective, especially given how non-existent the enemy's behavioral routines are. Bleh. Killing stuff in this game just isn't very satisfying. It's like knocking over dominos and watching them fall. Again, lazy programming.

Oh yeah, there's driving segments in the game. Parts where you can drive like a jeep and stuff. Well, it's not as fun as you would think it would be, and it definitely doesn't elevate the overall blandness of the game. As with everything else in the game, it just rates a "meh". Oh yeah, and you get superhuman powers. They're nothing to write home about, either. As for the sound, there's nothing spectacular here. In fact, nothing really noteworthy to mention. Nothing that reaches out and commands your eardrums to listen.

Now on to the glitches! I really shouldn't have to devote an entire section to my review talking about how glitched up the ass a videogame is, but given just how bugged this game is, I really don't have much of a choice:

1. Several times during gameplay, the game itself froze, and I was forced to reset my Wii. This in fact happened twice in the span of approximately 30 minutes in between game freezes. This continued to happen to me many times while playing the game for no good reason.

2. During one stage early on, I was guided to my next objective, which was a plane, so that I could move on to the next level. I would have liked to have done this but as soon as I reached the plane, I tried everything I could to board it, but nothing I did allowed me to move to the next stage. Thinking I had missed something I spent 30 minutes backtracking looking for anything I may have missed and needed to move things along. I had to quit my game, and upon picking up where I left off later, all of a sudden there was a huge icon that I merely needed to stand on that would let me move on to the next leve, that wasn't there when I was playing before. What the hell?!

3. I know I mentioned the enemy AI before, but seriously, AI this dumb should be considered a glitch.

4. As I mentioned before, the CG movies all suffer from severe graphical break up and hiccuping. It's too much of an eyesore to ignore.

5. I would have found more if I had played the game to completion, which I didn't.

This game could have been good. Given enough time to iron out the all the kinks, and ramp up the action level, this game could have been a solid, if not unremarkable FPS for the Wii. The controls are sound, and the vast and wide-open setting laid the foundation for a very exciting and immersive game, but the subpar quality of the graphics (and I'm not one to harp on graphics, it's just that they really are that poor) and the lemming-like enemy AI drains any kind of excitement or tension out of combat really drags the game down. The fact of the matter is, these developers didn't even bother to try, or they were rushed before the game got released, either way, the quality suffers and it shows in all sorts of embarassing ways.

This would all be pretty bad, but the amount of glitches is what torpedoes this listing ship straight to the bottom of the Marianas Trenches to settle in with the likes of Lester the Unlikely and Quattro Adventure as one of the most infuriating games I've ever played. And not because the game is just simply bad, but because a game with this many glitches and bugs, should have never made it to retail in the first place.


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