In the nearly two decades that Ubisoft has developed and/or produced the Far Cry games, the studio has almost always delivered. We say almost because not every entry has been as memorable as the highs. There've been a couple of lows too. This isn't to say that some Far Cry games aren't worth playing. Rather, this is to say that, in case you're considering the entire franchise, you might want to start with the good ones.
But, first things first, games like the Paradise Lost and the Hours of Darkness DLCs for Far Cry 5, are all excellent entries to the Far Cry series. However, because they're not exactly mainline titles, we've opted to exclude them from our list.
Obviously, Far Cry 6 isn't included on account that the game hasn't been released yet.
So, without further ado, here is our ranking of the Far Cry games from worst to best.
Far Cry Vengeance (2006)
Far Cry Vengeance is the one Far Cry game that nobody ever talks about. No one will bother to defend that the game is good. It's not. It's atrocious. It's exclusive to the Nintendo Wii and was a remake of Far Cry Instincts, which was also a remake of the first Far Cry game. However, Vengeance suffered from the lack of performant hardware on the Wii. This resulted in disappointing graphics with motion controls that didn't work half the time.
TLDR; Vengeance is the reason why Far Cry games haven't been available on a Nintendo console since.
Far Cry Instincts (2005)
At the time of its release, the original Far Cry game was considered a groundbreaking open-world title. However, it was also exclusive to the PC, which allowed it to take advantage of the peak of gaming technology at the time.
One year after it was first released, Ubisoft attempted to make the original Far Cry available on the Xbox. The result was Far Cry Instincts.
Unfortunately, for the original Far Cry to run on the original Xbox, Instincts had to make do without some of the things that the original had. This included cutting down significantly on the sandbox elements that made the open-world shooter so iconic, which, in hindsight, took away everything that defined the standard Far Cry experience from Instincts.
Far Cry Instincts: Evolution (2006)
Far Cry Instincts: Evolution is a follow up to Instincts and puts players in control of former United States Navy soldier, Jack Carver. However, while it does help improve on what Instincts did with a much better (but still ultimately lackluster) narrative that's chock-full of adrenaline-inducing action scenes that makes it a fun game to play.
Far Cry Instincts: Evolution isn't necessarily a bad Far Cry game. It's decent, all things considered. It's just a far cry (get it?) from the other more well-reviewed entries in the series.
Far Cry Instincts: Predator (2005)
Far Cry Instincts: Predator is only better compared to Instincts and Instincts: Evolution because it launched on a significantly more powerful console, the Xbox 360. However, even then, the Xbox 360 didn't have the power that gaming PCs had, resulting in it still being a visual disappointment compared to the original Far Cry game.
For what it's worth, it truly did look better than Instincts and Instincts: Predator.
Far Cry (2004)
Before Crytek made PCs melt with Crysis in 2007, the studio gave the world Far Cry in 2004 and essentially kickstarted the entire franchise. Although not a lot of PCs could run Far Cry smoothly back then, the game received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike by offering a massive forest environment and giving players a wide assortment of vehicles to drive.
Far Cry didn't just give birth to a series of games that's numbered more than a dozen since. It influenced the entire FPS genre as a whole.
What's surprising about Far Cry is that it introduced elements that its sequels have yet to adapt. For example, it's more open-ended. You could complete the missions however you wanted. The enemy A.I. also adapted to how you worked too, making each encounter more difficult.
Here's to hoping Ubisoft invests the time and money to work on a Far Cry remaster similar to the Crysis Remastered games.
Far Cry New Dawn (2019)
Similar to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Far Cry Primal, Far Cry New Dawn is a standalone expansion and sequel to an existing Far Cry game, Far Cry 5. However, unlike both Blood Dragon and Primal, New Dawn follows up on the events of Far Cry 5. Or, at least, one of the game's alternate endings (there are a total of three).
In New Dawn, players take on the role of The Captain as they try and help defend the Prosperity settlement against a pair of Twins who are hellbent on wreaking havoc.
As in other Far Cry games, New Dawn features everything from expedition missions to replayable outposts, as well as co-op gameplay. New Dawn also switches up the environment from Far Cry 5. It turns Hope County into a more neon-colored version of its former self.
While New Dawn is technically a sequel to Far Cry 5, it's still enjoyable on its own. Of course, if you played Far Cry 5, you'll find the game interesting as it explores what happened to Hope County following the conclusion of the Joseph Seed storyline.
Far Cry 2 (2008)
Far Cry 2 is arguably the most divisive game in the Far Cry series, which is why it ranks exactly where it is.
For its fans, Far Cry 2 is the best Far Cry game ever made. For those who don't like it, it's one of the worst. Regardless of where you stand, one can't deny that Far Cry 2 tried to separate itself from the first game.
Ubisoft's first take on a Far Cry game was a mixed bag. It had subpar graphics compared to the original and had numerous issues. The enemies, for example, would respawn infinitely, and the gunplay was mediocre to say the least. However, Far Cry 2 was also arguably Ubisoft at its most daring, as the game revolved around a bold narrative with unique game mechanics like Malaria and the weapons-jamming systems.
Far Cry Primal
Far Cry Primal was released at a time when audiences started to feel that the Far Cry games were stagnating.
Although Primal was pretty much still a Far Cry game, it did shake things up by giving players an entirely new locale. Instead of being set in modern times or sometime in the future, Primal took players to thousands of years ago during the Mesolithic age.
What made Primal such a good game was that it remained true to its setting. Ubisoft went and hired historical linguists to create a new language just for Primal. The weapons were fit for its time as well, featuring everything from bows to clubs and even spears with survival mechanics like protecting yourself from the elements being just as crucial as knowing how to take down that annoying sabertooth tiger.
Primal is a good example of how you can induce change in a long-running video game series without necessarily changing its core identity.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (2013)
Blood Dragon is everything that Far Cry 3 was with the explosions and silliness factor dialed all the way up to 11.
Released as a standalone expansion to Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon poked fun at everything the main game did, as well as the action movies and games that were released back in the 1980s. But, while the joke can get old a bit too quickly, Blood Dragon makes up for it by giving you a more streamlined experience where all you have to do is to kick ass and chew bubblegum, or so to speak.
As far as condensing the Far Cry experience goes, Blood Dragon is unrivaled.
Far Cry 5 (2018)
Far Cry 5 was a great game. It was built on the bones of Far Cry 3 and 4, which meant that it had no excuse to be a bad game. Unfortunately, Ubisoft probably felt a bit too complacent. The result was a game that didn't really do anything different from its predecessors, except maybe dumb down the experience a bit.
Make no mistake. The small changes to Far Cry 5 aren't bad. The skill tree is no longer there, so you can unlock any perk you want in any order, which is nice. We just aren't fans of making the crafting system easier.
We're also not that big of a fan of the villains of Far Cry 5. As much as we love the fictional setting of Hope County, we loathe its villains. We would have loved them if they had any redeeming quality, but aside from the gimmicky battles that were more annoying than clever, it seems as if Ubisoft were just trying to throw the proverbial dog poo on the wall to see what sticks.
Unfortunately, nothing about the villains in Far Cry 5 stuck, which is why it is "only" ranked third in our roundup despite having arguably the most beautiful setting.
Far Cry 4 (2014)
The fictional Himalayan county of Kyrat is arguably the best environment in the series, serving as more than just a gorgeous backdrop. It's not just a mountain for you to look at and admire - in most instances, you can actually climb to places higher than the series has ever taken you before and since. Not to mention, the addition of the wingsuit makes going back down just as fun and easy as climbing up to the top.
Everything about Far Cry 4 just works, from riding the war elephants to take over enemy bases and even the villain, Pagan Min, despite being labeled as a clone of Vaas (more on him later).
It also helps that Far Cry 4 is arguably the only game in the series to have an actually relatable protagonist. Not that all of us can climb mountains or anything. Most can't. But, we can all relate to loving our parents, much like how all Ajay wants to do is to bury the ashes of his deceased mother.
Far Cry 3 (2012)
Every other Far Cry game is a solid entry to the franchise. Every single one also pales in comparison to Far Cry 3.
Even after nearly a decade since it made its debut in 2012, Far Cry 3 perfected everything that the Far Cry series was and still is all about. It might not have the most beautiful open-world setting, but the tropical island is just as teeming with life and detail, with the local wildlife playing an important role in the game.
Save for the occasional scripted moment, Far Cry 3 gave players a lot of freedom on how to approach the game. It also introduced many elements that have since become franchise staples like skill trees, crafting, and first-person cover shooting, among others
For everything that Far Cry 3 did well, what really makes it the best Far Cry game is its villain: Vaas.
Vaas might just be an evil psychopath down to his very core, but he's a charming and eloquent one at that. Vaas set the bar for Far Cry villains so high that he was prominently featured in the Far Cry 6 season pass with his iconic "insanity" speech remaining just as chilling as it is today as it was when players first heard it back in 2012.
Whether it's in terms of villains, gameplay mechanics, execution, and everything else, Far Cry 3 is the golden standard that every other Far Cry game can only dream of measuring up to.