Far Cry 6 is the latest in Ubisoft’s open-world franchise, building on the base-clearing, first-person shooting, and definitions of insanity of the past while simultaneously introducing some smart new ideas that could help pave the way for where Far Cry goes next. For sixteen years now, this series has been known for unleashing players in massive, alluring worlds both familiar and unfamiliar across vastly different continents, time periods, and sometimes even apocalypses while giving them total freedom to cause mischief and mayhem.
That’s mostly been a winning formula, but the Far Cry franchise is as much about being experimental as it is about feeling familiar. So which are the best games in the series? Here are the top ten Far Cry games ever made.
#10 – Far Cry: Instincts – 2007 (Xbox)
Far Cry Instincts is basically a remake of the original Far Cry game with some cut corners in order to let it debut on the Xbox in 2007. Issues like texture pop-in and long load times definitely showed Instincts’ age when it launched, but this redo also brought in a map editor, new feral abilities, and the addition of several multiplayer modes. Instincts is a fairly linear take on the already linear debut Far Cry game, but it’s still worth checking out to see how far the Far Cry games have come since.
#9 – Far Cry 2 – 2008 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Far Cry 2 was the first in the series to attempt the nonlinear, open-world shooter approach and the result is both ambitious and undercooked as a result. Lots of the quality of life standards and progression features common in recent Far Cry’s hadn’t been introduced yet, but it’s hard to deny how influential Far Cry 2 ended up being to later installments. While its murky, sepia-toned visuals haven’t aged well – a common theme for many mature games of the mid-2000s era – the immense African savannah backdrop still provided players with tons to do and explore.
On top of contending with local wildlife and enemy forces, the player also has to deal with malaria, periodically requiring the usage of medicine to treat the life-threatening parasitic disease coursing through their body. It’s an interesting mechanic that never really made its return in later titles but it does add a level of tension and survival simulation to a game already teeming with things that want you dead.
#8 – Far Cry – 2004 (Xbox 360, PC, PS3)
After years of dimly lit corridors and labyrinthine sci-fi settings dominated the first person shooter space, the original Far Cry dared to drag the genre out into the sunshine for a wide open romp across a dangerous tropical island. Sure, there are still plenty of dimly lit corridors and sci-fi stuff to be found here – the game centers around taking down not only soldiers, but also genetically modified mutant monsters, after all – but players will still scale mountains, fly hang gliders, and swim seas.
The first Far Cry is a fairly linear, level-based game by Far Cry standards, but it’s still got plenty of player agency. You can go in loud with grenades and stolen trucks or stealth your way through enemy base camps, taking down waves of soldiers along the way. That level of gameplay freedom was fairly uncommon in the FPS genre at the time and went on to define the core of what the Far Cry franchise has become known for since.
#7 – Far Cry: New Dawn – 2019 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Far Cry: New Dawn was the first direct sequel in the Far Cry series, taking place seventeen years after – spoilers, I guess – the nuclear collapse is seen in Far Cry 5’s Hope County where nature, and roving gangs of Highwaymen, have reclaimed the land. The result is a vibrant, neon take on Far Cry 5’s map, complete with overgrown flora, mutated animals, and lots of scrappy new weapons and vehicles to play with. Aesthetically, think of it as Mad Max meets Splatoon.
Under the fresh coat of paint was the familiar Far Cry 5 gameplay, as well as a reduced version of Far Cry 5’s map, which ultimately made it feel more like a spinoff than a sequel. That said, if you’re one of the people who play Far Cry for the story and Far Cry 5’s finale left you wondering where the heck things could go next, New Dawn’s vivid and violent sandbox and demented new villains are enough to keep things interesting enough.
#6 – Far Cry 5 – 2018 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
Far Cry’s dense, geographically varied locations brimming with dangerous wildlife are probably the most important draw to the series, which made Far Cry 5’s trip to its sparse and mundane fictitious Montana county somewhat of a letdown. The spacious American West setting wasn’t exactly rife with shark-infested seas and elephant stampedes like some of the other games on this list, but it did try to shake things up by pitting the player against Eden’s Gate, a deranged Doomsday cult prepping for the end of the world.
A video game tiger will always be more interesting than a video game cow, though, so ultimately Far Cry 5’s story couldn’t rescue it from its lackluster setting. That said, there’s still tons of stuff for Far Cry fans to love here. There’s fishing, hunting, and an increased focus on exploration and melee combat. Players could recruit NPCs and even local wildlife to take down enemies. And hidden prepper stashes acted as treasure hunt puzzle rooms of sorts. As for players bored by the small-town setting, Far Cry 5 also included a robust level editor mode, inspiring players to create and share some truly wild and chaotic maps. There’s enough fun in Far Cry 5 to keep players occupied, even if none of it ever truly soars.
#5 – Far Cry: Primal – 2016 (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
By 2016, the Far Cry franchise had been around for a dozen years with nearly as many releases and it was definitely in need of some new ideas. Enter Far Cry Primal, one of the strangest left turns for a spinoff in a mainline video game franchise ever. Primal took the entire Far Cry experience back to the stone age, swapping the series’ machetes and machine guns for clubs and spears and four-wheel vehicles for… four-legged vehicles. Despite the many attempts to reinvent the wheel – no stone age pun intended – the whole experience is still very much Far Cry. But Primal doesn’t overstay its welcome, nor does it ever feel too, well, old-fashioned.
In fact, longtime Far Cry fans will probably have fun discovering the many ways Primal’s developers created primitive versions of the series’ contemporary tropes. Primal wasn’t proof that the Far Cry formula could work in any setting or time period, but it was certainly proof that it was worth experimenting with.
#4 – Far Cry 4 – 2014 (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC)
Kyrat is a stunning and exceptional playground for Far Cry’s interconnected systems to run wild, the kind where your best-laid plans to stealth kill your way through a crowded enemy base camp are either hindered or helped by a spontaneous tiger attack or exploding truck. Then a bunch of stuff catches on fire, your position is outed, the alarms get tripped, and in comes the cavalry.
This Himalayan mountain region throws just about everything at you – and at your disposal. Tigers. Grenade launchers. Elephants. Gyrocopters. Rhinos. Bricks of C4. Honey badgers. There are snow-capped mountains, sprawling valleys, rivers full of bloodthirsty fish, and more. And it’s all brought together by Pagan Minh, a brilliantly written villain who is equal parts extravagant and psychotic. Like several of the games on this list, Far Cry 4 is occasionally bogged down by drawn-out side quests and tedious drug trip adventures. But when it works, it really works well.
#3 – Far Cry 6 – 2021 (Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC)
Far Cry 6 returns to the wartorn tropical paradise setting this series does best, but brings with it some of the most significant new gameplay additions seen in Far Cry yet. The fictitious setting of Yara is absolutely massive and seemingly endless in how it doles out new quests, activities, weapons, and more for the player to mess around with. And it all comes together under the command of Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito who owns his role as Anton Castillo, one of the most formidable and terrifying villains in all of Far Cry.
The focus on RPG-style progression, customization, and gear – and the scrapping of some of Far Cry’s more cumbersome mechanics in favor of quicker, snappier things like looting, resource gathering, and weapon upgrading – makes for an outing that refines some of the best things about Far Cry while also pushing it forward to the future. It’s a gigantic game full of cool customization options, wacky animal sidekicks, interesting characters, and of course, lots of stuff to blow up.
#2 – Far Cry: Blood Dragon – 2013 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
Usually, the Far Cry series reserves its weirdest and most unpredictable ideas and themes for its spinoffs and DLC packs, but none of them stuck the landing quite like Blood Dragon, an ‘80s sci-fi action movie-inspired take on the series. Far Cry: Blood Dragon is functionally a spinoff to Far Cry 3, but as you can probably tell immediately, that’s where most of the similarities end. Blood Dragon stars Terminator and Aliens actor Michale Biehn as a gruff, quippy cybernetic super soldier who descends upon a post-apocalyptic island where massive, deadly Blood Dragons roam the land and basically, all hell breaks loose.
The campaign is short and sweet and lots of the typical Far Cry systems – like crafting – are stripped out entirely, but Blood Dragon is one of the most stylish, funny, and just straight-up bonkers games ever made. It’s clear the developers had a ton of fun with the ‘80s VHS box cover-influenced themes and they absolutely nailed it.
#1 – Far Cry 3 – 2012 (Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC)
Far Cry 3 tops our list of the best Far Cry games of all time for one important reason: balance. Far Cry 3 gets just about everything right in just the right amounts, whereas much of the rest of the series, both before and after, often leans too far in one direction. A gorgeous, picturesque setting with tons of things to see, shoot, and blow up. Excellent shooting mechanics. Fun traversal. Great stealth. A fantastic villain. And just a general confidence in understanding exactly what makes a Far Cry game so great.
It’s no surprise it’s become a benchmark for the series, heavily inspiring modern games as recently as Far Cry 6, as well as totally holding up on its own against modern sandbox games for other series as well. Far Cry 3 perfected the series early on, and while Far Cry has certainly had lots of highs and lows since, this Pacific Island playground will always be worth a trip to.
And those were the top ten Far Cry games ever made! Thanks for checking this out! Did your favorite game make the list? Well, it probably did because this is practically every Far Cry game ever made, but let us know which games deserve to grapple hook their way to the top, or brutally tumble down to the bottom in the comments below. And for all things Far Cry, you’re already in the right place: IGN.