Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Best Overall: Far Cry 3 at Amazon
"More fun than ever, as you can pilot a bevy of vehicles like dune buggies, jet skis, hang gliders, and more."
Best Traversal: Far Cry 4 at Amazon
"You can hide the corpses of fallen enemies, kick objects for the first time, and hunt and skin animals."
Best Atmosphere: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon at Amazon
"One of the finest video game spinoffs ever created."
Best Animals to Pet: Far Cry 5 at Amazon
"Brings the wildly violent and chaotic gameplay to the United States."
Best Throwback: Far Cry 2 at Amazon
"Lauded for its dynamic weather systems and smart AI design."
Best Experiment: Far Cry Primal at Amazon
"Like Blood Dragon, this game is a total departure for the Far Cry series."
Best Follow-Up: Far Cry New Dawn at Amazon
"Liberating outposts is, in itself, liberating due to the sheer number of ways you can approach each one."
The Far Cry franchise really kicked into high gear with Far Cry 3. Still the best Far Cry game you can play right now, the third main installment in the series took all the over-the-top zaniness to the next level, thanks to improvements in combat, transportation, and exploration. Traversing the Rook Islands in Far Cry 3 is more fun than ever, as you can pilot a bevy of vehicles like dune buggies, jet skis, hang gliders, and more. Far Cry 3 really gives you the power of choice, making its vast sandbox environment a blast to navigate.
As with most Far Cry games, the story is nothing to write home about — save for the villain. The big bad in Far Cry 3, Vaas Montenegro, is dark, twisted, and a perfect contrast to the bright, sunny atmosphere on the Rook Islands. So, while the story is solid, the Rook Islands explorable nature is really why you’ll fall in love with Far Cry 3. The openness lets you decide how to play; if you want to go for the main missions, you can. Or, if you just feel like blowing stuff up, that’s an option, too. As the pinnacle of the franchise, Far Cry 3 holds up well even today.
Far Cry 4 takes the franchise to the Himalayas. Other than that, it closely follows the structure of its predecessor. The franchise found new success with the third Far Cry, so Ubisoft decided to take that formula and run with it. The exploration, gameplay, and traversal still feel just as great as in Far Cry 3, but it doesn’t have quite the same magic given that it treads familiar ground. Plus, the mountain ranges aren’t quite as interesting to explore as the tropical setting in the third game.
It’s not all rinse, repeat, though. Far Cry 4 introduces some small gameplay improvements that make a big difference. You can hide the corpses of fallen enemies, kick objects for the first time, and hunt and skin animals. What's more, you can zipline around the world, which is always exhilarating. The game also has a multiplayer mode, called "Guns for Hire," where you can conquer outposts, complete missions, and explore the Himalayas with a friend. And it gets even crazier when you add another person into the mix, so this mode is a huge positive.
While it doesn’t reach the peaks of its predecessor, the right ingredients still come together to make Far Cry 4 a fun first-person adventure.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is one of the finest video game spinoffs ever created. It takes everything fans love about Far Cry (over-the-top violence, fast gameplay, and satisfying mechanics) and infuses it with the bright neon visual style of 1980s science fiction. The futuristic, dystopian world is a blast to explore, and the bright colors and awesome soundtrack make the game more enjoyable. It’s an entirely different take on Far Cry’s setting and tone, and it’ll make you wish Ubisoft took more risks with its other titles. It’s so different, in fact, that some fans thought it was an April Fools' joke when it was announced.
Blood Dragon takes the mechanics and engine from Far Cry 3, but that's where the similarities end. The story isn’t related, and the setting isn’t comparable. In fact, as a standalone expansion, you don’t even have to play Far Cry 3 before jumping into this unique spinoff. Blood Dragon is Far Cry at its weirdest, which is definitely a good thing.
Far Cry 5 brings the series' wildly violent and chaotic gameplay to the United States, deep into rural Montana. Like Far Cry 4, it clearly follows the same formula as Far Cry 3. And while some were quick to criticize this decision, others praised Ubisoft for doubling down on a winning recipe. The villain in Far Cry 5 is Joseph Seed, a cult leader who controls Montana's Hope County. Unfortunately, as it turns out, he lacks the comic book villain appeal of previous Far Cry antagonists, and his frequent monologues drag on well past the point of tedium.
While the characters pale in comparison to earlier Far Cry installments, the gameplay possibilities in Hope County are just as fun and exciting as the rest of the series. Far Cry 5 lets you control nature by recruiting the various wildlife roaming the land. You can recruit animals to fight by your side, and there’s nothing quite like sending a huge grizzly bear named Cheeseburger out to maul a horde of cultists. Far Cry 5 isn’t the best Far Cry game overall, but it’s worth your time if you're itching to wreak havoc in the American frontier.
Far Cry 2 is playable in the Far Cry Compilation, which is backward compatible with Xbox One.
The second main Far Cry game drops you in Central Africa in the midst of a terrible Civil War. You get to choose the faction with which you want to align yourself. Depending on your choice, the experience can differ pretty drastically. At the time of its release, Far Cry 2 was lauded for its dynamic weather systems and smart AI design.
Enemies will often track you down and hunt you, which was pretty unique when Far Cry 2 released in 2008. The weather cycle attempts to mimic real weather patterns as well, making the game immersive for its time. That said, visually, and in some aspects, mechanically, Far Cry 2 has not aged well. But if you want to experience the leaps and bounds Far Cry 2 made, you can still go back and appreciate Far Cry 2 for what it is.
Far Cry Primal goes way back to times before intelligent human life walked the earth. At its height, the game is just as crazy as its contemporary counterparts, but it can tend to get a bit repetitive compared to the franchise’s numbered entries. The guns and vehicles that Far Cry is known for are gone and have been replaced with spears, clubs, and bows.
As you’d expect, nature is your biggest enemy in Far Cry Primal, but you also have to face off against hostile tribes that inhabit nearby areas. Like Blood Dragon, this game is a total departure for the Far Cry series. Sadly, however, it doesn’t execute its ideas as well as the other Far Cry spinoffs. But if you’re looking for a completely different Far Cry experience, this is it.
Far Cry New Dawn released less than a year after Far Cry 5, and it shows. This budget title takes place in the exact same world, with slight narrative and cosmetic differences. Though glaringly similar to Far Cry 5, New Dawn is a riveting open-world adventure that stands on its merits. If you’re looking for an excuse to revisit Hope County after completing Far Cry 5, liberating outposts is, in itself, liberating due to the sheer number of ways you can approach each one.
The story is nothing to write home about, and the new main characters, twin sisters Mickey and Lou, can actually come off as a bit annoying sometimes. And be warned — if you haven’t finished Far Cry 5, stay away from New Dawn unless you want the climax of another Montana-based Far Cry game spoiled.