Reviewed: November 18, 2008
Released: October 21, 2008
When Far Cry was released a few years ago, the game was recommended to me by a friend. One of the most exciting aspects of the original game was the visible distance of the massive open world environments. Where most FPS games up to that point had featured narrow hallways and small, confining, linear maps, Far Cry opened up the FPS to a wider world with more possibilities and non-linear gameplay.
I remember, though, getting about 90 percent of the way through the game and starting to get attacked by monsters and stuff like that and I got really confused. For a second, I thought that maybe I had accidentally started playing the wrong game. I will say that the inclusion of monsters really turned me off of the first game.
No such worries exist with the Far Cry 2. Actually, one of the only things that carry over from the original title is the fact that you are playing in a very broad world, this time only broader and much less linear. None of the characters are the same, and the story from the first game (and its expansions) does not have anything to do with this new game with the same title. Far Cry 2 is completely set in the “real” world with current weapons and equipment. No monsters or genetically enhanced enemies to be found.
This time around, you find yourself as a gun-for-hire in the middle of Africa. There are two major factions fighting over this area and you are given the freedom to choose which side you want to fight for. You have an ultimate goal, which is to track down and kill the “Jackal”, the man who is behind supplying the weapons and ammunition to both factions.
Far Cry 2 uses the free-form method of gameplay that has become so popular in the last couple of years. Basically, you are free to go wherever you want and take whatever missions you want while exploring two massive maps. The scenery is beautiful and the gunfights are as scorching as the sun.
Weapons can either be bought from arms dealers scattered throughout the maps, or collected from your dead enemies. The negative side to picking up someone else’s gun is that it will most likely be in poor condition. Rust, dirt, and grime will cause your gun to jam at the most inopportune times. Also, they will be less accurate and have greater recoil. So, it is a much better idea to bring your own, well-cared for weapons to the fights, as long as you can afford them.
Combat in the game is absolutely amazing. The AI is non-scripted, so they will react to how you approach them. You can choose your weapon set before you head out, so if you want to take the Rambo approach, you can load up with heavy weapons and explosives. However, if you prefer, you can deck yourself out with silenced weapons and sniper rifles and try to get through without being located. Using a fire-then-move strategy, you can usually manage to do this with some planning, since the bad-guys will move towards where they last heard gunfire. Be careful, though, because they have been known to flank and surround my position without me knowing it.
Probably the one aspect of the game that quickly became annoying and frustrating to me that detracted from my overall enjoyment were the guard posts that are scattered throughout the game. As you drive along the few roads that take you to where you need to go for missions, you will come across guard posts that will immediately attack you. Usually, there are only a few guys at each one, but it quickly becomes more of an annoyance than an enjoyment, since most of the time you are on your way to a larger, mission battle. What I discovered is that you can either drive straight through, taking a couple of plinks from the guards as you drive by, or you can stop before they know you’re there, snipe them all, then drive through un-accosted.
Visual effects are stunning. Using effects like blurring as you sprint or suffer injury add a level of depth to the game that makes it feel even more real. There are also dynamic lighting effects that change how the world looks depending on where you’re standing. A realistic day-night cycle that actually takes several hours to complete is also not only very visually beautiful, but useful in the game, as well. Instead of taking on a mission at the height of day so your enemies can see you coming a mile away, you can go to one of your unlocked safe-houses and take a little nap until the sun sets so that you can sneak in under the cover of darkness. There are also varying weather conditions that add a little spice to the game, such as rain, wind, etc.
Catch a patch of dry grass on fire during a windy afternoon and watch as the fire spreads out of control. Just don’t be downwind or you’ll quickly be running to keep from getting burned. The self-propagating fire is probably one of the other cooler attributes that the game offers. With the destructible environments, it is really fun to shoot a kerosene lantern and watch as a small fire can spread, like dominoes, catching propane tanks on fire and causing massive explosions.
Sound effects in the game are very well done and important to gameplay, as well. You will be hiding behind cover, trying to figure out if your enemies know where you are or have given up on you and you may be rewarded by the rustle of movement through high grass, or the mumbles of a nervous man talking to himself. You will also overhear conversations between baddies as they discuss you. This allows you to set up much better ambushes and attacks.
I very much enjoyed my Far Cry 2 experience. Like I said, the only real complaint that I have about the game is that it gets annoying and repetitive to have to fight the guard posts and roaming patrols over and over. I understand that they probably programmed this in so that you didn’t end up driving around for hours without getting into any kind of fight at all, but I feel that it could have been handled a little differently.
In the end, this is a top-notch next generation FPS and you won’t be sorry if you end up choosing this one to while away some hours blasting African factions back to the Stone Age. Since the game is fairly open-ended as to how you play it and which side you choose, you could easily play this game all the way through a few times before you ever started feeling tired of it.