So I finished Far Cry 2 this month, logging in around 70 Hrs. This game is pretty huge, though I will admit some of this time was just dinking around.
There were a lot of things I enjoyed about the title(graphics, guns, open world, etc), a lot that I hated as well. Now, I am not going to say the game is bad, but with a few changes it would have been a better experience.
First, I should talk about the good things, because they were REALLY GOOD:
Lots of missions: I really liked that there were many things to do. The mission variety wasn’t all that great, but depending on your friends, different things come up. That kind of keeps things fresh if you play through it multiple times. The game keeps you in the action pretty well, you always seem to be shooting at something(this is both a blessing and a curse). And if you get bored with the main missions, there are plenty of little things to do for diamonds or to unlock weapons at the gun shop, quite the bit of mischief to be had as well.
Guns: Speaking of guns, I didn’t have many complaints in this area. LOTS OF GUNS! All fairly realistic weapons, each with it’s own look and personal feel. I loved the variety, and attention to detail. I bought the Fortunes Pack with my Steam purchase and added three specialty weapons to my arsenal; a silenced shotgun, crossbow, and a mini shotgun. That crossbow was in my inventory almost the entire game, nothing feels better than silently launched explosions. =D
Unlocking weapons is easy enough, just complete a mission for the man that runs the shop. You scratch his back, he offers you high calibur assault weaponry to kill Kill KILL!!!
Sorry…uh where was I?? Oh yeah, inventory. 🙂 The game lets you take one weapon in each class with you(S,M,L), and after buying the proper containers, place one of each type in a box that you can access at any safe house for an exchange. I didn’t mind this so much, as it allowed me to custom tailor my load-out for each mission style.
The guns wear out over time and can eventually jam or even break. It’s a bit crazy when you get caught without a gun. I had plenty of moments where I had lined up the perfect shot, only to have my gun jam as I pulled the trigger. I liked that it was a random element that you had to consider, as it could change the outcome of a mission.
Each weapon has an accuracy and durability upgrade available for purchase, as well as upgrades to your character(ammo limits, health pack limits, camo suits) so there are plenty of ways to spend your hard earned diamonds to blow up more of the African continent. ^_^
Vehicles: How many times have you been playing an open world game and wished the vehicles were usable? With something as simple as transportation, you would imagine it to be an easy thing to create in-game. Obviously, this is harder than it seems. Most games offer you a means of transport, and somehow they always half-ass it. Not the case here! I was very impressed with the level of quality put into the driving system for Far Cry 2.
Most vehicles are the same, but again you see enough of a difference in cars to pick a favorite for any mission style. Big trucks for ramming through a checkpoint, lightweight jeeps for going off the beaten path. If you have the “Fortunes Pack” you can find ATV’s as well, making for a speedy off road trek.
Cars, Jeeps, trucks, ATV’s, boats, and even Hang Gliders! Though I didn’t really see much purpose in having a hang glider since it’s range is relatively short, and often it is only used to get to a cliff to obtain a diamond.
I noticed that all vehicles had a gas gauge, though I never thought to see if I could run out of gas, probably because I was constantly blowing up my cars for no real reason other than to see FIRE!! I love how vehicles are completely integrated with game play. Use them as transportation, use them as a trap, use them as a part of a makeshift staircase to get a diamond off of a building. I can’t think of a game with more uses for a car. Considering how often you need a vehicle in this game, it is at least a pleasure to use them.
And just a heads up, to save time, use BOATS as often as possible. You will save time in travel as most checkpoints can be avoided on the water, look out for mortars though. 😛
The Graphics: Just Great! I often found myself happily staring at the sunset, or the wild grass blowing around, or the scene of an entire hillside engulfed in flames(yeah, I’m kind of a pyro). The visuals just blew me away. The shadowing was insanely realistic, and when combined with the weather effects, made for a very believable environment. The first Far Cry was known for its beautiful environments through the original CryEngine, and Far Cry 2 has really made the most of newer gaming effects. This is one of the most realistic looking games I have ever played, simply beautiful. The world has to be seen to be believed.
Lots of good things to say about the game, but we all know there are things to hate. I gave you the good news first, and here was all the BAD.
Enemy Intelligence: I found the enemy AI a bit….predictable? Short Bussed? Chromosome Laden? I dunno, but they react the same way every time, and even still it can be absurdly inaccurate. If I throw a grenade, they go toward the noise. If I fire my weapon, they come toward the sound. But I can drive pretty close to an enemy, and if they don’t see me, I usually get away. Or if I reload my gun while crouched in the grass, even with the bastard RIGHT NEXT TO ME, they don’t hear all that racket??? What kind of crap is that?!? Certainly NOT the “Non-scripted artificial intelligence” claimed to be existing… The predictability of the enemy AI did allow me to devise some interesting tricks to kill them off however, so it wasn’t all fail.
HUD System: The HUD/Map system is a joke. Seriously, it was pissing me off from the first moments of the game. Instead of the constant HUD in the corner like most FPS titles, Far Cry 2 makes a GPS and map ITEMS you hold in your hands. So you can’t look at the mini map to confirm that you didn’t get turned around, or to help you locate a hidden diamond. You can’t drive and follow the map at the same time either, and no map markers to remind you where you wanted to go(other than current mission objectives). I was constantly crashing my car trying to drive and follow my map, or getting shot at while trying to verify my location. IT SUCKED. They should have at least offered the GPS as a HUD, or a compass. Just stupid….
Story: The Story….. kinda sucks….really sucks. Some people may want to skip this section, I don’t think I spoil anything, but I dont need the hate mail.
The first Far Cry had a very direct story, engaging the player from the first moments till the final scene. The first game centers around a crazy doctor doing illegal genetic research, very sci-fi.
The sequel, not so much. The game centers around you, an agent sent into Africa to find and kill a known arms dealer. To get close to him you have to pose as a MERC and gather information doing odd jobs for the warring factions of Africa. Sounds kind of exciting? Not as interesting as you would think.
The plot develops through brief tidbits of dialog before and after your missions, THATS IT(there are a few cut scenes but not much). And what little plot/story there is, is basically mission details. I don’t want to spoil the game for anyone, but I kept looking for some connection to the first title, I honestly thought that the surprise was coming and I was going to be fighting mutants or something…never happened… I wont say anything about the ending(I am not sure if there are multiple endings or not), but I will say the ending I got was not worth the time I put into the game.
Day/Night cycle: I guess my next complaint would have to be the duration of the day/night cycle. I know this seems like a petty thing to bitch about but it honestly pissed me off. The cycle took forever at times to complete a day, and other times advanced a ridiculous amount of time leading to an obvious complication. For one, I would commonly find myself with plenty of daylight prior to a mission, but by the time I got to the location(I will be dealing with this in a moment), I would be starting my raids at dusk or in the darkness.
I know, I should plan ahead before I leave and sleep till a good time to head out…….but that was the issue, it didnt matter when I started out, after all the battles to get to the first location(and there are many) your time has dwindled away, if you take the bus, time shifts while you ride, so when you get off it is usually close to night anyway…..and most missions have multiple parts, thus making you do a lot of travel/ fighting at night unless you want to stop at a stupid Safe House every time you pass one to advance the cycle and make it daytime no matter what, but this makes you have to run a mission to get more medicine to fight your Malaria infection, which makes you have to travel more as fast as you can….ETC ETC ETC AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH
^^ wow that was one hellofarunonsentence :O
And now for my biggest gripe with the game,
The World Map:
The world map is TOO ( lengthy shpiel of expletives removed) BIG!! Single missions can take up to an hour or more to complete. Travel can take that long unless you ride the bus, (which isnt always practical). The world size isn’t the only factor to complicate travel times however. Throughout the world there are security stations with guards, road patrols, men with mortars, boats, sniper nests, just all kinds of shit trying to take you down. So you are constantly finding yourself without a car, or getting shot at or shelled. Every time you have to stop to fight, it just keeps tacking onto the game clock which can seriously grind on a person.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the shooting aspect of the game, stalking and confusing the enemy/occasional wildabeast, but toward the 30 hr mark I was ready for the game to be over.
Some open world games do this to keep you occupied on the way there, but those usually give you something for doing them. In Farcry 2, you do all of this simply to survive until you get there, receiving ammo and health packs along the way, and occasionally finding a diamond or two. It’s pointless and makes the game a lot longer than it needs to be(70 hrs and a worthless story? I could have been playing Dragon Age).
All in all, it’s a good game. It has it’s flaws, but the game play is just amusing. Had I known it’s story was so weak, I would have used this as my “Break Game”, the title I play when the real game I am working on gets to me. If anything it was good for distraction. I spent a lot of time starting needless fires and blowing things up. I started fights in the “No Fire” zones just to see if I could kill all of them. I stalked a camp, and freaked them out when I only killed their chicken.
Yes, Far Cry 2 was fun.
Yes, you should go get it.
Yes, I killed a chicken.
<It’s long because I’m thorough. Look at the gallery and forgive me :P>