Platform: PS3 (Also on 360, PC)
ESRB Rating: M
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Review by: John Gustafson
Far Cry 2 offers gamers one of the most ambitious first-person shooter experiences in recent memory, but naturally not without a few drawbacks.
A sequel to the original in name only, Far Cry 2 takes places in an open-world Central African nation. The game world features such locales as a desert, thick jungles, civilized towns and encampments, mining camps and savannas. Additionally, a night and day cycle works in conjunction with a weather system which includes rainstorms, heat waves and wind. All of these factors have important ramifications on the player and his mission strategies.
Far Cry 2’s story sends the main character to Central Africa with orders to locate and kill an arms dealer simply named “The Jackal,” who has a history of connections to recent wars by way of supplying both sides with armaments, then moving on to the next.
The main story is only part of the overall experience, which is supplemented with side quests/jobs that bring with them new weapons and diamonds that are used for an assortment of items in the open world. From the outset, Far Cry 2’s level of immersion is quite daunting. Gameplay does not follow the traditional elements of an FPS, rather stressing and demanding the player take time surveying the land, scouting enemy locations and bases, learning the road systems and travel ways, and becoming inventive when approaching a mission.
An impressive display of in-world interaction is sneaking up to an enemy camp, stirring up the nearby wildlife to draw the enemy’s attention, taking note of the wind speed and direction, lighting a brush fire, watching it spread toward the camp and flanking the enemy as they react to the flames. This is only one of many examples but goes to show the capabilities of the system.
However, this level of immersion also adds a few elements to gameplay that severely hinder the experience. Weapons have a degradation system that occurs quicker than is necessary and does not apply to enemy troops. Guns will lock up or backfire in the player’s hands, but work perfectly in the enemy’s possession. The vehicles also suffer from a similar fate, but at least they can be damaged while the enemy is in them.
Another troubling problem with Far Cry is the enemy AI. They’re rather dumb and too powerful. They absorb too many bullets and their weapons always seem to be more powerful than the protagonist’s. Yet, the largest problem that plagues Far Cry 2 is the enemy respawning system. After clearing a checkpoint base and moving on to the next part of the mission, the game respawns the enemies the player just defeated. So returning to that same point five minutes later to save only leads to yet another battle, at which point the player is often low on ammo or retreating from a different fight that didn’t go as planned. This is a cheap element that is only exacerbated by the frequency at which it occurs.
The main character also contracts malaria at the beginning of the game and must periodically take medication to suppress the effects. The idea shouldn’t be faulted, but the effects occur more often than necessary and tend to occur during firefights rather than times of walking around. Speaking of firefights, there really isn’t anything noteworthy to praise or condemn. It is all very standard without any special bells or whistles.
Overall though, Far Cry 2 takes a unique approach to the open-world FPS. It has some incredible innovation that goes very far in most areas, but also oversteps it’s boundaries in others.
For more info, http://farcry.us.ubi.com