Far Cry 2

I loved Far Cry, but Ubisoft’s second incarnation of the “series” had nothing to do with it. The original was developed by Crytek, who, since they didn’t own the rights, went on to make Crysis. The story itself played out in the tropics with a heavy sci-fi influence. Far Cry 2 completely drops those elements and takes place in a totally different environment, making me wonder how it’s considered a sequel as there are no connections to its predecessor.

Far Cry 2 takes place in the African savanna and is truly beautiful. From vegetation sway to grazing animals, the game does a good job of submerging the player in a large virtual world. It tries for a realistic point of view, such as a minimal interface and having your character pull out an acutal map to navigate, but it is mostly superficial. While unique, the map doesn’t function when most needed, which is while traveling. More on that later.

Healing was one of the realistic elements which I enjoyed; it is done by injecting yourself with a miracle medicine. If you get down to your last bar of health, you must additionally perform some on the spot surgery. This may be pulling a bullet out of a wound with a pair of pliers or pouring gun powder into a wound and lighting it, among other options.

You can tell they spent time on the AI for the fire. Yes, the fire has AI. The way it spreads and consumes can be used to take out whole camps. It was impressive and I haven’t really seen anything like it in any other game.

Sadly, that’s about all the good things I can say about the game. From here on out, I’ll tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t play.

The game has many missions. Along with the main story quests, there are side missions given by the gunshop owners, a mysterious voice over the phone, and your “friends.” They, like the main missions, entail either killing someone, destoying something, and/or retrieving something. Usually though, you just kill a lot of people. The quests are also highly repetitive. I found myself going to the exact same locations for some quests, the only difference being that I was killing a different person. This was made even more intolerable by the travel in the game.

Traveling was probably the biggest annoyance in the game. You spend more time traveling back and forth to quest locations than you do actually doing the quests. I wish I was exaggerating when I say that 75% of the first half of the game is travel. During the second half, that number drops down to about 50% because of an increase in rivers.

Rivers allowed you to bypass the outposts which slowed travel. Around every bend in the road, you would find an enemy outpost where three to four soldiers would be stationed. They would shoot on sight. This wouldn’t be bad if once cleaned out it stayed empty for awhile, but not five minutes later it would repopulate. Also, dotted in between all the checkpoints there would be one or two enemy vehicle patrols, making getting to missions excruciating.

The game feels like it was written first for the console and then Ubisoft proceeded to half-ass the conversion over to the PC. An example would be the two save systems: one is a safehouse savepoint (clearly designed for consoles) and the other is a save anywhere option (for PCs).

The enemy AI is poorly coded, as they often fail to find you five feet away. They also refuse to get out of the way of slow moving fire, caught like a deer in headlights. Other failings in AI can been seen in the snipers. Early in the game they are difficult to locate because of the large area and the inability to determine the gunshot direction. They become easy to deal with once you discover that they are always on top of the nearest hill.

From the beginning of the game you have malaria. The symptoms only show up when you’re stressed, usually in the middle of a gun fight. You can imagine how fumbling for your medicine while someone shoves an AK47 up your ass turns out.

The game is way too long with the abundant missions and tiresome driving; it looses any fun it had long before then end. I found myself rushing through the second half. I wanted it to end.

In a couple of different occasions, you are presented with a choice. You are made to think that the choices make a difference in game: they don’t. In one of these incidents, the outcome is even worse as you are scripted to fail either way.

The story as a whole, but especially the ending, is insulting. You’re not a good person; you play a mercenary. At the end they try to setup your character as a noble or heroic person. It doesn’t work and makes for a horrible ending.

Far Cry 2 had so much potential, but I wouldn’t recommend this game to anyone, even those who, like me, love first person shooters. There are too many good games out there to waste your time on this.

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