Far Cry 2 Review

Farcry 2 is the sequel to Crytek’s breakaway hit back in 2004 that made a splash with its distinct sandbox level design that allowed for a lot of choice and great tactics. It provided some truly dynamic and fun combat at the time and was considered the premiere first person shooter of 2004 next to Half Life 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004, which definitely says something.

If you didn’t already know, the developers of Farcry recently developed Crysis which built on that formula. Farcry 2 goes in another direction and has been developed by Ubisoft. Gone is Jack Carver, the tropical island setting and the “small” sandbox level design. In its place is a game that can best be described as Crysis meets GTA in Africa if you want to compare it to some other titles.

Farcry 2 is an open world first person shooter which you can play at whatever pace you wish and ideally choose your own fate. Its ambitiousness is one of the games greatest strengths but it also is one of the main reasons this game is riddled with such a significant amount of flaws and problems.

Good

Graphics: The strongest point of this game is definitely the production values and overall presentation. The graphics are amazing; in fact they are probably the best we’ve ever seen minus a very select few games (Crysis and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky to name two) and when considering the massive open world, set in two distinct maps that span over 25 square kilometers each without any load times or significant frame rate stutters at all, it really is a massive technical achievement. Sure it’s no Crysis in terms of this, but it also runs far better and is fantastic in its own right. It just goes to show how ahead of its time Crysis really is.

Vehicles: One of the big criticisms of the original Farcry was the vehicles lackluster handling that just didn’t feel right at all. Luckily this time around the vehicles are very well done and handle well, far better than most other fps games to implement vehicles.

Main Missions: The main missions, despite all the time spent traveling to them, are the shining light of this game and they are quite well designed. They present you with a mission set in an enemy encampment or base which you can then approach in any manner you wish. You want to go in stealthy, taking one guy out at a time with a silenced weapon? Go ahead. You want to snipe them one by one? Go ahead. You want to light the entire base on fire and then charge in with a machine gun? Go ahead. That’s just a small taste of what tactics are on offer to you, it’s all your decision. It’s something that many of the side missions lack to a great extent and combined with the graphics, dynamic fire and fun weapons, they really are worthwhile and fun.

Bad

Traveling: Here lies one of the biggest problems. Yes, the game seems to represent Africa quite well, but Africa as you should know, is known for having a lot of open plains, deserts and jungles. That, along with the huge size of the open world Ubisoft have given creates a lot of travel, and I mean a lot. In between each mission it is not uncommon for you to spend 10 to 20 minutes just getting to the location and that’s with the vehicles that are scattered throughout the world, without them and that length can grow even longer. This is fine in theory, as it’s meant to be part of the experience of being in Africa, but at the same time it can become extremely tedious when you have do it over and over again for missions that can sometimes take no longer than thirty seconds in some cases.

Outposts: They also break that immersion factor of being in a setting such as Africa that the game goes for a lot of the time. Sure you have to fight in this game, it is a shooter, but the way the lengthy travel combines with having to get past small, outposts every so often it can get on your nerves after a while. While this wouldn’t be that bad, what makes it even more annoying is the fact that the enemies respawn at these points. Sure, they should respawn, but when you kill everybody at an outpost, drive around the corner, decide you’ve gone the wrong way and go back to find that they have respawned only 30 seconds after you got there it is incredibly tiresome. This is bad game design at its finest.

Side Missions: The real problem about the side missions is that they are almost identical each time. The arms dealer missions involve blowing up or killing a convoy and the radio tower missions involve assassinating a single target. They can be fun, but in a game spanning maybe 30 hours if you do a fair amount of them, it gets incredibly repetitive and downright boring. It takes Assassin’s Creed’s repetitive nature to an entirely new level.

Story: The story is very vague in the way it is told and virtually non-existent throughout the game. First off you should know that you’re a mercenary, and you can be one of several mercenaries which you choose before you start the game. However he never speaks and the differences between each character are only in their visual appearance when you see your arms and such. The choice of characters is nothing more than a pointless gimmick.

The basic premise is that you have been sent into Africa to assassinate an arms dealer known as The Jackal. The Jackal has armed two opposing factions and helped escalate what was a small conflict into a brutal all out civil war in a fictional African nation to reap the benefits. In your bid to kill him you have to work for the two opposing factions in their attempts to destroy each other. It sounds great, and it should be great, but it’s just very poorly told and developed.

The missions have no real depth to them in this aspect because they are basically just doing menial tasks of blowing something up or killing somebody for each faction and you have no real context to put them in. By the end you won’t care about any character in the game and you will be asking yourself a lot of questions. Why do I have to kill this guy? Why am I working for these people who just did this to me? Why should I care about you? Why am I blowing this up? Why do you want me dead now? None of it makes any sense and it never ends.

Conclusion

All the ambition in this game eventually amounts to nothing. It’s a very shallow game that’s only saving grace is the combat. The combat is definitely good, but in the 20-30 hours that you may play this game, only about a quarter of it is actually truly enjoyable and made up of that combat. With a genre as crowded as the FPS genre it really makes it tough to recommend Farcry 2. Overall it is still quite a unique experience, but that doesn’t make it a good game as it’s poorly designed and poorly executed. Farcry 2 should have been so much more and it shows.

If you can get past the problems, if you can ignore the story and the annoyances that plague the game you will no doubt enjoy it a fair bit. However if you can’t, you’ll be bitterly disappointed.

With so many gamers wanting innovation and unique ideas in first person shooters today Farcry 2 serves as a clear reminder that all the innovation in the world is pointless if it’s not a good game. I won’t go as far to say that Farcry 2 is a bad game, like I said when it’s good it can be very enjoyable, and it was at points. However it’s definitely not a good game. If you want some fun sandbox FPS combat try Crysis, if you want an open world game try the huge range of better examples on offer. Farcry 2 is just an incredibly flawed combination of both concepts and there are far better ways to spend your money.

Far Cry 2 Review by SYSTEMSH0CK