Way back in 2004 Far Cry was released boasting the powerful new CryENGINE. and received a decent amount of critical acclaim and solid sales figures. Four years later a sequel was made. The sequel, however, had a different developer, a different engine, a different setting and a new lead character. The only significant similarity between the games is that they both feature beautifully rendered jungles. Does the game stand on its own two feet? Or is it a cash in on a popular previous game? That is what I intend to find out.
Far Cry 2’s world map is massive and intricately detailed. Every rock and leaf I saw looked absolutely fantastic considering that it was released in 2008. This did lead to some pop in here and there, but no more than what one generally expects from an open world game such as this. One problem is that it is rather extremely under populated in terms of civilians. You only probably meet a dozen people who aren’t in the military or part of a rebellion. The world map also becomes rather samey after you traverse it for a while. One stretch of jungle with an extremely curvy and thin road looks very similar to all of the other stretches of jungle with extremely curvy and thin roads. The amount of wild life is pretty small. I didn’t even realise that there were animals in the game for over five hours. I just happened to be in the middle of a high-speed chase with African Soldiers when a Zebra suddenly ran into the road.
The gunplay is functional but nothing particularly exceptional. To spice things up a bit the developers included a pretty wide spectrum of specialty weapons to choose from over the course of the story. You can combat your adversaries with a flare gun, a silenced pistol, I.E.Ds and much, much more. Fire in Far Cry 2 spreads rapidly across the dried grass consuming foes in its massive blaze. But if you aren’t careful the fire can spread in your direction and at that point you’re in incredibly big trouble incredibly quickly. It is rather frustrating though that you can’t fire from your vehicle in the game. While there are some heavy-duty machine guns mounted to certain vehicles, you are forced to exit the driver’s seat to fire. Driving would be significantly more entertaining if you could eliminate your adversaries while doing it because at a certain point driving becomes more of an annoyance that you attempt to avoid whenever you can. This is compounded by the fact that every two minutes there is another ambush when you traverse the roads. Walking through the trees ends up taking roughly the same amount of time because you don’t have to stop and get out of your vehicle to put a slug in some angry soldier’s forehead.
The missions are rather incredibly repetitive. There are only three main mission types. Assassinate a guy, blow something stationary up, blow a moving target up. This wash, rinse, repeat cycle did begin to frustrate me after a while, but the amount of ways you can approach the first two eases the repetition. The blowing up a moving target thing only really goes two ways. Plant an I.E.D on the path in front of it, hide in a bush, press the detonator and succeed at the mission or RPG it and succeed at the mission. Its tedious and easy. Sadly you have to do this constantly if you want to unlock new and improved weaponry to dispose of your enemies. Another element that makes these missions feel repetitive is that there are only really around two enemy types. Heavily accented African guy with a gun or another heavily accented African guy holding a RPG.
The biggest way that this game differentiates itself from most other games is that you play as a psychotic mercenary who would burn down an orphanage for gas money. in Far Cry 2, I have personally murdered political officials, destroyed a water pipeline and slaughtered a few dozen workers because just one of them stole my current boss’s wallet. And for doing all of this I was paid in African blood diamonds. I have never felt like this much of a greedy psychotic scumbag in any non role-playing game.
There isn’t much of a story in this game. You are sent to Africa to find and eliminate an arms dealer named the Jackal who is supplying both sides of the conflict. You end up being a mercenary who is working for both sides. The game is quite long and at a certain point a forgot who the Jackal was and the story was like some vague memory. It comes back here and there, but all in all it takes a back seat to random assignments.
In the end, Far Cry two is very repetitive and lacks a particularly compelling story, but it does manage to stand out from the rest of the first person shooter crowd. Far Cry 2 probably wouldn’t be worth its initial 60 dollar price tag, but at this point its more than a worthy purchase. In terms of whether its a shameless cash in or a solid game, it’s both.