So, a few months ago I started a blog series where I reviewed games I rent from GameFly. Unfortunately, working in the real world sucks and I find myself with little time to blog any more. I prefer to play games rather than write about them. It's why I'll never make a living at this. Oh well.
I never finished the first Far Cry. I had it on PC and it kept crashing when I entered a certain room halfway through the game and I never bothered reinstalling it. Luckily, Far Cry 2 came out before I ever thought twice and now I have no need to ever go back and play the first. (I guess it also helps the game has NOTHING to do with the first after all the Crytek/Ubisoft legal bullshit that occurred, too.)
Given a different story (totally unrelated to the first, thank god), a host of playable characters (how much they each effect the game is unknown), and a HUGE unnamed African country to explore, Far Cry satiated my FPS hunger for quite some time. Let me repeat the coolest factor: the game world is HUGE. Something akin to 25 square miles or something like that. FUCKING HUGE, alright?
To go along with an entire country to explore, you get a beautiful engine that made me stop in awe multiple times and just enjoy a sunset or drive a Jeep (whose registered vehicles are throughout) alongside some zebras. That engine also allows for you to set fire to most of the scenery, too, something played up in the trailers. Unfortunately, when adding interaction to a game world such as fire, you bring to the forefront of the player’s mind not what you can interact with, but what you can’t, namely everything else. If I can burn a large swath of grasslands with a flamethrower, I’d also like my RPGs to do something to the grass huts, Ubisoft. Thanks. On that note, where were all the predators in the game world? The only animals were zebras, buffalo, goats, and chickens. I guess they wanted to avoid lion or gator poaching, but come on. Is zebra bowling (driving a Jeep into a herd as fast as possible and chasing the runners down) that much better? Didn’t think so. Gimme my lions, damn it.
Straight up breathtaking.
Not much can be said for the multiplayer, it’s an okay CoD knockoff with an interesting upgrade mechanic, but it has a robust level editor that can potentially extend the longevity infinitely. Luckily the single player was a solid 30 hours or more (I didn’t even complete all the side missions and logged over 30 hours) that at points really pulls the heart strings (and at others doesn’t mean a damn thing, quite frankly). For me, I was so engrossed in the world I didn’t mind what I was doing was sick and disgusting morally (essentially playing off both sides of a war, people getting in my way be damned) or that I put a bullet in a friend’s head instead of saving his life. The fact I even had that choice was cool to me (and the forced first-person perspective made it even more engaging).
Speaking of choices, the weapon selection in the game was, in my opinion, spot on. There was a solid mix of assault rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, SMGs, and heavy weapons like machine guns, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, the aforementioned flamethrower, and even a damn mortar. The fact you could “knock over” gun shipments as a side mission and unlock weapons on the black market (conveniently located on an ‘80s-era PC with internet access to said black market and the fastest shipping since DHL) was also a neat idea. Each series of gun had several tiers of guns, from wimpy pistols to Desert Eagles, bolt-action rifles to .50 caliber semi-auto behemoths, buying the guns opened up more options and made you want to play for them, which was nice. Not only could you approach situations from more angles, but you wouldn’t have to rely on enemy weapons, which wore more prone to jamming (!) or breaking entirely (!!!).
Just as beautiful, but in a gun porn kind of way.
The worst part of the game was the respawning enemies at their bases all around the map. You’d knock off an entire camp and if you left the map region and came back it would already be refilled with enemies. Plus, constant patrols and instant-kill battering rams (aka cars) made avoiding fights preferable to engaging in them more often than not, which can kill the vibe of a shooter for some people. I dealt with it and accepted the constant barrage of attack as practice for the next big mission, despite the fact it got on my nerves some times.
All in all, Far Cry 2 is a phenomenal title that truly should be played by any FPS fan or adventure game fan in general. Traversing that much game world is just a neat feeling and really made me get lost in the experience. You should take the time to get lost, too.