The original Far Cry came out around four years ago. The box art featured an intense Alec Baldwin, swimming in a body of water. Aside from how sexy that sounds, the game itself was far from that iconic image. Its multiplayer was underdeveloped and its enemies were unbalanced, and the ports were a travesty.
A lot changes in four years. Ubisoft Montreal’s Far Cry 2 is a spiritual successor of sorts to the original Far Cry, which was developed by Crytek. Although mutated apes have gone to the wayside, Far Cry 2 emphasizes the two outstanding features of the original game -- scale and length. It also features grass and water.
Far Cry 2 (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])
The game has a decent health system, composed of your character pumping syringes into his arm upon being shot multiple times. Interestingly, FC 2 has a brilliant and visceral injury system, which involves having to remove bullets with rusty pliers and straightening broken joints. It’s ferocious to witness the first few times. As for the weaponry in the game, it’s standard simulation shooting fare. A wide assortment of realistic explosives like RPGs and grenades, and guns like MP5s, is available to the player after buying the weapons with diamonds scattered throughout and given in the game as a reward for accepting missions.
A notable omission to the game is that there is the lack of a HUD and mini-map. Players will have to look down at a map in their character’s hand while driving in real time. It takes some getting used to, but works well and is an insanely immersive tool.
But, there are some problems with this package. FC 2’s world is large and sprinkled with numerous choke points controlled by one of the rival factions. Often, particularly while beginning or ending a mission, it feels like every few feet of road is met with one of these points. At the beginning of the game these are particularly stressful. Your car is a shitty pinto and your mastery of weaponry is subpar at best. Later in the game, when accuracy and reliability is upgraded, these points can hit at the most inopportune time -- mainly, when health supplies are low or when a buddy needs to be saved after a mission.
As with any game, there is a learning curve. FC 2 doesn’t walk you through the motions of its gameplay very well. The first few hours of the game will be a mess for new players -- the A.I. will seem too frantic, the gun jamming irritating, and the map functionality ridiculous. As you progress, these issues will clear up. Instead of learning what you can do in the game, you’ll be learning what the environment can do to you and your weapons. Once prepared with upgrades and learned in the fine art of staring at your lap for directions without hitting a tree FC 2 becomes an enjoyable experience.
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