Ubidays 08: Hands-on with Far Cry 2

Welcome back to the Far Cry universe. This time, instead of islands filled with mercenaries and weird genetic experiments, we’re given 50 square kilometers of open African Savanna to explore.

Far Cry 2 brings with it a lot of new changes to the series that’s separating itself from the original game. In fact, Far Cry 2 has no relationship with Far Cry 1 at all, in terms of story. Another thing to note before you read on is that Far Cry 2 is not using the Crysis engine, as the Far Cry series belongs to Ubisoft now.

Hit the jump to hear about the new weapon mechanics, the burnable environments and the new Buddy system.  

There is only one mission in Far Cry 2: Kill the Jackal. The Jackal is an arms dealer who is supplying weapons to both sides of an ongoing conflict and it’s your job to take him out. The Jackal could be anywhere in the Savanna and it’s completely up to you how you want to find him.

Your best bet to finding the Jackal is by going to enemy camps and rescuing prisoners. In the demo that I played, two prisoners had all ready been rescued and were willing to help you out. These Buddies, as they’re called, will help you out by giving you missions that opens up more of the storyline. They’ll also assist you in battles and come to your rescue when you need it. 

The demo plopped us right into a jungle with dirt roads leading to multiple paths. Right behind where we started was this little shack that a couple of Buddies were inside of. You can totally go off at this point to wherever you please, following the dirt road or just running through the trees and open fields. I wanted to see what the story was all about so after Frank gives me a call on the cell phone you have, I went to the shack and talked more in depth with Frank.

Frank needs some help taking on the Jackal’s men. There’s a camp down the road with a pipeline that needs to be destroyed. Frank wants this security boss to leave his post and in order to do that; he needs to be distracted with the destruction of the pipeline. After accepting Frank’s mission, I go over to the other Buddy in the shack called Warren. Warren offers to be your backup should you need it. 

The story will configure dynamically based on who you’ve met in the game, who you’ve saved, and who has died. All of these Buddy characters can die at any point in the game and once they are dead, that’s it. Whatever story arch they were leading you into is now gone for good. Far Cry 2 has a heavy focus on character relationships so these Buddies are a big deal to the story.  

After accepting Franks mission and asking Warren for backup, it was time to head out. I jumped into a car and started heading towards my objective. The road splits up shortly outside of the shack area with signs that say where the road goes to. After accepting the mission and getting back to this sign, I noticed that the road sign leading to the pipeline camp was highlighted. A very simple thing, sure, but a nice touch, I thought.

Of course, this is the open Savanna so signs like that will be far and few between. Which is why you have a map on hand that covers the 50 square kilometers of land you can explore. The map will show you any enemy camps, vehicles, roads and so on.

After a few seconds, I get to the outskirts of my target camp and start scouting things out. I see enemies patrolling and a couple of snipers on top of some towers. I get spotted before I can get a good idea of who is where and everyone in the came opens fire on me.

The weapons you have are mapped on the D-pad. You have a machete for your standard melee weapon, and the other three Directional buttons are for your automatics, pistols, explosives and heavy weapons you come across. You can pick up other weapons whenever you want, but you’ll have to swap out with one of your equipped weapons.

The really unique thing with Far Cry 2’s weapons is that they can actually jam and misfire. The longer a gun is used, the more chance for it to get worn down and jam. The only indicator you get is how dirty and worn down the gun is looking. A good gun will be brand new looking. As time goes on, and the more you use the gun, it will get dirty and rusty. When your gun does get jammed, you have to mash the reload button until you fix the jamming. You’re left very vulnerable so you need to run towards cover when this happens. You will be able to unlock higher quality weapons later on in the game, which won’t be able to jam as easily.

As I took out the soldiers in this camp, I noticed a few were still alive after getting shot. A couple of them couldn’t walk anymore, but they could still hold a gun and will continue to try and get you until their last breath.

By the time I was done taking out the enemies in this camp, my health was nearing dangerous levels. You’ll have these syringes that you can inject to heal yourself, but if you get too low in your health, you’ll have to heal yourself in a brutal way. These methods are pretty gruesome and require you to pluck out a bullet with a plier or use a flare to seal up a wound. There will be other methods, but these were the only two I saw.

After clearing out the camp, I planted the bomb and blew the pipe up. After the pipe was blown up, I get a call from Frank to let me know he’s doing his part of the mission. It’s time for me to move on to the next group of enemies. 

The next section has you getting into a boat and going down the newly formed river that the pipeline explosion created. Since this is a demo, the river here was already formed. In the actually game, this river would take a couple of hours to form by the pipeline water. 

After getting out of the boat and into a car, I headed to next major camp. There’s a couple of smaller camps scattered in between my next goal but I decided to continue on and not worry about these guys. The enemy, however, weren’t about to just let me go without putting up a fight. Two jeeps with gun turrets started chasing me down making me have to stop to take these guys on. I planted an IED on my jeep and started running off hoping that they would chase me. One guy did  and as soon as he got near the jeep, I blew him up. After that, I swung out my rocket launcher and blew up one of the enemies jeep with a guy on the turret.   

The subsequent explosions started up a couple of brush fires and soon there was wall of fire separating me from the two remaining guys. I quickly got out of the area as fires can attract more enemies.

As I neared the next camp, I got out my binoculars and saw they had no idea I was in the area. I took a few of them out with my sniper rifle that I picked up earlier and then started making my advance to the camp. This camp was a former fishing village but all of the water had dried up so things looked kind of weird as all of the buildings were up on stilts. 

There were a lot more enemies than the previous camp and these guys had stronger weapons too. I barely stepped foot onto the village before I was taken out. Luckily, I had asked Warren at the start of the game to help me out if needed and this is where he came in. Everything turned red as I dropped to the ground and before I knew it, Warren came in firing at anything that moved and dragged me to one of the huts. After I get healed up, Warren hands me a pistol since the near death made me lose all my guns. Warren will continue to stay with you in the general area but he won’t follow you when you move on. There is a chance of Warren dying so you should keep an eye on him here.  

After everyone was taken out, Frank gives you a call and you need to head over to where he is before he gets killed. You can take a car, or, if you explore a little bit, you can find a hang glider and fly on over towards Frank. 

After landing the hang glider, the demo was over. All in all, the game has a lot of potential. There are a lot of things that still need to be worked on, such as the fact that there was no real intelligence in the A.I. This is just an early build so there’s still time to work on that. Visually, the game looks great. There are a lot of details when it comes to the land and I’m looking forward to exploring every inch of the game.

One other thing I should note is that the PC version of Far Cry 2 is gorgeous looking. They had the Xbox 360 and PC version of the game on demo next to each other and the PC version had so much more polish. Of course, you shouldn’t be surprised by that at all.

There will be multiplayer in the game, but they haven’t revealed anything beyond just saying multiplayer is in the game. Far Cry 2 will be out for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 later this year.

Hamza Aziz