What happens when you take one of the most successful shooters of 2004, change the development teams, scrap the old settings, characters, and story lines, and even go as far as creating your own version of the original game's award-winning engine? You get Ubisoft's Far Cry 2, the story of one man's struggle to take down the warmongering arms dealer responsible for destabilising a large chunk of a fictional Central African state. Can the game stand on its own, or was swapping alien mutagens for malaria a monumentally bad idea? The game critics take sides after the jump.
This game really puts the player into the shoes of a mercenary with nothing to lose and no line he won't cross. Additionally, the set-piece combat sequences are tactically open-ended and a joy to play through...Unfortunately these terrific moments are padded out with a lot of repetitive, sometimes tedious travel. Five minutes of tense first-person excitement is matched by fifteen minutes of driving around, picking up a mission, shooting through the same checkpoint for the fifteenth time, and travelling to the next site
Far Cry 2 needs its Africa to provide both a realistic backdrop of suffering and unreliability, where guns jam, cars stall, and there's always a human motive lurking in the shadows, as well as a combustible playground, where unlikely heroics turn the tide of a skirmish, and there are enough explosive barrels to keep even the most unhinged joyseeker happy. Inevitably, sparks often fly when the two agendas converge: this is an admirably serious FPS, yet one that struggles with its own identity.
The malaria which keeps you constant company throughout takes its toll on your stamina...and swooning fits afflict you with military regularity. One of the more memorable of these came as we were driving a jeep over a bridge, having purged the camp opposite with incendiary flares and sniper fire. At the halfway point our vision ran pus-yellow, causing us to swerve to the right, burst the brittle guard rails and plummet into the stream below. Shivering in the wreckage, fumbling for our medicine bottle, it took us a good thirty seconds to work out what had happened. Cinematic disorientation is something Far Cry 2 does very, very well.
You'll be doing a lot of hiding in the game as the enemies tend to be pretty smart. This is an important point to make for an open-world game, and even more so because it's a first-person shooter and not a statistic-heavy first-person role-playing game...In Far Cry 2, the gunplay feels great. Shotguns pop and thud with heavy sounds and have a good sense of weight to them. Enemies fly back as they're pelted with SMG fire, crumple to the ground after a well-aimed sniper bullet, and keel over after a headshot with a .50 calibre pistol.
This sequel has so little to do with the original that there was no reason to keep the Far Cry name. The plot has no ties, and the gameplay is so far removed it would be difficult to call it anything more than a "spiritual successor." That said, Far Cry 2's gameplay is solid, and it works as both an open world game and a shooter. Its plot is light, but dense, and will make you rethink the way you look at real world conflicts like the ones represented in the game. As with most sandbox titles, there is a huge amount of content, and there is at least twenty hours of gameplay in the single player alone. There are enough different ways to play that it isn't hard to justify a second playthrough. The game is fantastic, even in this dense holiday season, every gamer should make time for this trip to Africa.See? Hardly anything to cry about.