Far Cry 2 PC Review
|Genre:||First Person Shooter|
|Release Date:||October 24th, 2008 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Craig Dudley (Mani)|
Far Cry 2 isn't your classic sequel; in fact I don't know what it has to do with its predecessor, if anything. However that really doesn't matter at all and it's perhaps a blessing that the first games' story wasn't expanded upon; it was pretty rubbish after all.
This time Ubisoft have taken us to an unnamed African country in turmoil, with two warring factions, lots of bad people and chock full of mercenaries to boot, a recipe for all too familiar disaster. Your mission is simple, to find and terminate the elusive arms merchant known as 'The Jackal' who supplied both factions with weapons.
Strangely, you meet the Jackal pretty quickly, and quite bizarrely he doesn't kill you despite having more than enough opportunity, quite why remains a mystery until much later in the game. And when I say much later, I mean much later as this is one hell of a big game.
The plot unfolds in a series of missions you can perform for both sides in the conflict, usually assassinations or blowing something up, what's safe to say is that they all involve a bit of travelling through beautiful but very hostile country and a lot of carnage. Perhaps I understate the amount of driving a little; good job the scenery is nice.
Missions can also involve buddies, these are generally various other mercenaries who might help you out on occasion or give you alternative ways of accomplishing a task, some of them being quite spectacular. Potentially a buddy might be around to rescue you should you get into too much trouble, which can happen often if you go rushing about all gung-ho like little old me.
Side missions are also available in a couple of ways. Firstly at various arms dealers throughout both of the huge maps the game takes place in. Completing these missions will unlock extra weapons from the extensive list of death dealing devices available, some of which aren't so common in shooters, the mortar for example. As you can see, Far Cry 2 isn't your normal style of shooter really; indeed there are a number of game-play elements that would fit nicely into any modern RPG.
Further side missions can be accomplished via taking on assassinations via the mobile phone towers, you'll also need to play nicely with the resistance in order to get your Malaria medicine and quite frankly if you don't, you'll die.
Some of the RPG style unpredictability is provided by your buddies, you can for instance let them die, perhaps even finish them off when they are injured. But don't let that worry you too much, there's a nice roster of potential patsies to shoot up if your'e as nasty as me. Your choice, don't let me influence you at all.
Environments are you would expect are unmistakeably African. Ranging from semi desert-like areas to dense equatorial jungle and even rolling grassy plains of the Savannah, all of which are quite frankly stunning. Graphically the game is amazing, the various styles of environment merge into each other gently and convincingly, coupled with the dynamic daylight and weather systems we are treaded to some exceptional views, especially in the morning and evenings as the sun shines through the mountains and trees, it really is breathtaking at times. Suffice to say that the engine is brilliant and rendering environments and the lighting is as good as anything we've yet seen.
Buildings, bridges and vehicles are also all very high quality, as is pretty much everything in the game, the 'Dunia' engine doesn't really have any weaknesses that I can see. Attention to detail is the key for me, drive your vehicle over tall grass and it's bent back, look sideways whilst swimming and your stroke changes to accordingly, set something on fire and it spreads in a really organic fashion charring things as it goes, some of your characters' rather gruesome healing techniques are rather cool too. I particularly liked the 'stuffing a bunch of lit matches into a bullet wound' myself, though various episodes with pliers and a hunting knife can be equally brutal.
What is very noticeable whilst playing is that the engine handles lighting of all the objects in the world very nicely, so much so that the bad guys shooting at you can be very well camouflaged in the trees or long grass, in some games the way lighting is handled would make them stand out like a sore thumb, but not Far Cry 2. This is a double edged sword really, it's very cool that the dynamic lighting works so well but can be a pain when you can get shot and not really have a clue where it's coming from until you've been hit a few times.
Enemy AI is reasonable for the most part, they certainly take cover, call for backup and seem to try and surround you at times which is probably all we can expect right now. Let's be honest though, the bad guys aren't super intelligent either and will do some insane things at times. However, you do actually see them pick-up and try to rescue wounded comrades, another nice touch; the game is full of such touches to be honest.
Leaving the excellent single player experience behind for a while, let's discuss the games' multi-player modes. The old classics 'Deathmatch' and 'Team Deathmatch' are present and so they should be, no complaints there. We also get 'Capture the Diamond' which as you might expect is basically capture the flag and also 'Uprising', this is a control point capture mode that sounds similar in a way to the Battlefield games, without the tickets. Unfortunately I've not been able to find many active games of uprising so can't really tell you how it plays.
Which brings me neatly to my next point; multi-player games seem to lack player numbers at present, that's disappointing considering the game has apparently sold quite well so far, perhaps everyone is still finishing of the single player game or playing with the excellent map editor. It's also likely that a large section of the PC gaming community is avoiding the game because of its use of the extremely controversial SecurROM DRM system. I'm not going to discuss that here really as it's another topic entirely.
Still, those multi-player games that you can find are fun but do seem to be infested by snipers (who usually win), whilst not the first game to suffer such an affliction, you'd hope developers would try to balance things out a little better these days.
I've enjoyed playing Far Cry 2 immensely, it's not without a little tedium though and you'd better be prepared to do a fair bit of driving around, the side missions also get old fast. The story however is a huge improvement over its predecessor but does meander in the early stages; it gets much better as the game increase in difficulty towards the end. It's also graphically stunning at times, with two huge maps to explore and plenty of missions to do there's a lot of game to play, all very welcome and bucks a recent trend for shorter and shorter titles. Far Cry 2 is great fun, but is definitely best played in short bursts.
- Superb graphics
- Good story
- Plenty of game for your money
- Easy to use yet powerful map editor
- Attention to detail
Not so good stuff
- Missions can be a little repetitive
- Slightly uninspiring multi-player
- Controversial DRM usage
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