Far Cry 2 is here with a new look and case of malaria cured for and developed by Ubisoft Montreal. For fans expecting to get the same experience as the first game: better think again. Jack Carver and his guns of steel are missing. There are no feral powers or mutagens, or trigens. Instead, you’re thrown into a war between struggling factions of the APR and UFLL, in a war torn African nation in which you’re the only hero.
As a mercenary, you’re sent to the middle of the conflict with one mission: hunt down and kill the jackal, the bastard that supplies weapons to the APR and UFLL, constantly keeping the factions divided and turmoil dominant. Eventually as you keep playing in the forbidden Savannah, you see things aren’t quite as simple. The level of atmosphere in the game provides for a deep uncertainty in the wilderness which you’re thrown in and as a result every character —minor or central— plays a big role for the small world.
A variety of “buddies” provide missions to you to get you one step closer in your search for the Jackal. The main mode of communication for these missions is either by phone, or by mission call centers spread throughout the terrain. Completing a given mission will reward you diamonds, which you can spend at the weapons dealer for firearms, upgrades, and other equipment. There is a great variety of firearms to choose from, a fantastic choice when you’re not traveling your shooting one way or another. In between missions, you’re going to cover a lot of African terrain (deserts, jungle, savanna) via running, stealing a car, or like everyday Timmy using bus routes. The various approaches that Ubisoft Montreal provides in Far Cry 2 definitely gives an open world feel, and makes the terrain more believable. Running through the marshes, ending up exhausted with malaria beating your brain to bits makes the realization of a setting possible, and more importantly the game.
Far Cry 2 is the definition of open-world shooter. Far Cry 2’s firefights play out in a variety of ways. Maybe you will storm an area with guns blazing, or snipe enemies from afar, or slip in threw the grass in the dark and silently stab someone with your machete. You might just use your flares and flamethrower to burn everything to the ground. The point is that this game is a huge sandbox with countless ways to make someone breath there last breathe. It’s a stark contrast to Crytek’s Far Cry and the Pseudo-linear Crysis franchise. Mission objectives fill gameplay foundations similar to Crysis and the first Far Cry, despite no relation to the latter. Far Cry 2 is simply filled with lots of stuff to do in a rather huge set of landscape, filled with primary tasks from assassinating police chiefs or searching for hidden diamonds to secondary tasks like carrying out favors for fellow mercenaries, or delivering travel papers to locals in exchange for medication, making you feel what you’re doing is up to you because it is.
Ubisoft Montreal has crafted a vast open world title filled with lots of great things but of course there are some buggy things. The malaria is a smart twist but it can be pretty annoying at times for instance: in the middle of a fire fight while you’re running for cover and you get a malaria hit or being half way across the map and have a malaria fit and no medicine on hand. The idea of malaria is fantastic. Actually having it is not, but the options it opens up leaves itself prone to positive and negatives.
Worse than the malaria though are the enemies. The dumb and dangerous. The A.I. for the most part is generally dumb running and gunning in a straight line out in the open (though at times they did jump for cover). Did I mention there dangerous? Enemies at times can take a direct shot sometimes several and not go down (shirtless I might add). Finally, weapon degradation. I understand the idea and it’s a good one but it walks a fine line of cool and annoying. Thankfully, these are small issues and the open ended design and kick ass graphics make up for the small annoyances.
Far Cry 2 also comes bundled with a multiplayer option which is not exactly head high in gameplay value, but it gets the job done. You get the standard assortment of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag modes with the added Hybrid Territorial Control/VIP mode, as well as a progression mechanic to earn some diamonds. The exclusive and most impressive part about the multiplayer is the impressive map editor SDK, when put in right hands will prove to be really rewarding. Players will be able to create, publish, share, and download created maps across the community on PC and the consoles.
Despite Far Cry 2’s faults, its fun and it plays well while looking good. Sure, it has some annoying features but for every annoying thing, there is a handful of other factors that make it worthy. The overall package makes up for any small flaw it may have. Far Cry 2 is a solid FPS that dares to try some new things and succeeds on most of them making it a strong contender for WhatIfGaming’s Game Of The Year Awards 2008 – Best FPS Shooter.