Far Cry 2 (PS3)

By Derek Pettinelli

Published on Monday, November 10, 2008

Graphics: 8.00
Sound: 8.50
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 8.00
Gamelength: 7.00

A different, yet solid follow-up title that has a few nagging issues that clash with the fun, interesting features it offers.

Far Cry 2 has nothing in common with the first PC game or the console adaptations; there’s no Jack Carver, no mutants, no superpowers, no tropical jungle island. The only thing in common with the previous games is the name, as this game takes place in Africa now with a random assortment of characters as your protagonist. Your goal is to take out “The Jackal”, an arms dealer who is funding both sides of the war by selling weapons to each side for his own benefit. That’s the basic gist of the story and it only gets a bit more fleshed out, so those expecting quality narrative won’t find it here. You’re also infected with malaria at the start, which is your first mission and an occasionally ever-present nagging issue that requires you to get more pills when your malaria kicks in throughout gameplay.

It’s an immersive game, never leaving first person while providing a fairly interesting narrative in this open world adventure. This is even shown when you have to heal yourself by performing, one of the game’s new features which shows you digging bullets out and snapping limbs back in place. You use syringes to heal yourself and if you run out, hopefully you’re lucky enough to have a buddy come save you, displaying one of the other key features. The buddy system is like those in other games, they can save your life, while providing cover fire if you do enough for them to earn respect. Your buddies aren’t the only ones who give you missions, but all of them basically involve the same thing; get mission, go across the map to complete the mission and go back. Spending sometimes over ten minutes to drive a long way to complete your missions, which usually takes half the time to kill someone and/or take something can get repetitive which is Far Cry 2’s main flaw.

To try and break up the monotony, being annoyed is unfortunately one of the main ways. Everyone who isn’t in a neutral zone or offering you a mission hates you and every so often a jeep will come at you with a gunner shooting at you or you’ll run through an enemy outpost. They’re not too bright at times or their aim is really bad, because it’s usually pretty easy to avoid being shot, unless there are a lot of enemies and even sometimes they’re looking right at you and can’t hit you. You can pick up their guns, but unless you have to, it’s best to buy guns from a dealer, as every single gun the enemies have is unreliable as it will jam once or twice per clip and sometimes even break down, which can be annoying in the heat of battle. Cars aren’t immune from this and can require maintenance as well in order to slightly repair them. There are safe houses spread about where you can save your game (only the PC version has a save anywhere feature) and pass some time, which shows off the day/night cycle and can change your potential strategy on how you approach each mission. Multiplayer in the game is solid and adds more variety and value to the game. It’s one of the better shooters out there, but there’s nothing really too standout here, though again the fire really makes things fun. The map maker here as well is pretty intuitive to use and adds even more depth to an already loaded package as your own personal level creator.

While the day/night cycle looks nice, the game’s graphics make it hard to see at night in places. The game looks nice in the day, except it has a washed out filter present in a lot of games these days. In addition, the game’s default brightness was tuned up way too high making it even more washed out, which contributes to a lack of vibrant colors and can even make enemies hard to see causing a lot of unnecessary damage. Africa is a varied place, having sprawling savannas and barren deserts that look technically great, but again, like many games these days, everything just kind of looks the same. So while the game is visually solid, especially with the day/night cycle and the sun changing as it moves across the sky, the audio is excellent with ambient sound effects adding to immersion. Quality voice acting and sound effects further bring the experience together with some of the best sounding explosions that make your surround sound boom. Gunshots sound great and the scorching and sizzling of the fire sounds very realistic. Burning things is one of the best features in the game, not only looking great, but changing up strategy as your enemies roast or flee. It makes me wish that more games had the feature or even did it half as well as this game does. While Far Cry 2 is open world, running in guns blazing seems to work the best.

It’s a surprisingly good follow up to the original, even if it has little in common with its predecessors. The new open world concept is executed pretty well, although things can be repetitive at times. There’s an option to take a bus to each corner of the map, but it’s hardly as convenient as a taxi in GTA IV. Most of the time in the game is spent traveling from point A to point B, with little reason or option to stray from the path, aside from a safe house or collecting diamonds (the game’s currency) strewn about. The monotony is one of the biggest downfalls, because that makes the game more fun in small doses, which in turn contributes to a slower build-up, which could turn some players off before the game starts to pick up. Once your weapons are upgraded, you get some new ones and you get some new vehicles like the hanglider, the monotony decreases quite a bit. Far Cry 2 is a victim of it’s own success, taking things too slow is an unfortunate result of freedom and variety, which also results in the game getting old quickly. It’s a solid and immersive game, but it’s nature makes it easier to lose interest as it builds up, making the later parts less fun, because it took so long to get there. Being seemingly artificially lengthened is never good for open world games, which can pull you out of the experience, while neat features like fire and different ways to approach things will pull you back in. As a whole, it’s definitely solid, but best experienced in smaller doses as it just takes too long to pick up at the start.

Overall Rating: 8.00

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