Far Cry 2

By: Tristan Clark    On: Xbox 360
Published: Monday 3 Nov 2008 10:00 AM
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Making an open-ended game with an expansive playing area can’t be easy. It’d be so much easier to make things linear, to guide the player every step of the way. So it’s always impressive when a developer pulls off a sandbox title that remains entertaining while giving the player freedom to muck around. Far Cry 2 is one of those titles, and while it’s not perfect, it’s worth looking into if you want a decent first person shooter experience.

Graphically, Far Cry 2 is very impressive – and it’s the first thing you notice. From the vast savannahs to the verdant forests, everything is lush, detailed, and animates nicely. It’s very easy to simply absorb yourself in the world – it’s clear a lot of effort went into it. A lot of effort also appears to have been put into the explosions and other pyrotechnic-related effects – blowing up the beautiful world around you is almost as much fun as looking at it.

The game encourages you to soak in the atmosphere – by parts peaceful and chaotic – through the opening sequences. The premise that gets set up is actually pretty intriguing: you’re a mercenary who’s been sent to a fictional African nation that is in the midst of a bloody civil war. Apparently some jerk has been smuggling in all sorts of weapons, and it’s up to you to knock him off. Of course, things don’t work out so well straight off the bat, and you end up having to perform errands and gain the trust of various different factions. Oh, and you have malaria, which is a nice touch, but the periodic bouts of giddiness can get a tad annoying in the middle of a firefight.

These firefights are frequent, and often enjoyable, but there are some annoying quirks that keep popping up. The enemy AI ranges from average to terrible – sometimes they try and flank you, but other times they’ll just run and gun. Unfortunately, they seem able to take quite a bit of lead before going down, almost as much as is needed to finish you off. This gets a bit frustrating when there are several coming at you from different directions – so advanced planning is thoroughly recommended. Circling an encampment with a sniper rifle is generally more effective, and the game can get pretty fun if you get into the whole tactical side of things.

You’ll have a lot of opportunities for such tactics – the gameplay area in Far Cry 2 is pretty big and open, much like Stalker or a Grand Theft Auto game gone wild. It really delivers in this regard – although if you don’t like going back and forth a lot, you may find all the travelling tiresome, particularly if you don’t have a vehicle on hand.

Unfortunately, the game’s plot doesn’t really fulfill its potential. The political themes available sit just beneath the surface, and are never explored as much as I would have liked – but maybe that’s just my desire for video games to actually tackle serious themes head on, rather than devolve into a run-and-gun action smorgasbord. Still, if you don’t really care about weighty issues, the plot is well polished enough to satisfy.

There are a number of annoying parts of Far Cry 2, but things are more than held together by both the presentation of the game, and the sheer absorbing joy of exploring the world that has been put together with so much care. The new development team has done a great job of taking some of the original Far Cry’s better elements, putting them in a new setting, and giving them a few twists. You’ll need to invest some time before really getting into the game, but if you’re after a good first person experience for the holiday season, this one’s up there with Resistance 2.

The Score

Far Cry 2
"A worthy successor to the open-ended original."
Rating: R16   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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Comments (17)

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On Monday 3 Nov 2008 4:37 PM Posted by rider211
i havent got far cry 2 but it looks like a good game i wonder if i'll get it
On Monday 3 Nov 2008 5:57 PM Posted by Lisa3x3x3
this game looks awsum! cnt wait to give it a go
Rapidity NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Monday 3 Nov 2008 6:36 PM Posted by Rapidity
I hired Far Cry this weekend & found it some what of a let down. My major complaints were the weapons which lacked fire power & the maps which are huge (to much time is spent travelling). Also I wouldn't recommend buying this for multiplayer, there are many games out there that do it better.
Genocide NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Monday 3 Nov 2008 8:59 PM Posted by Genocide
You didn't mention the map editor! Or any part of the community aspect at all! Pretty rough review I thought, especially when Halo3 got a 9.9 and its map "editor" is pretty stupid. Also minor touches like the plants and stuff actually moving when you touch them, and being able to burn down trees/grass etc make this game more fun in its own way. I agree with Rapidity that there is a little too much travelling but other than that its a perfect game.
On Monday 3 Nov 2008 10:03 PM Posted by arnies
Halo 3 got 9.9.... i hate game ratings
Rapidity NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Nov 2008 1:26 AM Posted by Rapidity
I agree the graphics are beautiful, especially when creeping through the lush undergrowth leaves move aside realistically. However the graphics seemed drastically toned down in multiplayer, I guess that's understandable though. I've been spoilt by COD4
On Wednesday 5 Nov 2008 1:54 PM Posted by Oliver
I've heard some missions are an hour long, where only 10 minutes are spent in battle, and the rest of the time is spent traveling. Such a shame, this looked promising... But I don' think I can devote that much time to plain travel.
On Saturday 8 Nov 2008 7:48 AM Posted by dannyp
This game is huge! I agree that there is a lot of time travelling but I am really enjoying the long distance sniper shooting. this is really going to suck up some serious game time.
On Saturday 8 Nov 2008 5:54 PM Posted by teen645
halo 3 is one crap game but farcry isnt too much better
On Thursday 13 Nov 2008 5:08 PM Posted by kaz
Im getting this game, i liked farcry1 and i cant wait to see and rate the grapics
Grunt of God
On Friday 14 Nov 2008 7:02 PM Posted by Grunt of God
Sad face for let downs!
Mach1_9pants NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Monday 17 Nov 2008 7:19 PM Posted by Mach1_9pants
This is a great game (I have it on PC) the only bit which is annoying me is the fact that every single merc/guard/etc out there insta-recognises you and attacks. Every one unless you are in the Truce towns. A bit of an imersion breaker but it just means kill 'em all, like Doom or Quake LOL
On Thursday 20 Nov 2008 5:30 PM Posted by cute_maori
This game is a must get. Seen the trailer and it looks awesome.
On Sunday 7 Dec 2008 12:34 PM Posted by mac
On Sunday 7 Dec 2008 12:34 PM Posted by mac
On Friday 10 Apr 2009 10:14 PM Posted by deepbrownsamurai
i just brought this game on thrusday. i haven't play it yet. but looking forward to it.
On Monday 28 Jun 2010 10:43 PM Posted by lol
7 December 2008, 12:34 PM Reply to mac
wow macu hvent been on for agez and wow you actuay want a game