Review by Aoi484
"A far cry from even average."
To start, I really wanted to enjoy this game. Every aspect promised is something I personally enjoy. What could be better than a realistic FPS, immersed in high end graphics, and taking place in a war torn African environment? Well, Far Cry 2 manage to sale more promise than actual delivery.
You're a "cookie cutter" mercenary tasked with executing an arms dealer responsible for fueling a war. For a twist on events, you botch your mission after being struck down with malaria. The only way to realize your original goal is to start from scratch and work your way back to it.
Considering the story could easily be colored out from real events in the ongoing African conflicts, there's no excuse for such tripe. It's almost inviting for the player to use their free time to think of better stories to fit the game. Pick an era, topic, and position, and I'm sure it'll trump what Ubisoft has laid out. There's genocide, diamond conflicts, foreign agendas, political aligning, disease, and famine to name a few areas of interest. When coupled with first world ignorance to the problems in Africa, you think it'd be almost imperative to heavily touch on the impact of any said crisis. Instead, there's no real emotional motivation or fleshed out implementation to any actions. Instead, you're given the surface of a few problems, and expected to find the best solution to ignore them (ie: maleria, poverty, warlords).
A pretty big opportunity I wish this game had touched on. With mediocrity in its place, I can't recommend even a slightest tidbit of FC2's story.
Yes, the game looks nice. The trees, field brush, water, rocks, and roads all look photo-real. Even your hands look incredible. I honestly spent a good minute admiring my Irish cookie cutter's bracelets and finger tattoos while reloading. The fire effects are also very top-notice. Too bad all that glory is ruined by level layout.
For an open world sandbox, it's almost humorous how confined you are. There's rock walls everywhere. Stray off the road, and you're not gonna go very far before hitting a wall. You're almost forced to traverse a 30min real time romp around a big rock. It's not fun.
Also, indoor areas are super boring. Every safe house looks exactly the same! Metal walls, a shelf, a cot, and some gun crates. Even last generation GTAs gave a unique looking safe house. You're pretty much given a save point with metal walls around it--oh boy.
Non-landscape items are also pretty bland in variety. There's no civilians, no sprawling metropolis(they do have them in Africa), no outpost innocent villages, few wildlife, and few vehicles.
Lastly, would it hurt to make the map full screen? I pity the poor sap with a standard TV. Even on my 40in HD, I had to nearly push my nose up to the screen to see what everything was.
There is music in Africa, and I'm not talking tribal drums here. The game could really use something to keep me awake while driving for 2 hours. Again, GTA has music, Elder Scrolls has music, Just Cause has music... why is there no music?! This game would be almost tolerable if it had a soundtrack. I'd even enjoy listening to the same dozen African rap songs if I could. Perhaps that's part of the open gameplay; the user is expected to compile their own soundtrack and play it from the dashboard.
All other sounds are decent. The gun fire and vehicle droning ain't bad. Of course, there's the "loltastic" revving of enemy jeeps that try to run you over.
The real meat of the game, right? Jeez, where to start.
The gun play isn't realistic. If you put half a clip of assault rounds into an unarmored being from close range, they shouldn't be flinching before returning fire. It isn't like these are leg shots, I'm aiming at upper torso/head. A short round burst or two should completely level any resistance. The same story goes with the .45cal. turret. I'll fire a couple rounds into my target, only to watch him run around in circles before returning fire.
Moving on, with the guns, upgrading them isn't realistic. Who pays THREE diamonds for a manual?! Seriously, manuals are free, let alone not worth three of the most precious rock on Earth. Also, how is a manual going to improve accuracy? Wouldn't it be more logical to sale a scope? It's a pain trying to find enemies while using the iron sights, that's why, in the world of guns, a scope is mounted.
Now, lets talk enemies. They're everywhere. One cannot travel anywhere without setting off some enemy on the far reaches of the draw distance. While traveling through the middle of no where to reach a mission start point, a sniper was shooting me from god knows where, and he apparently was a dead eye. Ironically, this isn't a one time instance. While staking out a fort and using the coined monocle to survey the area, a sniper rained a volley of bullets down on me. Pretty cheap considering how much health he picked off before I even entered the boundaries of the mission area. Must admit, it was pretty embarrassing running to the bus stop in a zigzag march still dodging his bullets well after the fort was off screen.
To exacerbate the enemy problem, they respawn. Knocking 1 of the 140 something forts out is meaningless. In 5mins, the entire fort will be refilled and supplied with annoying AI. It never feels like you're liberating an area to make it safe. This constant cycle of cheap AI makes exploration one massive chore. Nobody wants to play in a sandbox that's been filled with a constant supply of broken glass.
The missions are also redundant and unfulfilling. On the first buddy mission, I traveled 2 real time hours, fought 3 forts, liberated 4 safe houses, destroyed half a dozen enemy jeeps, depopulated most of an enemy stronghold, had malaria sickness twice, and dispatched a small army of rebels. What was my reward for going through hell and back? I unlocked a piece of my buddy's personal history. That's it, no money, no perks, no supplies, and nothing constructive unlocked. Ironically, I did land a couple achievements for attempting to burn the bar down, committing suicide, and killing him.
My travel time took so long due to the mission point being on the opposite side of the map. I could have drove, but that's where my next gameplay gripe comes in: driving sucks. Not so much the control of it, that's remarkably good. The real problem lies in directions. You're attempting to navigate a jeep around rocks and jungle, with no real map. To combat the loss of orientation, I had to drive with my map out. Of course, like in real life, if you drive while holding a map in front of your face, you're gonna crash, and so it went. Every rock is a hang up that your vehicle will get stuck on. Considering the lose-lose situation, I opted to hike with my map out. It's time consuming, but less frustrating.
Lastly, lets talk about the malaria, a constant burden. It serves little purpose, aside from annoyance. You're constantly hindered by it, and will need to take missions to put it to ease. Why not just make it so you need to eat twice a day as well? You could run some immigration smuggle to get a chicken, play a mini game to cook it, then go back on your business. If hunger sets in while in battle, you're in trouble! You're gonna have to find cover, unwrap your half eaten sandwich, and chow down. I guess I'll have to wait for Far Cry 3.
Far Cry had the utmost potential to be one of the greatest games, and seemed to opt for any way to avoid such a title. The realistic aspects act contrary to real life. In fictional video game media form, the game is hardly "fun" and borderlines on pure chore. I would not recommend this to anybody for fear of them wasting their time. If anything, I hope this game serves as a milestone for future games to improve on. Perhaps, we'll eventually be handed an African conflict game worth picking up.
"3/10-Bad-Not a very enjoyable game" sums it up quite nicely.
Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 08/21/09
Game Release: Far Cry 2 (US, 10/21/08)
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