I recently played Far Cry 2 and wanted to do a bit of review of it just to share my general experience of the game, so here goes. I do realise that it’s a slightly old game by now, but I don’t care. If I played Zeliard or The Lost Vikings recently I’d do a review of them.
I played Far Cry 1 a number of years ago and enjoyed the game thoroughly up until the point that they started sending super monkeys at me that don’t die when shot and kill me from full health in one swipe. At that point I stopped playing and, needless to say, I was not particularly looking forward to Far Cry 2. I was happily surprised when my friends told me that FC2 is not Revenge of The Uber Monkeys and is actually not all that related to FC1.
You start off somewhere in Africa and, with little introduction or reason, get told that it is your mission to kill some guy called The Jackal. You plunder forth, killing off random people that happen to think you look unfriendly and fire off some 7.62 x 39mm rounds at you. You soon contract malaria and come face to face with The Jackal while you are lying in your sickened state. He escapes and thus your adventure begins.
You’re given an enormous map filled with bad guys, good guys, diamonds and missions, and you’re pretty much told that you can do what you like. It’s great to be given such a large sandbox, especially given the breathtaking scenery and the awesome environmental and fire effects. I spent a lot of time just looking at the great level of detail in the game and I was mightily impressed with it, especially considering that I was playing with a medium level of graphics. Having said that I enjoyed the open-endedness, I did not enjoy the long drives through permanently hostile terrain just to get to a mission that is in fact shorter than the drive there.
The bad guys are located mainly at outposts and can be handled easily enough in a variety of ways, however I found that they mostly respawn too soon and it eventually got so irritating to have to clear the same path over and over that I took roundabout routes through the veld. I also didn’t enjoy the fact that the two warring factions never give you any form of backup or even tell their troops not to shoot at you but instead supply you with numerous weak reasons why things are this way.
The diamond drops were nice but I never went diamond hunting in any sense, only looking for them if I happened to come close enough to them for my GPS to blink, and I never needed money that badly as the main quest arc will supply you with enough funds to buy equipment with.
The equipment is another thing entirely. I decided to play the game with silent weapons: Silent Makarov, Silent MP5 and the Dart Rifle. Disappointingly, these weapons only fulfilled their role of making me undetectable for a very short time in a battle before every enemy on the map knew the pin-point accurate GPS coordinate of my left toe. What I also found very disappointing was that the guns jammed after a very short span of using them. The dart gun, for instance, started jamming after firing ten shots with it. The AK-47, well known for its durability, fell apart after firing about 5 clips with it.
The side/sub quests that you can choose from are nice the first time that you do them and possibly the second but after that they get monotonous. There’s a sub-quest to get better equipment where you have to destroy a rival gun runner’s supply truck that will conveniently circle an area until you blow it up; There’s a sub-quest to go kill a so-called “Target of Opportunity” that you get from some scratchy voice which pays in diamonds that are apparently directly transferred to your account (How?); And finally you sometimes might get sub-quests from your friends which do at least vary and add to your history with that friend. Beyond these quests, you have the main quests for the two factions that range from killing people to blowing stuff up.
There were also a number of smaller things that grated me a little: Getting up onto some platforms to get to hidden diamonds was sometimes more challenging than fighting twenty armed guards; That falling from some five-foot ledges were a certain death but other monolithic leaps of faith were sure bets on survival; That enemy vehicles always move faster than mine even though it is exactly the same and contains fewer people and that day/night cycles didn’t do much except hamper my visibility and give the scenery a slightly different look and feel.
Having said all this, I did end up finishing the game because of the fact that I could put it down and get back to it without missing too much as well as the story becoming a little more pronounced in the second/third act where you finally see why things are the way they are and what you can do to change them. I actually found the story quite well told and the characters enjoyable even if it was a little slow paced.