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Sword Bearer

Far Cry 2 Review (PC Version) *WARNING SPOILERS!*

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Far Cry 2

(PC)

Review

 

Being a fan of the first Far Cry, I was looking forward to Far Cry 2 quite a bit. And I wasn’t disappointed in the game after waiting for so long. But there are several differences that have a tendency to drag FC2 down from its namesake.

 

Don’t get me wrong the game itself is rather enjoyable, and has a great amount of replay ability in the single player game. The graphics are incredible; I would rate them up in the range of Crysis and Fallout 3. The greatest part of the graphics comes in the form of, where I have to turn Crysis down to its lowest settings and still get some slow down when the screen gets filled with enemies and explosions. For FC2, I think I have everything on the medium setting, and never once saw a hint of slow down or low frame rates. And the special effects in the game are top notch. Most everything you come across can be either blown up, or burned. Some things more so than others. For instance, lob a grenade into a hut, and watch the roof disintegrate in a shower of wood and fire. It’s fun every single time. Or, if you happen to be on the plains with the nice dry grass, lob a Molotov and watch as the fire spreads with the wind into the enemies’ camps. So not only is the fire pretty, but it serves a useful purpose in the game of distracting the bad guys, and letting you either sneak inside a base, find cover, or simply burn them to death. Just make sure that you aren’t downwind when you start said fire.

The gameplay is where FC2 does both excellent, and kind of drags its feet a little. Where it does its best is in combat. When you first start, you have a limited amount of weapons to choose from. The ones you find in the field are rusted and used, and have a tendency to jam at the most inopportune moments. Your best bet is to purchase weapons from the vendors, which are always brand new, and you only have to purchase them once to have an unlimited amount of them in the armories throughout the game. At the end of the game, I had three of my favorite weapons already picked out and used them constantly. The first was a Guided Missile Launcher, and an FAL Paratrooper Assault Rifle, and a single shot grenade launcher ala Terminator 2. The Grenade Launcher was probably my favorite of all three, even though it had a fairly limited amount of ammunition that I could carry. But nothing makes you feel like more of a badass when you waltz into an enemy camp and start to mow baddies down with half a dozen explosions. The game really does make you feel like a one man army that can’t be stopped. But sadly, the gameplay does have its downfalls. Mainly this comes in the form of exploration, and just the general size of the game. There are two maps of approximately equal size in the game for you to traverse. And they are simply huge! While this seems like it would be really cool, it kind of becomes a problem in the fact that simply getting from one place to another through the course of the game becomes tiresome and even annoying at times. To keep the player from getting bored, vehicles are provided in the way of various cars and boats. In addition there are several enemy checkpoints that will simply start shooting at you for no apparent reason. There are also enemies that have vehicles of their own and will try to drive you down. So the player is guaranteed to not be alone on the road for very long. Sadly, most of these encounters become more annoying than anything about 1/3 of the way through the game.

Another thing that drags the gameplay down is the quest system. In the game you get quests from three different sources, your “buddies,†one of the two factions in game (which I’ll describe later,) find medicine for yourself, or receiving a call to assassinate somebody. Most of these quests revolve around simply killing, stealing, delivering, or blowing something up. The only time this gets mixed up is in the main quests which are given to you from the main factions in the game. When you get one of these quests, your “best buddy,†will call you and ask you to do something for them first before killing/blowing up/stealing whatever it is you have been hired to do. These can change some things slightly, but the job still gets done.

But what really pulls these quests through the mud for me wasn’t really the fact that they were the same things over and over. It was the context for the missions themselves. For the most part I think there were maybe one or two people in the game that actually had the interest of others in their minds for what they wanted you to do. EVERYBODY ELSE in the game was petty jerks! Literally, I was being hired to kill people because they sold some guy a bum car. Or blow up a garage because one guy simply didn’t like working there. The amount of greed, power hungry and simply petty people in the game became tiresome very quickly. I have more to say about this, but I should explain the story a little bit.

The game takes place in an unnamed country in Africa. There are two factions fighting over this country, they are the UFLL and the APR. Don’t ask me, I tried to find out what the heck these acronyms were for, and never could. In the end, it doesn’t matter what they mean, because I simply don’t care anymore! You arrive in the country to fulfill a simple job. Kill the man known only as, The Jackal. He is the jerk who sold the weapons that both factions are using. But within ten minutes of entering the country, you end up with Malaria! Hurray! Consequently, did you know Malaria kills more people every year in Africa than any other disease? Neat little fact…Unless you live in Africa. And while it would at first seem like the addition to have a very bad disease thrown onto the main character would be a great gameplay element, it really is just more annoying than interesting. It doesn’t affect you beyond making you have to find medicine every few hours. Maybe if they had used more than one quest every single time, but no. Getting medicine simply requires you to go to the last place you got the pills, pick up some documents, turn them over to another person, and get pills, repeat. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to say about this element in the game. For the two factions, figuratively speaking, they are a bunch of kids struggling to be the king of the mountain. You do jobs for both sides, neither seem to care that you have worked for the other side, and they both double cross you and different points.

The end of the game seems to contradict the basic points of the rest of the game. For instance, the game is about trying to solve problems different ways, like multiple entrances to some place. Well, the end of the game is incredibly linear. For some God knows reason, you end up working WITH the Jackal, because apparently he isn’t the jackass that his actions have made him out to be! Hurray for Moral Relativism! Not only that, you die…After the almost 25 hours of gameplay, you die at the end! That is probably what chafes me the most. Oh wait…I forgot! Not only do you die, but the

buddies†that you made in the game all double cross you and try to kill you, all at once. This is obviously the feel good game of the year!

 

In the end, while the gameplay is solid, the actual story and pace of the game is tiresome. I think it will take most people a long to beat simply because of fatigue of just playing such a dark game. I compared it to my mom with a Hemingway worldview that you play through. Dark and without purpose. Really, in the end, none of the choices I made seemed to make a difference on the end. And for a game of this size and complexity, that is suicide in my opinion. If I’m going to play a game this long and deep, I want my actions to have an effect on what happens at the end. I want the choice to be either good, or evil, and for the choice to be clear in most situation, and ambiguous in the slight remainder, like in Fallout3. I don’t want to spend a large portion of my time to get to the end of a game and find that nothing you did really mattered. That feels kind of like a slap in the face from the game designers.

 

In closing, let me reiterate. The gameplay of the action sections of the game, which is about 80% of the game, are solid and fun. But if you are looking for a good story, then look somewhere else. This one is dark, and doesn’t really have anything to do with anything! If you have read C.S. Lewis’ book “The Screwtape Letters,†you might remember what Lewis actually said about what it was like to write the book. That the world of Screwtape was all “dirt, grit, and thirst.†That is a perfect description of Far Cry 2.

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