Far Cry 2 - Review
By Dillon - November 19, 2008
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
The cirrrclleee of liifffeee!!!
Far Cry 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to Crytek's original Far Cry. This time around the game is being designed by Ubisoft Montreal, the guys behind many of Ubisoft's best franchises including the Prince of Persia series, Splinter Cell series, and the Rainbow Six series. With such a great pedigree of games you'd think Far Cry 2 would be great, but unfortunately that's not the case. Don't get me wrong, this is a good game, just not nearly on the level I anticipated.
The visuals can look great at times but a lot of the effects, like the shadows, were overdone and make the game, well, sort of obnoxious to look at. The audio is ok with good sound effects, but nothing stands out. The story is entirely forgettable and it really doesn't give you a good reason to be playing the single player. The game is fun for the most part, but the controls are very clunky and the A.I. is extremely stupid. The game is fairly large but after a while it gets tired and repetitive, but there is a decent multiplayer component and a very in-depth level creator for the imaginative type.
The original Far Cry looked very good for its time and with that, I was expecting a lot from Far Cry 2. While it can look very good in some areas of the game, there are a lot of issues. The texture work is very dull with flat, boring, and bland textures in many spots. The lighting is pretty good, but the new shadow engine seems to be overdone. Looking into the sun through the trees looks great but the shadows caste by all the foliage in the game, while realistic, are obnoxious to stare at. On the other hand, the new fire engine is fantastic with realistic fire that burns with the wind in a way I've never seen in a game. Though the framerate is decent, there is a lot of screen tearing and the draw distance is not very impressive. The world created is pretty big, and there is a nice mix of forest, desert, and urban areas to look at. As a whole the game looks good, sometimes great even, but it just doesn't impress on the level of other top notch titles.
The audio in Far Cry 2 is very basic. The effects from the guns are good, and the sound of most objects in the game sound fitting, but the music is generic, the dialogue is bad, and the voice acting is terrible. All the voice actors sound like they are on crack or their voices have been sped up for some reason. The dialogue is boring and you won't really care what anyone has to say anyway with such a bland story. The weapons sound fine, most sound powerful enough but nothing really amazes in the audio category.
It's not going to make you turn the volume down, well that is except for the first 15 minutes of the game. You'll hear a bunch of explosions, screaming, and gunfire all around you. The problem here is that the walls seem to do nothing to prevent sound from entering buildings, so whether your inside or out, 5 or 20 feet from your enemy... it all sounds the same and it's as though there no distance taken into account with the sound in the game.
Far Cry 2 has about as generic a story as you can have. You're sent to Africa to kill a man... then you kill everybody that gets in your way. There's no thought involved and you won't really care about any of the characters or plot elements. You can choose to play as several characters, but that won't make a difference as you'll feel no connection with any of them at all. The setting is cool but they really did nothing to push the game along. It's not that I expect Far Cry to have an amazing tale of adventure, revenge, and love... but a little more effort wouldn't hurt.
You got my diamonds, man?!
Shooting people is fun; that's the unfortunate truth in videogames. However, it becomes hard to enjoy the bullet to body idea when the A.I. of said body is horrendous, the controls are stiff and clunky, and it gets repetitive fast. The enemies hardly put up a fight, and the only way they can really overcome you is in sheer numbers. It's hard to get immersed in a game when the guys you're shooting at don't react the way they should. These are supposed to be trained mercenaries yet the only tactic they seem to employ is to rush at you blindly. To make matters worse the controls are very, very stiff making movement clunky and annoying. You get used to it after a while but it's still not nearly as smooth as one would expect a first person shooter.
These issues might be a bit easier to swallow if the game had some good variety, but unfortunately the game fails in that category as well. You can only drive past a respawning guard post so many times before you get bored. The missions are fairly standard issue, kill this guy, take this area, come back here affairs. This is disappointing because the original Far Cry had some great variety in the way you could complete a mission. The sequel shows signs of this but unfortunately the A.I. is so stupid that in the end you just wind up blowing them all away.
There is a gun shop in the game, and instead of cash you pay with diamonds. You can obtain diamonds from hidden briefcases scattered across the land or by completing missions, and with those you can buy weapons and upgrades, but it doesn't make much of a difference. You'll most likely find one gun and stick with it. The enemies won't notice the difference, so no need to put much effort into buying fancy weapons to kill them with.
BOOM! ...I hope I don't land in that.
The game world is big and somewhat diverse but at the same time, there's just not enough to it. You'll find safe houses, towns, and guard posts, but eventually it all feels familiar and dull. The developers also did a poor job of creating boundaries for the end of the map. Instead of impossible mountains, or huge rivers stopping you from wandering to far, your vision gets blurry and you get sent back abruptly... this comes without warning and the first time it happens, you'll be wondering what the hell just happened. There are also cars to get around with but they all drive the same speed, and repairing them is as easy as... turning a screw on the radiator.
The gameplay is not bad as a whole, but the controls are poor, and the game is just too repetitive and constricting to live up to it's potential. I had some fun moments and nothing is broken, but I just wanted it to play like something more, and something it unfortunately does not.
The single player campaign will last a good while, but I'm not sure how long you'll play with how repetitive it gets. Luckily there's a decent online component to play once you're done with the single player. The graphics are dreadful and the controls are still clunky but the level editor makes the online fun to play with. The level editor is incredibly in depth and you'll be able to create some crazy levels, but for some it will be a bit to complicated to enjoy. There's a steep learning curve to it, but for the imaginative types, it's a great addition. Just don't expect it to be as friendly as LittleBigPlanet, or similar games. You're getting a lot of game for your buck, but your enjoyment mileage will only last as long as you're tolerable of repetitive gameplay and stupid A.I. The online will probably keep you busy, and the level editor's appreciated, but there are better options this holiday season. I would recommend the game as a rental but I cannot recommend a full purchase without trying it yourself first.
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