Far Cry 2
This open world thing is easily the thing of 2008. Far Cry 2 is a solid game but it has some very hardcore-type ideas buried inside. If Far Cry 2’s competition during its release is Fable 2 and Fallout 3 then it does stand on its own as a quality game. Questionable design decisions aside it still has some pretty interesting things going for it.
Fire is absolutely a great new idea that is being used so well here. If any developer can take one thing away it’s how successful fire can be to build in the strategy of a game. Anyone can praise and despise the missions or the navigation but the fire is hands down the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while. Every battle can turn into its own story. One of my first real tests came during a mission where I was raiding a small camp by a river. After crossing the bridge I came under fire. I was too far away to take a shot and I was in a narrow area without a lot of space to move. But the side of the path had dry grass blanketing a path from me to the buildings. So I decided to burn the grass to push the enemy back so I could move forward and take them out. The fire spread really fast and I was able to in effect distract them enough to get around and kill them. One of the tall trees also caught fire. And those moments are when you realize how unique the game is. There were convoy missions where I used fire next to a road to stop them from going forward. I got up onto a hill and sniped down at them with an ambush. You really can walk around a valley with your sniper rifle like you’re a hunter and do whatever you like. It’s like a Grand Theft Auto in that way. Particularly during convoy missions that open it up for the player to decide how to do attack.
The missions themselves are much weaker then how you choose the execute them. Your job is usually to assassinate, or destroy. That’s hardly new and does get repetitive. The world feels real until that illusion is taken away with the enemies. I do understand why there are checkpoints and why they would attack you. Regardless that is tremendously frustrating. You’re already driving while looking down at your map and trying to steer. The last thing anyone wants to worry about is fighting in that situation. This all blends into the AI and combat. The enemies are a believable challenge, but the amount of damage they take isn’t. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it, the hits they could take. You have very limited ammo at any given time and needlessly firing at a checkpoint during a mission is frustrating. I’m still patient enough to deal with it, but it’s hardly fun.
I think the shooting is decent. Now that Call of Duty 4 is the ‘essential’ control setup and feel, it’s harder to get into these other shooters. Sprint buttons are a must, here it’s only as good as you make it. You sprint in straight lines, and it feels a little sluggish. Aiming and firing isn’t so difficult. The 360 has some pretty heavy aim assist that helps. You almost can’t play without it because of the situations you end up in. Cars handle fine. Most of them aren’t interesting anyway. The weapon selection is excellent. The upgrade manuals are really useful. The diamonds might not be the best currency for this game, but hopefully I can get through without them preventing me from experiencing everything.
One last thing about this game, the final mission was nothing less than a disaster. Walking miles on foot through a swamp is the perfect way to sum up my feelings about the game. Tedious when it should be cool. Far Cry 2 is a really cool game, but it has layers of terrible ideas. Respawning enemies, weird situations, and total frustration. I kept getting beat down and the only thing drawing me back was the urge to force myself to earn back the money I spent on it.
The multiplayer, oddly enough, is pretty fun. Since it has this really deep and excellent map creator people are able to make wild things. Playing team deathmatch was a lot of fun. I’d also like to point out that I was banned from ranked matches after getting into first place early, more often than not. Can anyone tell me why the host options are that powerful in a ranked match?
I don’t think I’ve seen a game be more hardcore PC then this before on a console. Even I didn’t expect the irritating parts to wear down on me. But by the end of the game I was done. I never want to go back and play it again. It isn’t enough to say the game looks great because it has so much more to offer. But it just gets dragged down by all the repetition. Far Cry 2 gave me a headache almost every time I played it. My eyes were moving constantly and made it a stressful experience. Since when is the novelty of a real paper map to look at a good idea? I appreciate it, I’m glad it exists, but no more.