Far Cry 2 came out this week, and I've been playing it for the last couple of days as I work on the review. The game has...well, it's rubbed me the wrong way a few times. Not long after starting out, I began getting frustrated by a number of things.My guns kept jamming.Dudes were attacking me nonstop.I kept dying a lot.I really dig the game's general concept--you're a mercenary in an arid open-world setting, free to take on side jobs, form alliances, and increase your notoriety--but those aspects of the gameplay were just getting me down. After playing a few more hours, it's starting to grow on me. Here's a few basic tips you might not be aware of when first starting out that might make your time in Africa a little easier.Unlock New Weapons, ProntoAn untimely weapon jam can be disastrous.Dead guerillas drop plenty of tasty weapons--AK-47s, MAC-10s, RPGs, the works. But the game's weapon durability system makes them useless for more than a few minutes. The dirtier a weapon looks, the less time it has left before it jams. And you really don't want a weapon jamming in the middle of a firefight, because enemies tend to gang up on you in fours and fives.To get good, reliable weapons, you need to unlock and then buy them at a weapon vendor. The game will lead you to one vendor during the tutorial, but you need to go back later on and pick up specific missions from him and other salesmen to unlock any guns worth buying. The catch is, the vendor only appears when you don't have any active missions pending.So head to the little gun icons on your map ASAP; those represent the vendor locations. The gun merchant missions are pretty fun--they usually revolve around you blowing up convoys of weapon shipments. After polishing off two missions, I'd unlocked an MP-5, RPG-7, and silenced Makarov, which were all way better than the stuff I started out with. The game gets a lot more fun with better weapons.Lastly, every vendor has an armory next to it that will always contain fresh versions of all the weapons you own. Those will last you for three or four missions before they start getting messed up, and you can always swing by an armory and get new ones anytime.Roll With an Armed VehicleThe buggy won't cut it. Go for the turret.There aren't a lot of vehicles in the game that I've seen so far, but by far the most valuable is a ubiquitous open-air jeep that has a mounted machine gun turret on the back. Stick with this thing as often as you can because it will save you in a lot of firefights.Firefights happen more often than you might like. There's a lot of driving required to get to most mission objectives, and you'll get attacked every time you hit the road, either by passing guard stations or just people rolling up on you and not leaving well enough alone. No matter where you're going, you're going to get harassed, at least as early on in the game as I am.The best thing about the armed jeep is that you can hit the jump button to immediately jump from the driver's seat up into the turret and mow enemies down with abandon. I was getting worked over on foot when I'd get ambushed. But in the turret, I could kill all my attackers really fast, even though I was taking a few hits due to being a sitting duck up there.Pursue the Buddy ObjectivesBuddy objectives can make the missions a lot more interesting.You've got a primary and a secondary buddy at any given time (as long as they haven't died, which they don't respawn from; you'll have to find another one in that case). After you pick up story missions, your main bro will call you with a plan to increase the rewards from your current task, or at least make it simpler in some way. It also increases your history and level with your buddy, though I'm not sure how that changes things just yet.In one scenario, I had to destroy some greenhouses belonging to the enemy faction. Before heading down there, my buddy had me head to a chemical facility, steal some industrial defoliant, and deliver it to him. When I hit the plantation where the greenhouses were located, my buddy buzzed the field and dropped the chemicals, removing all the foliage and thus all the cover the enemies had to hide behind.Another mission had me attempting to ambush an enemy convoy and destroy their supply trucks. The buddy option tipped me off to the location of the convoy's informant, who I intimidated into giving the group false coordinates. This led them into a village, instead of the original open area, where they were sitting ducks.The alternative buddy mission usually involves more fighting and carries the risk of your buddy dying. But sometimes you get a reward; I got a pretty nice SUV out of one of them. And you gain more reputation, allowing you to increase your rep level faster. I haven't figured out what reputation level affects yet, but I can only assume boosting it is a good thing.Get Your Other Buddy to Save Your AssWhen you bite it, this guy is your best friend. There's no auto-save in the game, s o it's no fun to put a lot of time in on a mission and then get smoked by an ambush. Luckily, your secondary buddy's sole function so far seems to be to save you when you go down.Instead of getting a "Load Game?" prompt, your vision will start to fade back in as your comrade hoists you up and drags you along while smoking fools that get in his way. After a minute of this, you'll be back in the fight with some weapons and a modicum of health. Much nicer than a game over when you're almost done with a mission.The only catch is that it seems like you have to prime your buddy for rescue after he's done it once. Seek him out at a safe house and talk to him to ready him for a rescue, and then you should have that ace up your sleeve if you happen to take a quick dirt nap.Far Cry 2 isn't a perfect game, but I've been compelled to keep playing it despite its occasional headaches. I'll be back with a review next week; hopefully these tips will help you a little in the meantime.