Finally, after a long wait since last October when I discovered this game and its first trailer, its out! FarCry 2 is a very ambitious game with a simple idea that really hasn’t ever been approached in games, an African setting, and an open world first person shooter. FarCry started the series in 2004 in a tropical setting with a pseudo-open world, which had never really been touched before. Now multiple games are set in tropical paradises and the awesome quality that these games try to push seems somewhat dated. When Ubisoft Montreal took the game into their hands they felt they needed a new environment and continue the revolution that the first FarCry started with its own setting.
FarCry 2 is set in Africa and you are a mercenary sent in for one mission: to hunt down and kill the Jackal. In the unnamed African country that you are set into there are two factions who are duking it out for political purposes and the Jackal is giving both sides weapons. At the very beginning of the game you play a sort of tutorial mode. You are sent in and enter this country where you contract malaria and the Jackal finds you to have a chat after you wake up from your first encounter with the disease. He doesn’t harm you, however, probably because he doesn’t see you as much of a threat in your current condition. Once you’re over with this sort of tutorial mode, which takes about an hour, you have the option of going where ever you want and taking on whatever mission you can find on your map. When I first experienced this I was shocked with a sense of vertigo. “Wait, now what do I do? You forgot to tell me which place to go to first!” It was a weird feeling, having enormous amount of freedom, reminiscent of the GTA series. You’ll be taking missions from both sides to eventually work your way to the Jackal, along with the friendly underground that asks you to complete missions in exchange for medicine to treat you malaria.
Although the story seems pretty solid, it doesn’t wrap you up into the politics as much as it could. With all the twists that the story holds for itself the gameplay has even more meshed into it. The new engine, christened Dunia, meaning “earth” in many languages, paints an amazing environment. From the weather effects and the destructable environments to the jamming weapons and vehicles that show realistic damage, the world seems about as real as mine, although some would question how real I see the world. There are a couple complaints I have to make with the building destructability, which there doesn’t seem to be any, more or less it’s just pieces that fly off the buildings. Although these things add a lot to the game, the fire properties and propagation is the real star. It’s spectacular to see the fire infect the environment and eat its way up trees. The size of the map is just as incredible as how beautiful the map designers wove together the Savannah, jungle, and deserts of Africa into this cohesive playground. The traveling can be quite cumbersome at times though, but that was what the designers were aiming for. The AI in the game is extremely difficult on the higher settings, it’s not like in many games where you can go hide and they will wait for you to gather your balls and fight back again. No. They will find you and kill you. They also can absorb a lot of damage, and can continue to attack on the ground if you hit their limbs. With the use of syrettes you can keep your health maintained, unless it drops too low and you will have to perform some nasty field surgery using great animations before you can continue your fight. Along with some animals, which can be fun to hunt at times, you have a friendly AI system dubbed the “buddy system” where from the 9 characters that you can choose to play from, along with three female buddies, the rest are thrown into the world and you can meet and build relationships with them. They can save you from a deadly situation and can give you alternative missions that deviate the story missions slightly. Although beyond this their AI is somewhat limited, for instance they cannot enter a vehicle with you. Weapons are very ubiquitous in the game and can be obtained in a number of ways. You can either pick them up from enemies or get them off of a weapons dealer. The difference is that the weapons the enemies have are worn out and prone to jam where as the weapons dealer provides you with new weapons. You can do side missions for the weapons dealer and he will make more weapons available for you.
One of the main objectives of the designers is to have you play the game that you want. With that you can approach a mission or attack an area how you want, such as Rambo style or silent. You can change the time of the day by sleeping and attack your mission at night and with the use of the map, you can mark points of interest on it such as ammo crates, health, vehicles, or a sniper-post.
With the multiplayer comes the standard modes, deathmatch, team-deathmatch, capture the diamond, and uprising (a territories and VIP hybrid) with some solid gameplay. The game designers didn’t want to complicate game modes with their intense map editor that comes packaged with the game. If I have ever felt more like being a god than when I killed bugs with a magnifying glass, it’s with this map editor. Although you have a multitude of limitations, the map editor is very powerful. You’re given just about everything the game designers had to put into the story map. You can change the time of day and weather. Make rivers, roads, and mountains. But not only does it give you numerous amounts of objects and terrain distorting tools. It uses a technique coined collection systems, which enables you to simply paint trees or mountains quick and effortlessly. You can also paint different textures to help with the setting aesthetics and feel.
The game that Ubisoft Montreal has crafted is an amazing amalgam of visuals, gameplay, and story. With the multiplayer and the map editor as icing on the cake the game is well made and the shooting feels solid. There are many complaints I have but they are shadowed by the many features that the designers put into the game. To say the least if you like open world games and first person shooters you should definitely give this game a shot. Even if you don’t enjoy the experience you definitely get your moneys worth.