(I originally posted it in r/gaming but didn't gain much traction, I think that here is a better place to post it)
After many tries over the years. I finally managed to finish Far Cry 2.
Far Cry 2 is the most boring, repetitive and tedious game I've ever played… and at the same time one of the most addicting, fun and philosophical thinking games I've ever played.
Far Cry 2 is a hard game for me to talk about because of the amount of both, amazing and disgustingly boring and repetitive things it has.
Let's start with the bad stuff first.
As I said already. This game is repetitive, a thing that is already well known about this game. But damn, it is NOT exaggerated.
Driving around from one corner of the map to the other is just lazy game design for me. It gets tedious to do almost instantly. It doesn't help that fast travel points are only in 4 corners of the map and the centre of it. While driving you also come across other enemies in vehicles and enemy camps, that no matter how many times you clear them, they will keep reappearing over and over again; also, trying to drive away from enemies is almost useless because 90% of the time they will catch up to you.
This mechanic of driving from one place of the map to the other, while coming across enemies that, I must say, truly HATE you helps build the atmosphere of the game as an unforgiven and merciless place, though, killing the same looking guys over and over while trying to get to my objective without getting kill is frustrating as hell. How lucky that the PC version of the game has quick saves because if not I think it would have taken me FAR longer to finish it.
Now let's talk also about the repetitiveness of the missions. They are basically:
-Go here and kill them.
-Go there and blow that thing up.
There are slight variations here and there, like threatening someone to make them give a false message that would damage the soldiers of one faction. But not much more than that.
Another big problem that I think helps to damage this game are the characters.
Now, not all characters are bad, and I'm going to get into that in a moment. But for example, I didn't care about any of the factions leaders or even knew their names.
It's like "Yeah look, my name is "this", he is my partner named "that" and I want you to work for us."
That's exactly the same for both factions.
I didn't even know who they were referring to when they wanted me to kill someone and had to look up into the game diary to see who this guy was.
Now, with all that said… This game is amazing, and it has all the elements to be a masterpiece. Let's talk about the good stuff now.
First of all, the graphics. Damn this game looks beautiful! It's incredible what Ubisoft managed to pull off in 2008, and it still looks gorgeous today. It's such a good looking game!
I know that people say that this game is too brown looking, and while is true that it uses mostly a color pallet based around brown and gold, damn does it uses it good. The African landscapes with it's golden grass and the sunlight covering it all looks downright artistic, specially at sunset.
I understand that it could use more colors, but, the use of the ones it has are so well implemented that I didn't have a problem with them in the slightest.
Another great thing is the gameplay. Now, I know that it has been stated many times how innovative is in this area so I'll try to be quick.
The use of weapons jamming and even breaking after much use I think is great, because it gives you an incentive to keep refreshing your equipment and gives you that feeling that at any moment, things can go to hell.
The fire in this game I think is absolutely amazing and I think is the best use of fire I have seen in games so far. Seeing how it devours everything and becomes this big chaotic thing is amazing and it adds another element to combat. You can use it, but fire picks no sides, you can't control it, so be careful.
A complain I hear very often and was something I had problems with was the stealth. Now, I used to think that there was no stealth in the game and that the guards would detect you no matter what, but, after playing it again this year and searching online as to how to make stealth properly, I realized that stealth is there, is much more difficult to use than in the other games, but it gives you all the elements to do it.
You need to attack mostly at night, see if it's raining and/or if there's no moon, create distractions with things like fire, move from one place to another.
Granted is much more unforgiven and less polished than in future games, but the approaches it takes is one that makes you think and plan much more how you want to do it.
Now, the malaria… if the malaria affected you in the game like it says in the journal, than I think it would be perfect. It would be nice to see that as times go by you are getting weaker because of the illness, that you can aim less steadily, that you would run less, and to counter it you needed to take more medicine than usual. I think it could be interesting. As it stands though… I like it, it can be a nuisance, but I think it contributes to the chaos factor of the game. That always keeps on edge that something bad WILL, inevitably, happen.
Now, the story…
Is amazing… and bland.
Is deep and shallow.
Is thoughtful but forgettable.
I think that Far Cry 2 definitely has a message to say, that, sadly, gets lost along the way. The game manages to carry it's message till the end, though I think that the guys at Ubisoft where a bit lost as to how to translate it in game form
The message that Far Cry 2 leaves is that, your character, is a monster, everyone involved in the war is a monster. The only good ones are the civilians.
There are missions in the game where you are literally asked to destroy trucks filled with drinkable water, you are tasked with destroying medical plants so that the other faction can't have them.
You are doing so much harm to everyone only to achieve your objective that is astonishing.
I need to replay the game to read more of the main character journal because I only decided to read them late in the game. And guys, you are a complete as*hole. You only care about the diamonds you can get and finishing your primary objective. Kill the Jackal.
You don't have second thoughts about trying to find another way around things, nobody has. Everyone want to do harm and some hope that with the harm provoqued they can achieve something (both factions).
The only one sane enough to realize the madness of the situation is the Jackal, who I must say, is the best developed character in the game.
He starts being a merciless arm dealer, but the more tapes you find, the more he questions his actions.
I haven't found every tape from him, but I remember one very clearly, the one about the kid who killed a man to steal his boots and looked… old, worn out… that one hitted me hard.
The Jackal begins to question himself things like these and the player is left to reflect about it… and is something that no game made me think about. No game made me think about this scenario that can totally be happening in this moment in another part of the world… and all my character does is contribute to that madness.
Is interesting because the game doesn't blame you for what you do throughout the game. The character himself reflects on his action and most of the time he doesn't care about the thing he does.
Only at the end they realize that the Jackal is right, that they are both cancer and they both deserve to die.
I think that Ubisoft would manage to perfect this storytelling with Far Cry 3 and with the character transformation into a monster being steadily and slowly. But I think that this game would have greatly benefit with voice acting from the main character and let us see how they begins as a ruthless mercenary and by the end they are seeking for redemption. There is the diary that you carry, but it doesn't hold all the notes the main character writes and not everyone is going to check it.
Another thing worth noting about the story are your buddies, that without sharing many deep stories about themselves or having deep philosophical thoughts they manage to be so charismatic and likable by being some of the few people that don't want to see you dead, that want to help you and fight by your side… which makes their death so much more devastating. It truly feels like losing a brother/sister and is something that no other Far Cry has manage to do.
Far Cry 2 is flawed, as I said, it's repetitiveness and lack of variety in missions makes it extremely boring, but, there are so many great ideas and attempts at greatness that sometimes do succeed that make it something worth playing.
A very solid 8/10
© Post "A critical look at Far Cry 2." for game Far Cry 5.
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