Far Cry 2 takes a bit of getting used to, but behind some clunky design decisions there seems to be a classic waiting to be found. The most glaring mistake, of course, was to call it Far Cry 2, a name that is likely to confuse both fans and naysayers of the original. As has been apparent for some time, and barring any bizarre plot twists down the line, there is absolutely no connection between the two games.
I love that the map is an in-game item, even while driving vehicles. Glancing down at the map to check your bearing, looking back at the road and having to veer right to avoid an oncoming tree stump never gets old. It’s the perfect example of Far Cry 2‘s obsession with the first person perspective, a principle it only breaks when you fall asleep (at which point you get a pretty time lapse showing off the game’s superb day-night cycle).
Then there’s the (at times) extremely exciting combat, with the open world lending itself to dynamic and unpredictable firefights. Take the image above, for example, in which I’d taken out almost all the enemies at a particular camp, only to have the one survivor jump into a car and try to run me down. This is pretty hairy stuff – especially if your gun chooses that exact moment to jam.
Judging by various Internet forums, not everyone is a fan of the rickety guns and beaten-up vehicles that quickly die on you if you treat them badly. Personally I love it; it lends the world a sense of decaying realism, making your weapons feel like real mechanical items rather than simply a graphical interface overlay. Perhaps if you prefer your action to be fast and slick and pride yourself on being an instant super-killer they could be frustrating; for everyone else they add a layer of tension and unpredictability to gunfights. It forces you to expect things to go wrong and adjust your tactics accordingly.
And that, really, is what Far Cry 2‘s combat is all about: planning and tactics. Run in guns blazing and you’re likely to get into serious trouble. Scout out the territory using your monocular, plan your entry route, pick people off carefully and use the environment to your advantage and you’ll come out a winner.
I’ll have a full review in a few weeks/months once I’ve completed the game, at which point I’ll be able to talk about its interesting storytelling techniques, whether the combat and world remains interesting thoughout and the aforementioned clunks (annoying guard posts, rotating grass, lack of civilians etc).
In the meantime I’ll be attending the Eurogamer Expo on Wednesday 29th October in London, so if you see a guy with a Potential Gamer t-shirt, that’ll be me. With luck I’ll have some juicy information on the imminent Left 4 Dead on my return…