Reviews: Far Cry 2

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Far Cry 2: not actually that bad
SO I BOUGHT Far Cry 2 a while ago, and like many people, I was seriously frustrated by the game. The game's emphasis on tedious commuting between missions, jamming weapons, and annoying fetch quests for malaria pills was a deal breaker. So when a massive glitch destroyed 20 hours of my progress, I put the game down and left it to rot. But recently, I tried it again and you know, I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more.

With my expectations lowered accordingly from the first time, I actually found myself ignoring most of the previous gripes and appreciating the good points of the game. Far Cry 2 still expects you to tolerate the 90% of the time spent driving around, but it is only on my second playthrough that I began to notice the more cerebral elements to the game. I really loved Far Cry 2's parallels with Conrad's Heart Of Darkness; the obsessive hunt for an insane, illusive genius across a wilderness full of lunacy. The few remnants of civilization get bogged down in an eternal conflict and its demented methods. The book's concepts are well interperetated into the game and I made the mental connection between the game and novel fairly quickly. If that wasn't enough, I recently found this blog written by one of the ingame characters. It is a suprisingly elaborate and well written piece of metafiction which I suggest you check out.

My only main gripe is the ending. It doesn't make any sense, it is far too brief considering the scale of the story, and the player will leave feeling screwed over by the stupid decision they are forced to take. If that wasn't enough, the creators are contemptful enough to assume you won't spot their clever story telling. The last level is called "Heart of Darkness", as if they didn't trust players to notice the literary allusion. Seeing as how only people who have read the book will be able to appreciate the parallels anyway, I didn't see the point in them outright stating "this is a lot like that book, you know?"

I won't go so far as to say Far Cry 2 is a good game, but if you had already bought a copy and tossed it aside, or can get it for cheap, I recommend you give it another chance. With your expectations appropriately lowered, you can actually enjoy it.

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