Reviews: Far Cry 2

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Just finished this game.
I'll keep this short. Spoilers ahead, of course.

The good: Animals don't come to kill you out of the sky. Ambient music; sometimes. Set wholly in Fakecountry!Africa.

The bad: Checkpoints everywhere, no civilians in real sight making the game feel very empty and quests dealing with them - the underground and end - come out of nowhere. Malaria sickness to keep the character doing fetch quests and hinders themselves with movement, but not from killing hundreds of goons. Weapons are fickle. Mountains are everywhere which hinders, bars, and kills movement. Movement itself via car and boat - long, boring, repetitive.

The ugly: The storyline. No choice has a consequence, seriously; the ending is the same. As well, unless one takes the time to get the Jackal tapes thrown about the provinces it can come as outright weird that the man who 1) got the drop on you in the beginning of the game, 2) got the drop on you in the middle of the game, and 3) got the drop on you on the road to the climax of the game suddenly decides to be good and nice. The tapes and voice acting don't help his case at all. It's like he sold guns over the net, finally got out into the real world and decided, "Nah, bro." The player was sent to kill him; and in the end the Jackal ends up akin to some sort of puppeteer that can do anything and if he can't; he can convince you to do anything. As well, very closely tied into this are the factions: never outside of a ceasefire zone will you NOT be under fire from someone unless it's a buddy or the underground. Compared to Far Cry 4 or Fallout 3 where you have a side, here you have nobody - everyone will shoot you, relentlessly. "Friendly AI specials" exist, but I never came across them. Some styles of gameplay won't come across well here; snipers especially are at a disadvantage unless you find a very good point to shoot - and that is if the foliage or settlements don't block you from taking out half the enemy side; then you have to either charge in or move about.

Final judgment: Had a lot of potential. Heard that it was rushed, it shows. Far Cry 5 might take place in Africa again - it won't be bad to do a remake, but it needs to change a lot, though most likely it'll be a new plot and new country entirely. I hope they learn from this and expand on it.

Far Cry 2 isn't bad, it's just not really amazing.
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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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