by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Crytek on your lips
When the original Far Cry came out, it took the gaming world by storm. While everyone had been looking forward to the upcoming offerings from First Person Shooter power houses id Software and Epic Games, newcomer Crytek slipped in a milestone title. With Far Cry, this small German developer delivered a graphical marvel that neither of those other two companies could rival at the time. The huge open areas and lush island setting were something never before seen on any gaming platform. The game produced most of its splendor without hiccups even on PCs that went through life with less than top specs. It had great gameplay to boot and took the sales charts by storm. Soon Crytek was on everyone’s lips.
As is so often the case, publisher Ubisoft turned the Far Cry franchise into a cash cow. The list of lackluster spinoffs includes Far Cry: Instincts and Far Cry: Vengeance. While Instincts is a decent offering, I would not recommend anyone to pick up Vengeance. Ubisoft and Crytek parted ways after the latter was bought up by EA. This did not spell the end of Far Cry however. Ubisoft Montreal (of Assassins Creed fame) is currently finishing up Far Cry 2 for its release later this year. We were fortunate to spend some time with the game last week in Leipzig. You can read our findings below.
Whoever plays the bill
Upon entering the game, we found ourselves wandering through the African Wild. Contrary to its predecessor’s tropical island setting, Far Cry 2 plays out in a fictional country somewhere in central Africa. We started off at a brisk walk when a small town loomed up ahead in the distance. We were told to go there to talk to the leaders of one of the two factions in a bloody civil war that has put the country into a permanent state of chaos. In Far Cry 2 you no longer play Jack Carver. Instead you pretend to be a hired mercenary, a handy diversion from your real goal to find and assassinate an arms dealer by the name of The Jackal. Choosing this role does mean that you shouldn’t necessarily care about who wins the conflict so you take jobs from whoever pays the bill.
When we entered the village we were told that the United Front for Liberation and Labor (UFLL) and the Alliance for Popular Resistance (APR) were based there. Both factions had agreed on a cease fire in that area so we could pass through the town in relative safety. Walking into the APR headquarters we became aware that we were in good standing with its leader, Oliver Tambossa. Our prior actions (or rather the developer who provided the savegame we used) had been very successful and the APR had grown strong as a result. Oliver entrusted us with a new mission, destroying some farmland that had been the main food supply for the UFLL but proven very hard to take control of. We accepted the job and went on our way.
Getting in touch
The moment we left the APR headquarters, our cell phone rang. A NPC contacted us who had become our buddy during previous missions. The game lets you play one of eight characters. The other seven will make an appearance in the game to give you missions and side quests, as well as take on the role of informants. It is possible to befriend the NPCs who you work with and even indebt them by rescuing them from hairy situations. Once they become your buddy, they are taken out of the game in the sense that no harm can come to them, until you call in their help that is. When you are dying you can call in their aid. When you do they become part of the game again, as well as become mortal for the very first time. Should they die, they will disappear indefinitely, only to return when you start a new game.