by Marko Susimetsä
reviewed on PC
Living in Africa (cntd.)
Although the fact that you are contracted with malaria the very moment you set your foot on African soil may feel a little contrived, it is a great way to introduce a complication into the main protagonist's mission: In addition to having to fight off mercenaries, he also has to find medicine to hold off the occasional spells of dizziness. The fact that these dizzy spells can attack you at any time can easily turn an easy skirmish into a deadly one.
Weapons breaking up as you touch them
In addition to being wary of the problems caused by the malaria, you are also advised to always have spare weapons and ammunition at hand. The weapons that you pick up from your enemies are prone to jamming and total breakdowns. My most difficult fight was one where I had forgotten that my side-arm had jammed in the previous encounter and my main weapon chose just that moment to break down. While faced by four goons who had just crashed my Jeep head-on, I reached for my side-arm, only to realise that it was still jammed. Let's just say that I was off into the bushes and in the nearby river faster than a speeding bullet – well, except for the couple that the goons managed to sink into my back.
Luckily, you have access to some better weaponry in the weapons shops that litter the landscape. Only, if you want to buy some of the better weapons, you will have to run some personal services to the shop owner – which mainly consist of stopping the weapons deliveries of their rivals. The weapons include practically every weapon you might expect to see in a country town with war, such as AK-47s and other assault rifles as well as various kinds of sniper rifles, hand guns, light machine guns, rocket launchers etc.
The biggest downside of Far Cry 2 are the side-quests. Where the developers might have had their best chance to liven up their open game world, they managed to deliver only a couple of types of side quests with minor variations. These are basically “stop the convoy” and “kill this and this guy”. You get these side quests from the gun shop owners (pretty much the same guy in all of the shops, magically enough) and from various drop-off points on the map where you can pick up your orders. One can only hope that there will be a patch or an add-on later on that will improve this side of the game, perhaps introducing us to some locals and their problems (that can only be solved by a well-armed, but good-hearted mercenary).
The same problem of monotony also goes for the securing of the safe houses that are littered around the landscape. These are remotely located houses that are occupied by hostiles. Once you take the hostiles out, the house is yours to keep and use as you please – including a bed that you can use to make the nights go by faster. All the safe houses look exactly the same and have the same equipment and layout inside, except for an occasional weapon that you can pick up.
Other downsides include the “kill the protagonist on sight” random-encounter mercenaries and soldiers that drive around in Jeeps or regular sedans, or guard the various arms deports etc. Somehow they all automatically take you as a hostile and start shooting at you on sight, or, better yet, try to run you over with their car if you happen to be loitering in plain sight in the vicinity of some road. Thus, you have to keep your ears sharp as you roam the countryside, just in case some crazy mercenary has seen you and is heading for you in his big Jeep... Also the fact that the areas where you've definitely killed all the enemies and blown up everything that can be blown up get repopulated and reset as soon as you turn your back smells a bit iffy.
Fresh breath of FPS
Excellent FPS games are few and far between, but Far Cry 2 fits the bill despite its shortcomings. Not only does it offer top-notch graphics and weapon selection, but it also delivers a very open and unmatched gameplay. The problems that I mentioned above are very minor when you remember that this is a first-person shooter and not a role-playing game that we are talking about. Far Cry 2 offers the best immersive open world experience that I've seen in any FPS yet. As far as the overall score goes, with engaging storytelling, this might have deserved a 10, but, as it is, the story and repetitiveness are weaknesses that just have to be taken into account.
No Pros and Cons at this time