Let it be know first off that I have been a fan of the Far Cry series for years. Having played the first Far Cry on PC and then Xbox, as well as Predator on Xbox 360, I know where the series has come from and what I thought I could expect. With the release of Far Cry 2 last week, I was ecstatic to see what Ubi Montreal was going to bring to us this time around.
A good friend said Far Cry 2 is a first person shooter in a GTA world. I think that sums it up quite nicely.
The opening sequence drops you into war torn Africa on a mission to kill a warlord named ”The Jackal.” After a bumpy ride to your hotel, you begin your mission while sick with malaria. Once you obtain some weapons you enter a tutorial section. While most hardcore shooter players would balk at the idea of a tutorial, this is not like any shooter you’ve played before, you should be glad for some instruction before you head out into this huge world! In fact it feels much less like a tutorial the the time trial section on Call of Duty 4. The tutorial is pretty smooth and really helps get used to this new open world Far Cry.
As you move around the world, you will encounter various outposts and checkpoints, with plenty of guys who want you dead. The fun really begins here, as you scout out the enemy camps, prepare for an attack and then carry out your best laid plans. I loved sneaking up and picking guys off, one at a time and shooting their buddies as the run over to help them. Another fun trick as just blasting through a checkpoint and letting the guys chase you, slipping up to the turret and then letting the lead fly as the try and catch up to your location. If you are hit badly, healing is a intense first person view of you cleaning your wound, or pulling shrapnel out of your muscles. It is intense.
The African landscape is truly amazing. I was blown away as I drove the terrain and never felt like “I’ve seen that before” while the trees and hills whip by. Driving, running and swimming are back from the orginal and better than ever. The only thing I miss is the ability to go prone. The Dunia engine which handles this massive world didn’t stutter once on my Xbox 360 despite environmental effects changes and massive explosions. The animations moving from in and out of a vehicle or into a building are awesome. There are no ‘cuts,’ you never leave the first person perspective of the player. This is especially fun when going to check your map while driving. You are forced to look down and take your eyes off the road, probably just as an enemy patrol is coming your way!
The weapons implementation took me a little to get used to but I thoroughly love now. You are allowed a primary (two hands), secondary (one hand) and special weapon, plus grenades and Molotovs. As you use a weapon, it wears out and begins to jam, making you unjam it before you are filled with bullet holes. Unlocking weapons allows you do go back and get new ones from a warehouse as the old ones wear out, but if you are too far from home and pick up an enemy weapon, be ready for trouble as they are pretty old and rusty.
Characters are quite engaging and create a healthy sense of emotional attachment. The idea of losing one of my buddies really had me bumming, a good sign of well developed story. As I am only a few hours in, I cannot report much on this yet… but stay tuned.
Having only spent a few nights on LIVE now but a healthy about of time LAN, I can say that the multi-player game is solid. The hosting, finding and general menu function is well made. I was able to hop from single player to multi-player in just a few moments.
The Ubi maps are really fun. I particularly liked Rumble Strip. And old run down airport with towers and buildings. I was amazed at the balance and for thought. It made me want to make a map as good as that.
Which leads me to the map maker. Oh, the map maker! I loved making maps in FCI:Predator and I was very excited about the new version. After several hours with it I can honestly say it is absolutely amazing!!! The tool box is FULL of items, explosive barrals, buildings, trees and more.
I am happy to say this game is in every way as good as I had hoped. My only complaint so far is an issue with wide-screen TV users (yes, 80% of the people with the game) and a cropping rather than full view. I could handle this except the FOV is forced in about 3 inches and causes motion sickness… not cool. Here’s hoping Ubi patches this right away.
See you online!