Far Cry 2 PC Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.9
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.5
Value 7.9
Developer: UbiSoft
Review Date:
October 2008
Reviewer:
Edwin Millheim
Classification: MA15+

7.9


Far Cry 2
 

PC, Xbox 360, PS3


 

It seems this is the era of stuff happening in Africa, both on hit TV shows like 24, and now in games like the upcoming Resident Evil 5. In fact, an African like country is where we find ourselves in the highly impressive Far Cry 2. No Jack Carver in sight, but plenty of action, ambiance, and a lot of freedom to play it like you want to.
 

Features:
  • DUNIA ENGINE – The award winning Ubisoft Montreal dev team has tailor-made this new engine for Far Cry® 2. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire and storm effects, real-time day and night cycle, dynamic music system and non-scripted enemy A.I.
  • FIRE – Feel the heat of the most realistic fire ever seen in a video game! Use wind and propagation to surround and trap your enemies. Grab your Molotov cocktails or flamethrowers to take out your enemies. Discover for yourself how fire brings a new dimension to the usual FPS gameplay.
  • DESTRUCTIBLE ENVIRONMENT – No more thinking about obstacles, everything is breakable and alterable, even in Multiplayer mode! The DUNIA engine’s RealTree technology also delivers the most realistic nature deterioration system ever.
  • OPEN WORLD – Experience real freedom while roaming in more than 50km2 without any loading. Choose your own path in this vast environment. Explore a living African world thanks to detailed artistic research brought to life by next-gen technology.
  • A HUGE ADVENTURE & HOURS OF SIDE QUESTS – Discover war in its rawest form! Fight for two rival factions, and make your way up to your primary target by any means necessary. Take on over 70 side missions to earn valuable information, new weapons and vehicles.
  • NON-SCRIPTED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – Dunia technology brings a brand new experience to Far Cry 2. Be surprised by medics dragging wounded soldiers into a safe place. Read fear in grunts’ eyes as your reputation and in-game actions make them want to drop their guns and run for cover. Feel the tension of never knowing an enemies’ reaction thanks to a non-scripted AI.
  • MULTIPLAYER - Challenge your friends in Far Cry 2 but watch your back because you never know who your true friends are and who might betray you! All the single player technical features are present in multiplayer mode, what you destroy in SP, you can destroy in MP. Far Cry 2 multiplayer features all the modes people love to play and more.


Playing a mercenary for hire and stuck in a war ravaged Africa, the ultimate goal is to track down and take out an elusive arms dealer known as The Jackal. Simple enough right? Wrong, in the middle of tracking down the Jackal, and making deals with the corrupt war lords in different factions you have to do it all while fighting off malaria.


Staring a new game, you decide on the level of difficulty, these are Easy, Normal, Hardcore, and Infamous. I can say that each level has it's challenges depending on your over all gaming experience. I've been around the block a few times when it comes to first person shooters and found that playing even at the easy level can be a challenge if the enemy bunch up and or surround you. While the Infamous level is down right hellish. Once you decide on the difficulty, you decide on what character to actually play. There are nine character you may choose from, none of those are female. So it seems that you can have back up characters in the game as female, just not a main playable character. I'll leave that one alone. Choosing any of these characters does not seem to have any adverse effect that I could discern. Once you choose those things , off in the game you go. After some load time of course. Not to worry, the views alone are well worth the wait. I loaded and restarted the game at each level of difficulty and with each character and the same over all cut scenes and first destinations played out.

Let me touch on the whole malaria thing first. The writers and game designers are really evil here because the malaria can kick up and cause symptoms at the worst times. This all serves to put even more of a twist on several of the missions, because just when you think everything is going well….wham, your hit with waves of nausea and dizziness. This is all relayed on screen and dramatic way. Finding malaria medicine throughout the game to keep the illness in check is always a shadow that hangs heavy over you. It adds a lot to the danger, because having an attack in the middle of a gun battle may well get you killed. Side missions connect you with people that are willing to trade the medicines you need. So these side missions are actually very necessary.

The graphics, while not anything that is excessively ground breaking, is none the less impressive. The Ubisoft Montreal dev team has used the DUNIA ENGINE to truly impressive effect. Far Cry 2's environments are very interactive and diverse. Plant and animal life are represented, along with day and night cycles. A lot of the environment is destructible, gun fire rips apart plant life and explosions cause fires that set dry grass land ablaze. Those wild fires can be both friend and foe to the player, it can give the enemy something to contend with and thus giving the player an edge. On the other hand a fast moving fire can trap and do the player's character harm as well. Vehicle explosions are all big and satisfying and provide some danger for the player character if they are too close, and rounding off things when it comes to environmental dangers is hidden weapons or ammunition caches that when set afire or hit my an explosions sets off the ammunition. As the rounds go off they of course cause damage and even death to any unfortunate enough to be in within range of it's fireworks deadly fireworks display.

 


While there are a small scattering of animal life to be seen, I would have liked to see some more dangers to contend with, like the very famous venomous snakes, or even a river croc once in a while, or elephants and the often under estimated for danger, the Hippo. Alas , they are not present. But hey, as I noted in other reviews sometimes game design is a mix of compromises. At the start of the game during a bit of a game world tour, the world seems much more vibrant than when in the actual game play. This is not enough to detour or degrade away from the experience.

The world is a joy to explore and the exhilaration of having so much freedom in your way of getting from point A to point B is worth the exploration. While some folks will find a lot of the travel to be a bit tedious after a while, the over all beauty of the game world is evident as you explore. From dry grass savannah, to white sun baked desert areas, the game renders it all very well across all platforms. The Alienware system took the PC version and ran it in all it's maxed setting glory. If you get the game from one of those download to drive purchase sites, it weighs in at around 3.66 GB before install. The basic or minimum specs for the PC version are 3.5 GB (Multiple saves and the user created maps will of course increase the hard disk space that is used.)

 

Processor : Pentium 4: 3.2 Ghz, Pentium D 2.66 Ghz, AMD Athlon 64 3500+ or better. RAM : 1 GB
Video Card : NVIDIA® 6800 or ATI®X1650 or better Shader Model 3 required 256 Mb of graphic memory. If your in the market for a gaming rig, shoot on over to Alienware and see what they have to offer. You will be glad you did.
 


There are plenty of main missions to keep you busy, but add 70 or so side missions and you have got plenty of game time on your hands. From missions for the different factions, to side buddy missions and as noted, essential missions that will get you your medicine. This leads me to make one note, the civil war going on makes for an interesting and situation creating adventure. The civil war amongst the war lords always seems to be in the back ground as this uneasy truce lingers. With the players character carrying out assassinations, convoy attacks and various other missions so there can be a level of deniability for the faction your doing the mission for. After all you’re an outsider. Still it would have been nice to see things become a little more volatile, with the factions fighting each other. It never does, the civil war seems to be like a painting on the wall, it's there, you cant ignore it, but it's a static thing that never really seems to be in danger of erupting and becoming a problem.

The artificial intelligence in the game, or Dunia technology (For Far Cry 2) just blew me away when on a desert oasis raid, I sniped an enemy and wounded them and his comrade ran over to him and fireman carried him to safety. While I observed this in my scope two of his buddies went wide and actually flanked me. Some times the enemy fights, just enough, and other times they come on like a mad nest of hornets. The reactions are diverse enough to keep you on your toes and makes for a very satisfying experience.

Keeping your character supplied with weapons that work means you will have to either earn diamonds (That's the currency here) or find hidden briefcases with diamonds in them that are scattered throughout the gaming world. Diamonds can also purchase upgrades for weapons, such as accuracy and reliability. Other upgrades for the character include extra items that can assist in carrying more grenades or ammunition. One of the things I like that has been implemented in the game and makes for a nice touch is that weapons can degrade and even blow up in your hand if it is too old and over used. Some may even jam in the middle of a fire fight, causing you to have to rack and clear the weapon before it can fire again.

The sound in the game is gratifying all around, from the sounds of explosions and the ear splitting cracks of gunfire all the way to the ambient sounds of the wind through the grass and the tress and the shrill of the insects at night. Regarding the voice acting, while there wont be any awards given out for line delivery, I would say that the fast paced delivery is on the money. While some may argue the point of course, I would say they are being true to the varied cultures represented. Some players have panned the overly fast paced line delivery. I say that's also what the sub titles are for. The game is being true to the culture. In the United States alone the average speech rate in the mid-Atlantic states is 120 - 140 words per minute. Its faster in some places such as New York City, and slower in others. So I say good on you Ubisoft.
 


In game while adventuring, the player unlocks safe houses by eliminating the enemy there. Opening up safe houses provides a several places in the game world to store weapons, and also save game. After a time you can upgrade the safe house locations by purchasing weapons crates for the different weapon groups you can carry. The more missions finished, the more diverse weapons and upgrades become available for purchase in game.

Like it, or dislike it, Far Cry 2's single player experience can easily let you loose yourself in it’s game world for over 30 hours of game play. Add this with a pretty robust map creation tool to make custom maps and you are looking at even more hours. Especially since you are able to share those maps with the gaming community.
The map editor is rather extensive, you can create a map from scratch, including all of the topography features, or you can you the wilderness generator to crate it for you.

Far Cry 2 also includes some multiplayer madness. While the over all game world will give the multiplayer feature some punch, it's only full of game types that are tried and true and yet uninspiring. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and instead of capture the flag, there's capture the diamond. Some variation would have been cool like one side attacking a convoy while the other side is in the convoy and trying to protect it and get it to a certain destination. No matter how you cut it though, the multiplayer game fanatics out there may well be pleased with Far Cry 2 for all of the environmental fun translates into the multiplayer experience as well, wildfires and all.

I would say that Far Cry 2 is a well put together game that will be giving players hours of gaming fun for along while.

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim






 
 



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