Gone are Jack Carver, his Hawaiian shirt, and the trigens from the first installment of “Far Cry,” but in comes spine tingling realism and a sickening amount of action with Ubisoft’s “Far Cry 2.” The new version represents what is perhaps the closest encounter with video game perfection, according to current standards. A revolutionary gaming platform, Dunia, allows for a beautifully rendered and fully open 50 km2 map, dynamic weather, grazing animals, a plethora of vehicles, and, of course, plenty of firepower to put civilization back a few thousand years.
“FC2” allows you to select your character and it is with this character that you embark on a mission to help dissolve a civil war in a fictional African country. Each character has their own background and has their own style of doing things, allowing you to find the character that you can connect to most. You will be thrown into the middle of a relatively ugly situation in which you must find The Jackal, an arms dealer who is supplying weapons to both sides in the civil war. Gameplay is phenomenal with a truly open world, which allows you to do pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. Want to shoot a tree to watch the leaves fall off and then grow back? There may be something wrong with you, but go for it. Want to jump in a jeep and drive around like OJ Simpson in his Bronco? You can do that too. Just remember that at some point you’re going to have to pick up a gun and start picking off those employed by The Jackal, but even here you can do it however you like. The world is shockingly realistic and features savannahs, jungles, and other kinds of environments, all of which are affected directly by what you do. Destruction you cause anywhere will have a lasting impact even if you return hours of play later and may even affect how you go about future missions.
Another remarkable addition to the game is the dynamic weather system, as well as the night and day cycle. Weather changes now directly affect your performance. It’s important to keep in mind the weather conditions when developing your strategy in “FC2” and the same applies with day and night. Enemy personnel will be more active during the day than night, but this of course comes at the expense of visibility.
With such a large world that is accessible in its entirety, navigation obviously becomes an issue. While in most games gameplay must be paused to view the map, “FC2” introduces a map and compass held by the character that can be accessed at any time while the player continues to move around in his environment. This helps navigate the larger map much more efficiently and also requires you to brush up on your map skills if they’re a little poor. You can also tag certain vehicles and spots on the map, so that you can monitor their position throughout your travels.
But with such a large map to get across, you’ll need more than just a map and so you’ll find vehicles of all kinds in the game — boats, gliders, jeeps, and others (sorry, no Hummers on 22s or any trucks with spinners though). Driving was fun in the first game, but has been significantly improved in “FC2,” with driving feeling a lot more realistic and fluid. Vehicles also wear down with use now and you may find yourself having to jump out and taking a wrench to your vehicle or completely leaving it behind to find a new one.
Maps and vehicles will make it easier for you to get around, but with The Jackal’s men running around they won’t be much use to you if you’re dead and so you will find a large offering of weapons in “FC2.” You can equip yourself with three weapons, in addition to the machete which you carry and the assortment of grenades you have as well. If you want to tear it up with an Uzi, you’ll be able to and if you want to go with a dart rifle, you’ll be able to as well. Weapons selection is vast, but you’ll have to find the weapons as you move around and grab them from those who fall prey to you. Grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and even a flame thrower are in the game as well. With these weapons, it’s interesting to note the detail of the explosions and created fires. Fires will travel how you expect them to in real life, responding to wind patterns, etc. For those who are fans of the smaller weapons, Ubisoft has included the Desert Eagle, Makarov, and others. Be aware though that just as the vehicles can wear down, so do the weapons. Weapons will begin to jam after some use and then eventually will simply stop working and explode. Online play allows up to 20 players in each map with a variety of gameplay classes to choose from. These classes dictate what kinds of tactics are used and various achievements can be unlocked in each class.
Graphics are nearly flawless with beautiful renderings of the landscapes and animations that are fluid and natural. The shadows are recreated very effectively as well. Animations stay crisp throughout intense action sequences and remain fluid while navigating a river in a boat or taking to some rough terrain in your jeep. Transitions between animations are also implemented nicely so that all motions have an understandable progression.
“Far Cry 2” makes an even bolder statement in today’s gaming age than the original “Far Cry” did in its own day (the original was considered revolutionary at its time). Fully immersive gameplay — thanks to realistic renderings, animations, and sounds — helps propel the story into driving this game to a pinnacle in gaming. The variety of weapons, vehicles, and characters helps players develop their own styles and strategies to the game as well. This is a must have for anybody who has any respect for first person shooters. Be forewarned though it’s hard to imagine going back to any other first person shooter after playing this.
Our Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0