Far Cry 2 is about as removed from the admired original as possible. With a new story in place and a change of developer, those expecting a faithful sequel will be in for a surprise. This new instalment in Ubisoft’s IP sees you take the role of a mercenary who finds himself working for a client in the middle of an African civil war. Your overall aim is to take out a notorious arms dealer, known as ‘The Jackal’, who is fuelling the wars continuation.
Reaching this final objective is refreshingly a non-linear one (at least initially), as Far Cry 2 enables the player to explore a beautifully detailed and varied open world, all with a highly impressive immense selection of weaponry on offer. Lush forests, exposed barren savannah, and run down villages make up just some of the environments available within this seamless ecosystem. This refreshing approach to a typically undeviating genre is also applied to the mission structure, where the player can pick and choose how and when to tackle the games various challenges. Because of this open structure, exploration is key and visiting all of the games various locales is a definite pleasure.
Unfortunately, despite these merriments, it’s through playing the games various contests that the disappointing factors of Far Cry 2 start to show. A dull politically charged storyline is quickly established as lacklustre due to the games global threat being portrayed in a somewhat mediocre fashion; this along with repetitive missions, poor design choices, and vastly buggy gameplay soon reveal the problems within.
One such example of a poor design choice is the weapon system. The game has a notable arsenal on offer, but sorrowfully more often than not, using it isn’t an option. Instead you find yourself using a second rate ‘hand me down’ gun from one of the games endless foes, and it would seem every opponent in the land is incapable of caring for a firearm. They consistently jam and cease to function, more often than not in the heat of a fire fight. This play mechanic is clearly in place to force players to spend the in game currency on new guns, but this is more of frustration and a disruption than anything else. Admittedly some explosive memorable moments are to be had, but sadly these are too infrequent within the overall experience to hold any overall worth.
If you can ignore these obvious frustrations the full game will probably set you back around 20 underwhelming hours, although it’s clear that with all the side missions, collectable diamonds to find, and the sheer exploration aspect, that much more playtime can be gained from the single player experience.
Thankfully a much more rewarding time can be had with the games multiplayer. A variety of modes are on offer, such as capture the diamond, standard deathmatch and more, all of which are relatively enjoyable, lag free and packed with action. But it’s the games included map maker which really will add life to this otherwise average title. A breadth of options and amazing creative freedom give players a remarkable tool to develop some stunning multiplayer maps. Having this impressive creation system in place really will extend the games life, as the well balanced multiplayer can be endlessly enjoyed due to new maps constantly being created by the games community.
Overall Far Cry 2 offers a lot to gamers, with a gorgeous immersive world to explore, a simple yet testing single player campaign with plenty to do, and an ever expanding multiplayer world to discover. Several problems stop this game achieving greatness and it’s a real shame as the potential is just waiting to burst through, it’s an entertaining effort which some gamers will enjoy in parts.