If any of you have been on Xbox Live recently and seen me online, you’ve probably been seeing me play Far Cry 2 almost non stop for the past week or so. Well, as I noted in my last blog post, this is the next title on my to-review list. I just finished spending some last minute reviewing time with it a few minutes ago and I think I’m finally ready to finish the review.
But first, some impressions…
Far Cry 2 has a lot in common with its Xbox and PC predecessor. They both feature a large, open ended setting, allowing you to tackle missions however you like. Unlike the first, all of the science fiction elements of the first Far Cry have been removed (IE no more mutants or the Xbox version’s feral powers).
So, how is it? Well, let’s just say I’ve been enjoying myself quite a bit. The weapon variety is very impressive, the open world is almost impossibly large, dotted with small towns and even smaller guard outposts here and there, and the visuals…oh man. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous. I would even go as far to say that they’re in contention with Gears of War 2 and Uncharted: Drakes Fortune as the console graphics king of this generation (I say “console” graphics king because we all know nothing beats Crysis). This fictional portrayal of an African nation, deeply embroiled in a civil war that threatens tear the country apart has to be one of the best open worlds I’ve ever seen behind GTA IV’s Liberty City, but only just. I’ll save the raving about the visuals for the review but needless to say, I was very impressed.
Another aspect of the game that impressed me was the dynamic propagation of fire. This is a very realistic concept that many games have only tip-toed around. Fire in this game spreads quickly and burns everything in its path to a crisp, including enemy soldiers that are unfortunate enough to stand in its way. There have been times when I’ve merely thrown a Molotov cocktail into the middle of an enemy outpost and watched it go up in flames, taking every one of my enemies down in the process without me having to fire a shot. That’s how great a weapon fire can be in this game.
Enemy AI has been hit or miss in my experience. There are times in which they showcase some brilliant tactics such as setting up flanking maneuvers, throwing grenades to flush me out, utilizing stationary gun turrets when they could. And…there are other times where they make me think they’ve just gotten off of the short yellow bus. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been able to walk up next to an enemy soldier and stand there, right in front of his face before he recognized me as hostile and opened fire. There were times when I threw a grenade toward a vehicle I saw two guys running toward (they love using vehicles to take you down) and they got into the truck, suddenly realized how stupid they were and then (unsuccessfully) tried to scramble out before my grenade blew them to Kingdom Come.
Despite how alive and vibrant the game world is I couldn’t help but feel like there could have been more done to make it more entertaining to explore. After I got over the initial shock of how great the world around me looked, the will to explore wore thin. This isn’t Liberty City and there aren’t people and buildings to explore everywhere you look. There’s just miles and miles (literally) of open countryside. I still enjoyed myself for the most part but without some kind of fast travel option (aside from the bus stations generally situated in the four corners of the map) it made driving to and from mission locations a bit tedious.
Overall, I was impressed by Far Cry 2. Stay tuned for the full review, which will be posted on Talk Xbox very soon.