Review: Far Cry 2

Nathan Grayson | 21 Nov 2008 21:00
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But don't worry; you have help. Sort of. Just let other mercenaries of questionable moral character gab at you for a while and you're thick as thieves. These mercenaries, known as "buddies," can perform a wide range of functions, from handing out advice during missions to saving your life. On the one hand, they're a tad more useful than real-life friends, but sadly, with great utility comes a swaying stack of annoyance. Buddies are needy (please stop calling me), downright mean, and highly susceptible to bullets. They're also your creepy safe-housemates, watching you sleep, busting out sets of crunches on your floor and inexplicably shouting "hell yeah!" at inappropriate times. Unfortunately, you need them to upgrade your safe houses, so barreling into them with two tons of Tonka-tough steel isn't in your best interest.

Together, the overly aggressive natives and obnoxious "buddies" make up Far Cry 2's biggest issue: the lack of any emotional hook. Ubisoft may have meticulously constructed a living, breathing game world, but it's hard to get all mushy over it when everyone's either out to kill you or bump chests. I understand the developers were trying to weave a Heart of Darkness-style moral into their story, but they're no Joseph Conrad. Instead, the whole thing feels hollow, which makes the natives' inexplicable desire to murder you even harder to swallow.

What's actually fun about Far Cry 2? Well, it has a metric oodle of weaponry, with more unlocked as you complete missions for the weapon salesman. Granted, "unlocking" is Far Cry-ese for "more repetitive grunt work," but the sheer variety of weapons you'll nab makes up for it. Before long, with an armory's worth of guns and grenades in tow, firefights become a form of self-expression. Will you blend brains with a sniper rifle and send enemies into a jittery (and frequently glitchy) panic, or will you brazenly flip the bird in Smokey Bear's direction and set the whole area aflame? It's all up to you.

But with spotty A.I., bland, samey battlefields and miles of driving, the game goes from great to grating. And for a title as big as Far Cry 2, that just doesn't cut it. The game could've been amazing, but instead it's this year's Assassin's Creed - top-notch world, substandard gameplay.

Bottom line: Far Cry 2 packs plenty of content - a huge world, tons of missions and weapons - but the repetitive tasks and constantly respawning enemies make the gameplay a bit of a chore..

Recommendation: Rent it. There's some fun to be had here, but the game's only one pack of screaming children away from being a soccer mom driving-simulator.

Nathan Grayson had no idea it was "Smokey Bear" and not "Smokey the Bear." Now his entire perception of life has been called into question.

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