Joined: 14 Oct 2002 Posts: 4107 Location: Sheffield, UK
Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:03 am Post subject: Far Cry 2
It's another sandbox game I missed out on only to pick up dirt cheap in the bargain bin. It sounds quite cool, an undercover operative sent into a gang-war torn Africa to hunt down the arms dealer fuelling the killing. I've been playing about 5 hours now and my impressions are mixed.
First off, where are all the animals? This really angered me, you can hear them making a racket constantly, you can even make out different species, but I've NEVER NEVER seen a single animal. That's ridiculous, I'm running around in the jungle for goodness sake!! I was expecting fire fights to scare elephants into surprise stampedes and tigers to leap out of the bushes as I'm trying to creep up on a target. Tsk!
So far the game feels like a very promising tech demo. They've got a huge map you can travel across seamlessly with no obvious loading. Day night cycle. Cars and boats that are actually fun to drive. Let me say that again, the vehicles are actually good fun <shock>. Fighting is fun, weapons wear out and jam, you can steal them from enemies, you need to manage ammo and cannot carry unrealistic amounts. Explosives are slightly over powered, you have to stand well back, but it's a good laugh. You can set fires and they spread. You need to actually plan journeys and think about transport which adds to the realism.
However. Wherever you go, almost everyone you meet wants to kill you and will chase you down and attack relentlessly. It gets a bit tiring after a while, because you cannot auto-save, you have to visit a 'shack' and have a lie down. As well as hostile target locations, you have guard posts at junctions. Some of these start out 'locked' and have very tough enemies staking them out. Once unlocked (killing everyone) they still randomly have a few enemies hanging out. What usually happens is you don't spot the enemies until you've driven past, then a hail of gunfire means a car is in pursuit. You can't really lose them, they just pound the car until you stop and get out. Great care has to be taken if you are to avoid being run over, because the enemy will drive straight at you and then its a one hit kill. Imagine how annoying it is to travel many miles, detouring to safe houses to save, only to get surprise-killed a few times on-route.
If you do get killed, one of your 'friends' will appear from nowhere and revive you. This is a nice idea in practice, but it triggers a cut scene and takes just a bit too long. Also, once revived, you and your friend still have to kill whatever enemies nailed you originally. So it can lead to quite drawn out sequences or even get your friend killed. Call me juvenile, but I've been spoiled by Bioshock, my two friends are girls and my character is male. These girls often show up in my safe house at night, one of them even 'works out' while I get into bed and presumably watches me while I sleep. I had assumed there would be some way to interact with these 'friends', get to know them, a few conversation options, save their life a few times, bring them gifts, etc. Get a relationship going. But no. Not so far anyway.
Fights always seem to play out fairly similarly. Enemies seem to spot you miles away so stealth seems impractical. I usually drive up, stop (or they'll invariably blow up the car), approach slowly taking pot shots and focusing on anyone getting near a car. The only time this doesn't work is if there is a hidden sniper, an enemy with a rocket launcher or someone gets to a car. In those cases it's a mad dash away into cover while hurling grenades. It's fun a few times, but is starting to get old now.
The story should be propping up the repetitive game play. I had visions of this playing like 'Apocalypse Now', with my secret agent forced to work as a mercenary and be corrupted by unfolding events. So far there has been little variety, choice or emotional connection with the story. Some of the voice overs are poor, as if they were just 'phoning it in' and some are spoken very quickly. There is flavour text during initial loading which is dynamic and meant to describe what's been going on, but there is no way to stop and read it, it just flashes past.
Audio is a little strange. As previously mentioned the jungle is alive with animals you never see. The enemies all talk very loudly even when nowhere near you. It's really odd. Hearing the guards talking is often your first clue enemies are around, but they can still be very far away. It's quite disconcerting.
Actually working out who is shooting at you is a real pain. I often just stand in plain sight taking hits desperately trying to work out where it came from. I know I'm in a jungle and it's realistic, but it just isn't fun. They should have added something to the hud to give you a clue of incoming fire direction.
The map is also a clever idea that doesn't really work. It comes up in game as a paper map and sat-nav in your hand. It obscures 2/3 of the screen. I don't think there is a a way of setting waypoints and showing an in-game directional marker. So you end up running or driving looking down at the map and not watching where you are going. I know it's realistic and clever, but it's SO annoying. Let me set waypoints and show directional hint on screen.
These impractical, but realistic elements should be optional. I need waypoints, auto-save, directional cues, incoming fire hints - I don't need this much realism. I'm going to stick with it for now, because it's so much fun driving through the jungle and hopefully the story will pick up.
Worst impulse buy ever. Totally not deserving of the FarCry name.
I saw this bundled with the origonal farcry on Steam for $7~ and my old copy of farcry was one of the defective CDs that lacked a 64 bit installer so it would not work on my new laptop.
I figured I could justify buying a game I already own (I usually just pirate if I lose my CD) if I considered that I was actually paying for Farcry2. Big mistake. I would not pay 7 dollars for this game.
It has nothing to do with the original far cry. I later found out that Ubisoft just used the name because they could. Crytek no longer owns the rights to the franchise that made them famous for tropical island sandbox shooters.
Farcry2 is ostensibly a free roaming sandbox shooter. But most of it's open world is empty jungle. And the plot drags you along in a mostly predetermined fashion using malaria pills and blood diamonds to keep you on track.
The game opens with a taxi ride reminiscent of half life. You sit in the back of a car, look around at things, and listen to the taxi driver talk about how bad things are in this war torn country. The player at this point is supposed to learn all about how bad things are in Africa. If there is one thing I don't like about the half life franchise, it's the long periods where NPCs talk at you and you just sit there not interacting in any way. It's even worse when you the protagonist dosn't talk back. Even pre-scripted responses are better than the silent protagonist. Sadly everyone copies every feature of half life,
When you finally get to the hotel or whatever, after learning something about how I am supposed to kill some arms dealer or something, the screen suddenly turns brown and fuzzzy. At first I thought this was the realism filter* going crazy. But no, apparently this was not a glich, I had become infected with malaria not 10 minutes into the game. Welcome to Africa indeed.
I black out and soon enough, another non-interactive cut-scene begins. While my character is sick in bed, a battle brakes out in the town, and suddenly the very man I was sent to kill is standing over my bed. Looking through my things he tells me how I am a failure of an assassin and swings a machettee next to my head. But for some reason does not kill me. I question the logic of giving a would be assassin a weapon, personaly If I saw somebody who was suposed to kill me sick in bed, I would kill him. But apparently he did not expect me to live and leaves. With the hotel on fire, I pick up the machete and finally get to **** move....
...for about 5 munites before I get killed in a scripted battle I cannot possibly win. After which I wake up for ANOTHER cut-scene. Now this is when the game proper starts. I'd explain the actual gameplay later. But I am out of words. Suffice to say warlords give me missions in exchange for malaria pills, and there are side quests where you search for hidden cache's of blood diamonds which you use to buy new guns.
**** this game.
*you know, the one that tints modern games brown. Because Brown is the most realistic color.
Joined: 14 Oct 2002 Posts: 4107 Location: Sheffield, UK
Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:38 pm Post subject:
I saw three zebra and a goat!!! First animals in about 8 hours!
Yes, I think this one will have to be un-installed. It's just very repetitive indeed. It's hard to tell the difference between never ending side-missions and the main plot. Shame. I just got my 10th 'go to any house and pick up a generic mission' depressing message, only to find the next house offering a mission is miles and miles away. All the guard posts along route have re-spawned and I have to *repair the car every 3 minutes. Half way there the car is rammed and blows up, there is no spare car nearby. Slogging on foot to the target, my prized assault rifle falls to pieces mid-fight as I try to reload, resulting in my near-death. My 'friend' rescues me, I had hoped she'd let me die, but she gets killed almost immediately and I have to run around trying to grab a weapon before the relentless hail of gunfire wears me down. All the while, accompanied by the eerily close voices of my attackers, who are actually still quite far away, just to unnerve me a little more.
How did it get 85% on metacritic?? Even Eurogamer, who are usually reliable, gave it 80%. Yet if you read the review, all he does is complain about all the faults I've listed. Odd.
I think reviewers go easy on sandbox games, because they offer such promise, yet are so hard to develop they often stumble.
* repairing the car after even light damage is a brave design choice and fits with an ultra-realistic sim approach, yet repairing it by repeatedly tightening the same nut is just depressing and silly. Creating some kind of proper repair mini-game would make it worse. Why didn't they just give you a repair 'skill' you can power up and then highlight ever more impressive broken down vehicles you can repair and steal. Having your own car breakdown would be OK if it happened OCCASIONALLY.
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