Ef You Treyarch...

Better Then Mercs 2 – Far Cry 2 – 2008

I am the target audience for this game. An older gamer with slightly more free time and patience then the typical aging gamer who’s looking for a fresh take on the FPS experience. Following the “Smart Gaming” scene Far Cry 2 is another critical darling along the lines of Braid and any Jason Rohrer game where everybody had an opinion good or bad. For awhile I’ve been meaning to pick an avatar and head to modern day East Africa and kill people for diamonds but my first copy was stolen during shipping thus it wasn’t up till now I’ve been able to find another good price on the game.

The aspects I enjoyed most about Far Cry 2 was in the areas of game design where there was a conscious effort to change aspects of shooters where innovation was stagnant. In any game where you play as a human it’s just illogical for your character to be a bullet sponge. Since Halo 2 and 100% regenerative health games like Call of Duty have taken an armor ability carried it over to the everyday soldier. For keeping the pacing of a game swift recovering from wounds in seconds might be cool but for everybody to be like Wolverine just doesn’t make any sense. How damage is handled in shooters is something I’ve wanted changed for along time.

Far Cry 2 to a degree has regenerative health but after receiving enough damage your character will be “wounded” and need to patch himself up or you will die. This idea alone is welcome. It bothers me when a human character can be shot millions of times and there isn’t the slightest consequence. Snake Eater tried “proper” healing but the menus were so slow it became a full time job keeping Snake moving. In Far Cry 2 this is done with a single button but it can impact combat.

Another thing to watch out for is jamming weapons. Almost all shooters have weapons ALWAYS work how they are suppose to. Guns shoot exactly the same time every time, and reload in the same amount off time and show the same reload animation every reload. I believe this is due to multiplayer balancing but sadly that  has carried over into campaign. Far Cry 2 introduces weapons that will misfire. Weapons that are purchased at the store and maintained well won’t misfire as much but pick up a gun from a dead enemy is a chance you shouldn’t take lightly.

Far Cry 2 is a game about killing tons of enemies, completing missions from dedicated drops, and performing a few mundane tasks given to you from horrible people and completed by a horrible person. Cars will break down and need to be repaired. Your body has contracted a deadly disease and needs pills routinely at the worst times possible. Cell tower assassination missions remind me of dating in Grand Theft Auto 4. You don’t have to do it but you will want to. The “I’ll get to it when I can get to it” thought of game design is here in full. There is a token achievement for doing all them.

As with any game the good comes the bad. Most of your time is spent traveling from one area to the next. Between these areas will be random armed cars trying to kill you. After that you will hit a check point where you will want to try to bypass it because you have killed so many guys but mostly fail and end up having to kill everybody in an more inconvenient manor. This whole game is killing. Everybody wants to kill you. Screw with the guys in the safe zone they want to kill you every single one of them. On sight 99% of people in the game want you dead instantly. Enemy AI goes from brilliant to horrible to frustrating to exhilarating. Some time just getting to the mission area one guy will hardly see you though  high grass, wake up everybody and then everybody wants you dead. I preferred playing most situations with the stealth approach with silenced weapons. 85% of the time some random guy would see me and totally ruin my plan. When my plan worked though it’s a damn good feeling. Finishing an objective without being spotted is great.

Completion Stats: These stats are from the last save point before you make your final “choice”. After that part the game can be completed after killing maybe five dudes and going up a few hills. I played as the character “Hakim Echebbi” because I found him reserved and slightly handsome. Played on Normal difficulty and earned 520 gamer score.

Game completed: 96% (I beat it?)
Main missions done: 29/32 (I can’t imagine I missed any who knows)
Buddy missions done: 12/12
Side missions done: 20/40
Underground missions done: 5
Buddies met: 9
Buddies deceased: 6
Buddies abandoned: 1 (due to glitch I had to save him like four times and kept dying and ran out of healing shit)
Buddy rescues: 11
Best buddy: nobody (had two during the course of the game)
Diamonds found: 737 (I found about 100 of the random 221 briefcases)
Current diamonds: 495
Weapons bought: 7
Accuracy upgrades bought: 5
Reliability upgrades bought: 5
Repair upgrades bought: 0
Ammo upgrades bought: 6
Favorite primary weapon: MP-5
Favorite secondary weapon: 6P9
Favorite special weapon: M-249 (must work off bullets fired I used either a launcher or a dart gun 99% of the time)
Total shots fired: 21241
Shot accuracy: 29%
Wounds healed: 180
Total time played: 24:08:57
Total game days: 15
Distance walked: 129km
Distance driven: 165km
Distance swam: 1km

Of all the statistics this game doesn’t keep is the amount of casualties . My estimate I would say over 5,000.

In the end I hope more games take the successful parts of Far Cry 2 and expand rather then doing Call of Duty/Halo over and over again on the console. This post could go a lot longer discussing more of the various wins and losses of the game but this is enough. Undecim: 3

Note: If there is any interest in this game but you don’t feel like actually playing it I would HIGHLY suggest to check out Ben Abraham’s Permanent Death series. He chronicles playing the game where he will quit playing when he dies thus no continues or loading from a save game. You die your dead game 100% over. The PDF is beautiful and I would buy printout of it if I could it’s that cool of an idea. Also Clint Hocking (FC2 Creative Director) has a great game design blog about the game in his archives and his GDC talks are interesting reads too.

Category: Video Games


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