Why Far Cry 2 Is Still The Best In The Series

Did you know the word barbecue is one of only a few surviving words from a lost Caribbean language (having since been filtered through Spanish)?

You shouldn’t always give people what they want. This is focus testing’s fatal flaw. It’s also the reason that Far Cry 2 – a game which doesn’t give you what you want and slaps you for asking – is the best game in the series by far.

It isn’t the most fun to play, I’ll grant you that, but then fun isn’t really its end goal. That fact alone puts it in a special category of games which are not merely glossy entertainment flumes down which the player effortlessly slips. Before Dark Souls got its reputation for foisting uncompromising hardship on the masochistic player, Far Cry 2 was already there, studded collar and whip in hand. And like Dark Souls, the purpose of its difficulty isn’t the bolshy self-aggrandisement of players who beat it, but part of the game’s aesthetic, its message and its mechanism. You can’t really say that about Far Cry 3, a game which I also love, because its purpose is much more overtly the simple gratification of a consumer. There’s nothing wrong with that, and Far Cry 3 inarguably tightens many of its predecessors’ nuts and bolts, but it also buffs smooth the texture of a game intended to be abrasive.

You're with me on this, right?

Far Cry 2 takes the risk of being a pedant, making you patch together your car after every prang. It risks being stingy, with its ammo and resources, with the weapons you attain and how quickly. If you played it on consoles, even the places you can save are few and far between. The game risks being outright cruel – guard posts respawn almost the second you’ve turned your back on them, jeeps lurch out of nowhere to ram you off the road or harass you for miles. Weapons jam or break completely, ammunition depletes, malarial attacks might strike you down at any moment and even running a short way will leave you puffed and your vision a smear. People got annoyed at this stuff, and they weren’t always wrong – the instant hostility of NPCs suggests a level of clairvoyance that pulls you from the fiction, and the guard posts… Oh man, those guardposts. A single mission might send you back and forth through the same guard post three times in only thrice as many minutes, and each time the goons are there waiting for you.

Minus those specific gripes, however, much of the meanness of Far Cry 2 is really its point. You can’t rely on anything here: not your weapons and not even your ability to stand on your own two feet. The result is a combat system unsurpassed in its generation of dynamic, chaotic inspiration. Everything teeters on the edge of your control. Just as things are at their most fraught, when your attention is most strained, the game gives you a little push – and over the precipice you go. Oh, sorry, were you too busy trying to dig that slug out of your forearm to notice the trio of gun-mounted jeeps skittering over the horizon? Oops – looks like your rocket launcher has just disassembled in your hands! What’s that? You’re feeling a bit peaky, too?

Fictional African Hellhole Welcomes Careful Drivers

It’s not mere sadism: it’s to force you to improvise, to lurch wildly beyond your comfort zone, often by setting that comfort zone on fire. The game never lets you maintain the upperhand: you’ll set out as the stealthy sniper, intent on cleaning out a guard post from some distant hillock, and somehow find yourself dancing over a pile-up of flaming jeep carcasses, trying to shake loose a recalcitrant cartridge from the malfunctioning chamber of a scavenged shotgun, hoping that you’ll just be able to make it to the outcrop of rock before the entire savannah combusts. And then you’ll have a malarial attack and keel over into the furnace.

But such an end isn’t The End in Far Cry 2 thanks to the buddy system. Dubious acquaintances you’ve made during your journey will turn up before you choke, drag you out of trouble, pull you to your feet and give you a second roll of those cursed dice. It doesn’t make you like them, particularly – they are too thinly drawn, your interaction too brief for that to be the case – but it’s another way of extending and enlarging the dynamism of these battles. Suddenly the chaos can snuff out the pair of you if you aren’t careful where you lob your Molotovs.

Aw, thanks, buddy. Man, I'm going to feel bad when I accidentally burn you to death in a few minutes time.

The heart of darkness isn’t a holiday destination, then. Other games seize upon exotic locations as a form of videogame tourism, National Geographic backdrops to be gleefully detonated, but Far Cry 2 feels rooted in its setting despite its picture-postcard amalgamation of distant and distinct African geographies. It very directly channels the ghosts of a colonial past, presenting the machinations of outside power perpetuating a war for war’s own sake. I won’t say that its overt attempts to parallel Joseph Conrad’s novel are especially successful – at least, not at the level of the dialogue. Within minutes of the game’s opening, a man is quoting Nietzsche at you, and even when it settles down the script is undercut but the most eccentric, hurried delivery.

But this fails to impair the more dispersed, nebulous narrative that wafts over the player via the world, via the structure of its missions: zipping happily between the services of one warlord and his interchangeable rival, each as venal and merciless as the other. You can’t fail to feel tainted by the amorality of your actions. And then, for every mission, there is a further subversion when your buddy phones you up with an optional sidequest, playing both ends against the middle.

Fancy a pint? Or maybe we could just pop out and burn down an orphanage.

These are perhaps my favourite thing about Far Cry 2, because they totally reject the normal incentive loop of your generic videogame sidequest in favour of a barmy web of motivations that are almost impossible to unpick satisfactorily. For one thing, despite your buddy’s claims, these missions are typically harder than the vanilla mission itself, adding multiple stages and multiple opportunities for failure. As the game progresses, they also become explicitly grotesque, exploiting or ending innocent lives for the personal gain of your buddy – a status they maintain in name only. Further, the final act of every mission places your buddy in direct jeopardy. They can only last so long, and inevitably you end up euthanising them with an overdose of morphine, or, failing that, lead.

You’re asked to trade extra game content against an easier life. You’re asked to trade the favour of your buddy against their probable lifespan. You’re asked to trade mission rewards against explicitly evil acts. Even when this system becomes transparent through repetition, the crossways collision of multiple diegetic and ex-diegetic motivations gives these missions an aesthetic of complexity that feels akin to the sort of messy, murky morality of the real world.

Yes! Just look at all that messy, murky morality!

The final act of the game (SPOILER WARNING) redeploys these ideas in a way which makes it even harder to know what to feel about your erstwhile colleagues. Not unpredictably, they become your opponents, and slaughtering them is the only way to the game’s strange, self-effacing conclusion, in which you are encouraged to detonate yourself, bringing down a mountainside to seal the mercenary madmen inside the nightmare they’ve created. So perhaps the smart way to play is then to “use up” the buddies during the course of the preceding hours, accepting their missions but then voluntarily failing their final stage each time, essentially luring one chum after another to a gruesome, violent fate. Given the things they’d otherwise ask you to do, they may not deserve any better. The whole thing is deeply peculiar, and not quite like anything else in gaming.

From the top-level fiction down to the firefights, everything in Far Cry 2 points to the thematic North. It’s hard to break character – even if you dedicate your entire time to setting fire to zebra; the designers explicitly removed death animations for animals to discourage their wanton murder. Instead, they just sort of sag to the ground. Contrast that with later games’ bizarre obsession with turning ocelots into grenade pouches. Even the occasional toys you find in Far Cry 2 – the hang-glider, the various buggies – are hidden, their use curtailed by their positioning.

I love the physicality and, well, inconvenience of the maps in the game.

Far Cry 3 makes such things its raison d’etre. It’s a jolly old toy box and that’s a fine enough goal for a game, but its inheritance is that of Just Cause’s meaningless mayhem, and not Far Cry 2’s singular meshing of action and theme. Try as it might to tie in its euphoric carnage to some grander evocation of hedonism, Far Cry 3 can’t help but feel frivolous, perhaps because hedonism is just not that much of a stretch for games. Wish fulfillment is a pound a penny – games are already so often the macho hallucinations of mayhem that Far Cry 3 caricatures and celebrates in its Skrillex-soundtracked ganja flambé. Far Cry 2 does the much harder thing, often imperfectly, of trying to talk about something outside of videogames while using a videogame to do so, and risks offending the player in pursuing that idea. It feels like a journey into the heart of darkness should – painful, arduous but unforgettable.

Anyone got a match?

207 Comments

  1. Ross Angus says:

    Well said.

  2. Freud says:

    Cartoonish bleak nihilism is such a contrast to how shooters normally work. Eventually it turns into a power fantasy when you have the best guns but I do appreciate a game irritating my OCD tendencies by making me do terrible things.

    Being a bastard is more realistic than being a white god.

    • P.Funk says:

      “Being a bastard is more realistic than being a white god.”

      This is why I still like playing GTA games even if they’re getting a bit pathetic. You’re a bastard, like in any Scorcese film, and it doesn’t pretend to try and make it about anything more than you looking out for #1 and perhaps those attached to #1.

      Whenever I’m in a game that lets me play like a GTA protagonist, even if its an RPG, being an asshole is great because I can basically be content to be a realistic self service sociopath who occasionally does good for some arbitrary reason which just makes me think of perhaps my favourite TV character ever, Al Swearegen from Deadwood. Straight up bastard, horrific mouth, even worse with a knife, and when he decides to be a human it breaks your heart.

      • untoreh says:

        Fk u for reminding me of deadwood, that’s not cool

      • marano says:

        Al Swearegen. What an amazing character. The fact that he looks like my grandfather (physically) made me love him even more.

      • Bishop says:

        I dunno if Al is that bad a guy. I always thought he was until those other bad guys with no charm show up and then I noticed he kept a cleaner around with cerebral palsy and usually mopped up blood himself while swearing profusely about how much he hates doing it. Then again, he does do a bunch of bad things, but he always protects the weakest.

  3. Holysheep says:

    Yeah, okay, disregard proper gameplay, disregard lack of a proper AI, no feeling in guns, malaria hitting in the middle of a fight, etc, “far cry 2 is a journey”…. the things we hear nowadays.

    • demicanadian says:

      Scripting in FC2 was broken (checkpoints respawining after 30 seconds were the worst) but AI? They hid, tried to flank, called for reinforcements and mortar support, and they were only AI I know who ran to help wounded friendly, if you decided to be a dickish sniper.

      • Holysheep says:

        link to youtube.com

        Wonderful AI indeed.

        • Dingbatwhirr says:

          That’s the animal AI though… In my experience, the human AI are pretty good. Their flanking certainly caught me off guard a few times. For example, if I drove a car through a guard post, then got out and hid in the bushes, they’d follow me in a vehicle. When they saw I’d stopped, they’d get out, spread out and search for me. When one found me, the others would flank me and try to flush me out.

          Also, if you decide to snipe them, they won’t all run at you in a straight line and get picked off; instead, when they ‘know’ where your shots are coming from, they’ll try to flank you and stay out of your line of fire.

          Not the most advanced AI I’ve ever seen, but pretty impressive, especially for 2008.

          • Holysheep says:

            The whole “take cover, don’t run straight, and spread” thing is pretty much common AI stuff for me though…. also, the animal AI = scripts? how?

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Nah. It used a lot of cheats, but once you saw the mistakes, you cannot unsee.

            Such as standing behind to “hide” but should you move they shoot instantly (even when pointing the wrong way) at you. Likewise, stand in front and they cannot see, but can see you through obstacles. That and suicidal cars. :/

          • Doubler says:

            A fun tactic is to open fire upon the enemy, then relocate and eliminate the enemy as they try to move up on your old position. You can even leave some explosive surprises behind if you’re so inclined. Not many games where ‘fooling’ your enemies like this actually works, not even today.

          • Husa says:

            The original FarCry did it even better. Fooling 2 ai squads to shoot each other by firing from cover and watching them go at it was hilarious. They did figure it out after seeing each other, but It was amazing how they responded to your general direction. IMO the first one still had the best ai.

            Another noteworthy mention was in the derelict ship where you fight a few mutants. I thought climbing to a suspended rope bridge was a clever way to dodge the ai. Well.. The buggers ran underneath it and jumped at me, shaking the damn bridge so much I fell down. :D

            ps. FC2 just sucked, it was as bad as the latter half in FC. And it was BAD! Lots of frustrating ways to make it “harder”. The spawns were just stupid. It just added grind.

        • demicanadian says:

          That’s scripting problem, if anything.

      • Messofanego says:

        How awesome was it to wound an enemy in the leg with the sniper and have their buddies come to help them, then you being the heartless maintainer of war conflicts, shot them both down.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Yep. Overblown, and not in the good way….

    • SirMonkeyWrench says:

      You forgot to mention the awful, awful map design.
      Also the AI is quiet good, it’s calibrated in a way that is frustrating (hyper aggressiveness and instant awareness of your location) but it operates in a way that is challenging and does so with relatively few bugs.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        I’m not sure if you’re talking about the actual map system or the world design, but both of them were imo the best of the series by far. It’s the only game in the series where I could see a screenshot and know where it was taken in the game, and the interactive in-world map was maybe the most useful map I’ve used in any game ever.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          Baffling. The setting in Far Cry 2 was a generic, dusty square grid that was not only boring and mundane to look at but did absolutely nothing impressive visually compared to the beautiful for their time visuals of the first one.

          The intro sequence is great, then for me the game slowly devolved into what a lot of open world games do for me. To-ing and fro-ing across the map encountering the same lame ass checkpoint fights over and over again. Only Far Cry 2’s map was flat and brown and crap.

        • Voice of Majority says:

          I remember thinking in FC2 that they failed to make locations stand out because it is all the same. I certainly couldn’t tell any generic location from a screenshot. Some of the towns and camps, sure.

        • SirMonkeyWrench says:

          While beautiful the landscape in far cry 2 amounted to little more than a grid for the most part. This was boring to navigate, made playing a marksman far harder and forced you to pass through the constantly respawning checkpoints. Not only is it terribly designed in its own right it is terribly designed in a way that accentuates the unpleasantness of many of the games other design failings.

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            DuncUK says:

            I think I’m one of the few people that is likely to agree with the main article… I thought FC2 was a fantastic portrayal of Africa with lots of subtley unique locations. The respawning checkpoints forced me off the main highways and this is where FC2 really shone… the waterways were a joy to traverse, offroading through deserts, jungles and up the hills and mountains to find small unmarked tracks and cut-throughs all combine to make a truly immersive and memorable experience for me. This, in addition to abusing the (hugely out of place) bus system drastically reduced the amount of extraneous combat you needed to engage in and allowed you to see so much of the map that you’d otherwise miss. I loved this game, it was deeply flawed but it was possible to carve a sort of high-difficulty worn torn Africa survival simulation experience. I loved it, I really did.

            [edit] And needless to say, I found FC3 to be quite disappointing by comparison… it was so gamified in its approach that there was none of the virtual tourism or brutal grittyness of the former game. Instead, we were left with a strange carnival experience full of mini-games but with no feeling, no immersion. An empty, lifeless shell of a game.

        • SubmarineRocket says:

          I’m with you. I loved the setting, and no other game has matched the amazing weather effects (until Skyrim came along with mods). Being in the middle of a storm in FC2 makes me feel cold.

    • Siimon says:

      Agreed. What FC2 tried to be was amazing; what FC2 actually was, was severely flawed and disappointing.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yeah, honestly not sure what this idiot was smoking when he wrote this considering it’s widely regarded by most to be a lot lot worse than 1 and 3. Maybe he’s doing the “I’m a journalist, let me prove I know more than you” type of spiel but it’s just not working. Far Cry 2 was pretty bad, certainly much worse than the first one which was more innovative, had better gunplay and much more interesting setting, map design and mission design.

      • Samwise Gamgee says:

        Maybe it’s just his opinion and it happens to be different from most peoples

      • bigblack says:

        Hey Smoky_the_Bear, you’ve called this writer an idiot for having a different opinion on a game then you? Are you fucking 12 years old? How about you fuck off right back to Gamespot or IGN. Oh goodness, wait – there’s a block button. I’m not used to having to employ it at this site, but it’s a pleasure in your case. See you, never.

  4. Stellar Duck says:

    I was crushed when I played Far Cry 3. They’d taken everything that was great and needed iteration in FC2 and tossed it out and replaced it with collecting, mini games and half arsed crafting and set it on a boring island again.

    Some day Ubisoft will reach the singularity and all their games will be Assissins Cry Dogs.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      You surely meant Ass-crying dogs.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      “Some day Ubisoft will reach the singularity and all their games will be Assissins Cry Dogs.”

      Is that time not now? There is certainly the same kitchen-sink philosophy to design readily apparent in all of them. I believe it was Total Biscuit that coined this phrase for Skyrim, but I think it remains apposite for Ubisoft games: “an ocean with the depth of a puddle”. Broad games with no depth.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I suspect they’ll root around in the puddle a bit more before they really achieve it. They have some more facebook and other social media integration they’re still missing out on and the need to buy a couple more domains for out of game busy work and Farmville style bucket filling.

      • Rizlar says:

        Skyrim has depth! Just sayin….

      • fish99 says:

        TB said that of Skyrim while admitting he loved Oblivion, which is essentially the same game. Every flaw he found in Skyrim was there in Oblivion too, and it’s there in just about every sandbox open world game.

        Honestly I suspect he resented not having the time to really get into Skyrim. I get the feeling he rarely puts a lot of hours into anything anymore due to his work.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          Well, I disliked both Oblivion and Skyrim heartily , so I can agree wholeheartedly with your analysis that they are functionally very similar games (though I felt that Oblivion was to a certain extent redeemed by its polished art and music in the way that Skyrim was not.) As for “just about every other sandbox game”, now come on that’s just not true. Skyrim is (in my view) quite possibly *the* most dumbed down sandbox RPG of all time, which is interesting as everyone round these parts (which is to say RPS) seems to love the thing. No matter, I won’t quibble with people who enjoyed the product they purchased with their own money, as that would be churlish of me.

          As for time, I personally put (AFAIK) 10 hours into Skyrim before uninstalling it, only to reinstall it again to make sure I was not mistaken and lasting another 90. The flaws that were apparent in the first 10 didn’t go anywhere in the latter 90, apart from the bugs that Bethesda squashed.

          • fish99 says:

            I’m talking about the specific gripes TB had – that the world didn’t change to reflect your actions. In that sense Skyrim is the same as every open world game, including Oblivion.

            It’s a separate debate how dumbed down it was, yes they took most stats out but they mainly just fed back into the same 3 stats that Skyrim retained. In ES games your characters skill has always mattered a lot more than the stats, and in Skyrim the perks matter even more than the skills. At that point having lots of stats you advance would be largely obsolete. Yes there were some losses of build flexibility such as not being able to increase run and jump speed, but other than that the removal of most stats didn’t affect the gameplay. The loss of the spell creator was disappointing though.

            I disagree about the soundtracks and art, I find them no worse than Oblivion. Oblivion is a very ugly game if you play it now.

        • SirMonkeyWrench says:

          I can’t speak for TB’s gripes but I know that alot of people take issue with the quest and dungeon design in skyrim being shallow compared to oblivion.

          • fish99 says:

            I’ve done 100% of both and saw no great difference in questing or dungeons. If anything the dungeons felt less copy-paste in Skyrim. In Oblivion it was obvious where the pre-made blocks were joined together, whereas Skyrims felt more organic. As for quests, again I don’t see any difference unless you’re talking about radiant quests.

            It hardly matters anyway, I was talking about TBs major gripe with the game: that the world didn’t reflect your actions and as I said it didn’t in Oblivion either. If you leave personal taste out of analyzing both games and look at them purely in terms of mechanics and game structure, they are the same game. I don’t get loving one and hating the other.

    • mukuste says:

      For real. Even The Crew reportedly has radio towers which uncover the map around them… how much lazier can they get with their game design?!

    • Contrafibularity says:

      Don’t be crushed. It makes Far Cry 2 all the more unique and special. FC3 was clearly someone high up at Ubisoft going “bloody hell, this game (FC2) is too close to being intelligent for comfort, so now let’s just focus on making idiotic childish power fantasies with hang-gliders again because that seems to work for Just Cause”.

      Rather than becoming the singularity I think Ubisoft will continue to be one of the worst, but perhaps more interesting big publishers, who occasionally (or accidentally) make something interesting every now and then. It certainly seems like Ubi management is filled to the brim with idiots who push for lowest common denominator mass appeal at every opportunity though, and even putting aside that UbiDRM prohibits me from playing any Ubisoft game within 5+ years of release, I almost never ever look forward to playing something with their name on it.

      But FC2 will always have a special place in my heart (and on my hard drive). Here’s hoping Ubisoft will some day get back some of its mojo (and stop despising PC gamers with every fibre of their being).

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        DuncUK says:

        To be fair, I blame the gaming public for the direction FC3 took. I loved FC2 but I realise I am in a minority… most people just couldn’t get past the respawning checkpoints and large dusty environment. What people wanted was FC3 and that’s what they got… cartoony tropical islands, permanently removable threat and endless collectables and mini-games. It pains me to admit it, but FC3 was more popular and sold better and clearly that’s what most people like. Shame.

  5. Faceless says:

    Funnily enough, IGN posted a similar retrospective in which the author also suggests Far Cry 2 is the best Far Cry. The authors even share the same initials. Coincidence? I think not!

    To be honest, I don’t think anything will top the first for me, even if it might be nostalgia talking.

  6. Anthile says:

    I am hesitant to even call it a series. The first three games have barely anything in common besides being shooters in exotic locations. Even the Final Fantasy games have more continuity.

  7. CmdrCrunchy says:

    Far Cry 1 is a great game that strains at the limits of linearity and gives you a base and plenty of options.

    Far Cry 2 is a brilliant, sadistic masterpiece thats flaws depend entirely on how masochistic you are.

    Far Cry 3 is as said above, a hedonistic pleasure joyride that, dammit, just wants to have fun.

    While I haven’t played Far Cry 4 yet, it seems to be Far Cry 3 +, i’ll let those who have played it correct me or otherwise, but to me that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Personally, I think they’re all great, but Far Cry 2? Definitely the most memorable, in a very good way. And don’t forget blood dragon!

    • Mokinokaro says:

      The perfect Far Cry would be a hybrid of 2 and 4.

      A lot of 2’s systems (the in car map, the way you repaired cars, gun degradation and jamming) just made the game so much more immersive even compared to 3 and 4.

      At the same time, 3 + 4 are quite improved in other ways: the feel of weapons, the crafting (the crafting itself is simplistic but I love the hunting side of it,) the wildlife, hangliding. Far Cry 2 had a great atmosphere but at the same time that beautiful bleak world often felt kind of lifeless outside of the endlessly respawning guards.

      The best elements of both would make an incredible game.

      • scatterbrainless says:

        Far Cry 3 just felt so unbearably “gamey” after Far Cry 2. FC 2 had an impressively strong commitment to immersion in how implemented its mechanics: from the minimal hud, physical map, the huge number of signals that are given by diegetic cues rather than floating prompts or numbers, replacing an inventory screen with an in-game armory that you walk around to pick up your weapons, etc. Everything was about making you feel grounded in the world and locale, abstraction was stripped to a minimum.

        At one stage (spoilers?) you are dropped off a trunk in the middle of a sandstorm, utterly lost in the desert and unable to see more than two feet ahead of you. There are no quest prompts or markers to tell you where to go. So you start walking. And find a shelter, where you collapse and the story continues. How did you find the one place in the midst of the desert that you needed to? At first I thought it was a cheat, that the shelter would just pop up no matter what direction you walked in, but that turned out to be false. The game guides you there, very cleverly, by making it so that your hands, which are held up in front of your screen as though your character is shielding himself from the storm, move to obscure more of the screen when you are heading away from the shelter, and lower to provide you with greater visibility when heading towards it. Instinctively, and without consciously thinking about it, I had simply moved in the direction that made me feel more comfortable, the one where my visibility was greatest. That kind of use of diegetic elements is an absolute anathema to the millions of button prompts, lightning bolts, way points, forced mission restarts, gated mission areas, pelt number tracking and generally arcadey feel of FC 3 and, unfortunately it appears, FC 4.

        • Hedgeclipper says:

          I hadn’t heard about the sandstorm before but I think that anecdote sums the game up for me, its very clever with a lot of its gameplay systems, flawed in a number of ways of course and not for everyone but it does a lot of stuff with gameplay that remains ground breaking today.

        • Voice of Majority says:

          OK; that’s clever design and worked for me too. I didn’t wonder for very long and the visibility was really poor.

  8. Syme says:

    I’m wondering now how long before someone writes an article on why the first Assassins Creed game is the best in the series. I wouldn’t say it myself, but I do think there’s a case to be made.

    • Anthile says:

      It certainly had the most intrigue and perhaps the best story but the sequel improved on just about every other aspect. Gonna be hard to find enough support for that theory.

      • demicanadian says:

        Best story? I’d say AC2 won in this category.
        There was novelty factory in AC1, but all this teenage angst was irritating, and there wasn’t much more than that.

        • Anthile says:

          I believe the first Assassin’s Creed is very much a story about unlearning oneself. Altair does that literally at the beginning as he loses most of his skills and gadgets as well as his rank. His flaw is that he believes he already knows it all and becomes reckless and arrogant, endangering his fellow Assassins.
          At this point both Altair and the player have to start from scratch and have to figure out what it means to be an Assassin. The titular creed means that everything should be doubted and scrutinized; a call to Enlightenment – sapere aude. During the game we learn that Templars and Assassins are not as different as the game would have us initially believe. In the end Altair literally shatters the illusions surrounding him and becomes a master himself.

          • P.Funk says:

            You must be on crack because all I saw with Alair was a predictable and utterly unoriginal “I am da best” dressing down story where this arrogant talented youthful whatever has to be tamed by the elder and become some giant of wisdom and grace yadda yadda.

            Its eye roll worthy. There’s nothing special here. Its as cliche as Altair’s voice acting is hilariously out of place, which just makes the story worse.

            Ezio in AC2 was much more interesting because he better typifies the classic hero’s journey but without it being so lame and phoned in. None of them are particularly good stories though. They’re serviceable as alternate history. I will say that Leonardo was pretty good. That alone I think makes it better. In general AC2 pieces it together in a more interesting way I think. Also the format of AC1 didn’t do the story any good. The more varied gameplay of AC2 allows the story to breath better within the confines of the gameplay systems.

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            Couldn’t say it better myself.

    • tormos says:

      There’s a way in which it’s pure and the story is obviously the best, but the repetition is really jarring (THOSE FLAG COLLECTION MISSIONS)

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      I’ve always felt the first one was the best. It was the only entry, in my opinion, that made actual, compelling use of the animus. The strange symbols, the odd interactions between Desmond and the scientists, the emphasis on synchronization over everything else in the Altair segments. It was all a cohesive, intriguing narrative.

      • SlimShanks says:

        Doesn’t anybody care about the fact that the first game actually required stealth at times? Keep in mind it is a game about ASSASSINS. Pretty much all the stealth systems in newer AC games are rendered useless by the fact that you can just kill everyone with a halberd in the middle of the town square. Also AC 1 was definitely better written than the later games, which collapsed into a black hole of contrivances.

        • Spider Jerusalem says:

          I was going to go on to mention a bunch of other aspects, but I didn’t want to write an essay. Yes, the stealth, the need for recon, the actual assassin-ery of it all. It did all of that infinitely better than any of its sequels.

    • Dingbatwhirr says:

      For me, it’s like a rough diamond compared to a cut diamond (an especially appropriate comparison, given Far Cry 2’s currency): I like both, but my appreciation for the first game comes more from the obvious potential in it, and the surprise at discovering such a gem than a belief that it truly succeeds as a game. I think 2 does most things better, but I love 1 for being the first.

      Does that make sense? It made sense in my head…

    • FriendlyFire says:

      AC1 did the feeling of assassin better. In AC2 and up, you don’t assassinate, you just kill everything. AC1 had you tailing people, gathering information, slowly building up to the assassination. It had a lot of problems, chief among them the tedious repetition gathering said information, but the idea was there, and it felt lost in AC2 in favor of bravado and no planning whatsoever.

      Also, AC1’s post-assassination stopped time conversations were infinitely better than any other. They made you think twice about what you just did, whereas the sequels gave you nothing.

  9. Xantonze says:

    FC2 is very good with the simple mod that removes (or slows? I can’t remember) the repopulating of the guardposts and slightly changes the AI so they don’t spot you 2km away.
    The game is still a bit messy, but in a good way, and not just “infuriating”.

  10. suibhne says:

    I’d offer an additional point re. FC2, particularly as someone who’s spent time in mountains, deserts, and jungles of Africa: it really gets the environment right, creating an ecologically/geologically believable (albeit compressed) space that’s far more coherent and compelling than FC3’s (or FC1’s, but that wasn’t at all the point in the first game). I’ve just started playing FC4, so can’t offer much comparison except to say that, so far, I’m finding its gameworld superior to FC3’s but still a pale shadow of FC2’s.

    • Caiman says:

      Yep, this is what grabs me about it, that sense of being there. Also, it still produces some of the best “emergent gameplay” moments of any sandbox game I’ve played. Some truly epic firefights from the most unexpected situations. It may have its flaws (what doesn’t?) but when it gets it right there’s little better.

  11. Bobsagoth says:

    This game lost my interest at the moment i realised that only valid tactic against everyone with access to car was to jump onto my cars hood or die after hearing engine roar second before that jeep is hitting you.

    • watermark0n says:

      Use an anti-vehicle weapon like RPG or Grenade, shoot the driver, find a location that’s inaccessible to force them to get out. Usually you’ve got your own car around anyway. This isn’t that hard,

  12. Skeletor68 says:

    Far Cry 2 is one of my all time favourite games. There are lots of issues for sure, but the sum is greater than the parts in experience for me.

    – Each mission feels like a serious job. Just trying to plot your traversal of the map by road and river and sneaking around patrols etc. I think we discussed this on a forum thread recently, but the checkpoints are an inelegant way of saying ‘a war-torn country won’t become more safe the more you kill people you mercenary bastard.’

    – Diegetic UI forever! Far Cry 3 lost me when I saw the full menu map. FC3 still lots of fun but the satire still meant a tonally weird and ‘videogamey’ experience. FC2 map in hand is so much better.

    – There are people with weapons, no classes, no real abilities or weirdness. It is you as a horrible murderer in a hostile environment taking advantage of a civil war. Rough diamonds are such a great currency. Half the time you are pulling them out of a briefcase beside a dead body or wrecked truck.

    – The malaria is a brilliant mechanic. Getting people passports to get your medicine reminds you that even when they are thanking you, it’s all only self-preservation.

    – Great ambient sound and GORGEOUS environments!

    – Hearing a mortar whistling in the air and panicking is so good!

    The compressed and sped up dialogue is a killer though. Think it had something to do with console size limits.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      Don’t forget the AI continiously talking about you, from going “Who’se this guy?” at the start of the game to “I am going to kill this punk” and eventually “Please don’t hurt me, we cna make a deal okay!”

      Nothing made me feel more then a bastard then that my enemies were utterly terrified of me.

      You can tell in the towns to. At first they go “Shove off!’ and… shove you off. At the end of teh game they go “let me get out of your way” whilst having terrified chuckles and the sort.

      • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

        Deus Ex did the same thing. Goes from “must be some kind of mech!” to “It’s Denton, remember the briefing!” to “I hear this guy can kill before you’ve even seen he’s there” to “IT’S DENTON! AAAAAAH!”

  13. Faldrath says:

    Far Cry 2 was the last FPS I actually enjoyed. FC3, on the other hand, was the cause of my worst disappointment with RPS – I bought it after all the praise it got here, only to find out I actually agreed with Alec and his assessment of the hateful, terrible, story that made me sick to my stomach after a few hours playing. I’ve uninstalled it and kinda wish I could delete it altogether from my Steam library. Ah well, we learn. I’m not touching FC4 with a 10-foot pole unless Alec says it’s good!

  14. Arglebargle says:

    This BS line again? Building a house of cards argument on the shifting sands of bad design, and flawed production. There were tons of design problems that were known about in their beta, but they just didn’t have the will to fix them. You go, developers!

    Too much of this retrospective is based on airy headed theoreticals positing a grand plan for things that were just game defects. Yes, there are parts of the game that are unique, and even wonderful. As a whole, it is tremendously flawed, with the problems outweighing whatever good there is there. Thank goodness I only wasted $5 on it.

    Doesn’t mean you can’t like it, of course.

    • notcurry says:

      I’m with you there, man. Someone here wrote “…the checkpoints are an inelegant way of saying ‘a war-torn country won’t become more safe the more you kill people…’”. To me. that’s just a gratuitous interpretation. If the quality of a piece (be it a movie, book, game or whatever) relies entirely upon an underlying, obscure and arbitrary motivation then it’s bad.

      Many things were great about Far Cry 2. Many others were just crap.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Yeah, the lead designer talked about the respawn issue in an interview. They knew about it, they just couldn’t manage to fix it, and released the game with it in there. They never patched it out either, from what I know. The game was shot through with similar bad development decisions. Some of which get referenced as some sort of ‘theme’ by the reviewer. They were just errors.

        Interestingly, the Avatar (movie) game was based on the Far Cry 2 engine (with lots more color). Probably available cheap if you want to see another iteration of the design. At least it is not likely to have malaria (I only experienced the demo).

  15. Dingbatwhirr says:

    Refreshing to read someone else who prefers Far Cry 2 to Far Cry 3. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this. I thought it must be some deficiency on my part when I couldn’t really get into 3, but I realise now that I was playing it like 2, wanting to feel the same moral confusion. It’s no coincidence that I found myself, a few hours into 2, Googling which faction was the good one. I realised that there wasn’t an assigned ‘good faction’. Both were pretty terrible. That was a lot more powerful for me than any Bioware-esque prescriptive moral choice.

    When I played 3, it just didn’t have that same feel. For the first hour or so, the world felt suitably hostile, but then I unlocked a load of new guns, and suddenly I could kill pirates by blinking at them. It had lost the feeling I was after. I installed (the excellent) Ziggy’s Mod, which brought back some of the atmosphere I’d been searching for, but it still didn’t quite capture what I loved about 2.

  16. WHS says:

    Far Cry 2 is so frustrating, because there are literally three or four minor changes you could make and it would be a contender for all-time best FPS.

    -ramp down the aggressiveness of the enemy AI so you’re not fending off kamikaze jeeps every four minutes
    -those respawning checkpoints — why did anyone ever think that was a good idea
    -add AI neutrals and ensure that the faction you’re working for doesn’t attack you on sight.

    The AI neutral thing is especially infuriating because they already exist in the game’s main city. The neutrals even get mad and eventually attack if you point your weapon at them too long! Why couldn’t they pepper the map with just a few of these guys? It also leads to the game’s dumbest narrative contrivance, where every single mission briefing ends with the mission giver reminding you that no one knows you’re working for him, so even his own guys will shoot you.

    I hate to see these completely immersion-breaking omissions — which I would describe as little more than outright design errors — lumped together with stuff that’s more thematically appropriate, like the degrading weapons and vehicles. Apparently Ubi lumped them all together too, though, since it gave basically everything unique in the game the boot for Far Cry 3.

    With all of that said, I also want to note that it has the all-time best in-game map system. Holding up a map with one hand while steering some crappy four-door through the jungle with the other was amazing.

    • apa says:

      The first time I drove up to a checkpoint I slowed down and stopped because I thought that the guards would wave me through, as I wasn’t behaving in a threatening way. Well you all can imagine what happened :D

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I did the same. After all, in the intro you go through a checkpoint with little hassle.

        I love the game though.

      • Zetetick says:

        Perfectly reasonable of you to do so, after all, the Game goes to some lengths in the INTRO to have a section where you’re waved through a checkpoint in a vehicle ( “I’ll bring you guys back some beers when I return OK?” )

    • Rindan says:

      I agree with a lot of what you said. For me, the everyone is hostile thing was the worst part of that game. It took what could have been a morally gray and made it a shooter. I was expecting civilians, hard moral choices, and casualties of war. What I got was an Africa populated by multinationals fighting for apparently empty land devoid of nothing but violent zombie men who attack on sight. A lack of civilians to fight in and among makes the attempts at nihilistic despair at being unable to make the “right” choice fall flat.

      • WHS says:

        Good point. It was hard to feel bad about what happened to the country, since there were quite literally no innocents in it (except maybe, like, the bartender in that one bar?).

      • nemryn says:

        devoid of nothing but violent zombie men

        I think that means the opposite of what you want.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      Is there not a mod that does exactly this? Of all the games that need fixing this seems like one of the easiest, but what do I know. I love so much of the game but could not stand to play it because of the checkpoints and “everyone is hostile” contrivance.

    • watermark0n says:

      My response to the checkpoints and neverending patrols was mainly to just avoid the roads. Drive through the countryside, travel by boat is also a good option. I agree they did kind of overdo it, travel by road was so risky I rarely did it.

      The lack of AI neutrals was also pretty bizarre. I mean, for instance, you go to a village, and everyone there is a faction member shooting at you. It makes no sense. Does no one live in this country?

      I love this game, though.

  17. notenome says:

    Thank you! Thank you thank you thank you.

    Far Cry 2 was amazing. Its one of my most vivid gaming experiences, and one of the last times that I said to myself ‘ok, fuck everything I have to do. I’m finishing this.’ Priorities!

    And the Jackal, am I the only one that thought he was one of the best (villains?) in the history of games? His super-quick dialogue, bizarre theories that eventually start to make sense (or am I going insane?)

    Just such a great game, and such a thematically consistent game.

  18. apa says:

    When I completely agree with the article it is really hard to add meaningful comments, so I’ll just go with: if this post was your birthday present for me, thank you very much! :)

    If only you could’ve talked with the monsters… and they wouldn’t have insta-respawned. I think FC2 would have been considered a great game by far more people with just a few tweaks.

    edit: @WHS how did you post the same thing at the same moment :D

  19. Felixader says:

    Well i don’t like Far Cry 2. But only just because it simply borders from challenging into annoying with it’s features. I really liked the world and exploring.

    The problem that simply destroyed it all was the super xray lasser vision of the AI combined with their when-one-knows-where-he-is-everyone-knows-it-hivemind. That just took every chance that you had. Thus and the stupid checkpoints and everyone attacking you on sigth despite beeing allied with someone, was just lazy AI.

    • haradaya says:

      No no no. The AI acts exactly as intended. I’ve made a whole guide on how the AI works. I must’ve spent like 200 hours in Far Cry 2 by now.
      link to steamcommunity.com

      • SubmarineRocket says:

        Stealth is fantastic in FC2, I think people are just used to ultra-dumb enemies who can’t see you crossing a road 20 metres away a la FC3.

        The most amazing thing for me in FC2, after five playthroughs, is that it seems as if the enemies can see you based on any movement — so if you’re hiding in a bush, you’d better not even look around.

        I also love how they react to thrown grenades. If they don’t know where you are, but they see a grenade flying out from behind a tree, they know you’re behind the tree. But if they don’t see where the grenade came from, their attention is turned to the explosion and you can use it as a distraction to sneak away.

    • Jalan says:

      The x-ray vision, spot you from a thousand yards away, built-in wallhack enemies are in the last (official) patch of the first Far Cry. All indications seem to suggest that Crytek intended for them to be able to see you while you’re in a building and not facing a window (because all humans are like Superman and can readily see through solid objects).

      There are a lot of things I enjoy in the first game, but the way they left the enemy AI just felt like Crytek flipped everyone the bird as they moved on to bigger and better things (Crysis, etc).

      • hausser0815 says:

        First of all, FC 1 was developed by crytek, with Ubisoft as Producer.
        After that, they split up, with Ubisoft keeping the rights to Far Cry, and Crytek making Crysis.
        And second, i rather have an cheating AI, than cheats for myself. (In FC3 and afaik 4, its you, not the AI, who has a radar map)

  20. nojan says:

    No, and no!

    • San Pedro says:

      I agree.

      Not fun game. Getting anywhere is just a chore. The bus stops were an absolute joke.

      Oh and everyone in Africa apparently kills anyone they see, oh and everyone is also an adult male there.

      Never played a game before this where just getting to the missions ruined the game.

      So, “No” is indeed the first thing I though after seeing this article.

      • haradaya says:

        half the mission is getting to the objective. All the fun happens on the journey most of the time. It’s a create your own fun type of game. All checkpoints are opportunities to try out new things.

  21. Robert Post's Child says:

    I managed to get to the second area in 2, got kind of burnt out and then never got around to finishing it. There are plenty of things that I find grating, like the repetitive, often underdeveloped nature of just about every category of encounter, or whyeveryonehastotalklikethisanditjustmakeswhatthey’resayingseemevenmoreirrelevanttoanything.

    That said, there are two unique aspects that i do really like about it. First, having the map be a literal map that you have to look down at. It’s a very small thing, but has a huge impact in terms of making the experience more immersive. Second, the loose nature of the world meant getting into gunfights was not about you killing everyone. It was about shit going down, and you needing to do what you have to and then getting the hell out. So many games focus on you clearing an area in order to proceed, but combat here often involved a sort of vagueness about what was actually happening at any given time. Much less gamey, and reinforces the confusing, violent world they built.

    • watermark0n says:

      Yeah, first few missions I killed everyone, just because I’ve practically been trained to do that. It was long and arduous, there are usually dozens of people in any one area, their AI makes them incredibly difficult to track down. They’re all hiding and popping out when you’ve got your back turned. Then I realized, why the hell am I doing this? After that, rather than pointlessly committing absolute genocide, I started just clearing out a few key people blocking my objective, running in and grabbing/destroying my target, and then getting the hell out of dodge. Much easier.

  22. Alice O'Connor says:

    Bolt-action rifle; flare pistol; mortar.

    • Anthile says:

      Dragunov; M79; Dart Rifle.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        Not bad! My backup loadout was silenced MP5, grenade launcher, and dart rifle. It had a good progression as stealth plans went from “I’m in control, it’s fine” through “Oh this is looking iffy” to “OH GOD WHY.”

        But I really enjoy the “Welp, time to make a huge mess in a very precise way” of bolt-action, flare, and mortar. You need to be careful but can’t really be subtle. Everything will probably go wrong and you’ll need to fix it quickly and precisely. I like that.

        • Zetetick says:

          Ha! That’s my exact F.C.2 Loadout : Dart-Rifle – Silenced MP5 – Handheld Granade Launcher ( for the real hairy ‘Hail Mary’ moments.)

    • apa says:

      Bolt action, machine gun (or smg in early game), flare/m79.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      Flare pistol, anything else

      The flare pistol is glorious:

    • LionsPhil says:

      This wiki article.

      (Particularly the image captions.)

    • Synesthesia says:

      Oh Yes.

    • Jade Raven says:

      The M79 grenade launcher is the single greatest weapon I have used in a game.

      Having only one round available in the chamber and standing your ground while a jeep rushes at you and then at the last moment unleashing a grenade into its engine, destroying it and its riders in one hit while it (sometimes) flips over your head like a flaming comet as you duck. If you mistimed that shot you were dead, but if you didn’t take it you would have had a substantial fight on your hands.

      Also it counted as a “sidearm”.

      • Jalan says:

        The M79 is designed in such a way that, if modified correctly, it could pass for a sidearm. Definitely more than say, a M32 MGL.

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      Myself it was the silenced MP5 and as many IEDs as I could carry. I loved IEDs.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      Any other weapon could change depending on what I planned to do, but that bolt action rifle stayed in my hands a good 80% of the time. A single bullet to the torso or head would kill your opponent and then your character needed to unscope to eject the brass and chamber a new bullet while the rest of the bad guys came running.

      I am trying to enjoy the bow in Far cry 4 the same way, but there is some weird acceleration that cannot be removed preventing me from precision shooting at close range. Too bad, finally a game with a great revolver too.

    • SubmarineRocket says:

      With Dylan’s Far Cry 2 Realism Mod, I played the entire game through on Hardcore with:

      Homeland pump-action shotgun, M79 grenade launcher, PKM LMG.

  23. WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

    I’m not sure whether I enjoyed Far Cry 2 or Far Cry 1 better, but I do agree that I enjoyed both much more than 3 or 4. Modern Ubisoft’s brand of open world design really gets my goat: soulless, repetitive, grindy icon collection exercises. The only exception was AssCreed 4, where I bought into the pirate setting so completely (especially the seemless change of scale in transitioning from ship to shore controls) that I was prepared to forgive the slightly banal quest and world design. Far Cry and Watch Dogs I let off less easily, however. I actually think this is an annoying trend in world design in general in open world games these days. New Vegas was the last really, REALLY well designed world for my money, with so much effort expended on making the place feel cohesive and the players’ actions feel like just a part of the wider narrative of the world. The later Far Cry games, Elder Scrolls from Oblivion to Skyrim, Fallout 3, Watch Dogs, All GTA games, just about all AssCreed games with the possible exception of 1, and so forth just seem like collections of barely varying tasks that exist solely for the players’ enjoyment, and I don’t like that style of world design at all. Fallouts 1, 2, and NV, Morrowind, Daggerfall, Darklands, Mount and Blade, Far Cry 2, Ultima VII, the Infinity Engine games and various other open world games that I’ve probably forgotten do, in my view, a much better job of making the world seem like it could go on without the player, and does not exist solely for his/her amusement.

    • Pablopa99 says:

      YESS I completely agree! Most of modern open world games feel so empty and meaningless in relationship to the player, there are a few exceptions but I don’t think we’ll be seeing much games with the consistency and depth of Darklands or Jagged Alliance 2.

  24. shinkshank says:

    I’m afraid I just can’t agree with this one. You basically open with saying ” Far Cry 2 isn’t fun “, and then you go on to convince me how it makes up for it with systems and difficulty. Dark Souls has systems and difficulty, but it’s also fun because combat is tight and satisfying. Magicka was hard and nuanced, but it didn’t stop the game from being a rollercoaster of ridiculousness throughout. Mechanical complexitiy and difficulty are not a replacement for fun, and a game doesn’t have to sacrifice one for the sake of the other.

    Although fun is, if anything, relatively subjective. You can argue whether something is fun, you can’t argue whether something is mechanically complex because that’s directly demonstrable. I guess I just couldn’t get over the repetitive nature and crummy gunplay in FC2, even though there were elements to it I liked.
    Then again, the only Far Cry game I can honestly say I really enjoyed was Blood Dragon, because that shit was just cray.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      Did you play the original? The original was a party.

    • HumpX says:

      agree with this. Blood Dragon trimmed away the stodgy and needlessly busy “crafting” system and several other tweaks.

  25. montorsi says:

    I don’t know about best. I like that they feel like different games and I can pick and choose whatever I’m feeling like at the moment.

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      I agree with this, they are all good in different ways, I’ve played the the frist three thought or almost through at least twice each, but I gotta say, I kinda start to feel an itch for stalking the african plains in a jeep with a rifle over my lap for a third time right about now.

  26. Urthman says:

    The voice acting in Far Cry 2 was weird, with everyone sort of rushing through their lines. But that subdued, almost flat, delivery is such a breath of fresh air compared with all the other games where they turn up the ACTING to 11 all the time.

    I want to set the scenery on fire or blow it up, not stand around watching some awkwardly-mo-capped NPC chewing on it.

  27. thetruegentleman says:

    It definitely felt more interesting than most FPS games, where you’re the hero that kills everything with a tint of red on your HUD.

    What really stuck out to me though, was when people playing it started to complain about how annoying the malaria was to deal with. Bear in mind, the only time you do *anything* good in this game is when you help people in exchange for malaria medicine, and people hated doing the missions anyway! That’s really what brought home how morally grey the game actually was, and how that fact completely went over so many people’s heads.

    Think about the other parts of the game as well: how the only trustworthy person is the one you were sent to kill, how the opposite mercenary faction from the one you ultimately choose to back saves your life, how you can’t save either your buddies or the priest from the start of the game, because your involvement in the war ultimately destroyed the middle ‘grey’ that both good and evil needed to survive in the conflict; and then you bring that grey back by killing the person you backed, and new people take their places in the shade AND the conflict.

    The only way to end the misery that you, the player, is living and spreading is to wipe the slate clean: kill your buddies (although you can technically avoid doing so if you plant the explosives instead of moving the diamonds), kill the mercs, and then kill yourself, so the innocent people you hate spending so much time on (for the medicine) can live in peace.

    The game made Spec Ops: The Line’s point way before that game was itself made, and Far Cry 2 did it with subtly that people not only missed, but complained about. That’s especially ironic when you consider that people don’t consider Spec Ops actually fun to play either, but people ignored that fact in Spec Op’s case so they could enjoy being hit with the “WAR IS BAD” stick that Far Cry 2 actually avoided!

    Sad, really.

    • Det. Bullock says:

      I was able to take the diamonds without killing the buddies, of course you have to be fast and lucky to get out alive.

    • watermark0n says:

      “What really stuck out to me though, was when people playing it started to complain about how annoying the malaria was to deal with.”

      Which is bullshit. You get a malaria attack roughly ever 40 minutes, and you get like 4-5 pills each time you do the undergound missions. You also can go through about 2-3 malaria attacks without medicine before you pass out entirely. So, you have to do an underground mission maybe once ever 4 hours. It’s not that demanding. If a malaria attack happens during combat, just get out of the way. It’s not that hard.

      Also, you should’ve marked the rest of your post for spoilers.

  28. HumpX says:

    I didn’t care for FarCry 2 for one simple reason, STALKER. It spoiled me.

    Compared to STALKER, FC2 seemed hopelessly conservative and predictable.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Of course, compared to Stalker, almost everything pales in comparison. But good point.

  29. Gratis says:

    Funny, I just started playing it again a few days ago, after playing it in 2008 and hating it back then.
    With the Dylan Mod, some SweetFX Tuning and on the highest difficulty it is one of the best FPS experiences I had in years.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Honest question. Why would you use SweetFX on this game?

      • Gratis says:

        There is a Youtube Video I tried to post about 6 times, but RPS won’t let me.
        Just search for “sproyd’s sweetfx” on Youtube, there are some examples.

        • mukuste says:

          All that seems to do is supersaturate everything. Bleurgh.

          • watermark0n says:

            Usually I’d agree, but the colors are often so bland in FC2.

  30. Optimaximal says:

    I preferred the other ending. If I’m playing a mercenary, let me take the mercenary way out!

  31. Gap Gen says:

    “Get him!” Twenty goons leap into jeeps. Benny Hill car chase across the savannah ensues.

    • Y2Kafka says:

      It’s moment’s like those that make me wish you had allies that could at least shoot back with the mounted gun you find on most vehicles (or at least drive off a cliff while you flail around shooting everything).

      • watermark0n says:

        Turn your gun facing backward, drive through the checkpoint, immediately switch to the gunners position and take them out as they rush out to chase you.

  32. ferdinand says:

    “It isn’t the most fun to play, I’ll grant you that, but then fun isn’t really its end goal.”
    That is the most stupid thing you can say about a game. If you think it is fun when a game is difficult and everything in the game is against you then you are playing a fun game. If a game isn’t fun why would you play it? During your whole long article everything you said was soiled by your stupid opening premise.
    I liked the mechanics of FarCry2. But it is a boring game with cheating AI that can see you as if you were standing on a football field. You didn’t have to warn about spoilers by the way. I tried 3 times to finish the game but the tedium just becomes too much.

    • Skeletor68 says:

      Compelling and fun are two different things? I don’t know man. It definitely isn’t for everyone.

      • Arglebargle says:

        You can like games that are horribly flawed. It doesn’t change the game from being horribly flawed though. (I still have Master of Orion 3 on my hard drive, so I know.)

        And it certainly doesn’t mean that those flaws are part of some grand design theme either.

        • gmillar says:

          Any you can dislike a game that is excellent. Just because something doesn’t fit your particular tastes doesn’t make it “horribly flawed.”

  33. try2bcool69 says:

    When FC2 came out, I was so excited to play the sequel to one of my favorite games ever…

    I loaded it up…

    I played for an hour…

    I hated it. I deleted it.

    I just bought it again last weekend on the Steams tho, so, I’m going to give it another shot. Eventually.

    • Y2Kafka says:

      That’s the spirit!

      I have to say that I just got Far Cry 2 from the sale on Steam the other day.
      (I would have got 3 as well but my computer is a piece of…)

      Anyway… I guess the best way to get into the game is to look at it and tell yourself. “My resources are scarce, my allies are few and far between, and everything else is trying to kill me.” I can’t say it’s fair… but if you go in with the mindset of “me against the world” it can be quite thrilling. (and terrifying)

      And hey, if you like it you like it. If you still hate it it was like what… $2.50 at the sale? No big loss, if anything you can say you have a better perspective on the kinds of games you do enjoy.

      PS: Try some mods as well. I know I will once I beat the game at-least once.

    • watermark0n says:

      Yeah, unfortunately, it’s a totally different game, and really shouldn’t have bore the “Far Cry” moniker. It was developed by a different studio (Ubisoft bought it from Crytek) who bought the rights seemingly for marketing purposes. Far Cry 3 is also totally different than the first two, and it seems to have established the formula that all future sequels will be based on (and there will be many, they’re going to turn it into an annualized cash cow shit pile like Assassins Creed). Crysis was really more the sequel to Far Cry than Far Cry 2. But, Far Cry 2, standing on its own, is a good game, you shouldn’t let the disappointment of it not being a true sequel to another game you love get in the way.

  34. PoulWrist says:

    It’s not. Simple reason being that enemies respawn when you look the other way. Much like trafic in GTA. Except with guns.

    So no. It’s not. Yes, it did some interesting things, like Spec Ops the Line, which was actually unplayable due to the mouse accelleration, but interesting things with a story packed away inside some bloody awful gameplay? No. They’re videogames, they’re supposed to be playable, not actively make the experience of playing them less enjoyable.

    And the problem with both these could probably have been completely fixed if they had been properly optimized for PC. But they weren’t, just like every other title now a days. Because “oooh console audience”.

    • ShEsHy says:

      “And the problem with both these could probably have been completely fixed if they had been properly optimized for PC. But they weren’t, just like every other title now a days. Because “oooh console audience”.”
      Amen brother. The reason why I mainly stick to Indie games nowadays is that they’re at least (for the most part) actually made for the PC.

  35. MrJellybean says:

    This game is ace and this is a lovely article.

    I just wish those little tinkers at the outposts would take a little longer to respawn. It should be a certain amount of in game hours or a day or so. After that a convoy of jeeps and trucks should arrive and restock.

    Also i loved using that dart rifle beofre sneaking in and taking others out with that silenced makarov, the only sound it makes is the satisfying clack of the hammer.

    • watermark0n says:

      Unfortunately the respawn actually isn’t even based on time at all. If you drive a certain distance away from it (about a third of the most zoomed in map), they automatically respawn, regardless of time passed. I mainly responded by just avoiding the roads, using boats whenever possible, and driving off road when possible. Driving on the roads and through checkpoints only when it’s absolutely necessary to get to the mission area.

  36. Turin Turambar says:

    Really? The game wasn’t that hard. Just a little bit harder than the average FPS.
    It wasn’t Stalker. Which is a much better open world FPS, btw.

  37. Monchberter says:

    Great game that had a brilliant over bearing sense of dread running through it. I just wish the obvious flaws had been patched out. I’d actually pay again for an updated version in the latest engine (2 was still stunning though, the sunrises and sunsets the best ever) with 3/4’s animal and NPC mechanics built in.

  38. activity_coordinator says:

    I had to register to post my love for the game and this article. Far Cry 2 took me about 8 – 10 hours to “get” the first time I played through it.

    I wish and hope that one day a mod for Far Cry 3 will come out, that basically makes it more like Far Cry 2. I would love to play some version 3 where I am not required to kill animals for various pouches. This mod would also deliver the game’s “story” through vignettes and occasional dialogue, rather than forcing cut scenes with characters I don’t care about down my throat. This mod would also make it so I don’t have full access to all of my weapons at EVERY check point, the gun cases in your hideouts in Far Cry 2 was a much better decision. Said mod would also give me buddies, because their rescuing you to grant one last roll of the dice is honestly essential to the enjoyment of the game. Recently I was rescued by a buddy who said “There, now you can bleed out in peace… just kidding.”

    If Far Cry 3 was supposedly some sort of “commentary” on violence and power fantasies, Blood Dragon was exactly that, except it was better because it didn’t take itself seriously, and had a sense of humor.

    Far Cry 2 has no overt sense of humor, except in the random insane micro-stories that will happen to you as you play it. This is the core of what brought me joy in playing Far Cry 2 because I felt like the sheer randomness of the game made it so I was creating my own stories and experiences, rather than having them mostly spoon fed to me as it felt like 3 did.

    Although I completely understand why people disliked the respawning checkpoints, jamming weapons, and malaria, these factors were essential in creating the need to improvise and plan ahead as you progress through the game. Eventually after you’ve scouted out checkpoints, they are marked on the map to show what specific supplies they have (ammo, health, etc), this knowledge would help me plan my route whenever I needed to refill on something on my way to, or after mission objectives. This, plus knowing I could easily sneak past many checkpoints, helped me totally embrace them.

    If you do the gun shop and assassination missions early on, you will rarely, if ever need to pick up a shitty gun that might jam on you. The game is all about planning ahead as best as you can, but it doesn’t hand you a golden ticket to be a power fantasy god since everything in the game (including your malaria) is specifically designed to kill you, and your planning ahead sometimes might not go as smoothly as you hoped.

    The design of Far Cry 2 was risky and the game practically dares you to play it on Infamous difficulty mode because if you plan ahead, and respect the mechanics of the game, the challenge of continually surviving is totally rewarding on its own merit.

    Definitely one of my all time favorite games.

  39. Moni says:

    One thing I love is how the game is divisive, people who hate the game hate it for the same reasons other people love it.

    I liked the respawning checkpoints. It made commuting a challenge every single journey, because I would have to pick a course either to avoid checkpoints and to engage with the fewest.

    • WHS says:

      I don’t mind them respawning EVENTUALLY. It just felt absurd to have to fight through the same stupid checkpoint three times in one mission.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      If I were given a way to “fix” the respawning, the only thing I would do is to remove the AI’s ability to chase after you in vehicles. That way a.) the checkpoints stay populated and you don’t have the boring, lifeless world of Far Cry 3 yet b.) you can fly through the checkpoints and not have to worry about a bunch of guys magically flying up your backside in a rocket jeep.

  40. cpy says:

    Far cry 1 is the only far cry for me, where are my damn mutants and adrenaline filled horror game? Definitely not FC2,3 or 4.

  41. empty_other says:

    To EVERYONE who complained about the horrible AI, let me enlighten you:

    Me and my pal had a strange occurence. He also complained how the AI was too stupid to live.. Stuff like ignoring cover, perfect shooting, ran right at him. A sharp contrast to my experience, so i took him for a fool. He insisted i watch him play, and truth to be told i had never seen its like in stupidity. He was absolutely right.

    A few years later, on the same computer, i’m playing the sequel to S.t.a.l.k.e.r. Barely a few hours into it i gave up. The AI was the worst i’ve ever seen and i quickly wrote the game off as a cheap cash-in. But my friend kept playing. I was less hasty in writing it off as his gluttony for punishment, instead asking him to show me how he did a stealth part early in the game. To my surprise the AI acted as it should..

    The only big difference in our computers, the same computers both time, was that his was faster. But it was obvious that this difference in performance gave the AI a boost in one game and a decrease in the other. So thats why you found its AI bad. Stuff like this makes it difficult to talk to people about games. What a nightmare disussions had been if movies had problems like this; two people experiencing the plot of a movie completely different just because one of them watched it in NTSC and another one watched it in PAL…

  42. cylentstorm says:

    Exactly.

  43. gadalia says:

    No.
    Far Cry 3 has better combat, better controls, better vehicles etc.
    If I hadn’t modded Far Cry 2, killing enemies would be a chore, unlike in Far Cry 3 where the combat is actually enjoyable and somewhat balanced (I modded it so that I could kill enemies in 2-3 shots, but they could do the same to me). You can actually explore most the world unlike Far Cry 2 which has about a two thirds of the world blocked off. The only thing I miss from Far Cry 2 is the weapon degrading. That gave me incentive to try new guns and use everything I found.

  44. zat0ichi says:

    I tried so hard to like FC2.
    Played it through twice maybe 3 times.

    I loved the washed out african plains, the fire and the guns that fell apart.

    My lingering memory?

    THOSE FKN GUARDPOSTS. (just make the guards spawn a little way away and have to travel to the guard post, was that too much too ask?)
    Then the poor dialogue delivery.
    The annoyingly spaced bus stops
    Preternatural yet retarded AI

  45. Monggerel says:

    Far Cry 2 is the Clear Sky of video games. Broke as fuck, but oh if it was great! it would be greatest.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Uh, what Clear Sky are you referring to? If STALKER, would that not already be the Clear Sky of video games? Don’t give me this horseshit about computer games and video games being two different things.

  46. Biaxident says:

    This article makes the game sound better than I remember it. For me it suffered from many of the same flaws as its sequel Far Cry 3 and the gameplay quite quickly become stale and repetitive.

  47. PopeRatzo says:

    Gosh, but nostalgia has a lot of gauze on the lens, doesn’t it?

    Far Cry 2 was every bit as much of a colonialist fantasy as 3 and 4. All those grateful dark people bowing and scraping for a bit of medicine. It was a movie that you remember being really great until you watch it again and find that it was really a load of hot garbage.

    • Pablopa99 says:

      I think the setting of the game is much managed a lot more sensibly and tastefully than in 3 or 4. It stays neutral and gray in many areas and doesn’t glorify it’s violence, about people “bowing and scraping” for travel papers, that’s how most people would react in a situation like that, it doesn’t matter that the person giving them is a selfless mercenary bastard who just does it to get his medicine. Most of the enemies are also subtly humanized, they have casual chats on their phones, have football fields and magazines and are not inherently evil.

      Nostalgia definitely isn’t a factor for me as I’ve been playing regularly for the past two years.

    • PineMaple says:

      The game explicitly tells you that the nation would be a better place if you weren’t there. I remember at the end of the first half, the faction leader you have to kill says that the nation would be a more stable place if all of the foreigners were kicked out, and although I killed him (or perhaps because I killed him), he was right. You’re portrayed as an outsider with no understanding of local context coming in to massively upset the power dynamics and turn a conflict into a full-fledged civil war. Your very entrance at the beginning of the game destroys the only ceasefire the nation has, and your presence throughout is inherently destabilizing. Plus you’re literally killing people for blood diamonds.

  48. jonfitt says:

    5 stars for a game where I can sing Toto while driving around the savanna!
    “I burnt the plans down in Aaaafrica, I hit a zerbra with my car”

  49. Endsville says:

    Ah, one of my favourite games of all time. Nice to see it get a write up here, although I actually have very mixed feelings about the article itself but maybe that’s because there’s so much to love about this game that can’t quite be easily covered at once, I dunno (and also: although it may have been designed not to be this way, I find the game a superb amount of fun).

    Anyway, maybe I’ll leave thoughts of my own on why this game is one of my own favourites tomorrow, but for now I want to leave all the folk who hate, with fair and good reason, the respawning guard posts, practically useless stealth and bullet-spongey enemies a recommendation: Dylan’s Realism Mod. Seriously, that thing is as essential as Ziggy’s Mod is for Far Cry 3 as far as I’m concerned.

    • Volcanu says:

      I just bought Far Cry 3 on sale the other day and am in the process of installing it. Before firing it up fro the first time I’m wondering whether I should install Ziggy’s mod or not? It sounds like it would be more like the sort of experience I’m after, I’m not a fan of the Ubisoft collect-the-icons stuff for the most part, but am wondering if it’s the sort of mod that you really need to get familiar with the base game first to enjoy?

      Does it mess up the campaign at all? I hear the campaign is a bit odious but I’d like to dip into it and see for myself at least.

      I guess what I’m really asking is whether you’d recommend the mod for someone who is ‘going in cold’ or not?

      • Endsville says:

        No, you don’t need to be familiar with the base game and I say that as someone who used the mod for their entire first playthrough. In fact, it’s probably better you’re unfamiliar with it, both because certain requirements for crafting are completely changed (so there’s no point learning them) and because it’s truthfully more fun that way.

        No, it doesn’t mess up the campaign. The only thing it does do is skip the intro sequence before the opening credits and it’s up to you to play that yourself before installing the mod or simply watch it on YouTube.

        So yeah, I recommend it. It just got a new update that changes the length of the day / night cycle and makes the storms more frequent, adding a tiny bit more variety to the world (it’s weird how many things like the physics, day and night cycle and weather system are actually far worse in Far Cry 3 rather than even better). Just check out the list of changes and see what you think but I can say right now that if you enjoy hard but fair difficulty and immersion, then the mod’s for you.

  50. Endsville says:

    Oh, and random thought of mine for people to discuss if they wish: aren’t the choices of playable characters some of the most perfect not-quite-blank-slates for you to step into the shoes of, especially within the context of the game? It’s always fascinated me how there’s such a wide ethnic choice for one thing, but I like that they vary quite a bit in age too, and then on top of that you have a very simple summary of their past work or life but one very open to the player’s interpretation. Some of the best models for roleplaying in the context of a game’s story, I reckon.

    • Pablopa99 says:

      Yes! I love that also, it really helps roleplaying (and Far Cry 2 is definitely an RPG) and it’s often underlooked, another great detail is that the characters you’re not playing appear ingame.