Far Cry 2 is a lot of things, based on the memories I have from playing it a decade ago. First and foremost, I recall Far Cry 2: Parasitic Pain, which tasks you with running around begging for pills to stave off a growing infection. Next comes Far Cry 2: Buddy Bonanza, which lets you make lots of lovely AI friends, charge into battles together, and then hide while they die. Then, there’s Far Cry 2: Firewatch, which is all about watching fire. It's the best.
Fire doesn’t just remain static and slowly disappear in Far Cry 2. It sweeps through the brush and follows the direction of the wind, spreading rapidly up trees and scorching the dry ground. It’s fast, ferocious, and fascinating to watch.
Far Cry 2’s fire probably has useful strategic implementations that you could use to your advantage too. Chuck a molotov and hope the spreading fire pushes enemies out of cover. Leap out of a burning vehicle and watch it smash into an outpost, detonating and causing fire to wreak havoc on your enemies. Both very smart things that someone good at games would do. That isn’t me, though, because you can’t really admire the fire ravaging the landscape while fighting. I want to watch the fire spread far away from the presence of any enemies, so that I can relax and bask in the flames. If I can’t watch the entirety of its short existence, from the first sparks of ignition to the last dying embers, and make excited noises like “ooooo” and “ahhhh” when it engulfs another bush, then is it even worth starting a fire at all? I think not.
When you combine my obsession over its wonderful fires with the frustrating threat of malaria and the constant need to help my dying buddies, it’s no wonder that I never beat Far Cry 2. Still, I don’t think the main missions were ever its focus point. There’s something so satisfying about surviving in its harsh, dangerous world, and I’m pretty sure that’s what the Far Cry series is all about.