Monday, March 5, 2012

Farcry 2 review - It's a....Far-cry to Africa!

(The first article of March, woohoo!)

Farcry 2 was released as a sequel to Farcry, a game about a deserted island, mutants and a ex special forces officer who was then a boat captain. Farcry 2 (FC2) is about a mercenary attempting to kill a weapons dealer in Africa. The difference as you can see – is evident. The games are so far apart. In FC, there were maybe...6 weapons, if I remember correctly at least. In FC2 there are more...way more...and you can upgrade them! In FC, it was a linear story driven game with mutants, not a trace of mutation in FC2. (In all seriousness, the mutant plot was really good, why they dropped it is beyond me...) But anyway, enough background information, lets dive on in.

Farcry 2 is set in the continent of Africa, and I’m talking about a part of Africa which is fuelled by the Kalashnikov. You play the game as a mercenary, payed to kill The Jackal, an arms dealer who is pitting two groups against each other, fuelling the war with arms for everyone at ever decreasing prices. But as you are sent in, the hotel you are staying in gets attacked by the militias, you get attacked by The Jackal who spares your life, however you get malaria. You are then sent to a couple of places, where they realise you are dying from malaria, and then you have to help them in return for them saving your life. The game then revolves around you getting closer to The Jackal, generally by helping out other people for information.

I didn't talk about it - but fire is a great feature of the game!
The gameplay of FC2 is based around the missions you are given by various people, which is the main quest. Then there are the side quests, which you can acquire in a variety of ways. Essentially, you get a quest, you finish it, you drive to the next one, rinse and repeat. You’ll complete the game pretty quickly if that is your method, however there is much more to FC2 than just a main story. You have a pretty wide berth of exploration in this continent of Africa. Throughout this berth, you have roadblocks full of enemies, safehouses which you can take for yourself, and diamonds to find. (More on those later.) All of these locations full of enemies are tracked. For example, there are around 120 roadblocks in the game, and the first time you clear one, you get a tick of approval from the game and you can move on. Of course if you are lazy, you can just drive on through...but now it’s time to start complaining.

Roadblocks have to be the worst idea in the game. There are really some sweet ideas in this game, but the roadblocks really are not one of them. The essential facts are that if you are driving someone, on various pre-set intersections there is a roadblock. There are maybe...10 enemies or so in a roadblock, and about two vehicles. (Ed. It should be mentioned that the “vehicles” which Mr. Prickly speaks of are jeeps with mounted MG’s on top. Nothing like tanks or anything...) If you decide to get out and clear the roadblock manually, you waste time and ammunition, and probably a ton of health. However what is annoying is that if you just drive straight through and try avoid the roadblock, the bad guys get in their vehicles and chase you down, with 100% success. This then means you have to get out or get on your gun and shoot them. However, in the chase, your vehicle has probably been either damaged or destroyed. This then means that if you haven’t captured an enemy vehicle by shooting out the driver (which is difficult) you have to walk. DO NOT MAKE ME WALK EVER. IT IS ANNOYING. If walking is the only method of transport in the game, that’s fair play if you have to walk. BUT, if there is a vehicle in the game used for transport, and the game is going to make me walk...yeah, just don’t. YOU WILL get me pissed off at the game, and I WILL quit. But this isn’t why I don’t like FC2.

My main problem with the game is that every mission is the damn same. Murder and destruction, that’s it, now in a linear game it’s not so bad. Why is not so bad? Because it’s what you are expecting, and you can then tailor the game around the principle of set encounters in a linear fashion. However in an open world (or at least quasi open world) game you need to cater for that audience, and having an essentially linear set of combats is not the way to do it. Every mission pretty much has you killing someone, or a group. There’s one mission near the beginning which I remember in which you have to rescue a hostage. But that also feels set, you walk up to the place, case out the joint (Ed. Did you really just say that?) then take down the bad guys. That’s it, the premise may be different, but it’s killing none the less. Then we go back to the roadblocks. To get anywhere, I mean in between missions AND during missions, there’s a good chance you’ll go through at least, maybe more. This means that before going to do this interesting form of killing, you have to do some redundant killing just to get there. Oh, and did I mention that even though you can “clear” a roadblock, the enemies still respawn? BECAUSE THEY DO.

There are some really cool points to Farcry 2 though, amidst all my complaining. An example would be the diamond system. In the game, at a set amount (I forget how many) of locations, there are diamonds in singular form. You also get stipends of diamonds for the missions you complete. You can use these diamonds for a couple of main purposes, which are buying guns, equipment and manuals. Guns are reasonably self-explanatory, equipment includes such things as grenades and health syringes. Manuals are items which improve your proficiency in certain actions, such as repairing your vehicle, and firearm proficiency. The prices of things feel really good, and the game always something neat you can buy, and WANT to buy. Now then, I may hear you say, “If you have to find diamonds, why would you buy guns? What if you lose it?” Well that’s the next cool thing. Remember earlier I was talking about taking safehouses? Well, I’ll get back to that. Essentially, next to each store, there is an armoury. In that armoury there are all the guns you have unlocked, also a box representing each class of weapon, primary, secondary and heavy. What you can do, is take a gun off the wall of the armoury and place it in a box. It will then respawn on the wall after a short period of time if you are outside the armoury. The other thing is that in every safehouse, there are three boxes. In those boxes are the weapons placed in the corresponding box in the armoury. This is really great for if you are just cruising through the African plains, low on ammo, then suddenly, you are near a safehouse! Yes, that gun you prepared earlier, it’s right there!

Blowing away them bad guys - like a boss.

Farcry 2 is a game which has so much potential, so many good ideas. But it’s marred so badly by roadblocks and repetitive questing. It’s like an RPG without the RP. I still personally wish they just stuck with mutants.

1 comment:

  1. needs more toto

    goes along way in explaining how the diamonds can be used to buy *and* keep weapons, something which a lot of people were often unsure about when playing the game early on

    the respawning checkpoints are probably the only black-mark I have on the game myself (moreso the inability to mod this), but the weapon damages etc. can all be easily modded if you wish

    FC2 was a great game (and still is). The dunia engine is incredible and I am feverishly awaiting FC3 come September to see how much more they have beefed it up and of course how the gameplay and storyline tie-in together in yet another open-world RPG by Ubisoft (I'd include the AC series in this too haha)

    Cheers for the review!