PAX 08 in Review: Far Cry 2

Thursday, September 4, 2008
When you were a child, did you ever play war? You'd get your friends together, grab some sticks for guns, set up a fort, then stalk around the woods, field, empty lot or whatever was nearby. The game grew more complex as you and your friends grew older. You started simply, with hands and a bang bang noise, now you have paintball guns and painful welts. Well, if shooters follow the same rules, Far Cry 2 is the equivalent of active military service.

Ubisoft's latest shooter is the first to offer a truly open world environment. Your character, picked from eight pre-made characters with unique looks and back stories is sent to Africa kill an arms dealer called the Jackal. The missions are non-linear, the factions are dynamic (complete with a chain of command) and strict attention has been payed to make the game as immersive as possible.

Weapons will degrade and jam, cars will break down, bullet trajectory is effected by the weather, you'll even have to preform first aid to keep yourself alive. Throughout it all, you'll almost never leave the first person perspective. There are no teleporting cameras when getting into vehicles, switching seats or completing missions. The immersive nature is taken even further with a minimal HUD. The obligatory ammo and health meters take up very little space on the screen without being difficult to read.

The other characters in the game fill roles as "buddies." They'll provide you with weapons, safehouses, missions, even pull you out of danger when you're about to die. They aren't invincible though, and if they die, you're not going to see them again. It's all been taken into account though, and getting your buddies killed isn't going to break the story.

The ways to play Far Cry 2 are about as endless as you could imagine. Go in as a sniper, blow everything up, sneak around with silenced weapons or break out the man sized machine guns. It's all bout playing the game you want to play. Ubisoft has been taking great pains to ensure their latest releases have a longer shelf life. Open world gameplay is becoming a big part of the gaming world and Ubisoft has managed to get their foot in the door early.

As for the map editor, well, the best way for me to explain it is to just show it to you. Words are useless.