11 Reviews

Far Cry 2

Go on an unrelenting, all-action safari in the most realistic shooter ever created.

Today you're being paid to blow things up. Tell me you do not love your job". Addi Mbantuwe, leader of the United Front for Liberation and Labor knows that African civil wars aren't won through diplomacy - just mayhem and bullets.

Far Cry 2 is this year's equivalent of Assassin's Creed. Ignore the fact that one involves a guy running around in his pyjamas and the other, well, doesn't.

And ignore the fact that they belong to two very different genres. What these two games have in common are some of the most sensually realistic game worlds ever created. When it comes to enveloping the player in exotic sights and sounds, well, Ubisoft has absolutely nailed it.

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The other thing that both games have in common is that they're both extremely shy of controversy, despite having settings that are naturally loaded with political and religious issues. Creed took religion out of the crusades, while Far Cry 2 has chosen to avoid an abundance of real-life African wars and represent a completely fictional conflict in a completely fabricated land.

Perhaps it lacks the power and emotiveness that it could have had, but this is still an amazingly bombastic piece of entertainment. Although it has a similar look to other console shooters, the structure is much more non-linear.

It's also bursting with unique features designed to fully immerse you in the role of a survivalist/mercenary - a sort of Bear Grylls meets Dog the Bounty Hunter.
Nothing in this world comes easy. You're made to physically perform all the seemingly minor tasks that other FPS games don't even think of.

When your car breaks down, for instance, you have to get out and repair it. When you get shot, makeshift surgery is required to remove the bullet and stop you from bleeding to death. When you want to check the map, you actually have to equip it like an item and read it when you're on the move.

Some of these tasks might sound mundane, but it's a different story altogether when you're surrounded and under heavy fire. There's no way to pause the game and heal yourself or look for an escape route, you really have to think on your feet. More often than not, this means jumping into cover or attempting to hijack the nearest getaway car.

Combine the fact that almost everyone in the world wants to kill you with a very fragile health bar, and the first few hours of play can be extremely punishing. You really do feel like a survivalist.

When you do well it's a massive thrill, when you're killed because your gun jammed at the worst possible moment, you'll be cursing the game for being too realistic.

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Saving grace
It's only once you've completed a few missions and unlocked a selection of safe houses - the game's remote save points - that a sense of freedom begins to replace the fear of failure. Earning enough money to buy factory-grade weapons also makes a huge difference. Guns found on the battlefield are much more prone to jamming, and are also much less accurate than ones you've purchased.

With some decent guns in hand, the tables really do turn. You go from a downtrodden 'fraidy cat, to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator.

Even if you can't afford to buy a killer arsenal, every weapon in the game can be retrieved somewhere in the world. There's nothing stopping you from finishing the first mission with a bazooka if you can find it.

And that's what separates Far Cry 2 from other shooters of this ilk - that there really aren't any rules to follow.

The wealth of strategies available when completing the story missions is really quite outstanding. In the early stages, stealth is advisable but never mandatory. If you think you can take on an entire mountain-top fortress full of militia, then by all means give it a try.

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