Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Akoomsh Aug 17, 2013 @ 8:26pm
Why I think Far Cry 2 is one of the most underrated games ever made.
Far Cry 2 has received an overall negative review by a lot of the community online. Occasionally, there's someone who defends it, or even supports it, but for the most part, it seems most people don't even bother finishing it. There are accusations of clunky controls, AI being able to see you from a mile away, chase you across the map, and shoot you accurately at any distance. Enemies respawn in camps you cleared minutes ago, the huge map takes forever to transverse, and you can hardly shoot all the bullets from your gun without having it jam. The story is lacking and repetitive when present, and the ending is unsatisfying.

Some of the good things being said are that the scenery is gorgeous and fits the setting, the realism (using syrettes to heal, having to take pills for malaria, and not being able to use long the guns dropped by enemies due to poor conditions) creates a unique and incredibly memorable gameplay, and missions can be completed in any way you like. Your only instruction is who to kill. Not how, or when, just who.

But despite any of that, no one seems to address the theme. The message of the game. The part that made it better than any other game I have ever played. It seems to have gone completely over everyone's head, despite being literally what the game is about. Due to this being, naturally, loaded with spoilers, I'll explain more at the end. For now, I'll go into detail with the main cons of the game.

One of the things that annoys people most about the game is that enemies respawn so quickly. Clear out an area and leave for a minute chasing a hidden diamond - in game currency - and you can come back minutes later under a hail of bullets from people who have seemingly been camped out there for hours, without any trace of the explosions, wildfires, and general carnage you just caused. I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Naturally reinforcements would have arrrived, and without even justifying it in-game, it helps. It makes it difficult. You can play as long as you want to, you'll never not have enemies around the corner. It gives it the feeling of being hundreds of times larger, somewhere you could lose yourself even with your map and compass. Not to mention it has saved me numerous times from bugs. I remember one specific time I was doing a mission to get more malaria pills. As any player knows, if you've resorted to having to search for more pills, you have minutes left before the disease gets you. I show up at the building, and as usual it's being guarded by 6 or so enemies. I wreck the area with my vehicle-mounted gun, but I can't open the door. I run around desperately, looking for the last guy who I'd have to kill to enter the room, but it appears the game just encountered a bug. I leave the area, drive off a few hundred feet, and when I return I run over the newly spawned enemies and find myself inside the room seconds later. The game had reset the area, and I was able to "retry" without having to worry about losing progress.

A second thing people hate is the AI. Fire half a magazine into one of them and they may not drop dead. If you don't kill them all immediately, one shot and they all know exactly where you are, and have their guns firing before they've even aimed. Not that they need to aim, they rarely miss, from any distance. Run away and they'll grab a truck and chase you until the world ends. Stealth is hard to master, even killing with the machete attracts more attention than it should. You don't notice this, however, as long as you play the game right. I've spent over 60 hours playing, and am currently on my second time through on the hardest difficulty. I have never bought an automatic weapon. Truthfully, they're crap. I spend the game running around with pistols, or a sniper at best. Those and shotguns are the only ones worth the noise. If you have a pistol, you have all you need to beat the game on any difficulty. It's not about the weapon, it's about how you use it. To clear a camp, I hide behind bushes and trees, sneaking closer, until I finally pop up and fire my pistol. 3 shots, one in each head, and I'm not even scratched. Headshots are the only sure way to kill anyone here, and pistols and snipers are the only weapons with enough accuracy to do it. I don't care how many guns and bows are in Far Cry 3, nothing is more satisfying than clearing out a camp with a pistol shot to each head like a trained assassin. If you do need to get away, turn off the road and navigate between bushes. No wonder you're found so easily, the roads are few and if you just put a good tree between you and them, the AI will be stuck long enough for you to be out of there.

I know most of the weapons in the game are automatic, but Far Cry 2 isn't a standard shoot-em-up FPS. You're not an action hero. You're not a movie star with a stunt double. This is where Far Cry 2 excels in realism; in the idea.

One of the best things about Far Cry 2 is that it is a FPS that stands against everything a FPS is. There are shallow things; aiming is laborous and weapons degrade, you need syrettes to heal as you can't just "recover health." Then there are the deep themes. The game starts, and it looks like a standard game of its genre. You're a mercenary, you're in hell, and your sole mission is to kill the Jackal, a standard hollywood black and white bad guy. However, literally before you get to take a step as your character, you get malaria. You pass out and reawaken in a bed. There, across the room, is the Jackal. He's there. The end of the game is in your sights. He walks over to you, machete in hand. He knows who you are. Pulls back his arm, and slams the machete into the wall behind you. He doesn't kill you. You're a mercenary, he says, and you failed. You kill for money, but you failed to kill, and you'll never get your paycheck because of it. Now that you don't have that incentive you're no threat. (the actual dialogue is much better, I'm summarizing.) So he leaves. An explosion goes off, and you look around. He left you his machete, and a pistol. The man you're trying to kill. And he spared you. Why? You assume you're being mocked, and I think you decide to go after him and kill him anyway, out of hurt pride more than anything else. That's not typical. All the while, you're plagued by this disease. You take drugs to heal, and when things get rough you have to hide behind trees and use your teeth to pull a bullet out of your arm, or a foot long iron bar out of your stomach. You aren't an action hero, and this isn't a game. Those are your first hints this is something special. Action heros don't get diseased like that. No one in call of duty had to take actual painkillers to heal in battle. This was the first sign that this was more than a standard FPS game. You get mixed up with the local factions. You want to kill the Jackal, because he is making money by making war, and most of all because he humiliated you. So you do jobs for both sides of the factions. Take out an important leader in one, to get diamonds from the other, which you use to buy guns to kill your former employers, for diamonds from the other side. You don't discriminate. You kill, to get paid, so you can find the man who is killing to get paid, and kill him. Because he is evil. Starting to see a problem? Throughout the game, numerous times, you're approached by the Jackal. He comes to you and belittles you, taunting, and worst of all, reasoning with you. He points out, you came after him, because he makes money from perpetuating war, but to get there, you're perpetuating war yourself. You're no better than him. You ARE him. You are exactly what he is. Killing for money. And you start to believe him. There's a buddy system in-game, where you have a number of other mercenaries who help you out. They offer missions, help with missions, and even revive you and fight with you when you're wounded. At one point, you have to make a decision. You can head to the town and rescue all the refugees being slaughtered by the factions, or head to the hangout place and rescue your buddies, also under attack. I chose to help my buddies. I was knocked unconscious, and fell off a truck later. I nearly died to save these people, as they've nearly died to save me in the past. It felt so genuine. Near the end of the game, you confront your best buddy. They and all the others have turned against you. After they had been offered a few diamonds, they all jump you, and you're trapped in a ring with all of them gunning for you at once. You either die, or you put down one by one the only people you ever trusted in the game. It's horrible. It's stupid. And that's why it works. When it comes down to it, you were all mercenaries. It was just another job for them. No matter how many times you save their lives, people who kill for money are always going to consider killing for money. You leave with all your friends dead, and no one left to trust.

And now, for the magnificent ending.

you wander to a little hut. You have no allies. You have no one to help you. Upon entering the hut, you're confronted by the Jackal. Usually you'd expect, in a game like this, an awesome shootout, or a final scene like in Goldeneye where you fire a bullet and win the game. But he treats you like a friend. He talks to you. He's the only thing you have left, so you stand across from your oldest enemy, and listen. He talks of the war. Of how evil it is, how men are damned to partake. He talks of bad things he's committed, and how you've done the same. And he's right. You realize this fully. This wasn't a game full of good guys who help you, and bad guys who deserve to die. This was a game of people, people who turn on you for money, who give you money to turn on others, and people who make money off of killing. That's what you both are. He's a weapons dealer, you're a merc turned vigilante, but when it comes down to it, you're both a guy stuck in a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ who decided to find a goal and were willing to kill to complete it. It felt so right until now. You think back on how many people you killed, and it applies to all games. Yeah, you shot up the enemy in Call of Duty to save some lives, but do you deserve to live, killing people on such a subjective matter? I think one of the most iconic lines of this scene is when The Jackal says that neither of you deserve to survive this. You're on equal planes, and neither of you have any right to walk out of there and live for it. This is what I love about Far Cry 2. The Jackal tells you, there is only one good thing left you two can do, and that's to save the refugees. He gives you a choice. You can take a bomb, or a briefcase full of diamonds and a gun. You choose which you want. You can take the bomb, climb a mountain, and blow yourself up, collapsing rubble and blocking off the factions from the innocent refugees, or take the diamonds, bribe the border guards into saving the refugees, and then go home and shoot yourself in the head with the pistol. You confront the only real objective in the game, the only assured bad guy, and you make a death pact. You're no hero. You got a disease. You had to kill your only friends. You never even complete the one objective of the whole game.

You're just an average person in an above average game, not a story about a hero, a story about a man in a hero's situation, who ends up paying for trying to be a hero. It's an anti-FPS. You're not running around with a gun shooting people. You're making choices the player even rationalized, and paying for it in such a realistic and harsh way, it becomes more of a lesson than a game. You pick one option, and he picks the other. You don't "win" the game. You chose to "chase after the bad guy," but when you realize you're not the good guy, it hits you like nothing you've ever seen. You deserve to die, and you do. It's a shooter about how shooting is bad, a game about morality and life, and definitely the most thought-out and moving game I have ever played.

And that's why I think Far Cry 2 is one of the most original, genre-defying First Person Shooters in existence. I just don't think many other people saw that through the 2008 graphics and repetitive missions.

That really saddens me.
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Showing 1-15 of 139 comments
Karma Aug 17, 2013 @ 10:14pm 
if i could give out reputation points....i would give you a bazillion. Thank you very much for writing this, as i read every word....and ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ loved it. I completely agree with you on this notion, and have fought hard to get people to see THIS side of the game. I just believe the majority of the people who played this game were tooo narrow minded, and didnt realize that this situation that you're put into is actually a pretty realistic situation to what goes on in some countries around the world.

What i personally loved about the ending was how, even though you deserved to die, you fought all this way to save 2 million people. While the story may not be very heroic, you still die feeling like your sins were washed away by sacrificing yourself to save 2 million people.

On the old steam forums, we actually had a discussion about the possibility of you BEING the jackal. As if to say that "the jackal" was just a character created sub-consciously to show you who you've become, because in the end, you're basically on equally ground with the jackal anyway.

Jesus H Christ, i'm really motivated by this, and i just may have to play thru again. Amazing writing dude...very inspiring.
Scrambled Bacon Aug 18, 2013 @ 12:08am 
Dam,I could really and I mean REALLY RELATE TO THIS POST!
Akoomsh Aug 18, 2013 @ 1:51am 
Thanks. I finished my first playthrough several months ago, and I'll admit, I was a little disappointed. After having it all sit in the back of my mind, I started to realize the message it was sending. I only really got it several months after playing it but I immediately went back and now I'm seeing it all fit together on my second playthrough.
Scarface_tfs Aug 18, 2013 @ 9:43am 
Exactly how I felt about the entire game. I true underrated gem of the genre that rewards the patient players who have time to understand the wider meaning of the game.

The only complaint I had was definetely the weapon damage, but the realism mod completely removes that issue. Playing on Infamous difficulty with the realism mod makes the game so much more tense when you and the enemies are on an equal footing. One burst of rifle fire can kill you and one burst can kill them and that is what makes it all the more rewarding to play. Try it out.

Last edited by Scarface_tfs; Aug 18, 2013 @ 9:43am
Akoomsh Aug 18, 2013 @ 11:56am 
That's a really good idea. Thanks, man. I'll try it.
Originally posted by scarface_tfs:
Exactly how I felt about the entire game. I true underrated gem of the genre that rewards the patient players who have time to understand the wider meaning of the game.

The only complaint I had was definetely the weapon damage, but the realism mod completely removes that issue. Playing on Infamous difficulty with the realism mod makes the game so much more tense when you and the enemies are on an equal footing. One burst of rifle fire can kill you and one burst can kill them and that is what makes it all the more rewarding to play. Try it out.

Seerk Aug 18, 2013 @ 4:10pm 
Well said.
wallhugger \_/7 Aug 22, 2013 @ 4:25pm 
If a game is boring, then people will stop playing. I understand you like the game for other reasons than the repetition. That's okay, it the uniqueness of the story was just not good enough for me. Honestly the guards coming back so quickly and their magic X-ray vision eyes bothered me so much that I adopted 2 tactics. 1 grab a fast car and just never bother with them again, 2 stop playing the game. I also think I stopped playing after a bug occured that I couldn't heal my teamate(or something like that).
What else that bothered me to no end was that all the rebels(that you could shoot) were white yet the setting was Africa... seriously?

I'm willing to give the game a second chance though, but my ps3 is broken....
Akoomsh Aug 22, 2013 @ 7:28pm 
You're right, it does take too long for the story to go anywhere, but I definitely think the hours of repetition and how bored you got killing people really culminated to bring the ending through for the people who could work through it. I was far from "complete" in the game; I didn't get half the diamonds or tapes, just the main missions. That may have been what enabled me to work through it. Even so, my point is as a game it's pretty bad, but it's more than a game, and it's good in a way games aren't. If you can learn how the game works (and you can- get used to headshots, buy a camo suit, and don't sneak up from where they're looking), learn how to deal with the AI, and try to keep up with who's who in the story, you come to admire it for being such a great concept in a less-than-ideal game. I think the term "diamond in the rough" is appropriate here, and that applies to the morals in the game.

The explanation for the race of the people is given in-game, I believe. In the taxi drive at the beginning, your driver complains about the "foreigners" taking advantage of Africa. If you listen closely, the accent of the enemies aren't always native, many are Austrailian, etc.

Even before the game begins, when you chose your character, you have a choice between an Israeli, Hungarian, and many others. No one native. The point is, you and all your buddies are foreign mercenaries, and the majority of the other people destroying the countries are, too. People who seek out war zones to live a modern cowboy fantasy, who go to get rich, or for adventure. You, the Jackal, your buddies, and the enemies all have absolutely no business there. You're there taking advantage of the terrible situation, and that's why it's you, the Jackal, and your buddies who die in the end, for fighting someone else's fight in the name of money.

In fact, you encounter few natives in the entire game. There are the refugees, and (perhaps some of) the warlords. Everyone else came by choice, and the real natives were stuck in the middle. That's what the Jackal meant when he said none of you deserve to come out of this alive.

The game itself should have been done better, and perhaps the meaning and explanation for things shouldn't be buried deeper than the average person wants to look, but I think they poured all their game-making power purely into the message, and while it didn't work as well for most people as a few finishing touches to the rest of it would have, for those of us who see this small part of it, it's definitely at least a solid attempt away from the generic hero-can-get-away-with-murder element present in many other games of its genre.
D7Play Aug 22, 2013 @ 11:01pm 
I rented Far Cry 3 and I like it. I never try Far Cry 2 before. I always wonder if if my xbox 360 wired controller is supported ?
Eqo Aug 23, 2013 @ 8:03am 
I agree the theme of this game and the powerful message it delivers makes it truly great. More games should do things like this.
Akoomsh Aug 23, 2013 @ 1:29pm 
Originally posted by Eqo:
I agree the theme of this game and the powerful message it delivers makes it truly great. More games should do things like this.

It'd be neat if more games had complex inner themes in more simple gameplay, definitely (and many probably do) but I think Far Cry 2's message was as moving as it was because it was so unexpected in a game of its kind, and in the fact that it was obviously much more thought out than anyone can imagine from 5 minutes of gameplay. If more games were written beautifully, they'd get better recieved as works of art, but I think it's Far Cry 2's hidden gem status that makes it so appealing. Maybe if different issues and themes were addressed, it would work, but games tend to run down the same ideas until they can turn up more of a profit from being different.

The writer of Far Cry 2 is really dissapointed in general game stories and is leaving, and I wanted to write to her and let her know how much her work is appreciated by some of us as opposed to mainstream FPS culture.
Leshy Aug 23, 2013 @ 7:31pm 
After reading that nostalgia hit me hard as a granade in COD thrown by AI, I;am in proces of reinstalling game from Uplay *(god forsake part of internet)
ZeekAncient Aug 28, 2013 @ 8:09pm 
Far Cry 2 is an awesome game. I think that Far Cry 3 even expanded on what Far Cry 2 did great and perfected its openess and style. But Far Cry 3 also took out some of the rawness and realism that Far Cry 2 had, but overall I really like both games. Although right now I am really loving Far Cry 3, its world is lush and just amazing.
Akoomsh Aug 28, 2013 @ 9:08pm 
Originally posted by zeekancient:
Far Cry 2 is an awesome game. I think that Far Cry 3 even expanded on what Far Cry 2 did great and perfected its openess and style. But Far Cry 3 also took out some of the rawness and realism that Far Cry 2 had, but overall I really like both games. Although right now I am really loving Far Cry 3, its world is lush and just amazing.

I'll admit I haven't played the third one yet, but I know quite a bit about it. I don't see it as an expansion, and in fact I don't see the Far Cry games as a series at all. They're all so different. I see it as a sort of evolution of a genre - the original resembled the FPS game of its time, and the third resembles a more modern idea of what a game like this is thought to be. The second is something of an outlier, because as far as I know, the first and third don't explore deep rooted themes like the second.

The third arguably has a steady and developed theme of insanity, but it doesn't go far with it, and it's all surface things, making the game more to play than to think about. I'm sure Far Cry 3 is a great game, and I like the additional openness, but the series is essentially only a series by blood, instead of theme or style. This gives them diversity, however because I admire Far Cry 2 for its realism and story, I just can't see myself becoming as attatched to the other games.
Karma Aug 29, 2013 @ 8:58am 
The 3rd one had an ok story, mostly depicting how far someone is willing to push their anger, but the part i really enjoyed was wondering how if might affect you. In 2, you never really wondered if your actions had consequences, you just...did things. Then, FLASH, you made a decision based on the conseqences. I really enjoyed 3, for it's world was astonishing and the ability to literally go ANYWHERE, unlike 2. However, while 2 isn't a realism simulation, it felt much more realisitc than 3 which felt way too arcade-y. 2 was much more difficult as well, as Infamous gave me a challenge everytime and many times i had to adjust tactics on the spot to get out of a situation. 3 never really gave me that opportunity because the game was too easy. As you develop these skills, the enemies become way too easy, and even with a mod that disables the cameras abilities to wall-hack, it was still too easy. If the game would have been harder, i might have liked it as much as 2.....also could do without the cutscenes every 5 minutes....

Aside from the story, the gunplay in 2 is still some of the best i've ever seen. Goes hand-in-hand with the theme of the game i suppose, because i love the action of shooting the guns in 2, which in turn made me enjoy killing everyone = the whole point to the story anyway. Gives me more of a connection to the story.

Damn, i just read the OP again....♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ love it.
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Date Posted: Aug 17, 2013 @ 8:26pm
Posts: 139