Last Level Press

Nutshell Review: Far Cry 2

Reviewer: Cliff Davenport

Far Cry 2 is a lot like a bottle rocket. It starts off with a moment of genuine tension, as you’re just waiting for the explosion that you know is coming any second. Then, as it sparks off, it gives you a tunnel-visioned few seconds of exciting, chaotic movement, an explosion of action, and then…a consistent, disappointing, downward fall back toward the stale, washed-out earth.  And guess what?  Other than a few black cats, now you’re out of fun.  

“Really, man?  You went there?”

Really, Far Cry 2’s first fifteen minutes of gameplay are its best.  After that, the tension drains steadily away into a basin of tedium.  From its oddly desaturated color palette to its arbitrary, repetitive missions, it starts becoming a bore disappointingly quickly.  Its successes only render this fact more disheartening, since the hints of the game it could have been are always there, just out of reach, tantalizing you with their fleeting curves.  Case in point, Far Cry 2’s FPS elements are solidly standard, though its weapon variety is rather lacking; its driving controls are actually surprisingly smooth, if overused and overly drawn out across the untapped vastness of its game world; and the environment and character models are quite well-rendered.  The problem with the latter, as with much of the game as a whole, is that they’re only aesthetically gratifying.  Beyond that, they’re entirely two-dimensional.  We’re never given much backstory for anything or anyone, even our “buddies,” the fellow mercenaries who function a bit like part-time squadmates.  

I have to know the origin story of this man’s mustache.

You have failed me, Ubisoft.  

There’s just never enough incentive for players to immerse themselves in Far Cry 2’s story or environment, and that’s really a shame, considering that the game attempts to tell what ought to be the gripping tale of a malaria-stricken mercenary stranded in an isolated, central African warzone, amid the dangers of warring tribes, petty governments, and the jungle, savannah, and deserts themselves.  Ubisoft, listen closely here.  That should have been awesome!  The few brief glimpses players are given into the psyche of the game’s primary antagonist are by far the most intriguing parts of the narrative, but they’re woefully too few and far between.  Literally everyone else involved in this story is forgettable, despite fairly well-acted voiceovers and scripted scenes.  

What ends up, essentially, as an African yojimbo tale (again, could have been awesome), with players backing, opposing, and playing off of local warlords, somehow manages, despite all of its potential, to become a bland bore of a game with severe pacing and engagement issues.  So much time is spent wasted in transit from one mission location to another that it frequently becomes discouraging to take on new tasks.  The impermanence of players’ accomplishments only calls greater attention to this.  Remember that checkpoint down the road that you spent ten minutes clearing out on the way to your last mission?  


Yeah.  Not two minutes later, you’ll be looking at replaying engagements you’ve already played, finished, and played again every time you take a familiar route across the map.  Sound like fun?  No?  Sound repetetive, poorly thought out, and immersion-shattering?  I thought so too, and if you’re brave enough to stick it out through the drudgery of this game, I applaud and warn you now: don’t get your hopes up for a meaningful reward at game’s end.  

So, wrapping up, unless you’re really hurting for an unfamiliar sandbox shooter, I have to recommend a pass on Far Cry 2.  The pieces of greatness were there, to be sure, but they just didn’t come together well, and for that, I’m saddened.    

Rating: 4.8

Visuals: 6

Audio: 5

Controls & Mechanics: 5

Atmosphere & Experience: 4

Entertainment Value: 4

“Is it time for River Monsters yet?”

  Consoles: (PC), PS3, Xbox 360

  Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

  Publisher: Ubisoft

  Release Date (U.S.):  Oct 21, 2008

  Release Date (U.K.):  Oct 24, 2008

  Release Date (JP):  Dec 25, 2008

Final Verdict:


Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport  Est. 2013.  Links | Legal Notices

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