As a fan of Far Cry, I cannot wait for the release of Far Cry 5. Because of that, I wanted to go back to all of the Far Cry games and rank them, like I did with the Resident Evil series. Unfortunately, one more parallel can be drawn from that list: an entry in the series that I personally do not like to the point that I write an entry about how why I don't like it. That game: Far Cry 2. I first tried it awhile ago and didn't like, I just came back to it and finished it but didn't like, and now here I am talking about it.
Usually, I like to talk about the positives of a game I dislike, and their are positives to be found in this game. At its core, the game feels like a Far Cry game. The shooting feels good, the graphics are alright, and the freedom to take on missions in whatever way you see fit is in this game. So why is it so bad? Going back to this game, I found that their were a lot of systems that had one or two good little aspects to it, but was surrounded by so many bad aspects that I just couldn't stand playing the game. When I was thinking about writing this, I was going to talk about how this game should be given credit for really starting what we now know as Far Cry, but after thinking about what this game brings new to the table I realized that this game doesn't do much new for the series. I thought how this game brought the freedom of taking on missions in your own way into Far Cry, but then I realized that the first Far Cry had that, and I personally think it did that better than this one. The more I thought about contributions FC2 brought to the series, I realized that it actually originated from the first game. In the end, the only thing I can think of that Far Cry 2 brought to the series was making it open world (and open world elements like gun stores, etc.), and even then it wasn't a radical new step as for the first game had some pretty open levels. Really, the only things I can get out of FC2 that I liked are the fact that it is open world, and only because it got the rest of the series to be open world, and the map system where I could pull up a map without the need to pause the game.
Speaking of doing things usually, I would usually start with the thing I hate the most after talking about the things I like. The issue with that is I hate multiple aspects of this game equally. So I will start with the weapons; more specifically the durability system. When it comes to the weapons, I felt that they were just meh. I felt that no gun truly packed a punch, and none of the weapons were customizeable. But most of my issue with the weaponry lies in the weapon rusting systems.
Generally, I am not a fan of weapon durability in games, but I can usually live with it if it's a good system. Far Cry 2's system is not. By the way, this theme of a system I like surrounded by garbage like I said previously will come up more. Back to the point; the weapon durability system isn't good at all. The weapons rust way too fast, and it's hard to tell when a gun is beginning to break down because the color difference isn't that substantial. Having a clean weapon then picking up an enemy weapon is usually pretty noticeable, but having a clean weapon and using it until it's dirty isn't. On top of that, I feel that weapon jams where happening too soon in a gun's life cycle. I can't say I am entirely opposed to weapons jamming, as for it speaks to its survival aspects, but with them jamming so fast I felt constantly annoyed that it will jam any time soon and I felt like I had to constantly go back to the gun store and get fresh guns. If you were to ask me on what should've been in place, I would say that weapons you pick up from gun stores don't rust and jam, while weapons you pick up from enemies do jam. But the weapon system can be fine if their are enough gun stores and they can be fast-traveled to. Well, that's what leads to the next big issue.
The map is split up into two parts. These parts can only be accessed one-at-a-time, not as something that unlocks the second half and is attached to the first half. In each half, their are only four gun stores (and one maybe near a bar, but isn't shown on the map) and five fast travel points. And you cannot fast travel to the gun stores, only to the designated fast travel points placed at each corner of the map (roughly) and the center. If you want to break down my weapons, fine; but at least allow me an easy access to the gun stores to pick up the new weaponry. Some of the stores are pretty close to the bus stops, but if I need to go to the southwest part of the map for a mission but the closest gun store to a bus stop (the bus stops are the fast travel stops) is in the northwest part of the map, then I feel like that extra journey to that gun store is too much of a hassle and I end up not doing it. I can get not giving fast travel points at first to force the player to explore the area, but do I really need to experience that same area for the sixth time? Not having more fast travel points was an annoyance, but what I am going to talk about next turned this annoyance into frustration.
In recent Far Cry games, their are tiered enemies. The challenge in the recent games was as you progressed through, different enemy types with better weaponry started to appear. Armored soldiers, flamethrower soldiers, and even helicopters started to appear while the weapons being used by the common soldiers were packing more of a punch. Far Cry 2 does this this to a certain degree. Yes, the enemies have different weapons like assault rifles, snipers, and shotguns, and yes, those guns got better as you progressed through the world (but not cleaner). But instead of new enemy types, this game throws a constant stream of enemies at you in hopes of keeping you constantly engaged, but in the end turned into one of the biggest annoyances I have ever encountered in any game. Remember when I said that gun stores can sometimes be near a bus stop? Well, not only do you have to drive to get over to the store, you have to drive through constant enemies that don't prove to be much of a challenge. Whether it be the vehicles you encounter on the roads that will always be hostile and drive faster than your car, or the many checkpoints that lie on the road that respawn enemies too soon, this game will throw enemies at you until sigh or do a sort of laugh-cry hybrid every time you encounter an enemy along the way to a mission that involves killing more enemies. The game has what I am guessing is around twenty-five checkpoints at each half of the map (fifty-something in total), and all of them lie on the road and all of them have enemies respawn at them way too fast. And just when you think you can out-run the enemies, they will either shoot the car until it gets steamy and slow down or get in their car and catch up to you because their cars are faster than yours. And that isn't counting the random drivers on the road. If you want to restrict fast travel, fine, but don't make every time I travel somewhere a pain. Speaking of pain for both my character and me, let's talk about the hot topic of this game: malaria.
Honestly, I am actually fine with the act of getting malaria pills. If I was given the option to do as many malaria missions as I want, I would just do them all and stack up malaria pills. If they were infinitely generated, that would be alright for me. But of course, Far Cry 2 doesn't do that. Admittedly, having the malaria strike on scripted times was not the worst, although it didn't feel natural. Really, the big issues I had with malaria was that I never knew how many pills I had and I couldn't access the malaria missions whenever I wanted. Like I said, I wish I could stack on malaria, but I couldn't and I didn't know when I would run out, which always lead me to this paranoia of when I would run out. You knew when you would run out and could do a mission directly after running out to stock up, but being forced to do this only when I ran out was annoying, and having a couple of missions only give you one pill meant you had to keep doing it. I can get that the game wants you to have this thought as it could pertain to the thought of running out of life-saving pills in real life, but in real life you could easily pop off the lid and see how many you have left.
The rest of my issues I won't dedicate a whole paragraph each to, but are still issues that are just as bad as the ones stated. I'll start with the high amount of bugs in the game that were at times funny but mostly annoying. The game is almost a decade old, I am going to take a guess that they won't get fixed. The story is pretty bad, but that can be said for all of the Far Cry games so I don't hold this aspect as severely as the others. Despite this, I found the ending to be bad, as for both endings will literally lead to the same exact cutscene, which made either decision pointless. Now I can see the point of saying going back to world after either ending you choose in the recent Far Cry games can also diminish the ending, but having different endings and going back to the world is a lot better than providing different endings, ending on the same note either way, and not going back to the open. Oh yeah, you can't go back to the open world, so anything you want to do you better do before hitting the ending. I can see that the ending doesn't warrant going back, but I'll just refer to what I said earlier about endings for that. The color palette is incredibly dull, something that isn't like every other Far Cry game. It's a common theme I guess for games that take place in Africa to have a dull palette (RE5 for example), but I still feel something could've been done. Having optional missions on top of the normal missions was alright at first as for it was something extra to do, it changed the plot around a bit that strayed from the boring binary APR vs. UFLL, and it didn't really change the main objective. But every optional mission ended with you finding your partner who gave you the mission fighting enemies in which he always died (and I mean dead dead, like he will never be seen again dead), and it was practically impossible to save them. Not only that, picking up optional missions and doing optional missions would sometimes be nowhere near the main one, which meant I had to travel on the roads and it meant I had to keep playing the game. One time, I traveled from a bus stop to an optional mission pickup which required fighting through two checkpoints, which lead to the optional mission being on the same road which meant fighting through the same two checkpoints (they spawn that fast), then the main mission was beyond the optional mission pickup which meant fighting through the same two checkpoints for a third time, then returning back to the bus stop to go back to the center of the map which meant fighting through the same two checkpoints for a fourth time. Fun.
Now, a lot of this can be said to be in the game because the game takes a more survivalist and realistic approach to gameplay. Guns rust in real life (not that fast though), you can catch malaria in real life, and fast traveling isn't a real thing (even though it isn't teleporting, it's just traveling to a point without you being forced to do so). I can respect a game trying to be realistic, but I feel that the game doesn't go all the way with this and I am left on this balance between realistic and video game-y. If this was truly realistic, then why is there a functioning transit system in a war-torn country? Why are there no civilians trapped in this country with you? How can a car be shot up then repaired by tightening a piece in front of the car? This is all nitpicking really, but elements like this made me think that it is like any other open world game while its realistic elements made the game feel more realistic. I found that this balance is terrible because every step of the way I wanted its realistic elements to be dumbed-down. Having elements like fast travel and checkpoints where enemies don't respawn the second you leave is in other games not because it is trying to be less realistic or more realistic, but rather less annoying and more fun. And that is the big issue with this game: it forgot how to be fun. Call me whatever you want for wanting fun over realism, but I think Far Cry 2 does a terrible job at both.
Is Far Cry 2 a hardcore experience in my eyes? No. I would say Far Cry 2 is an endurance experience. It's a game that tests how long you can go with with its systems, but not in a good way. Despite being unique from all of the future Far Cry titles (not in a good way), some core elements of Far Cry, some pretty impressive graphics, bringing the open world to the series, and the map system, Far Cry 2 in my eyes is terrible for so many reasons. Is Far Cry 2 the worst game I have played? Quite possibly. But can I also respect why people love the game? Yes. This game does have some good elements, but for me its like the needle in a crap haystack that can never be found, whether by accident or by design.