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Far Cry 2 - PS3 - Review

Thanks to its late entry in the next-generation console war, the original Far Cry skipped Sony’s console for the Xbox 360 when it was re-released by the good folks at Ubisoft. The first game might not have revolutionized first-person shooters but it was way too much fun that it wasn’t surprising to see expansion packs even on a console like the original Xbox. Far Cry 2 for the PlayStation 3, on the other hand, shoots for something different and hits the target. What we have here is a first-person shooter that will make action fans happy to take up arms again. 

Under the African sky ...

While this sequel carries the Far Cry title, Far Cry 2 doesn’t star Jack Carver nor does the game mention him or the tropical paradise where dangerous mercenaries wanting nothing more than to put a bullet in you and where powerful mutated freaks run amok. This game doesn’t even feature Feral abilities. What we do get is an original action tale that takes place in a region in Africa during a civil war that turned the area into a war zone. You even get to pick a character from a short roster of characters that will represent you in the game.

 

Either character you pick, the mission remains the same. You are sent into Africa to stop a notorious arms dealer known as The Jackal. Unfortunately, you quickly develop an illness that cripples you enough that The Jackal manages to get the drop on you and tell you that if you will regret it if you continue to pursue him. Sensing you need help, especially in foreign land where a conflict between two warring factions (the military power that is the UFLL and the revolutionary army of the APR), you manage to find allies willing to help you put an end to a “merchant of death” who is fanning the flame of war. The way you figure it, sometimes it takes violence to put an end to violence.

Instead of following a linear path like most first-person shooters, Far Cry 2 offers an open-world environment while also allowing you the freedom to tackle a mission in any matter. You can even chose to take a joyride through the lovely African wild if you want or spend it searching for diamonds you can use to purchase necessary items or weapons from merchants. Various missions are offered by a number of sources whether it’s a local journalist looking to uncover the truth behind the UFLL or aiding the APR in their battle against the military.

With a little help from my friends ...

Allies also play a big role in the game to the point that most of them will become listed as your Buddies. Buddies can offer backup during missions if you require it and they can even pull you out of harms way when things look bad for you. Your friends even offer suggestions when you’re about to take on a major mission or even propose an alternate option as a personal favor. Your friends can also die in battle if you don’t administer first aid. Apart from working with allies, you can also secure safe houses to save the game, grab some weapons from your cache as well as fast-forward time.

The game’s single-player mode might not weave an intricate tale but the game makes up for it with a lengthy campaign with much to do. There’s also a lot of terrain to cover in the game, enough that you’ll definitely appreciate the return of vehicles in the game as well as a new bus stop feature that allows you to hope on a bus to the nearest town. Speaking of towns, Far Cry 2 does a great job of depicting African towns and villages ravaged by civil war and that includes late night curfews and ceasefire agreements.

 

When the bullets fly in the game you will remember each gunfight. Those very familiar with the original Far Cry won’t find the controls all that different on the PS3. The D-pad still maps your weapons but instead of a knife you have a machete. While you won’t be able to set traps like the first game, the long arsenal list makes up for it. You’ll have a number of weapon options that go beyond different handguns and it’s great to see flamethrowers that work as good as the one in this game.

I would love to say that this is a perfect game but it does have a most notable problem and it’s the framerate. For the most part it remains rock steady but then again there are many moments when framerate stutter rears its ugly head. The Buddy AI isn’t always smart either and there are times when you’ll waste health syringes reviving a fallen comrade. The framerate issues also pop up in the game’s multiplayer mode but it’s not as bad that it holds the awesome multiplayer mode back. The Map Editor is back and it’s even deeper and more elaborate enough to let your creativity run free. Even the game match types are actually fun.

Beautiful enough to make you cry ...

Graphically speaking, Far Cry 2 is visually stunning and isn’t short on visual detail. The African landscape is so elaborately displayed that there are times when I had to stop my jeep just long enough to admire a sunset over a body of water not far from my main camp. You’ll notice signs of the civil war everywhere and watch passing military trucks carrying UFLL soldiers to a base. Fires flicker and bodies crumple after the killing shot. Even explosions and gunfire look great on the PS3 but I do wish character faces didn’t look as bland as they do in this game.

 

It’s easy to get lost in the game’s visual beauty but it’s the ambient sound effects that really drive home the feeling that you’re in such an exotic locale. The unseen wildlife comes to life so vividly that it almost drowns out the sound of your own footsteps. There’s a great voice acting cast to be found here and it’s just as diverse as the different sound each weapon makes when discharged. The soundtrack is also beautifully handled with a nice African flavor the certainly compliments the locale.

There are very few first-person shooter series that not only maintain the same excitement as the original but also takes a massive leap forward in almost every possible aspect. Far Cry 2 for the PlayStation 3 is not only a fantastic sequel but also a truly inspiring first-person shooter that’s just too fun to want to put down. Fans of the original will notice that it stays away from the mutant theme of the first game but this second outing more than makes up for it with a compelling action game that will have you playing this one for quite a long time to come.

Review Scoring Details for Far Cry 2

Gameplay: 9.0
The first-person shooter action is just as good as the original but the open-ended adventure and the freedom it grants you makes this Far Cry sequel stand out. The lengthy single-player game offers a lot to see and do and you can tackle missions anyway you see fit. You can even include an NPC friend along on a mission and purchase loads of new weapons and equipment.

Graphics: 8.9
Just like the first game did a great job of placing you in a virgin tropical paradise, Far Cry 2 does a magnificent job of displaying Africa’s many vistas so the backgrounds are gorgeous. The character models aren’t bad but they couldn’t have been better.

Sound: 9.0
Africa comes to life with all the sights but also with all the sounds as well. There’s excellent voice acting in this game and the weapon fire sounds more realistic than in other first-person shooters out there. Even the soundtrack is great.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard
The enemies you’ll go up against are relentless and many of them do know how to take cover. Some of them even know when they’ve been outmatched and will attempt to run away. You’ll also find some dumb enemies but there is no doubt that this game is challenging no matter what difficulty setting you pick.

Concept: 9.0
There are no Feral abilities in this one and the story is in no way connected to Jack Carver but darn if you won’t get sucked into the game’s rich African environment and the interesting conflict that arises during your stay. The addition of Buddies and the ability to pick different ways of completing a mission breathes new life to genre. The Map Editor is back and it’s still awesome.

Multiplayer: 9.0
The Map Editor is deep enough that you’ll spend more time designing your unique multiplayer map than playing through the four game match types. Uprising is destined to be the popular game match type and this time there are more load out weapons and class types to use. There are some framerate issues but it’s not severe.

Overall: 9.0
Far Cry 2 is a deep and involving first-person shooter that propels the series forward to new and engaging heights. While it completely dismisses all the elements introduced in the original, this game has a lot more going for it and won’t fail to keep you hooked down to the last bullet. If you aren’t already a fan of this series, you will be once you play this one.

Amazing

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