3 Sep 2012

Monday Media Fun - The Second Far Cry

I’m in a thick swamp area in Africa. I’ve picked up a dart rifle because it’s silenced and accurate at long ranges. I’ve chosen a silenced 9mm pistol as my side arm and I’ve already talked to my buddy earlier in the day to make sure he’s on call just in case things go to shit. My mission is to access a local, small time warlord and take information from him for my employer who is looking at stabilising the area.

I stalk around the swamp area looking in at the raised complex of wooden buildings and connecting walkways that rest on stilts above the swamp. The hour spent scouting the base of my target gives me an idea of enemy movement and I’m able to pick out my attack vector on the base and the egress points if things get bad. I’d rather exfiltrate the compound but unless I’m able to ghost through the rebel forces and avoid alarming the warlords guards it’s only a side thought.

This is Far Cry 2.

Far Cry Two is my favourite shooter in the world. Games like Halo, Call of Duty and Battlefield feel less like shooters and more like first person action games that include shooting. The linear levels, action sequences and frantic gameplay makes them feel more akin to Mario and Sonic icons of adventure games in their own time.

For me a shooter is a game where the action is the shooting. Examples include the Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Soldier of Fortune, Half-Life. The focus is shooting. Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six have special places in my heart as realistic tactical shooters, but that’s next week.

Today Far Cry is the focus of my efforts.

I never played or had much interest in Far Cry as a series or a game. I’m not going to bring up the film by Uwe. Yet, when Far Cry 2 was being shown on the internets something clicked in me. I wanted more. I waited for a while before picking it up. I looked at reviews but I focused on the comments rather then the scores. I wanted to know if this game did what I wanted, or was it just ‘another sandbox shooter’.

Oh boy was I a happy man when I was reading those reviews.

You see you find yourself sick with malaria and every so often you need to hit the local Dr for some meds. While hunting down an arms dealer you got sick but you also ran into a few people that helped you out. You work your way getting closer and closer to the target all the while making your mark on the area, affecting local politics and making friends and enemies along the way.

It’s role playing without dialogue wheels or party creation. Instead I hit the local merc watering hole, info a buddy of mine that I’m heading out. If I go down they jump in pull me up and I get a second chance at escaping the fire but now I’ve got a buddy to help out and keep an eye on in case they get into trouble.

If they die while helping you out, you lose them forever. If you help them out when they get hurt they begin to like you more. You make friends based on your actions, your real choice in real situations. You made connections with these Non-Player Characters and when they died you felt bad if only for a second.

So add in realistic real time fire effects, physical damage models where you must extract and fix wounds to renew performance levels. Great banter and dialogue from the various characters you run into and/or shoot.

Some of the best lines spoken by a random numpty guard.

You need to worry about your ammo, the state of your vehicles and the serviceability of your weapons. Let them get over used without some TLC and suddenly your working through a jam in the middle of a fire fight. Running and avoid shots through thick brush you look at your hands working through the jam is frantic and scary. You're never sure if things will go well.

I picked off the guards in the compound one at a time before I made the call to move in. By the time I got the second building I had to already put down two more with the pistol. My luck didn’t hold out by the time I got into the main building. I had to shoot my way through the place but lucky for me knowing I was there and knowing where I was are two different things. I avoided picking up the junk weapons and kept to the 9mm. Surprise was my advantage and I was able to interact with my target.

The target suffered some side effects during our interaction.

I jumped out of a window after silently shooting a few more guards, causing some confusion on the other side of the stilted compound. I hit the water and swam to a long skiff that I clambered on and used to get to the other side of the shore. I had avoided most of the enemies in the area, but now I was in the fire. I got to a safe house where I had already packed some more automatic and louder weapons, I took a nap and said hello to my buddy who was still on standby for a rescue if things went wrong later. I got into a jeep and headed back to the city.

Africa was open to me as I hit the road before crossing the desert and looking for ways to avoid choke points on the way to report in my findings to my employer.

Play Far Cry 2, I give it a 5.