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Synchronous Failure (1147)
||23 entry(ies) in this category
| Far Cry 2 SP Review (wip) (1 comments )|
by: jacobvandy (1636)
Posted 55 months ago ( edited 55 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
Far Cry 2, the long-awaited sequel to Crytek's semi-free-roam FPS, actually has nothing to do with its predecessor. When the German developer parted ways with Ubisoft, they left behind the rights to the Far Cry franchise, and the success of the original meant the IP wouldn't sit idly for long. Ubisoft's Montreal studio took the reigns a few years ago, constructing a new engine called Dunia that rivals Cryengine 2's visuals while demanding far less powerful hardware.
Set in Central Africa, FC2 thrusts the player into an unnamed, war-torn state as one of nine playable mercenaries. The ones you didn't choose act as NPC "buddies" that offer you missions and aid, the most important being a rescue function that acts as a second chance between saves. Differing only in appearance and back story, every character you play is given the same task: kill the Jackal, the infamous arms dealer profiting from the violence. To find him, you must work for one or both competing factions, the United Front for Liberation and Labor or the Alliance for Popular Resistance. Each side is thrilled to employ a no-name foreigner to do their dirty work, paying you in uncut diamonds and, hopefully, information as to the Jackal's whereabouts.
One assignment with which I had a blast involved assassinating a Chief of Police partaking in a pitiful excuse for a parade on a fixed route around a body of water. Thinking a bridge would be the best place to lay the trap, I headed to the nearest one, summarily disposing of the guards posted on the far side. The thing about guardposts in FC2 is that they act as miniature supply depots for the player, littered about the map's crossings and intersections. This particular one contained a cache of fuel - used for molotov cocktails and the flamethrower - located near the end of the bridge. I hastily constructed a roadblock out of a couple of nearby guntrucks and took my place in the shack a short distance away. I excitedly sat in wait as the convoy of three crossed the bridge, unaware of the danger until it was too late... With a single shot from my trusty rocket launcher, the Chief's car flew up in a ball of flame, setting off a chain reaction between the roadblock and fuel cans. The ensuing explosion was glorious and set fire to the nearby brush.
If you've seen any one of the preview trailers, you know about one of the major techniques to increase player immersion in FC2: self-administered wound treatment. When your health dips to critical, you will have to press the 'H' key to perform emergency impromptu medical procedures, such as removing shrapnel with pliers and a knife, matchstick cauterization, and forceful joint relocation. The most gut-wrenching instance I've experienced involved sticking a finger into the forearm to push a bullet out the other side. Ouch. After a while, the more common operations become a bore (I can only watch myself pry a bullet out of my palm so many times before it's "meh."), but seeing a new one is definitely a visceral experience.
Another attempt to infuse realism, guns will wear down as you use them, endowing a sense of individuality upon every weapon. Most games will have you pick up a new piece and, from then on, you'll simply gather ammo; FC2 gives each of them a lifespan that you will certainly notice if you stick with the same gun long enough. There are only a finite number of degradation states - I've seen brand new, slightly used, beat up, and pile of rust that somehow manages to spit bullets - so it's not a perfect system, but it takes a step in the right direction.
Jamming is a lot more realistic than in, say, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., where a message pops up telling you to reload. You feel the frustration, tipping the gun to look in the chamber at the perpetrating shell, slapping and tapping and shaking to no avail. If it weren't for the fact that I'm usually in the middle of a firefight when it happens, I'd sit and watch the animations because they're quite amusing and unique for every weapon. As far as I know, they'll go on indefinitely until you press the 'R' key to initiate a successful jam clearing. Misfires also occur, the most surprising to me having been with an RPG when a rocket failed to ignite properly, causing the grenade to plunk to the ground a few feet away! I watched it spark and spin around for a few seconds, confused as to what happened, before I realized I needed to run for my life. Gun misfires result in the demolition of the weapon, becoming more of a nuisance than the occasional "Oh, shit!" moment.
Staying on the topic of weapons, you unlock new ones by completing a line of side missions for local shop owners. They tip you off to convoys of competitor's incoming shipments, and will reward your business acumen with new toys to spend your stones on. Guns you find out in the world are often in terrible condition, prone to the maladies I discussed already. If you want high-quality merchandise, you buy it from a sort of intranet marketplace with terminals accessible in store locations around the map. Doing so will place an unlimited supply of the purchased weapon in the neighboring armory, brand new and ready for carnage. You can carry four weapons at once: a machete, a pistol or other one-handed gun, a rifle or shotgun, and a heavy weapon, such as an LMG or RPG. You can store an extra from each category in crates that are accessible from safe houses all over the map, providing you purchased the use of them.
The first thing you will learn about FC2 is to trust noone. Literally everyone except your buddies, who are unfortunately very rare sights, will shoot at you. You can be driving down an empty road, when all of a sudden you'll have someone in a coupe ram into you, step out, and begin firing. The central town of Pala is normally under a cease-fire, but it's still possible to start a fight. Faction leaders remark about your acting undercover when performing tasks, warning that even their soldiers will be enemies. I believe this was a developer's easy way out of the problem of it being difficult to discern members of one group from the other. The result is a feeling of perpetual danger, which can be overwhelming to a first-time player. Don't expect guards stationed along the road to be as friendly as those in the opening sequence, accepting a bribe for permission to pass; The only language they understand is that of hot lead. The sooner you accept the fact that it's you against the world, the better.
room to improve-
The vehicles in FC2 are quite poor, considering the amount of time you will spend in them. The cars' physics are reminiscent of a golf cart, with the performance of the smallest being almost identical to one, accelerating and changing to reverse instantly. With all the talk I saw in one preview about immersive animations, I was surprised to see that there is no gear-changing. Perhaps they thought it would interfere with in-car usage of the map, but the loss in realism is more than the potential hit to ease of play.
Speaking of realism, repairing your vehicle is ridiculous, useful as it might be. If you take enough hits, you'll see smoke begin to rise from under the hood, gray at first, but progressing to black as it worsens. Performance will degrade and eventually the engine will give out, signaling the point where it may even explode. As you learn in your first couple minutes of the tutorial, wrenching on a single nut long enough will magically restore the vehicle to pristine condition, at least on the inside. I really would have liked to see a variety of engine troubles that you would fix, like there are wounds to heal.
There are only a handful of land vehicles to choose from, including a coupe, hauler truck, gun-mounted truck, and a couple of licensed Jeeps. There may as well only be one type because, given a choice, you'll always be driving the gun-truck for the firepower. There is also a fan-driven boat with a mounted gun on the bow, useful for navigating the streams that open new routes unnavigable by land. My only gripe with those is that you can't press the 'C' key to switch from steering to firing like you can in the truck, instead forcing you to manually get out of the driver's seat, walk a few steps to the front of the craft (which can be tricky when it's still moving), and use the gun.
slashing or crashing into an explosive barrel makes it go off
scouting, zoom on monocle not adjustable, sighting one of a type will mark all of them on the map, doesn't allow marking normal guard positions
The currency in FC2 is made up of raw, uncut diamonds. Apparently, paper money in the area is worthless, so all of your payments are made this way. There are more than two hundred hidden briefcases that each contain up to a few of the precious gems and a GPS beacon, bonus income for players with a knack for exploring. An oddity I've noticed, however, is that you somehow have an account that you use to purchase weapons online and receive remote deposits from anonymous employers. It is never explained how the physical stones you carry are credited to your account, nor how they are removed from your possession when you spend them. It would've been much more plausible and interesting to hand the rocks over to the shopkeep after placing a gun order and to retrieve payments from hidden drop locations. This is a case of lazy design that could have easily been avoided.
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