Far Cry 2 Exclusive Hands-On - Under the Cover of Night

Africa is dangerous enough with the lights on. We turn 'em off.

This can't be Far Cry 2, can it? Deep in the African wilderness, we slowly creep though the darkness, the stars our only source of light. Using tall grass and bushes for cover, we silently approach a well-guarded compound, an enemy refilling station. The guards who aren't asleep huddle near a fire, idly chatting while we sneak to high ground. From this vantage point we can spy on the entire area, including each guard's position and the location of several fuel tanks. But something's wrong. It's quiet. Too quiet. Where are the booming explosions, the deadly firefights, and the dune-buggy drive-bys we've seen in all of the past demos of Far Cry 2, all of which led us to believe this would be one of the most explosive shooters of the year?

Don't worry, we're purposely choosing to sneak around this camp Sam Fisher-style to highlight the differences between night and day combat, differences that are like night and, um, day. Sure, we could fire laser-guided rockets into the camp or ghost-ride an explosive-laden jeep into our enemies, but then you wouldn't get to see some of the unique gameplay opportunities available only at night. First, as it usually happens at night, it's dark. Guards will have a more difficult time seeing you; they'll gather around sources of light such as campfires, and many will retire to their bunks for a good night's sleep. On this night, we avoided the patrols, sneaked from shadow to shadow, and placed improvised explosive devices on the station's fuel tanks. We retreated back to our hilltop vista, pressed a red button, and witnessed a breathtaking sight: a gas station exploding in a giant ball of flame that lit up the night sky like the Fourth of July. Now that's the Far Cry 2 we know and love.

Day or night, a machete hurts.

With 50 square kilometers of African desert, jungle, and savannah as your playground, developer Ubisoft Montreal wants to ensure that you play Far Cry 2 however you want to play it. Whether in close or from afar, silent or guns blazing, at two in the morning or two in the afternoon, this virtual world is your oyster. The few remaining guards who survived our explosive ambush were too busy losing their minds as their world went up in flames to notice a solitary figure in the dark, stealing a jeep from under their noses. With our new wheels, we headed to the final mission objective: a water-supply pipeline diverting water from a local lake and village to pay off arms dealers.

If this sounds familiar, it is; the pipeline mission is the same demo we've played twice before, only set in the daytime. This time, at least, we get to play at night and have at our disposal the weapons of a silent assassin that showcase stealthy gameplay: an MP-5 SD silenced submachine gun, several IEDs, and a scoped dart rifle that fires rhino tranquilizers, good for one shot, one coma. The dart rifle is especially powerful at night because it doesn't give off any muzzle flash that would act as a flashing white bull's-eye on your chest. We climbed a nearby hill and used the handy monocular to zoom in on enemy sniper positions, machine-gun nests, and ammunition dumps. These were immediately tagged and added to the area map, which we used to devise a quick plan of entry. From the hill, we put a sniper to sleep with a dart to the neck, and began picking off foes one by one.

Silent or not, it takes only a few dead bodies for guards to zero in on your position, a threat that is also indicated by the intensifying musical score. The subtle tones of "infiltration music" are replaced by a tense African tribal beat to let you know that guards are looking for you. As the action escalates further, so too does the score, although in the middle of a pitched firefight everything is hard to hear over a cacophony of explosions and gunfire. We didn't let anything escalate further as we picked off two guards, circled around to the other side of the camp, and picked off two more. As you can imagine, watching your friends die in front of you from the effects of a tranquilizer overdose is frightening indeed, and the guards freaked out accordingly. When only one remained, this triggered what Ubi Montreal referred to as the last-man-standing syndrome. The last man alive in a given area will pump himself up by cursing, high on adrenaline and fear, sort of like "that guy" in every horror movie who screams, "You want me? Come and get me!" So, with an MP-5 bullet to the face, we got him.

If you prefer nighttime gameplay, you can head to any of the many safe houses in the game and take a nap, setting your alarm for the wee hours of the morning. Whereas the day and night cycle in Grand Theft Auto IV runs at about 24 minutes of actual gameplay for every in-game day, Far Cry 2 gives you six hours of gameplay for every in-game day. This ensures that your stealthy missions aren't ruined by sunrise after six minutes of action. Then again, you never have to sleep in your hunt for the Jackal, the infamous arms dealer who is enabling two rival factions, the United Front for Liberation and Labour, and the Alliance for Popular Resistance, to tear the region apart.

Before ending the demo, we just couldn't resist whipping out the flamethrower and lighting an entire village aflame. The fire effects are even more dramatic at night as flames quickly spread across the area in the direction of the wind. One of our NPC buddies, Frank, had joined us by now, so we decided to put to the test Ubi Montreal's claim that any NPC can be killed at any time. Ubi Montreal was right. With a quick blast from the flamethrower, Frank went down. Had we continued playing, he would not have been available to help us out of a jam, initiate extra side quests, or engage in witty Irish banter.

That's the Far Cry 2 we know and love.

However, had we continued playing, we do know that we could have cashed in conflict diamonds to purchase weapon upgrades. Each firearm will degrade over time, which is denoted visually with tarnish and rust stains. As you use them, weapons will increasingly jam and misfire, although some, such as AK assault rifles, are more reliable than others, such as M16s. If your rocket misfires, it will spin at your feet like a defective bottle rocket before exploding in your face. Hint: run. Conflict diamonds will net you bigger and better guns (M-79 grenade launchers and AS-50 .50 caliber sniper rifles, to name a few), and even crates that provide unlimited refills of new guns. See a spot of rust on your MAC-10 machine pistol? Head to a safe house and grab a new one. The last thing you want in the middle of a fight is a jam.

For more on Far Cry 2, be sure to check out our exclusive interview with Ubisoft creative director Clint Hocking, as well as a new trailer, both packed with fresh gameplay footage. Far Cry 2 is set to explode on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 this fall, and we can't wait.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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398 comments
halo1579
halo1579

I love the action, I love the violence, I love the blood, I love the game!

JB2B
JB2B

I love the concept. I always wanted a shooter in a sandbox and I always wanted the freedom. This one is on my wish list on number 1.

darkblade-321
darkblade-321

this game looks amazing. graphics are great, map editor looks frikkin sweet, open world, realistic and innovative. getting this game for my 360 but i know that the graphics wont be as good as high end pc but i aint spendin any money on something like a graphics card

Raiden8
Raiden8

This is the game that all the dudes will love dude ;)

Raiden8
Raiden8

This is the game that all the dudes will love dude ;)

zombie-lord
zombie-lord

this game will rock no matter on what system it is on but i will get it on the 360

IMaBIOHAZARD
IMaBIOHAZARD

the PC version will be better. no doubt about it. like they didn't make Crysis fer consoles since it they wuz not powerful enuf they probly dumbed down Far Cry 2 for it this will be better than Crysis (which is one of my favorite games ever) considering its gonna be ENTIRELy open world. 50 km world...good God. Now all they have to do is make u able to shoot from vehicles and I'll give up my life and play this 24/7.

Walking_STD
Walking_STD

damnit why do graphic cards and stuff have 2 be so damn expensive!! P.S i really need to know do you have 2 upgrade more that a graphics card to run a game smoothly on high graphics??

alexandros0123
alexandros0123

i can't wait for this game !!!!! Pre-ordered it on ps3 ! Its gunna kick assssssssssssss

mishkawy
mishkawy

This game is gonna be real big!! maybe even better than MGS4

lucebuce
lucebuce

no dude , its 1 october ................ by the way , THIS GAME IS GONNA ROCK MAN \m/ on 29 september im gonna upgrade my RAM and GPU

Jackyll87
Jackyll87

Saving up for a good graphic card for this...

-Intellectual-
-Intellectual-

"With 50 square kilometers of African desert, jungle, and savannah as your playground". Awesome, I think FC2 will be the best FPS in 2008.

jake-lutze
jake-lutze

Amazing... I am so going to buy this...

icym
icym

Wow, I loved watching every demo of FarCry2. It great that the world really feels open to do whatever you want and when.

AwesomeAnthony
AwesomeAnthony

"The AK-47 is entirely backwards! the cocking lever should be on the right side of the gun and so should the selector plate. it just doesn't make any sense" "Another person who is unaware that both versions exist. Either way, looks like a good game" I forgot to add that since the weapon is backwards it will eject steaming hot metal ak shells into the main characters face which would really hurt it just makes me wonder why they made the "lefty" ak in this game instead of the "righty" ak and yes i would have to agree that this game does look amazingly cool.

Evo700
Evo700

This game is going to be fire and the multi play is going to be sweet. Definitely picking this up when it hits the shelves.

lemmy2
lemmy2

This game looks really great, although the guy in the gameplay video plays like a noob LOL. I'm hoping this game will make up for Farcry Instncts, which I loved at frist but grew to hate as teh game wore on.

D-Ice01
D-Ice01

Cant wait! Anyone know a release date? I've been hearing Q42008, so September to December 31st? **** looks amaaazing!!!!!

Karl319
Karl319

"The AK-47 is entirely backwards! the cocking lever should be on the right side of the gun and so should the selector plate. it just doesn't make any sense" Another person who is unaware that both versions exist. Either way, looks like a good game.

AwesomeAnthony
AwesomeAnthony

ok so let start off by saying this game looks great but already me and my friend have noticed little minor problems with the weapons. First weapon: The AK-47 is entirely backwards! the cocking lever should be on the right side of the gun and so should the selector plate. it just doesn't make any sense. Second weapon: The Deagle Or desert eagle. in one demonstration video the main character cocks the deagle every time he reloads/takes it out which would most definitely jam the weapon making it unusable., also cocking the gun when taking it out would eject the round from the chamber losing you one bullet. Third weapon: The M4 has a SAW carrying handle for some unapparent reason honestly why does an M4 need a carrying handle, its a light weight gun not a 25lb light machine gun. Fourth weapon: the mac 11 the rear iron sights are RAWNG. and thats all this game does look good though

lucebuce
lucebuce

xXxilluzioNxXx this is for u .. BUY THIS GAME DUDE , its gonna rock

xXxilluzioNxXx
xXxilluzioNxXx

I might actually think of renting or buying this game.

darklord03
darklord03

Could This be the Xbox at its limit. Cause I thought the xbox couldnt get better. But it just gets better and better.

Sam_Fisher_932
Sam_Fisher_932

Jose_yero: None of us know the official PC system requirements as of now, but I would say that your PC would be able to run it pretty well. The requirements may be a lot like Crysis', although I expect the Dunia engine to be more optimized than the CryEngine. So yeah, I would say your PC won't have any problems.

natcalsar
natcalsar

Ubisoft bought Farcry and all its spin-offs, so they own Farcry and are making Farcry 2, which doesn't use the Cry-Engine 1 or 2. So far it looks great, and I'm hoping it won't be a disappointment like Crysis

Smiley451
Smiley451

Crysis graphics yes. CryEgine, no. that's Dunia. unlike CryEgine, Dunia features an entire open, dynamic world that is always at work. it also has a new feature, which is extremely detailed: fire.

Ferto_89
Ferto_89

of course those are crysis graphics, thats cry engine too

beastigua
beastigua

HOW is that xbox 360! those are Crysis graphics!!

Jose_yero
Jose_yero

will my pc run it? my setup includes -ddr3 2gb or ram -ati 3870 hd gpu 512mb - q6600 intel quad core 2.4ghz cpu ??? Please i need to knw lmao

G-Unit1422
G-Unit1422

While dying of gaming thirst in the summer , we will quench our thirst with the new releases this fall , and one of them is Far Cry 2 :) ! OWWW YESSS !!!!!

moh9696
moh9696

now thats a game baby cant wait to play it

056045
056045

Just looks bloody fantastic,,why not out now Im dieing

wotever99
wotever99

ossum, i liked the first far cry games. or at least the pc version of the first one was awesome graphics. i hope they still have some tropics surroundings in there somewhere, lol. and i like games wif mutants in them. intense

predator04gr
predator04gr

Seem's great game even if I haven't played Far Cry1 I think this game will go to my wish-list. Good job Ubisoft.

grambyte
grambyte

Like I already mentioned, this one got my attention.

booboo_lala
booboo_lala

Far cry is never gonna be a hand of crysis or a game like gears of war,look at that weapons in the game they are like toys,nothing to compare its the end of far cry life it cant be a good game,i think there are 4 games in Pc that could be Godlike and masterful forever:Gears of war,World of warcraft,Crysis,Call of duty 4,and no space for a game like this its just for a money i dont wanna go and get it .thanks anyway for this preview

xialon
xialon

Wow. This game looks amazing. It sounds like another MGS game. I hope it is at least as good as MGS.

awarapanmovie
awarapanmovie

Ohh DAmn this GAme Gonna Win All And Leaves Crysis Warhead Behind Cheers Everybody

straaljager
straaljager

Aaahhh man, this will be the best game EVER!!!! Can't wait!!!

hurrikanejae
hurrikanejae

this is bull crap, i'm tired of reading these previews of "demos" gamespot etc. gets to play and yet the damn company won't release a demo for the people that are actually gonna buy this game...what the hell is the good of having magazines and websites tell us their thoughts when we can't play and decide for ourselves how good it really is!??! ...and screw them for not giving US GAMERS a demo!

stakex007
stakex007

Can't really say there are many games, if any at all, that come close to devlivering this good of gameplay. Sure COD4, and Crysis might be really good game for what they are, but Far Cry 2 seems ready to finally deliver something new to the FPS... something other then tight path ways, or half hearted sandbox games.