Far Cry 2 Exclusive Impressions - Dynamic Environments and Savannah Battles

Ubisoft's sequel to the excellent shooter Far Cry will offer a huge, seamless experience powered by some serious technology. We take an exclusive look.

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The original Far Cry was a first-person shooter that started off on a vast tropical island, and it offered a remarkable open-ended experience as you fought squadrons of soldiers in sprawling outdoor environments. Then, you discovered a claustrophobic military complex and spent the rest of the game fighting mutant monsters in tight corridors--though that part of the game isn't remembered as fondly. The sequel will embrace the strengths of the first game by pushing even harder on the open-ended nature of the original game. In fact, the game will be built entirely around the concept of open exploration, offering a world that's about 50 square kilometers in virtual size. We had a chance to take a look at the powerful and impressive tech that will power the sequel, as well as to see several of the gun battles in motion.

Far Cry 2 will combine powerful tech with highly open-ended gameplay.

Far Cry 2 won't take place on a beach with palm trees, but rather, in the heart of a war-torn Africa, meaning you'll fight your way through deserts, savannahs, jungles, and border towns rather than sunning yourself on the beach. In addition, the sequel won't be in as developed a setting as in the original game--your character will carry a paper map and a compass to guide him. And, you'll be using mostly conventional weapons and vehicles (rather than experimental, sci-fi stuff). The level of technology available shouldn't hurt the game experience one bit because the vehicle handling we saw seemed realistic enough while still seeming easy enough to handle, and the guns we saw in action were hefty weapons that discharged with loud, sharp reports. Interestingly, weapons and vehicles will experience progressive damage over time. Damaged guns will actually rattle disturbingly while becoming scratched up, and damaged vehicles will suffer progressive damage to specific areas until they stop running, or until you can repair them.

In fact, the entire world will show off this sort of attention to detail because much of the game's environments can be deformed. Grassy fields can be burnt to the ground with a flamethrower, and trees can be blasted out of the ground with grenades. This damage is all rendered procedurally on the fly and will remain in the world until it actually gradually grows back. The team at Ubisoft hasn't quite determined exactly how quickly in-game time will pass with respect to real time, but the game will have full day-and-night cycles, which will affect the behavior of your enemies (who will have general schedules themselves). You'll even be able to find sleeping areas to sleep for the evening, or until the morning, and toggle the world from day to night. This can come in handy in some cases because darkness provides additional cover, and some areas may be more lightly guarded at night.

After seeing some of the impressive world technology in action, we had a chance to see more of the impressive artificial intelligence we'd covered previously. In addition to fighting your way through various mercenary encampments throughout Africa, along with the occasional help of mercenary companions who will join you, you'll find yourself exploring larger towns where the game's two warring mercenary factions hold sway. In these larger areas, an uneasy peace exists where patrolling mercs openly carry weapons, but prefer not to use them to avoid drawing the ire of enemy factions. You'll actually be able to raise or lower your standing with one or more of the game's mercenary groups, depending on which camps you raid and which missions you choose to take. But unless you've made a very powerful enemy extremely angry, you may be able to walk right into one of these larger towns.

It's a jungle out there, but Far Cry 2 will take place across many different parts of Africa.

The town areas we saw were highly detailed and looked a lot like the kind of larger settlements you'd expect to see in a war-torn nation. There was a mix of older masonry and hastily thrown-together shacks, with chain-link fences, as well as barbed wire to keep nosy wanderers out of priority areas. You'll at least be able to walk up to patrolling mercenaries and press a general "use" key to interact with them, though they may react poorly if you're walking around with weapons drawn. You can also make them extremely uneasy if you decide to be a jerk and shove them by repeatedly bumping into them. However, they probably won't open fire on you unless you commit an open act of hostility, such as opening fire or stealing a key object, like the town's only jeep. We watched a demonstration of this very sort of theft, which caused all nearby mercs to immediately open fire while calling for help, though fortunately for us, there were no other vehicles around to give chase. Some of Far Cry 2's characters will use a "leash system" for their artificial intelligence; they'll be assigned to guard certain areas and will give chase for a certain distance. But if they don't have a good chance of catching you (such as if they're on foot and you've got a set of wheels), they'll eventually return to base.

We then watched full-on firefight in a different village build of adobe bricks in which we simply opened fire on the nearby soldiers. They immediately sprung into action, making smart use of cover by ducking behind doorways and continually trying to flank us. You'll often find tougher installations of mercenaries where different enemies will carry different equipment and jockey for the best position. Shock troopers will come at you with combat shotguns and assault rifles, while snipers will hole up in the high ground to take potshots at you. They'll actually shift their positions if you can toss up a few good grenades or wing them with your own rifle.

The battle we watched was fast-paced and brutal, involving a number of severe wounds, which, in the early version of the game we saw, were indicated by a bright red flash on the screen. In the current version of the game, smaller wounds can be recovered from in time, but being severely wounded will require you to get to safety so that you can perform a medical treatment on yourself. Currently, these are random animations that may consist of anything from strapping yourself with a bandage to searing your own thigh with a lit cigar to digging out a bullet with a bayonet blade. The last enemy--the village's sniper--was holed up at the top of the village and was the last enemy to be flushed out. For good measure, we turned around and burnt the rope bridge we'd used to climb to the village's highest point to make sure we weren't pursued. After clearing out the village, we departed it in true Far Cry fashion by commandeering a nearby hang glider and launching ourselves off of the roofs back into the vast African savannah.

Expect vicious firefights and big-time explosions.

It's hard to say which aspect of Far Cry 2 is most impressive--the game's powerful tech and excellent audiovisual effects help create a beautiful-looking, constantly changing world full of clever enemies, as well as weapons and vehicles with realistic damage models. However, its fast-paced gameplay looks extremely challenging and should offer plenty of opportunities to use very different strategies in how you want to approach your missions--whether using brute force, sniping enemies from a distance, or even using hit-and-run tactics by keeping a fast vehicle nearby. One thing's for sure: Far Cry 2 is one of the most impressive games we've seen in a long time. The game is scheduled for release later this year on the PC and was recently confirmed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well. We're told that the console versions are being developed with the PC version and will feature all the content of the PC versions. The console versions will ship some time after the PC version hits store shelves.

Discussion

702 comments
JB2B
JB2B

I'll get Far Cry 2 today. Before it's officially released in The Netherlands. Gives me 2 days to show off to all my friends.

spartanlaser
spartanlaser

agh theres 1 more day woot fable 2 far cry 2

Ir0nHog
Ir0nHog

2 more days...... must hold out!

maxy_47
maxy_47

Greatest game that I ever saw... lol... 10/10 by me... cant wait for the map editor and stuff.......

Lordx67
Lordx67

Yes! I hated those mutants in Far Cry! 100% open-world action!:d:

fkerr
fkerr

Cant wait ! No weird monsters like " The island of Dr. Moreau" this time!

iDox
iDox

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

iDox
iDox

Oh man, I cannot wait to play it, jezz the gameplay and graphics looks amazing! cheers.

kratos_karmakar
kratos_karmakar

i wonder how much difference there will be in terms of graphics between the pc and the console versions. hopefully minimal. and if there is so much going on in this game how is it going to fit in 1 disc for the 360. im going to be getting it for my 360 since the controller is better for shooters.

eduardo839
eduardo839

please give it 0.1/10 :D then it will be cheaper at the stores :D

xid32
xid32

MMMM i smell good game

beeftothetaco
beeftothetaco

looks good i just wish you could put attachments on your guns like in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and stuff

UruhaTrigger
UruhaTrigger

time to set up my Surround Sound again!!!

david_joseph93
david_joseph93

Man this is one of those games that i Belive that they are gonna make a LEGACY by its gameplay an its dynamic features......please! gamespot give it 10! well if ti results to be a really good but good game

shiny5
shiny5

is this gory as in real-life, not just blood flying away>

cyrone0us
cyrone0us

this is a little bit dated. I was watching some video demonstration where they said video game time is like 1:4 so like uh....6 hours for a complete day with the option to fast forward to night? or fastforward to day or whatever. i hope this is an even more polished crysis and i hope all the ai acts just as awesome as they say. crysis did real well but man im looking at these amazing graphics and its like "damn, i wish the voice acting matched the game models body language better" also when you see somebody piss in crysis its like wtf is wrong with your prostate. anyway im obsessed with this game and it isnt even out yet. and you know whats hilarious, when the first far cry came out i was like "omg thats so pretty" and then i played it and, i dunno maybe its just me...actually it probably is just me, i couldnt stand that game. this looks so different though they might as well have named it Visual Masturbation First Assault.

solid12398
solid12398

IIHitandRunII Dont lie to these good people well most of them. theres no blu-ray for the 360 and probley never will be.

snaker49
snaker49

Does anyone know if there is going to be a demo for 360?

Jbentkowski2
Jbentkowski2

The 360 is not going to have blue-ray anytime soon, or possibly ever, and Microsoft has made that quite clear. Now that this misstatement has been corrected i can say... Yes, this game looks like its going to freakin sweet.

Jbentkowski2
Jbentkowski2

The 360 is not going to have blue-ray anytime soon, or possibly ever, and Microsoft has made that quite clear. Now that this misstatement has been corrected i can say... Yes, this game looks like its going to freakin sweet.

okerin
okerin

Looks greeeeeeeeeeat

IIHitandRunII
IIHitandRunII

oo and btw guys... be careful what u say because the xbox 360 will be able to handle it because the xbox 360 will have Blu-ray. It's going to release September this year...

IIHitandRunII
IIHitandRunII

wow looks seriously awesome the last Far Cry was okay to me but this looks like something else!! WOW

ahmedbilal1993
ahmedbilal1993

The same's question is in my mind...Can the 360 handle it? I wish it could do that perfectly..

AgileNate
AgileNate

Think they will have an awesome map creator like the last?

dazyl
dazyl

OMG!!! it looks siiiiiiiiiiiiiiick!!!! i just hope you can still gointo predator mode...

CrAzY213
CrAzY213

Hey can the 360 handle CRYSIS? I know that game had amazing graphics so FAR CRY 2 will most likely look the same.

CrAzY213
CrAzY213

This game would be even more amazing if it was Co-Op over XBLive or on the same system. I remember wanting to play the Campaign for Far Cry with someone else.....THIS GAME IS GONNA BE SICK!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!

KA12NAG3
KA12NAG3

This is gonna be tight. Amazing graphics, and I agree with METTLEWOLF about the radar thing.

METTLEWOLF
METTLEWOLF

I LOVE how the game won't have a radar. It should make for more immersive gameplay. Having to rely on your eyes and ears instead of having a circly thing telling you exactly where each enemy is. Fun, fun, fun!

andrat99
andrat99

I wonder if you will still have all the powers and stuff from No.1?

yiboy
yiboy

oh lord this is gonna be SICK beautifull,supurb graphic and africa looks tasty.cant wait!!

sandking88
sandking88

this game looking awesome i must play it i have a powerfull PC but i have a problem with the graphics i got a 8500GT @ 256 mb , 2gb ddr2 800mhz , q6600 @ 2.4

cybercris16
cybercris16

I hope my computer can manage it at high settings, just finished crysis and i wish they can improve or at least to equal that class of graphics and effects with a better gameplay. Up to now it is seen that they have made a great work so i hope we all can see it soon. I cannot wait to see it finished.

xxmicahxx
xxmicahxx

Graphics looking awesome, hopefully programming is a bit better then Crysis'. Should have some steep system requirements. Get ready to upgrade if you haven't within the last year. And if you want to max it out, you probably will have to upgrade again anyways. I just got a 8800GT OC @ 720core / 2000mem 2gb of ocz ddr2 800mhz e6750 nzxt tempest case, keeping things crazy cold, highly recommended for PC builders. I'm hoping to max this game out :P Can max crysis at 1280x1024 so this shouldn't be too much different. this game and fallout 3 need to come out! and mass effect this week, man this year is going to have a nice ending for gamers !

Wild_Card
Wild_Card

n3ck it does doesnt it , and even more better than that lame GoW3

Vrygar777
Vrygar777

I think the map-editor alone wil make this a great game. Far Cry's map editor is still one of the best, and a new and improved one will only make things better.

jacobmjl
jacobmjl

Should be better graphics than crysis!! Imagine that!!

ramtin1001
ramtin1001

dude wtf.... everyone is free to play games. if u like to play games for the gameplay then its ur opinion. NOT A FACT!! u play games to enjoy it for a different reason and i play games for their realistic graphics and physics and a bunch of more reasons....... so lets just have fun!!! :P

morgoth456
morgoth456

I am sure this game is going to be in the top ten of this year. I loved the first far cry and I am sure I will love this too. This savannah atmosphere is attractive.

ACES_of_CRIME
ACES_of_CRIME

Why does every MF***** always say graphics this and graphics that! Just cause a games got nice graphics doesnt make it good (im not talking about farcry2 just so you know). You guys are total suckers if you cant get what really makes a game good... GAMEPLAY!!! Visuals get better all the time due to tech but why do we remember the old games huh? Because they were fun to play and they didnt have modern day graphics. So please stop judging games for how they look and start focus more on whats important.

n3ck
n3ck

This looks so much better than the over hyped Killzone2

PhoenixVenom
PhoenixVenom

looks awesome hopefully its not all show and no go. looks like this one could be on the top of FPS

domagoj_99
domagoj_99

I think that this game going to be GAME OF THE YEAR on PC! Maybe going to be better then crysis! I can't wait....

beer_tree
beer_tree

This looks great, very different from typical war games I have played like the CoD series. This is on my maybe to buy list. I havent played a FPS in Africa yet.

DecadesOfGaming
DecadesOfGaming

A first person shooter set under golden sun set african skies... Interesting.. Sounds like an great addition to the Far Cry franchise. Looking forward to seeing the end result.

edub272
edub272

ya it gonna be on 360. this game sounds like a fps version of GTA taking place in Africa. its gonna be great