Diamonds are not forever in Far Cry 2, but they are persistent. In the single-player campaign, the precious stones are mined by the warring factions and sold to fund their civil war. In the multiplayer mode, blood diamonds are rewarded as persistent upgrades as you increase in rank and unlock new weapons. In both cases, diamonds fuel the explosive action of Ubisoft Montreal's upcoming shooter.
We recently paid a visit to Ubisoft Montreal to finally get our hands on the four multiplayer game modes in Far Cry 2. In addition to Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, you can also do battle in team-based Capture the Diamond--after all, if you had to choose between snatching a flag or a diamond, which would you go for? To win, you steal the enemy faction's briefcase of diamonds from its headquarters and bring it back to your base. You can score a point only if your own diamonds are secure in your headquarters. The diamond carrier is easily identified on the map because each briefcase gives off bright green or red smoke, depending on which faction you play for. After a point is scored, a new briefcase will spawn. There are a few interesting strategies that play into this mode. One player grabbed the diamonds and hightailed it back to his base, but instead of scoring the point, he hid in a nearby hut. While the opposing team was off trying to hunt down the diamond carrier, his teammate stealthily made his way to the enemy headquarters, and waited for the carrier to score so he could grab the new briefcase when it respawned--dirty!
The final mode, Uprising, is a hybrid of VIP and a Battlefield-style point capture. There are three control points that can be captured only by each team's captain. One team must capture all three points, after which the game will end when the other team's captain is assassinated. This mode takes the most coordination and teamwork to succeed. Points must be defended after they are captured, and grabbing new points requires a carefully organized attack. In either case, your team will be spread thin across the entire map.
Whereas vehicles are more of a simple mode of transportation in the single-player game, they play a strategic role in multiplayer. Most vehicles (including the officially licensed Jeeps) can carry multiple passengers. In Capture the Diamond, we preferred to drive a Jeep with a mounted machine gun. One teammate manned the gun as another fired from the front passenger seat. When we reached the enemy base, both passengers ran out to capture the diamond, while we smoothly executed a three-point turn to get the Jeep ready for the return trip. We popped the hood and applied the monkey wrench to repair the engine, then sped away, this time with diamond in tow. One desert map featured a one-passenger dune buggy, whereas a mountain map had hang gliders perched on cliffs, which were perfect for reaching a capture point quickly in Uprising. In any case, cars and Jeeps can be quickly dispatched with a grenade or RPG, and nothing earns experience points faster than an exploding car full of rebel insurgents.
You receive experience for capturing points, sharing vehicles with friends, stealing diamonds, healing teammates, and, of course, capping fools. This experience improves your rank and it rewards conflict diamonds that can be spent on upgrading six different player classes: the commando, rebel, guerilla, sharpshooter, gunner, and saboteur. The only real difference between each class is the weapon loadout. The saboteur can unlock remote-controlled IEDs, perfect for planting next to your briefcase of diamonds. As soon as someone steals it, you hit the button. The commando is a balanced character who uses machine guns, and the rebel starts out with the powerful flamethrower. Each class has three levels of upgrades, and each costs one conflict diamond. You can upgrade any class, regardless of which class you played as in the past. Unfortunately, there are no personal-customization options such as costumes or camouflage, but there are 30 ranks and plenty of powerful weapons to unlock, such as the six-pack grenade launcher. The more you use an individual weapon, the more proficiency you gain, eventually unlocking field manuals and bandoliers that increase weapon accuracy, reliability, and ammunition quantity. You can swap out your weapon loadout or class in-between each respawn. If you want to play with the more advanced weaponry sooner, you can host a player match with friends in which you level up much faster than in ranked matches. Alas, all upgrades in player matches are lost when you leave the server.
The 14 maps represented all of the environments from the single-player game, including jungle, savannah, desert, urban areas, and mountains. Some maps are small and encourage close-quarters combat in enclosed areas, whereas others are huge and perfect for vehicles as well as sniping. A great touch is the ability to change the time of day and play under the blazing sun or the cover of darkness, which drastically changes the gameplay experience on each map. And if you don't like any of these maps, pop into the map editor and create your own. Each custom map will support all four game modes and up to 16 players.
As in the single-player campaign, you will have a health meter. Instead of using first-aid kits in multiplayer, you can hit a heal button that triggers a long-winded animation (for instance, digging a bullet out of your thigh with a knife). It's best to find cover whenever you heal because the animation will take you out of the action for several seconds. If you do fall in the heat of battle, a teammate will have several seconds to run over and heal you. It's always a fun strategy to shoot an enemy from cover, wait for his teammate to rush over, and then take them both out. It's even more fun using remote mines. If you don't have patience for such a maneuver, feel free to shoot a wounded player and kill him instantly.
Between the persistent upgrades and the map editor, multiplayer in Far Cry 2 is fairly deep. Be sure to check out our new video of multiplayer in action. We'll have more on Far Cry 2 as we approach the October 21 release date.