Far Cry 2 Hands-On

We grab a gun and hit the African savannah in our first hands-on look at Ubisoft's shooter sequel.

A mixture of cutting-edge graphics, open-ended gameplay, and sophisticated artificial intelligence made the original Far Cry a hit on the PC. For Far Cry 2, the development team at Ubisoft Montreal is still keeping those essential ingredients--gorgeous, lush environments, tricky AI, and a sandbox mentality--intact while changing up all the surrounding elements, such as the setting, storyline, and characters, to keep things fresh. As a result, when we first got our hands on the game at Ubisoft's recent spring press event, we felt like it was running into an old friend who had recently spent a load of cash on a wardrobe upgrade.

Things blow up real nice in Far Cry 2.

Far Cry 2's story has seemingly no ties to the original game, even if the protagonists in both games have the standard "square-jawed white guy" look about them. In the original, you fought it out in a tropical setting looking to rescue a mysterious woman from harm. In the sequel, you play as a mercenary whose goal is to take down an arms dealer known as The Jackal. Little is known about him, except that he's profiting greatly while perpetuating a conflict in the African savannah where the game takes place. As you hunt down The Jackal, you'll be caught in the middle of various and conflicting interests of multiple factions involved in the war. Which sides you work with and against will go a long way in determining your path through this multifaceted storyline.

The demo on hand at the Ubisoft event began overlooking a green, murky-looking swamp. Our first goal was to meet up with our point of contact, Frank, in a shack near the stating point. He was looking for our help in an operation he was planning, and our portion of it was to take down a nearby radio antenna that was broadcasting propaganda for one of the local factions.

After agreeing to the mission from Frank, we also met up with Warren, one of many non-player characters you'll run into in the game. Far Cry 2's open-ended nature is designed so that you can play the game any way you want--that extends to which characters you help in the game and which ones you ignore. If you decide to help out a character, he might be available to you later as a buddy. By chatting with Warren, he ensured his assistance should things get too hairy out in the field. It wouldn't be long before we needed to take him up on his offer.

As with the original game, vehicles look to play a big role in the missions of Far Cry 2. As soon as we left Frank's shack with the mission in mind, we hopped into a jeep (loaded with a convenient mounted machine gun on the rear) and began speeding toward our destination. Though you always have a map on hand to check for your mission locales, one cool touch is that the occasional street signs you run into in villages will illuminate in the direction of your goal. We made a few turns and, around the last bend, came to our first objective: a walled enemy encampment full of bad guys that were just begging to be filled full of bullets.

See? Told you.

The problem with helping those enemies fulfill their bullet-riddled destiny, of course, is Far Cry 2's clever AI--one that demands equal measures of stealth and brutality to overcome. We tried the first encampment several times during the course of our demo with Far Cry 2--everything from the sneaking in and trying to keep things quiet (which didn't hold for long) to blasting though the front gates in our jeep and trying to run down enemies like they were dogs in the streets. Neither approach we took was met with perfect success. Thanks to enemies who were keen to take cover and deadly shots, we ended up dying several times in the process.

It's lucky for us, then, that we had Warren on our side. Because we chatted with Warren before the mission began and he had pledged his support to us, Warren was on hand to revive us, get us moving again, and give us a gun to continue the fight when we managed to get ourselves shot up in the mission. While you can only use these "buddy save" moments once, you can always go back and talk to your friend again to reset it for the next time you run into trouble.

Once you've been revived by a buddy, he'll also be available to help you with cleaning up any remaining enemies on hand. While Warren didn't appear to be the best shot in the world, it was imminently satisfying to flank enemies, catch them in crossfire, and mow them down. Enemy AI in Far Cry 2 is sophisticated enough that it will help out injured comrades if given a chance. So, when in doubt, put a few more bullets in the bad guys.

It's not all bullets and explosions; sometimes you need to get up close and personal.

The goal in the encampment was to blow up a water tank to create a diversion for the enemy, then move further down the nearby river to seek out the radio antenna. Once we took out the water supply with some explosives, we climbed down to the river and found a small boat, which we piloted down a winding section of water. We halfway expected an ambush as we made our way down the river but managed to make it to the shore safely. Then it was up a hill and time to take down another small village full of bad guys.

Things can get hairy very quickly in Far Cry 2. In addition to the aforementioned clever AI, the game features impressive explosion effects and fire that can quickly spread throughout the straw buildings of an African village. We managed to create enough chaos with our weapon load out of grenades and assault rifles to lay waste to the village. Then we grabbed another jeep and headed on to the next stage of the mission before finally locating the radio antenna and taking it down with a few timed explosives.

Though we took a fairly direct route from one objective to the next in our demo with Far Cry 2, the playable area looks to be large enough to allow plenty of variety in how different players will attack the same objective. On the missions we completed, for example, you could take the roads we did, bypassing the river altogether, or cut through a nearby diamond mine to reach the final objective. Naturally, you'll run into resistance wherever you go, but the choice will be yours.

The size of the playable map in Far Cry 2 will grow as you unlock areas, with the ultimate playable area running somewhere in the 50-square-kilometer range. It won't just be dry savannah in the game either--developers are promising a variety of terrain and environments, including jungle, desert, and urban landscapes as well. The mission types will vary too; in addition to "find and destroy" missions like the one above, developers are promising a variety of mission types, such as intimidation, or missions where you must burn a field full of crops meant for an enemy army. In addition there are around 50 side quests which run the gamut from rescuing civilians in hiding to tracking and assassinating specific high-value targets.

Producers were mum on the specific online multiplayer details in the game but did say that the game will include a full map editor on the PC and console versions of the game. We didn't get to see the map editor in action, but we do know that created maps will be a maximum of 512 X 512 in size and players will able to download and rate the creations of others.

Hang gliding into a village and laying waste to the bad guys. Welcome to Far Cry 2.

Weaponry in Far Cry 2 will include such weapons as pistols, assault rifles, and shotguns, as well as more exotic weaponry, such as flamethrowers, rocket-propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices. Bullets will be able to penetrate flimsier materials so that cover won't always keep you safe and, amusingly, some weapons will jam from time to time, and you'll have to give your weapon a few whacks to dislodge it.

Following up on one of the more critically successful games in Ubisoft's recent history is no small task for the developers at Ubisoft Montreal. From what we've seen, the go-anywhere, do-(almost)-anything approach is still intact with Far Cry 2. We're curious to see how the game's main character will interact with the various factions vying for control in the game, as well as how far-reaching decisions you make will affect the storyline. Far Cry 2 is currently scheduled for release later this year.

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172 comments
omegand
omegand

Anyone who played the first Far Cry had to have been as frustrated as most of us with the Checkpoint save system. That really stunk. After reading this review I did note the mention of a “friend” checkpoint which seems to mean you have to go back to a friend in order to get revived. But what about saving your game? Anyone know about whether you can save on demand or how the save works if you can’t?

boyfrom93
boyfrom93

Anybody here knows if the 360 version is gonna be released at the same time as the PC version? All I know is that the console versions come out a short time after the PC version is released, and I'm not even sure... I quit my job for Far Cry 2, BTW.

ca5hmon3y
ca5hmon3y

Already on pre order...looks sick!

ufobob1
ufobob1

this game looks friggan sick!!!!!!!!!!

KiMcHiMaN
KiMcHiMaN

for all u fukin crysis whores, you dont even know if this game will be worse the crysis, and the graphics is better then crysis in my opinion from looking at the pics. i bet there is more **** to do in farcry 2 then crysis. oh by the way, fallout 3 is gonna own killzone 2 lil A$$

ray4594
ray4594

To all those who keep saying Crysis looks better, you are right. But from what I've read, Far cry 2 doesn't require as high requirements for your computer as Crysis. So stop comparing games.

mlp071
mlp071

I am just hoping that they will not limit size of the world due to inabilities of Lamebox and other consoles to cope with what PC can, and made "one way road world". Original FC kept me intrigued for months due to simple option that you could wonder around and have several ways to complete missions.

itachi100
itachi100

eh.. this is gunna fail without crytek's shine

droned
droned

Does anyone know what it will take to run this sucker? How many hrs. of game play do ya'll think it will take?

RonTorque
RonTorque

Can't wait for this game.It's in my must buy list.

orcsblade
orcsblade

i am so going to get this one it just looks so good its mindblowing

orcsblade
orcsblade

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

PhantomRoy08
PhantomRoy08

sounds like mercinaries 1 in first person perspective

kowycs
kowycs

this will rock:D it looks pretty cool like crysis

KratosAurion7
KratosAurion7

Well, I was surprised they didn't even mention Crysis once in the whole Preview. But I think the game will be totally badass.

DamageIncM
DamageIncM

Always comparing to other games, like once again Crysis... Just judge it on it's own, if it's good it's good, if anything else, it's that. The best thing for me about this game is that it's approached with realism. Almost no HUD as far as I know, apart from some light numbers or so. You actually get a map and a compass in your hands. Then also the boolkrap of instantly switching into vehicles and switching between seats and what not is gone. You actually see yourself step into vehicles and move around inside of the vehicles. And I will absolutely love the unscripted AI, no more predictions, at least toned down a lot. Because I hate being the smartazz of like "OK, here this and that happens, there is that and that guy." . You might think you're all that, but to me it just gets boring and I want a challenge, actually applying some brains to the game. And many more features. :) I just hope it feels nice and loose and realistic and not arcade. Both for the movement, the weapons and of course the vehicles. And I hope you can't jump retardedly high, I'm sure they paid attention to stuff like that this time...

HalfBak3dM0nkey
HalfBak3dM0nkey

Vasot- This game was announced to not be as demanding as Crysis, so it could possibly be ported to consoles, and not limited by sales by those who could not play it.

Vasot
Vasot

I think Crysis looks better

BloodyIron
BloodyIron

Actually, this game will not look as good as Crysis because this game is also going to be on Ps3 and the 360. The makers were forced to tone the game down for the other platforms. The game will look great, but not as good as Crysis sadly....

dudous_47
dudous_47

AAAAAHH .... TOO bad my pc sucks .... i need to play this game !!!

jacobmjl
jacobmjl

hmmmmm.....gonna be atleast a little like s.t.a.l.k.e.r

PsychiKleftis
PsychiKleftis

Gurnadar. Games increase in graphic quality as time goes on. L2timeline.

Gurnadar
Gurnadar

No way its gonna beat crysis,how can they do more than reality in crysis, fc2 can match crysis but not exceed

DannyHR
DannyHR

Man, this looks great. I'm still to play the first part tho. Will install it today. But this Africa theatre is interesting, i think i've never seen it before.

thepickmaster
thepickmaster

oh no...it will be better than crysis..? god..have to upgrade my machine again..Crysis..now FarCry...hope they use better graphics engine...

daman1616
daman1616

of course its going to LOOK better than crysis. It's still in development. Although i wonder what the difference will look like between the console versions and the DX10 version. Hopefully ubisoft does as good a job as Crytek did.

JehovaWrinkles
JehovaWrinkles

hey do they still have create your own map in this version?

guppieface
guppieface

ok i need the 360 version though i cant afford a high end pc, i use a laptop

macedonia_sucks
macedonia_sucks

I have no comment yet but I will give one after I played it on PC and Console It will be a shame to ruin this game so i hope its not only great looking game Hehe racist game aint it just like Resident Evil 5 (just joking) And one more thing why do they call it Far Cry 2 when it doesnt have anything to do with the original

sMeAgOl_VaDeR
sMeAgOl_VaDeR

crysis is nothing compared to this one! it is a MUST have for EVERY1 who owns a PS3. any1 who hates this game is a sucker... i simply can't wait!

eiadrtr
eiadrtr

i think that it may be better then crysis

sweet1234
sweet1234

I think this game is gonna be better than crysis. Only cause I can play this one with good graphics and I don't need to spend 5 bajillion dollars for a new computer... -_-

sam441
sam441

crysis is better

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

hl80 Its not like they're effortlessly milking the franchise you know, they are putting a lot of work into making this title. It would be the same as saying IW milking COD. They could easily call it something else but I think with legal issues it would cost them some money to do so, so ubisoft might as well just call it far cry 2. They are totally different games.

hl80
hl80

Eh, why call this Far Cry 2 if it has nothing to do with Far Cry 1? I'm disappointed because I was a big fan of Far Cry. Seems like a milking of the name for no reason other than hype.

clawsfury
clawsfury

Guys, quit comparing this to Crysis. Crysis was made by Crytek and this is made by Ubisoft... even though Crytek made the first FarCry under Ubisoft's watch, they no longer have rights to this title since they're now working for EA.

pidow
pidow

I can't wait...fun and gun..I liked the first game and the second should be much better.

jed1516
jed1516

well first of all people didnt like the old game but i loved it but now nobody plays it so i cant get a good game on it anymore i think far cry was the best game ive ever played in my life far cry 2 is just making us all spoiled haha its ganna be realy good ubisoft rules MaP EdItOr

merseylax
merseylax

this game will not be as good as crysis . crysis is the best 1st person shooter 4 pc no competion get the game and u will not be disapointed

GamerDuke
GamerDuke

As long as theres open world sniping I'm happy. And this game looks perfect for it.