Remembering 2008: The Biggest Games That Turn 10 This Year
Created by GameSpot Staff on
Far Cry 2 (October 21, 2008)
Today, the Far Cry series revels in allowing its players to explore exotic open worlds in over-the-top fashion--oftentimes with hilarious results. However, there was one game that did something a bit different, telling a story that was tonally unlike the original PC game and its console oriented spin-offs featuring a super-powered Jack Carver. As the first sequel, and also first true open-world game of the series, Far Cry 2 gave off a sense of weight that's still left an impression on me. Focusing on the exploits of a foreign mercenary in the African wilderness, you're quickly caught up in a brutal faction war while on the hunt for an infamous arms dealer named The Jackal--who actively sows the seeds of chaos in the isolated country. Oh yeah, and the main character is slowly dying from malaria.
Instead of the B-movie schlockly tone of its predecessor, Far Cry 2's story focused on the hardships of a country caught in a civil-war, offering some of the most harrowing and even nihilistic moments of the series. FC2 would go on to set standard for open-world action in a the series, such as invading enemy bases and taking on missions with your AI buddy character in tow, and it did it in a way that expressed a level of earnestness that the series hasn't seen since. The sequel also added in a stark difficulty spike due to its focus on realism that made the previous games feel like they were on training wheels. In a lot of cases, I was gunned down after forgetting that weapons often jam, and that enemies are far more cunning than in the average FPS.
To say that Far Cry 2 sticks out from the rest of the series would be an understatement. Its silent main character has to deal with the reality of existing in a space where the political conflict forces civilians into the crossfire, with many of the most important characters--the ones that can actually stop it all--weighing the cost of their lives over a pile of conflict diamonds. I'd often wonder if I was making this place worse by trying to carry out my own mission, like I was the lever for an ever-turning meat-grinder. At the time of playing this game, I was still in college, and one of my classes brought up the subject of the systemic disruption of Central and Northern Africa's society from outside influences. It didn't take long for me to understand where Far Cry 2 was coming from after its bleak conclusion. And that's really something I haven't really felt from another game since. -- Alessandro Fillari