A highly derivative, repetitive, and disappointing excursion.
+ This game feels like a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas clone with a few small chances that try to make it unique. It's a sandbox style game and you can carry multiple weapons and control multiple vehicles. The problem is the weapons don't feel satisfying and you just spam bullets at enemies. And the vehicles have some of the worst handling I've encountered. The world is huge but this can become frustrating when you have to use a crappy car to get to where you want to be.
You do have a grapple gun which is kind of fun but I don't think they showcased its power enough in the game. It was more like an afterthought that was only used in certain situations and most of the time was very clunky.
You have the main story missions which have a range of difficulty. Some are really easy but others are downright punishing. Most of the time you'll end up running around on foot while helicopters rain bullets down from up above, and it doesn't take long for you to die.
There are lots of side missions and you can try to make all the sub areas of the map be controlled by the rebels instead of the corrupted government, but these missions are repetitive and just cut and paste copies. I managed to stabilize a few regions then realized that I was growing bored, so I scrapped that idea and finished the main missions. After I finished the main missions I really felt no compulsions to return, and the game offered me no reason to go back and do the side quests.
Although the world is large and there's probably a lot to do, the game just felt empty and boring and never really grabbed my attention. It really lacks the cohesion that something like San Andreas had.
+ Wow, this was some of the worst storytelling I've ever seen in a game. You just get thrown in and then there are some really bad cutscenes before each mission that try to string everything together. But the voice acting and the explanations are so poor that you could probably skip all the movies and you wouldn't miss out on anything. The concept of sparking a revolution is interesting, but man they do not know how to make a good story or good characters.
+ The graphics were pretty good considering that they are starting to get dated. What was impressive was how big the world was and how everything managed to still look good despite its size. Sure, today it looks rough and shoddy but I can imagine that when it first came out this was a visually excellent game.
+ I beat the game in 7 hours. I managed to stabilize a few regions and did a few side quests, which probably took me about an hour. But after I realized how boring and repetitive these missions were, I just stuck to the main story and rushed my way through. After I beat it I just exited and knew I would never return. I don't know what it was, but this game really did nothing for me and I felt like it was just a poor ripoff of San Andreas. I was hoping that it would be useful to play this game before playing the sequel, but I'm starting to think that there was no real benefit to trying this out first.