As if there were any doubt, Mr. Steerpike grabbed this game on Day Zero and has given it a solid four hours. Largely interesting because this is the first “big studio” open-world shooter, a format that’s been dominated until now by the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games and nothing else, the question becomes: does Far Cry 2 deliver? Click to find out…
The obvious difference between Far Cry 2 and GSC Game World’s STALKER titles is apparent within about nine seconds of play: I’m talking polish, people. Polish. Whereas STALKER’s X-Ray Engine runs like an arthritic trilobyte on even very powerful machines, Far Cry 2’s brand-new and far more gorgeous Dunia Engine is averaging 50 FPS with all visuals maxed out in DirectX 10. This game makes aggressive use of however many processor cores you may have, and does well with modern videocards. The intentionally reminiscent of Half Life opening sequence does a great job of displaying an engine that easily takes place alongside Crysis’s Cry2 Engine, except Dunia is beautifully optimized and runs better than I could have imagined.
Play-wise, I’m a little too early into the game to say for sure, but so far I’ve not become engrossed in the world and missions the way I was with the STALKER games. Far Cry 2 is a shooter that happens to have an open world; “shooter” is foremost in its classification. STALKER is an open-world-shooter-RPG, and it’s intriguing to see the differences up close and personal, having played Clear Sky so close to Far Cry 2. Basically, this game is much more IN YOUR FACE than STALKER ever was. There is less opportunity for precision and forethought, and much more action. Enemies and gun battles are regular events, while exploration and self-improvement take a backseat role.
Another interesting fact: Ubi dodged the racism accusations that Capcom is currently enduring with Resident Evil 5 by simply making most of the mercenaries and enemies in this game white. While Far Cry 2 takes place in war-torn central Africa, so far the only Africans I’ve seen are in positions of power, and not yet involved in gunplay. Given that conflict diamonds form a crucial fulcrum of the story, it may not be that unrealistic… but it is worth noting.
Combat is solid, difficulty is even, enemy AI could be better but isn’t disastrous. Basically I find myself wishing that this game included a bunch of stuff that was done in Clear Sky, and wishing that Clear Sky had included a bunch of stuff done in this game. So far: guarded positivity, but no sheer joy yet.
Stay tuned for more.