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Michael Kontoudis
12 Oct, 2008

Far Cry 2 Preview

360 Preview | Journey into the Heart of Darkness.
Cast your memory back to the year 2004 and the release of the original Far Cry on PC. Developers Crytek managed to fashion one of the most convincing and picturesque locales in all of gaming, and graced players with the freedom to traverse the landscape and tackle enemies in almost any way they saw fit. The title was truly an epochal first-person shooter, and after various spin-offs, console-specific sequels, and a period of four years, Far Cry 2 is nearly upon us. The sequel, set to hit the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, promises to be bigger, bolder and prettier than its predecessor, but with Ubisoft Montreal filling in for Crytek, and the existence of a fiercely competitive FPS market, will Far Cry 2 flourish or wilt under the hot African sun?

The protagonist of the original game, Jack Carver, is nowhere to be found in Far Cry 2, as the title is more or less a reboot or do-over of the central conceit of the original game; namely, an enormous, convincing locale for the player to traverse in a non-linear fashion. Ubisoft Montreal have dispensed with the science fiction trappings and honed their laser-sights on providing a grittier, more down-to-earth scenario. The player assumes the role of one of nine different mercenaries who are embedded in the midst of a vicious civil war which rages in a fictional African nation.

Carnage as far as the eye can see. Bless.

Carnage as far as the eye can see. Bless.
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Two factions struggle for supremacy: the United Front for Liberation and Labour and the Alliance for Popular Resistance, and both are beying for blood and control. The player must ally himself with these major factions and other interested parties in order to locate and assassinate The Jackal, a mysterious antagonist who deals arms to both sides of the war and presumably sits atop a throne of bullet-riddled corpses.

Of course, pinning The Jackal down will not be easy, especially when one realises that the main character is afflicted with a nasty case of malaria. This ailment must be managed and controlled with periodic doses of medication delivered through injections, lest you be overcome by sickness. This level of vulnerability is one of many unusual features of Far Cry 2 which are sure to impress.

Another is of course the wide-open nature of the game, spanning over fifty square kilometres and ranging from spacious savannahs to dense African jungle. Players will traverse this enormous environment by way of jeeps, boats, hang-gliders and more, performing missions for various factions which largely involve using the gorgeously-rendered weapons on offer.

Moooonnrriiivvveerrrrr...

Moooonnrriiivvveerrrrr...
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What really sets Far Cry 2 apart from the competition at this stage is its slavish devotion to realism and simulation. The game offers a full twenty-four hour day and night cycle and a range of climate effects ranging from thunder storms to sweltering sunsets, and the land is populated by a plethora of wildlife, lovingly crafted and designed with AI routines which mimic their real-life counterparts; startle a herd of gazelles, for example, and the beasts will flee as a group, causing a noticeable ruckus and alerting the enemy to your position.

Great use is also made of fire; the player can brandish this elemental force in any way they see fit, whether it be lighting fires and allowing the wind to carry it to your enemy, creating a barrier of flames to protect yourself, or setting buildings alight to flush out their occupants. Items such as live ammo rounds and grenades will also react realistically upon coming into contact with fire, exploding in a shower of sparks and bestowing any enemy unfortunate enough to be in close proximity with an ignominious death.

In all fairness, however, at least their death will look slick; Far Cry 2 is a visually-sumptuous game, albeit not quite able to match Crytek's own Crysis for sheer technical bravado. The African landscape is utterly convincing, with foliage and grass that sways in the breeze and allows for sunlight to filter through branches. The PC version, at least, will provide most players with decent rigs with an immersive experience nearly unmatched by the genre. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions are similarly gorgeous, but slightly rougher around the edges and showing clear signs of struggle in rendering such a vast, largely-seamless environment. Make no mistake, though - no matter which platform a given player prefers, Far Cry 2 will offer high-quality presentation and provide some breath-taking sights.

The heat is, er...on?

The heat is, er...on?
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A few question marks hover around the periphery of the game, even at this late stage. The quality of the multiplayer, which looks set to offer a fairly standard set of classic multiplayer staples including deathmatches and 'capture the flag' scenarios, is still a questionable prospect. Similarly, it remains to be seen whether the game holds together in terms of pacing and difficulty. Offering such a wide-open world without a save-anywhere option, at least in the console versions, is a risky proposition and may lead to some serious balance issues and frustration. Not to mention, whether a game so non-linear and packing so much travel-time between key locales can maintain the intensity of the action is also an unknown.

For now, we are willing to give Ubisoft Montreal the benefit of the doubt, and in any case, the true quality of the game will become apparent when Far Cry 2 releases on October 23. Pack your suitcases, and stay tuned for PALGN's full review.
Overall:
Far Cry 2 is nothing if not bold. Such an expansive, open experience relying on simulation and player ingenuity leaves a lot of room for error - but from what we can see, the game looks set to deliver on much of its promise.

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20 Comments
5 years ago
Collector's Edition pre-ordered! The only thing that puts me off this game is the malaria thing, it just feels unneeded.
5 years ago
Yeah i think they went a bit far putting a malaria sample into the packaging as a collector edition pre-order bonus. They're getting out of control!
5 years ago
Well, i'll be getting this game, for sure. Just need to work out where the moneys coming from..

I'll save judgement on the malaria thing until i see how much of an impact it has on the gameplay. I've not heard of it until now, so it seems to be just small part.
5 years ago
pre ordered collectors edition and cannot wait.
As for graphics i would say they look better more nature then crysis. And from the videos seems to be a much polished smoother engine. But i guess have to wait before we can confirm that.
5 years ago
It might not have the technical power behind it when compared to Crysis, but the change of scenery and gorgeous presentation make it, at least to me, far more visually impressive.
5 years ago
I have the special edition on order at JB Hi Fi...

I don't usually order special editions, but I liked the look of that one, and it comes with bonus missions at JB too.
5 years ago
They have my money, that's for sure!
5 years ago
I've got my CE preordered at GAME so I'm going to be getting myself some free dogtags with my name on them... On second thoughts maybe I should have preordered at JB :/
5 years ago
The only thing that puts me off this game is the fact my PC would barely handle the menu screen..
5 years ago
That... looks incredibly pretty.
5 years ago
Brown. Everything is brown. Why has the FPS genre become synonomous with a brown colour palette and derivative gameplay? The original far cry was good because it was something different. and it wasn't BROWN!
5 years ago
Psy Storm wrote
Brown. Everything is brown. Why has the FPS genre become synonomous with a brown colour palette and derivative gameplay? The original far cry was good because it was something different. and it wasn't BROWN!
Next time it snows in the middle of an african savannah I'll be sure to let you know.
5 years ago
Psy Storm wrote
Brown. Everything is brown. Why has the FPS genre become synonomous with a brown colour palette and derivative gameplay? The original far cry was good because it was something different. and it wasn't BROWN!
Write me a list of shooters that take place in a beautiful and accurately rendered Africa and we’ll talk some more.
5 years ago
African countryside really is brown. Deal with it >_>

Forgot to mention, my pre-order is for the 360 version. I seldom use my computer for games and it most certainly can't run anything new icon_razz.gif
5 years ago
Psy Storm wrote
Brown. Everything is brown. Why has the FPS genre become synonomous with a brown colour palette and derivative gameplay? The original far cry was good because it was something different. and it wasn't BROWN!
I disagree, it has Green Forests, hopefully they are used a bit too. It also has a bit of water, but from what I can tell there won't be much.
5 years ago
This looks ssooooooo good. Nice preview guys.

I wish I had more money to buy this. Might have to wait til it hits the bargain bin. icon_sad.gif
5 years ago
could an 8800GT run this game on high at 1680x1050
5 years ago
^^ Should be able to run it comfortably on that res.
5 years ago
are you just here to post your system specs?
5 years ago
no i was just wondering to see if i could run before i got it, it is cool how you can use the flame thrower to ignite anything. but they said it would grow back i wonder how they are going to do this.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  23/10/2008 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $89.95 AU
Publisher:
  UBI Soft
Genre:
  Shooter
Year Made:
  2008
System Requirements:
CPU: Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz, Pentium D 2.66 Ghz, AMD Athlon 64 3500+ or better
Video Card: NVIDIA 6800 or ATI X1650 or better. Shader Model 3 required, 256MB graphic memory.

Recommended:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo Family, AMD64 X2 5200+, AMD Phenom or better.

Video Card: NVIDIA 8600 GTS or better, ATI X1900 or better, 512MB graphic memory.

A DVD Drive is also required which
is the case with most new games, and a list of supported video cards was released, which include:

NVIDIA 6800, NVIDIA 7000 series, 8000 series, 9000 series, 200 seri
es, 8800M and 8700M supported for laptops. ATI X1650-1950 series, HD2000 series, HD3000 series, HD4000 series.

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