Far Cry 2 Xbox 360 Review
Africa. With less wildlife and more shootings.
The first thing that struck me when loading this game was the excellence of how they’ve captured the grubby, dirty feel of a developing African nation. The dusty atmosphere and dirt roads have been rendered brilliantly and it looks gorgeous. Unfortunately the second thing that struck me was that I was in an unskippable cutscene with a psychic driver who didn’t need to look where he was driving.
That introduction serves well for my vast frustration with this game. You play a faceless mercenary called Geoff The Salmon, who has been sent to kill a watered down parody of Colonel Kurtz. Within moments you’re subjected to the first Game Shittening: Malaria. This device is introduced for two reasons. Reason the First: So Geoff can be all dopey while Captain Cuntflaps monologues to you, and Reason the Second: As an excuse to lengthen the game by making you travel the country for anti-Malaria drug missions. If you don’t feel like completing the story missions straight away and instead decide to walk the land and find hidden stuff, the drugs never run out. Decide to do a few missions? Then you’ll have the drugs running within a few pills and you’ll have to work for more.
You start in the northern section of the country and have to make your way by running errands for the two opposing political groups. Along the way you end up rescuing people who have been held captive for some spurious reason, who then can help you with your missions. The developers want you to call them "Buddies", but being sensible I nearly vomited blood with rage at this suggestion. The only reason they exist is again for two things. Reason the First: To lengthen the game by giving you alternative ways to complete the missions you’re given, which normally involve two to three extra trips across the fucking map, and Reason the Second: To help you stand up when nasty men inflict The Poorlies on you.
You get The Poorlies a lot. Mostly due to the road network being festooned with guard posts and travelling vehicles. It is STUPID that you get attacked by every frigger who even glances at you, which makes every journey a tedious slog of 'drive 200 yards-stop-shoot-repair' rinse and repeat. Plus respawning guards within a couple of minutes from their deaths? Bastards. It’s as if each of these guard posts have a fax machine where they're given photos of your face to memorise, so that when they see a leaf move 200 yards away they can recognise that it's you. It's a bit difficult not to get The Poorlies when a) your BRAND NEW sniper rifle blows up after three shots and Geoff throws it aside, and b) your silenced MP5 thing draws massive attention as soon as your fire four shots off.
Despite the often lush foliage in the surrounding countryside, it doesn’t seem to act as any kind of cover at all. I'm all up for sneaky hijinks, that's what I live for in games like this. But I resent any game that relies on psychic guards. Most of the time, I'd circle the camp and pick them off, but even with my purchased extra camouflage and silenced weapons, they'd know exactly where I was and could shoot through the vegetation with unerring accuracy. Grr.
Anyway, you get paid in diamonds from doing missions for the political parties, which can then be exchanged for new weapons at gun dealers dotted around the landscape. You can only carry two guns at any one time, making the decision of what to carry at any one time quite a tactical challenge. It's highly irritating that your Gentleman Friend who helps you up when you've fallen over with a case of The Poorlies, hands you a shitty pistol which automatically replaces your secondary, normally highly damaging grenade launcher. In fact, while I was assaulting one mission’s destination STUPID CRETIN Gentleman Friend handed me a sodding pistol, which removed my sole way of blowing up the objective. By the time I’d backed off and restocked from a gun dealership, all the enemies had respawned and I had to go through the rigmarole of slaughter once more.
Another thing is that unfortunately your guns degrade with each shot you make, which leads us on to another Game Shittening: Jamming. Yes, your guns jam as they get older. Some even start jamming within four or five shots taken. Which is shit. Let it get too bad and the gun will explode, leaving you at the mercy of The Poorlies. The only way you can offset this is by swapping them with new weapons every time you pass a gun dealership, or hiding spares in your safehouse for when it inevitably happens and hope upon hope that you’re near there when it does. When do the enemies weapons jam? I never saw that happen.
One simple thing could remedy this: allow your guns to be cleaned or maintained in some way. Maybe at a safehouse, allow Geoff to have a worktable which restores the gun’s health. Surely that isn’t too much to ask? Unfortunately I fear that this would be impossible as my guns always suspiciously started jamming when I was near the end of missions. Specifically, I got through three of them on my way through the last segment of the game in the so called “Heart of Darkness”. Hmmm.
There are quite a few vehicles you can drive, from jeeps to other jeeps and another jeep, a car… erm… a buggy… and boats. Well, not “quite a few” more “some”. Every vehicle you pass on the road holds violent men who recognise you in nanoseconds. If any guard posts have vehicles in them, they all jump into their jeeps and give chase. Of course their EXACTLY THE SAME MAKE jeeps are infinitely faster than mine so they're somehow able to catch up in seconds despite having to start the engine and all that guff, forcing you to kill them then spend ages watching a shitty hand shittily crank a ratchet spanner on the jeep’s radiator which magically fixes all your jeep woes. Repeat 5-6 times for wherever you're travelling to. It reached a crescendo for me when I tried to get to the Northwest bus stop in the Southern sector. Just on that north road I got through 3 jeeps as they systematically knacked them, forcing me to turn and fight while weeping at the screen "I just want to catch the bus! Leave me alone!"
After all of this, in the end, I was just wishing the game would finish. No amount of pretty surroundings and nicely bouncy dirt track driving could detract from the tedium of being attacked every 100 yards. These are the simple changes I would make to smooth out the perilous pits of anger this game holds:
CHANGE THE FIRST! No psychic guards please. Also make it possible not to be attacked by every frigger and his dog by allowing you to put on a groucho mask and cerazy accent to fool them into letting you pass. "No zir! I is not from roun ere! I see man about dog."
CHANGE THE SECOND! Dead enemies STAY DEAD at guard posts. Maybe until a wandering patrol "finds" them and reinforces from a central point. It's make the roads a bit busier seeing a truck full of guards pelting along, plus give a consequence to your actions by making the road a little dangerouser (SHUT THE FUCK UP).
CHANGE THE THIRD! Let me maintain my goddamn weapons, honky.
CHANGE THE FOURTH! Let me refuse that pistol after suffering The Poorlies. In fact, let me skip the entire tedious cutsceney bit of the rescue.
So why did I keep playing until the end? Let me tell you a story.
Imagine you're sitting in front of a big cake. The cake is lovely looking, with oodles of chocolate and jam and marzipan and loads of good stuff. Boy are you looking forward to a slice of that cake! You're nice and hungry and have been such a good boy that you deserve that cake. A slice is served up and you start in. As you start masticating you realise It's not the best cake you've ever eaten, but it's good enough in your hungry state.
You're half way through the first slice when the chef kicks you in the shin with his steel toe cap boots. Your eyes unfocus and you stop chewing. Ouch. That hurt and was a bit unwarranted. Maybe the chef had a spasm and it was a mistake. You rub your shin and continue to munch through the slice.
You reach the end and lick your fingers clean. Yum yum. You think about having another lovely slice of cake, as you're still quite hungry. In you go young fella, dig in. Still the same cake and flavours, but by gum it's still quite good. 1/4 of the way through the chef kicks your shin again. You scowl at him, but your hands are too full of cake to retaliate. You take another bite, which is accompanied by another sharp pain to the shin. You're getting quite miffed as well as bruised. You're starting to wonder if maybe another cake would be worth pursuing, when you bite down on something hard. Ooh, it's a shiny sixpence. You scoff the last of the slice down and examine your lovely sixpence. Nice and shiny. It'd be nice to have a collection of these.
It's then that you look to your side and see Mr Dave sitting next to a similar cake baked by the same chef. Cake smears his chops and he's got 3 shiny sixpences in a stack next to him. Plus several purple bruises on his leg. Wow, there must be more of these in here.
Eager to find more, you cut yourself another piece and start to devour. The chef starts to take a run up and sadistically batters your lower leg. You gag and retch. Tears form in your sockets and roll down your cheeks. Your leg. Your precious leg. You drop the cake to the table and double over to weep. After a couple of minutes sobbing, your vision clears of tears and you see a sparkle. A shiny sixpence. Ooh, that's 2 now. You clean it of marzipan and hold it up to the light. You turn to Mr Dave to show him the sixpence, and notice he now has 10 of them. The dastard. RIGHT!
Forgetting the pain and even basic manners, you tear into the cake with your grubby fists. Plunging great gobs of it into your gaping maw, desperate for sixpences. The chef is huffing and puffing with exertion from kicking the shit out of your shin. The bone breaks and you fall backwards to the floor. As you squeal like a pig with your shattered bone sticking through the skin, the chef lowers his trousers and straddles your face. He lowers his greying scrotum onto your cake smeared mush. You scream and scream thinking about sixpences, as his salty sac bounces off your cheeks. The pain is intense. The smell is intense. You start to black out. In a final act of indignity the chef squeezes out a malteaser of cack which plops onto your lower lip.
A small bald Tibetan monk boy walks past throwing sixpences in the air in huge handfulls.
I killed your wildebeest last night.
While you snored and drooled, I killed your wildebeest.
She called me Daddy.
And I called her baby when I smacked her ass.
I called her sugar when I ate her alive till daylight.
And I slept with her all over me,
from forehead to ribcage I dripped your wildebeest.
Sometimes I thought you might be spying,
living out some brash fantasy, but no.
You were knocked out.
But we were all knocked out you know.
In a way
We didn't know you'd break the bottle
that the magic came in to use those jagged shards
to cut our wrists and neck.
And you'd do it too, you're that kind of wildebeest.
But you wouldn't know what you were doing
because I didn't,
your wildebeest could have been a burn victim,
an amputee, a dead body.
But god damn I wanted to fuck.
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