2008 has been a bumper year for great games, but there is one real stinker which has somehow receievd great reviews despite being a steaming pile of shit.
Somehow Far Cry 2 manages an 86% rating on metacritic yet plays like it was made by a company who have never played an FPS in their life. Lets break down the crapness in a geek rant [note that this in an excercise in making me feel better for wasting money on this peice of crap].
Realism. It’s obvious that FC2 is striving to be realistic, but c’mon, realism as a trend is so five minutes ago. I’d much rather play something fun than something realistic for the sake of being realistic. Far Cry has all the fun of malaria! All the fun of guns getting rusty and jamming! All the fun of being a mechanic! All the fun of driving cars until you are bored! I wish I was making this shit up.
Gunplay. I can confidently say through my years of experience that the gunplay in FC2 is complete ass. Each and every gun feels like a garden hose. Without a nossle. Silenced MP5? AK47? Mounted M60? All the same. You point them in the rough direction of bad guys and eventually they fall down. Guys in t-shirts stand up to heavy machine gun fire like you were flicking M&Ms at them. The guns just don’t seem to do anything, aiming them doesn’t seem to do anything. It’s like 5 out of 6 bullets are blanks! This game made me feel like I was playing a console FPS on a PC.
Enemies. Apparently if you drive around Africa you will meet a roadblock of guys who are waiting to shoot you every 100 metres. If they give chase and you shoot them back, they will sit in their car until they die, or eventually teleport next to the car before spouting something in a South African accent and dying. An also as mentioned before, t-shirts make great armour in Africa.
The AI is fucking attrocious, I can probably recreate it here in ActionScript:
shoot at player;
run at player;
Annoying Cutscenes. Bad guys are hiding inside a building. Your natural instincts are telling you to toss a grenade in and let god sort them out, but forget about that, as every time you open a door a stupid cutscene of your hand reaching for the knob plays out! Buildings are like Dubya’s stance on terrorism, you’re either in or out, no in-betweens. The game seems so focussed on this sort of shit that it’s like they forgot to make the game fun because they were to busy devising different ball scratching cutscenes.
Dumb controls. Want to check your map? Well you just have to push 5 to bring it up (another annoying cutscene) then press R to make it change to a usable scale. Want to exit a jeep? Push D, unless you’re in another position other than the drivers seat, then you have to switch to the driver’s seat first before exiting. Did you like the handy binoculars in Far Cry 1 and Crysis? Well too bad, as they’ve been replaced by a monocular! To use it, you have to bring up your dumb map, press another random button, look at something (with no zooming!) and then press another button to tag what you’re looking at (which almost never works!).
Conclusion: A free roaming FPS in Africa sounds great. I loved sneaking around the jungle and devising different ways to attack enemy outposts in Far Cry 1 and Crysis, but all that goes out the window here because the enemies and crap guns react the same way no matter how you play. You basically spend most of your time driving around from dumb cutscene to dumb cutscene.
Avoid at all costs!