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Far Cry 2 for PC Kind of Sucks

Far Cry 2 for PC Kind of Sucks

Oct 26, 2008   PC Gaming   Nick Vogt   Comments
Please note that this post is over a year old and may contain outdated information.
I bought this game on day one, based solely on pre-release media, hype, and its amazing predecessor. Unfortunately, the game feels as though it sold out to become just another buggy console port. Crytek had nothing to do with this sequel, and it shares nothing but name with its predecessor.

Background Information
Here's a little background on the predecessor, Far Cry, so you can see where my opinion is coming from. The original Far Cry was a PC-only game created by Crytek and published by Ubisoft in 2004. It was a first-person shooter with an emphasis on open level layouts, allowing players to approach situations in different ways, but still remain fairly linear. Far Cry was an excellent game during its day and earned many top reviews. Please take a moment and read IGN's review of it if you have never experienced the game.

After Far Cry, Crytek sold the rights to the name "Far Cry" and the CryENGINE to Ubisoft, who would then later release several Far Cry games for Xbox and Xbox 360. I would venture a guess that this was because Crytek didn't want to create console versions of Far Cry themselves, so instead of giving in to pressure from their publisher, they sold the rights and moved on.

A few years after Far Cry, Crytek was working on a new PC-only game called Crysis, which would be built on their CryENGINE 2 and would be published by Electronic Arts. Ubisoft Montreal meanwhile was working on Far Cry 2 on their own Dunia engine, which would be a cross platform game for PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

There are distinct differences between Far Cry and Far Cry 2. In terms of gameplay, Far Cry 2 breaks away from the formula used in Far Cry, and adopts an open world game style used in games like STALKER, Mercenaries 2, and the GTA games (although the latter 2 games are 3rd person). The story also departs from the original Far Cry, which means it isn't really a sequel in anything more than the name.

Brief Review
Briefly put, Far Cry 2 does very well on aesthetics and the open world environment, but falters when it comes to gameplay. The environment is rich and beautiful, but there are many problems, bugs, and poor gameplay elements strewn about. It makes the game difficult to enjoy and constantly breaks the immersion that the environment tries so hard to create.

One of the nicest aspects of Far Cry 2 is the day/night cycle and weather system. The time of day cycles through as you play, and there will be occasional fog, heavy winds, and other weather changes. This also ties in with the African grass that is present in the plains areas, which sways realistically with the wind (the trees, on the other hand, look like they're made of rubber).

There is a good variety of open areas and narrow paths in the game. It isn't as open world as other open world games, but strikes a good balance. You won't be able to take a straight line from point A to point B usually, as steep hills and rock mounds keep much of the world from being traveled on. The only downside is that you will be using the map often as the paths are usually winding, and taking the wrong path is easy to do.

I honestly don't have a lot of nice things to say about the game other than that. I have compiled a large list of problems. I didn't intend to actually make a list of so many problems, but after an hour or so of playing I decided to write them down as I experienced them. I will say that if you don't have high expectations for Far Cry 2 or are playing it on console, you may well like it. But if you hold it to a higher standard you will probably find most of these problems annoying.

The List
  • First of all, the game crashes from time to time. Not a whole lot like other cross-platform games or ports, but certainly more than is acceptable.
  • If you have a widescreen monitor, your viewable area is cut off at the top and bottom compared to a standard resolution. It can make things feel a bit claustrophobic. Read about it here. There is a fix available here that I use and helps, but doesn't quite fix everything. Hopefully Ubisoft will patch this issue.
  • Surround sound is buggy for PC. Some people report no problems, others like myself have problems with it. It did not work by default, only stereo sound came through the front speakers (not even sure it is stereo, as it sounds mono). I did some research and found out that if I edit the file located here: Far Cry 2/Data_Win32/SoundBinary/DARE.INI, and change DISABLE_OPTIMISATION=TRUE to DISABLE_OPTIMISATION=FALSE, sound will come out of the rear speakers. I was joyed to find that surround sound was working, but quickly discovered that it wasn't true surround. I tested it with some NPC's that were having a conversation. Regardless of which direction I was facing, the direction of sound did not change at all. So it may not even be stereo for that matter. Could it be stuck in a mono sound mode? Unfortunately there are absolutely no sound options in this game aside from volume (the first sign of 'consolitis' is limited configuration and options, but beyond that there are plenty of other signs of it in this game, unfortunately). Surround sound is almost a requirement for this game, considering how it can be fairly difficult spotting enemies or knowing which direction gun fire is coming from. Also, considering how far voices travel, and how it is nearly impossible to tell which direction a voice is coming from the way it is.
  • There is no prone stance. Forget hiding in the tall African grass.
  • Sprinting can only be done when moving forward. And if you're crouching, the sprint button will not toggle you out of crouch unless you run forward. Also, there is a delay before sprint toggles you out of crouch, which often leaves you taking hits. Lastly, if you are holding down shift, and then press forward, there is a half second delay before you start running, while if you're moving forward and press shift it is immediate.
  • No off-hand melee. You have to switch to your blade to perform a melee attack.
  • No lean. You cannot lean around a corner leaving less of your body exposed as you look. I know many people consider this a useless feature, and I used to feel the same way, but after using it a lot more in CoD4, Crysis, and other games, it becomes quite natural. Given the game allows for a fair amount of subterfuge, this would be a good feature to have.
  • Can't climb over small walls or obstacles. For example, in CoD4 if you move up to an obstacle of medium height, you can climb over it if it is too high to jump onto. In Far Cry 2, you will have to find another way around, or a ramp.
  • The map is a chore to use, and you will be having it out often. I do like the idea of it, but it doesn't seem to be done very well in the game.
  • The monocular is useless. You have to bring the map up first, then right-click and hold to use it. The mouse sensitivity is too high when zoomed, making it further difficult to use, and the field of view is very small. It's easier to scout a camp by zooming in with the primary weapon.
  • Bushes and trees that are inside of buildings or otherwise not exposed to the wind still sway, which looks rather goofy.
  • Vehicles leave a lot to be desired. They are not very detailed, and the driving dynamics simply suck. The Jeep placement is also a bit tacky in my opinion, as the "Jeep" letters on the steering wheel of the two Jeep models in the game are displayed very brightly and boldly. It is so blatantly an advertising placement that it is difficult to miss, and doesn't help with the atmosphere of the game.
  • Opening doors takes control of the player momentarily as he opens the door and walks in. This makes it feel more as if you are entering a new level when inside a building, as opposed to the building being a part of the world. Due to this, all doors in the game are always closed. There are also plenty of fake doors which are just textures on buildings that you cannot enter.
  • Many fences and small trees do not break when you hit them with a vehicle. Instead your vehicle stops dead in its tracks. Small rocks will also give vehicles trouble. The physics seem to be lacking in this game. From reading the previews and information, it seemed as though the environment was going to be completely breakable, however it seems to not be that way. You can shoot tree limbs, run over bushes, and break 'some' objects, but most things in the game seem to be solid brushes. And I do have physics maxed in the options.
  • Hiding in bushes does not seem to work very well, as it did in Far Cry. Enemies appear to be able to see through bushes and shoot accurately without a line of sight. I play on the Hard difficulty setting.
  • Voice acting is pretty bad in this game. Dialog sounds forced and is spoken too quickly.
  • Enemies can spawn nearby when certain objectives are met or triggered. This is typical for a game, however sometimes the enemies spawn literally within 10-20 feet of the player. For example, when completing one of the weapon supplier missions, the moment I destroyed the supply truck an enemy spawned within 10ft of me (shooting), as well as two others just on the other side of a building perhaps 30ft away. I had cleared the area before taking the final shot at the supply truck.
  • Weapon supplier missions are all the same. Many other missions are repetitive as well. This isn't exactly surprising, but it would have been nice to see some more variety.
  • The world is littered with soldiers, and they respawn very quickly in areas that you have cleared. Most soldiers will shoot on sight, even if you aren't close enough to where they could realistically make a determination of who you are. Sometimes driving up to an enemy at night with head lights on will confuse them momentarily, but most often they start shooting immediately.
  • The HUD only pops up when taking an action such as reloading or shooting. In order to tell which grenade is equipped, an action must be taken first that displays the HUD. This is very inconvenient when you are wanting to throw a grenade but need to double check that you have it equipped first.
  • Despite what I've said about the weather being great, which it is, the graphics are not great, but merely average. Compared to Crysis, Far Cry 2 lacks detail and overall visual "niceness". In terms of performance, it is roughly on par. Maxing out Crysis will still take a bit faster of a machine, but the results are noticeably better.
  • Far Cry 2 has an "action-adventure" feel to it, with less emphasis on fluid first-person shooting gameplay. The dynamics of player movement and actions simply don't feel as natural as they do in games like Crysis or the original Far Cry. Movement feels jerky, for example. There are other difficult-to-define characteristics of Far Cry 2 that make it not quite an excellent FPS experience, such as delay time for various actions.
  • Far Cry 2 has no demo. So you will either have to take the plunge like I did, or pass it up (or find a friend with it). FYI Crysis does offer a demo.
  • Far Cry 2 has DRM (copy protection) on the more intrusive side. I haven't had any problems, but the idea that it limits the number of machines it can be installed on, and connects to the Internet to check, doesn't sit well with me.
  • Vehicle sounds are poor. The engine noise is dull and there is little variety to it. In addition, the engine roars every time you exit a vehicle or an NPC exits a vehicle, as if the engine is throttling up before turning off. It wouldn't be so bad if the sounds weren't exactly the same every single time. Also, when an enemy in a vehicle spots you, it makes an equally unvaried same-every-time engine roar and tire squeal every time.
  • Vehicles are far too quiet when they're driving. It is almost impossible to hear if a vehicle is approaching unless you are completely idle, and even then it is difficult.
  • Exiting vehicles is cumbersome and slow, as well as changing positions in a vehicle. The short animations are nice, however there seems to be a delay before you regain control of your character, even for a brief fraction of a second. Hangs and delays like this are common throughout the game, and will get under any FPS-player's skin.
  • Picking up ammo, health and other items in the game (not weapons) causes the player to pause and go through a short sequence that shows the item being picked up, before regaining control. This is neat the first few times, but quickly becomes tiresome. Why can't my character pick up an item as he runs past it?
  • Enemies drop very little ammo, often only half a mag worth; do they not carry any extra magazines with them? They sure seem to have lots of extra mags when they're shooting at me.
  • Pulling bullets out of your leg sometimes glitches, and will show the character grab several inches below the wound with pliers and pull a bullet straight out of the pant legs, while blood still shoots out of the wound above. This is a minor glitch, and will hopefully get fixed in a patch.
  • Enemies take damage but it doesn't stagger or affect them at all. There are soldiers running around in t-shirts, and shooting them right in the chest with several rounds won't even make them stumble or change their movement speed. They also seem to take a very unrealistic number of shots to kill (other than head shots), at least on hard difficulty.
  • Can't shoot out tires on vehicles. Vehicle engines start smoking after damaged enough, regardless of where hits are taken.
  • Fixing a vehicle involves tightening the bolt on the radiator, valve cover, or other seemingly useless area under the hood. For anyone with a knowledge of cars, it is almost comical. While repairing vehicles is a nice attempt, it leaves a lot to be desired. Really, I think they could have left it out, as there are plenty of vehicles to take parked at every intersection, bridge, outpost, and driven by NPC's.
  • An occasional bug occurs where an enemy shoots at you while not aiming at you, sometimes as bad as aiming completely the opposite direction. After the first couple shots they aim towards you, but it really throws you off as the enemy at first appears to be shooting in a completely different direction.
  • Same loading screen sub-text every time you start the game up and load your save game. If you load again after that, it continues to tell a story, however when loading a save game from a fresh starting of the game, you will see the same one or two lines every time.
  • Sprinting causes your vision to blur, which is ok. However, if you just tap the sprint key for a moment your vision will still blur as if you were sprinting for a distance.
  • Flashing items. While it makes it easy to see them, it really really takes away from the feel and immersion into the game.
  • Colliding vehicles doesn't knock them around very much. I was driving a truck at full speed into a 4-way intersection, right as one of the enemies in their truck with the gun on top was crossing perpendicularly. I nailed them right in the side expecting to knock the vehicle over or at least do some sort of damage. Unfortunately it did little; the enemy truck slid a couple feet at most, and the guy in the gun emplacement opened up on me immediately. Combined with how long it takes to exit a vehicle, I recommend to steer clear of enemy vehicles as much as possible when driving a vehicle yourself.
  • The water graphics leave a lot to be desired, both from out of the water and while swimming.
  • Getting out of the water is often difficult, as you can only exit on a smooth incline such as a beach, and are not able to climb out of the water even if there is a rock at water level.
  • The save points from the console versions are still present, and allow you to save, which is mostly redundant in the PC version.
  • Frames per second takes a fairly big hit when using the monocular in big open environments.
  • The tutorial popups and various prompts that you receive throughout the game are quite intrusive. They mostly all require a click on "ok" or other button, when many of them could be far less intrusive if they were implemented like in Crysis (a small unobtrusive menu in the lower part of the screen with the tutorial bit that goes away on its own after a few seconds).
  • The sounds throughout the game are low quality. The guns and vehicles in particular.
  • Mouse acceleration in the menu is very off, and doesn't seem to make sense. Moving the mouse slowly will result in the pointer not moving at all, and the pointer moves far slower than it should.
  • Head lights automatically turn on whenever entering a vehicle at night. How about a memory feature? I like to drive without head lights, and having to turn the lights back off every time I get back in after having to jump out to kill an enemy is annoying. This wouldn't be a big deal, but sometimes I will be in and out of a vehicle 4 or 5 times just traveling a small distance.
  • When switching from driver to gunner in a vehicle, if you click and hold the left mouse button while transferring the gun will not shoot until you let off the mouse button and click it again.
  • The wonderfully choreographed truck chases seen in the gameplay footage shown prior to launch, with enemy's shooting as the player drives over bumps and avoids their fire, do not actually occur. Enemy vehicles are simply too good and the driving dynamics are too arcade-like. Enemy vehicles end up tail gating your vehicle and that is all, and will follow you, glued to your rear bumper, until you eventually stop. If it is a gun truck following you, the gunner will have your vehicle smoking and crawling to a stop within 5 seconds or so of when they start shooting. I find that if an enemy spots you, it is best to exit the vehicle immediately (as exiting a vehicle takes a second) and take cover behind your vehicle.

I think that about wraps up my problem with the game. I can't help but think that because it was developed as a cross platform game, that may have been part of the reason the PC version came out like it did. It is still a cut above many other games, but when compared against games like Crysis and even CoD4, it doesn't fair very well.

The overall feeling of the game is that it isn't well done. Both on a detail level and the basic mechanics of the game. There isn't any one single element that makes it bad, but rather a combination of everything.

I feel as if Far Cry 2 could have been better if it was made by Crytek on CryENGINE 2, or was a total conversion for Crysis. The game mechanics, action, and FPS elements would have been better on that engine, and Ubisoft could have focused on the storyline and game environment.
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