Far Cry 2 Hands-on Preview

Written by Joe Martin

June 3, 2008 | 12:14

Tags: #crysis #farcry #far-cry-2 #hands-on #montreal #preview #ubidays-2008

Companies: #crytek #ubisoft

A Whole New World

Before we plunge in to dissecting the gameplay though, you probably have a few questions. Questions like Will I still have those cool feral powers? Or Do I still have to wear that ridiculous Hawaiian shirt?

The answer to both is a simple no. Far Cry 2 has absolutely no relation to the previous run of games and fits nicely in with Ubisoft’s pattern of restarting their core franchises this year, just as they’ve done with Prince of Persia.

As we said before, there are a couple of reasons for abandoning the ‘story’ of Jack Carver and Val Cooper. Firstly, Ubisoft is keen to create it’s own version of a Far Cry game rather than ham-fistedly ruining someone else’s idea of Far Cry.

The second reason for getting rid of the original Far Cry story is that it was totally bloody stupid anyway. Having mutants and monsters on the loose is all well and fine, but when it takes more than three sniper shots to the eyeball at point blank range to kill a foe on Normal skill and the game’s plot is actually trying to explain it away then you know you’re on shaky ground.

So, what exactly is Ubisoft’s idea of what a Far Cry game should be?

Far Cry 2 Hands-on Preview A Whole New World

Well, the good news is that Ubi’s idea is strikingly close to our own; a free-roaming and completely open sandbox for gamers to play in, where the player isn’t just presented with a Stealthy/Guns-blazing path to choose from but is actively encouraged to blur these and a dozen other possible paths to create their own gaming style.

That is after all exactly what made Far Cry such a great game, isn’t it? Before the game descended into an annoying cycle of reloads and deaths, the levels were so open and complex that there didn’t even seem to be a correct path to follow. Stealth, aggression and all manner of vehicular and AI-manipulating tactics could be blurred together in a game experience that took freedom to a whole new level.

During our hands-on time with Far Cry 2, we got to see that that’s exactly what Ubisoft has managed to pull over to the new game too. There really is no pre-defined path for the player to plough through and every time you play a game, it can go differently – and massively so.

Part of what makes the game different with each and every playthrough is that the game is built on a series of realistic rules which fully govern every action within the world.

Far Cry 2 Hands-on Preview A Whole New World

Some of these rules are things you’ll probably never be aware of until they start to affect your gameplay - like the wildlife of the 50 square kilometre savannah where the game takes place. The AI of the various zebras and animals which call the area home are driven by a needs-based AI system, which means they prioritise needs and are constantly on the look out for food or water.

That’s something you’d probably never notice until you accidentally spook a herd and their need for safety suddenly takes precedence, making them scamper into the undergrowth and give away your position in the process.

Interestingly, a Ubisoft Montreal spokesperson confirmed to us that the game won’t feature any animals which might prey on humans, for the sake of balancing. Early playtesters apparently liked being able to spy on gazelles, but quickly tired of being outrun by packs of lions.

Other rules which help make up the game universe though are far more explicit and obvious to the player – things like wind, acoustics or how flammable different materials are. The best way to talk about these factors though is through an example, so flip the page and sit down for bit-tech storytime…
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