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Far Cry a retrospective

Far Cry 2 in my opinion; is the Grandfather of the open-world game.

Ubisoft Montreal has been known for its open-world game back in the 2000s this was a revolutionary concept.

Film as an art form does music and visuals together in a unique way that no other art form does.

The novel allows you to inhabit a character like no other art form does.

Where video games excel

In this article I plan to compare and contrast the difference between Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3 in terms of how the two games compare and contrast, looking at the following criteria:


Gameplay/ game mechanics



Focus on aesthetic

Far cry 2 Far cry 3

Game audio the use of sound in the gaming experience


Far cry 2 was the first game to pioneer the Dunia engine (a software fork of the cry engine) Ubisoft Montréal modified the cry engine to include a destructible environment and a realistic physics engine way back in 2008; which became the Dunia engine.

Graphics were revolutionary back in 2008. A modified Dunia engine has a day to night system. If you stand still in the game, you can literally see the world move around you. Wildlife moves in and out of the frame, which is complemented wonderfully by the sound design.

A source of constant peril.

Gameplay/game mechanics

When you open the game you can select a character (this is why I love Ubisoft you get to play a Mauritian) all with their own sordid back story and motivations.

MW4 had become the de facto standard for shooters. Unlike anything on the market at the time Far Cry took a major departure from convention.

With destructible weaponry, destructible environment and ferocious AI, that swarm you the minute you are discovered and don't stop until you are dead.

One thing the game does really well is put you feet first in a third world African country that is embroiled in a civil war.

In the opening section of the game, the developers set up the fact that the main character has malaria.

This becomes a constant thread through the game narrative.

Where by you can do humanitarian missions and in return, you get medicine.

If you don't get your medicine you will simply pass out and die…

Such a feature is revolutionary and has hitherto never popped up in another Far Cry not to mention another first-person shooter.

There are safe houses located all over expansive the game world.

Allowing you to sleep and recuperate, activating a day to night cycle which changes the environment useful for hiding from roving patrols of AI, switch up weapons and heal; they sometimes come with vehicles too.

There is no in game HUD, you must switch between weapon or map, forcing you to plan your missions.

If you run and gun ‘CoD style’ your not going to do well and you're going to be constantly frustrated.

I love this because it puts another layer of immersion into an African country embroiled in civil war.

However, after 11 hours of gameplay, this can get a bit long in the tooth.

We're lost, aren't we?

The story

Much like Africa, there is nuance, a thread of a narrative woven into the game rather than a rigid storyline.

You are a mercenary who has been hired to find and kill the Jackal and to do so you have to work for either the APR or UFLL fighting for supremacy, in this African dustbowl.

Petty simple gaming fair on the face of it.

But Ubisoft changes the script when in the first act you contract malaria and the jackal ends up finding you.

Then the whole game turns into a shadow play.

Where you never hear or see the Jackal but his presence permeates the environment in which you play the game. Whether its town, Jungle, City or Desert.

Far Cry 2 doesn’t hold back on how claustrophobic and impossible life is in the third world and especially in Africa.

There is a dichotomy of choice when writing characters in media, show or tell. This game uses the former to great effect.

Simple choices like viewing your map whilst driving, unlike most games Far Cry 2 is forcing you into gameplay choices finding where your going vs. looking where you going. All incredible storytelling actions and choices by the developers.

A beautiful land soaked in tragedy

Heart of darkness

Far Cry 2 is loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Substituting the Colonel Kurtz for the Jackal.

Finding you incapacitated by malaria right from the start.

Jackal is a shadowy figure a phantom that pops up in the game but you feel his actions and influence permeating the environment of the game.

As a consequence all your characters choices; these moral choices extend to the penultimate scene where your character makes the ultimate choice, which really made me think about the wider choices people in Africa have to make every day.

In most games, you play the role of the hero who has to confront the final boss or ultimate monster.

In this game you are the monster. An active element who is contributing to the misery of these people which leave you with one final choice… do the altruistic thing or make the ultimate sacrifice thus killing that monster yourself.

Jackal back story

To tell the backstory of the Jackal the developers have scattered 17 tapes through out the map like so many conflict diamonds.

Journalist Ruben Oluwagembi whom you are introduced to at the beginning of the game in Mikes bar; sends you on a side quest to find the tapes.

Each tape reveals a tantalizing glimpse into the jackal's psyche.

A interesting way to develop a largely elusive character.

Buddy systems side quests and moral choice in Far Cry 2

The buddy system in Far Cry 2 is based around building your reputation in the ex-pat mercenary community.

Whenever you are assigned a faction mission there is an alternative buddy missions you can choose to do.

This sets up a moral conflict in the heart of the character as well as in the player.

Since Far Cry 2 gives you the choice to be selfish or altruistic, this was absolutely revolutionary at the time and set up the rough template for all future Far Cry games.

Game Aesthetic

Being born in the UK but having parents who come from East Africa (Mauritius) your used to things not working.

Last time I went there I saw a house with one wall where mould was creeping out of it in a large black circle.

Because people there are doing the best they can with what they have.

Things don't work as they do in the West, you can get by bribing officials, the saying 'life isn’t fair' really applies in that country.

Ubisoft captures this wonderfully.

To the HUD Another element ripped away from the player.

Forcing you to confront the calamity, undistracted, of what was going on in Africa , and still occurs to this day.

There is a Third world patina that permeates every facet of the game.

From getting on busses to travel from one side of the map to the other to the primary element of any FPS: the weaponry.

Weapons which degrade over time; jamming in your hands as it becomes used with combat combined with the effects of the game environment, eventually blowing up in your face.

I'd rather my character catch malaria again than a bus

Game audio, a good 50% of the gaming experience

Until VR Gaming, Sound design is the key element in immersing player in the game.

Playing this game you really believe that you inhabit the game as a character in this environment.

You believe you are in the savanna, jungle or desert, existing in this visceral Central African Republic.

Compared to the weapons sound of modern warfare these guns sound realistic and used.

Far Cry 2 / Far Cry 3

First addition to the Far Cry series was fairly lacking lustre but Far Cry 2 simply changed the game and set the tone and standard of future Far Cry titles.

Unfortunately I feel that other Far Cry games lack the element of risk.

The feeling that you’re really sacrificing something, this is only present in Far Cry 2.

I’m disappointed they didn’t carry that dynamic into Far Cry 3.

Don’t get me wrong I love playing Far Cry 3 and it is obviously a step forward in the evolution of the DUNIA engine.

However once you get to a certain point after you have completed all missions and unlocked all the game has to unlock, it does get a bit boring.

Far Cry 2 on the other hand never does lose its edge.

No matter how much you do its as ferocious as when you left the airport, to when you arrive in Pala, whereas Far Cry 3 feels like you lose its purpose after you kill Vaas.

Post game boredom kicks in


As you can probably tell I Love Far Cry 2.

I think it's one of the best games Ubisoft has ever produced.

Upon reflection, some mechanics would be cumbersome today but aside from this: it is a great game.

It performs at the highest levels not only as a video game but as a piece of artn in the history of games.

The highest function of art is social commentary (not preaching) but social commentary.

I love the concepts In Far Cry 2 of the fps and stripping it back to its bare bones. Hobbling the player from the outset with malaria, challenging them to survive in a hostile, unforgiving world.

There is a relentlessness to the game that as you progress nothing really ever changes.

Which is weird, you don't attain anything major except for the mirage of moving closer to the Jackal.

Because for the player it’s a mirror, your not moving closer to the Jackal, your moving closer to your self.

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