As you might have heard in our latest FatCast, Matt Reynolds really doesn’t like Far Cry 3. In fact, he thinks Far Cry 2 is much better and he’s going to tell you why…
Far Cry 3 was my most anticipated game of 2012. Having attended the Eurogamer Expo in September and played a frankly stunning PC build of the game, I couldn’t wait. They had given me a timed play session of fifteen minutes, during which I could do as I pleased. I began in the Rakyat village and made my way to the first radio tower. I climbed to the top, marvelling at the miles of lush vegetation stretching as far as the eye can see. ‘My god,’ I thought; ‘I can’t wait to see what they have in store for me in the rest of the game’.
Well, it turns out that what they had in store was a steaming pile of HORSESHIT.
Juddering, Clunky Mess
Far Cry 3 is a terrible game. Quite how it managed to receive so many accolades and critical acclaim is beyond me. Before delving into the other numerous reasons that the game sucks a fat one; we need to deal with the horrendous 360 port. The PC version was gorgeous; but the juddering, clunky mess spluttering before me was an entirely different sight to behold. Its a game that clearly didn’t belong on the current generation; the machines creaking architecture going into cardiac arrest as it attempts to render the intricate environments ranging from the cerulean skyboxes to the quivering sphincter of a foraging tapir. The framerate dipped to such horrendous levels, particularly during cutscenes, that I began to suffer genuine motion sickness and had to look away. A horrible gaming experience.
All this being said; the merits of doing a current gen build of the game are moot. If the technical limitations were removed, the game would still be vastly inferior to its predecessor in almost every way. I realise this is a totally different stance to what the majority of critics and punters believe; but I stick to my hate-filled guns.
Heart of Darkness
In Far Cry 2 you play as one of a range of privately contracted mercenaries (which you can choose); sent into the heart of Africa to track down a ruthless arms dealer known as The Jackal. The game is a ruthlessly hardcore experience that chews up the weak willed and leaves them dying under the hot African sun. Its (numerous) heavily criticised gameplay mechanics are what makes the game so special and compelling. Near the start of the game you contract malaria; and this becomes an in-game mechanic whereby fever could strike at any moment. You need a constant supply of medication to keep it under control or you could find yourself flaking out in the middle of a heated gunfight. Weapons degrade and eventually break; or become jammed and require a lengthy unblocking animation. Enemies constantly respawn at checkpoints; a way of keeping the vast open world filled with combat that was instrumental in provoking players’ wrath – completely different to the rapidly emptying jungles of Far Cry 3. Fast travel points are strictly limited to bus stations; of which there are only approximately four in the whole game.
Many of these key gameplay mechanics are what people hate about Far Cry 2. These people are fucking idiots. My single argument is as follows – almost all of these criticisms that have led to the game being labelled as no good ARE THE SAME MECHANICS PEOPLE LOVE ABOUT DARK SOULS. That game’s difficulty is brutal; fast travel is pretty much non-existent; enemies constantly respawn. But oh no, Dark Souls is the greatest thing ever, while poor old Far Cry 2 is seriously flawed.
Abercrombie & Fitch Douchebags
When it comes to the differing game worlds of Far Cry 2 and 3; the latter’s is undoubtedly a prettier place. But the Africa of FC2 has an eerie, atmospheric savagery all of its own. The third game can feel almost cartoonish; the second game is bleak; reserved and evocative. The characters of Far Cry 2 may not be particularly well-formed; but they are still more bearable than the parade of Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing douchebags you are supposed to care about (one of FC3’s main criticism’s is that the protagonists are unlikeable and hard to relate to) in Far Cry 3. The Jackal is an elusive and mysterious antagonist who drives you through the second game in order to discover what makes this man tick; the strangely lauded Vaas is a pathetic cartoon caricature that is shitcanned way too early in favour of an uninteresting cliche. Far Cry 3’s supporting cast of NPCs all share the same faces and spout repeated lines in a strange amalgamation of South African and Kiwi dialects. The characters you meet in the second game may be slightly cliched but the voice acting quality is much higher.
The games’ tones are very different. Far Cry 2 is totally grounded in reality and is a grittier experience for it; Far Cry 3 attempts to tell a story that has a genuine message about violence but ends up being so cartoonish with its magic tattoos and gigantic Mayan-deity bosses that it undermines its own point.
There are things to like about both games, but anyone with half a brain and a little patience will find Far Cry 2 to be a vastly superior experience to its ‘crazy’ little brother. All those critics who awarded Far Cry 3 GOTY and waxed lyrical about how it triumphs over the flaws of its progenitor don’t have a clue – Far Cry 2 is where true gamers go to play.
– Matt Reynolds. Follow him on Twitter @thelostmoment He’ll tell you what the definition of hatred is.