EDIT: I drafted this back when the game just came out. Don’t ask me why I’ve never posted it.
You can’t break a man the way you break a dog, or a horse. The harder you beat a man, the taller he stands. To break a man’s will, to break his spirit, you have to break his mind. Men have this idea that there’s a way to fight with dignity, that there’s a proper way to kill someone. It’s absurd, it’s anesthetic. We need it to endure the bloody horror of murder. You must destroy that idea. Show him what a messy, terrible thing it is to kill a man, and then show him that you relish in it.
While I’ve never had a chance to finish Far Cry the first, it was a decent game with some great features, not least the engaging hide-and-seek stealth gameplay against some fairly intelligent AI. In some ways, Crysis did manage to replicate that feeling, which makes it unfortunate that the game is so disappointing. Oh, sure, it tests your strategy and tactics and reflexes and quick thinking, but because the technology behind it is so impressive, the gameplay itself falls short, feeling constrained and limited.
As Far Cry 2 is utterly different (in terms of setting) from the previous two, it’s easy to make a joke along the lines of, “Far Cry 2 is a far cry from Far Cry.” For the most part, Far Cry 2 is a Crysis deja vu despite its claim of being Far Cry‘s true successor. It’s not a bad game, but there’s still something missing.
But, if nothing else, Far Cry 2 does give the player a strong sense of in-world accomplishment rarely found in first person shooters short of BEST GAMES EVAR like Deus Ex. As you move across the map, taking down outposts, claiming safehouses, working for both warring sides, finding diamonds (the game’s currency), running, swimming, shooting, sneaking, sniping, and just blowing stuff up in general, the player does get a feeling of pride as you go from two-bit gunslinger-for-hire to “Scourge of God” one-man army.
Yeah, the story is pointless and an exercise in futility, and the “you against the world” status quo is occasionally frustrating, but when it comes down to it, all this seems a fair trade for a return to those glorious days of stalking through the undergrowth, killing a lone guard with a machete to the spine, throwing a molotov at a passing armed truck, exchanging shots with a band of militia, taking out their reinforcements with a single RPG, shooting your FAL so much that it chokes and jams and breaks apart, whipping out your Uzi, tossing grenades, jabbing yourself with painkillers to stay alive, ripping out shrapnel in your arm, running from a hut set ablaze by a stray shot to a fuel barrel, and finally standing alone on the lifeless road surrounded by bodies and husks and burning trees, the sun glaring in your eyes as you jaunt back to a safehouse for a good night’s sleep…
In short, it is immersive. Far Cry 2 might not win any awards, but it is satisfying, and worth the time invested.
PS: Some of the lines spoken by the Jackal, your “antagonist” throughout the game, are very, very well-done, especially in the interview tapes, as seen in the quote at the top.