So this is going to be quicker than my usual blog entries, but I thought I ought to say some things about Far Cry 2, one of the most excellent games I've ever played, and in some ways, one of the worst.
There also won't be any pictures with this one, unfortunately enough, due to my current use of a cheaper, non-gaming laptop which has substantial difficulty with images.
Mission design in Far Cry 2 is an absolute strong suit. While shooting isn't always extremely satisfying, the game leaves everything open. Any weapon, any strategy, anything you bring in is open. It also offers alternative options in most situations, which will also raise your levels with your companions. For example, to avoid a situation in which you would be stuck chasing a motorcade, you can track down a target's brother, forcing the target to stabilize himself in a local town where you can pick him off easily. This also leads to missions sometimes going from simple, standard missions to explosive, crazy setpieces culminating in a target being eliminated in dynamic fashion.
Unfortunately, all missions in FC2 are basically the same. You shoot someone. Sometimes that someone is in a vehicle. Sometimes instead of just shooting someone, you blow something up too. It's simplistic, and the openness runs out a little quickly when the entire game revolves around shooting people.
The Open World is a different situation. It's populated with the same checkpoints and the same enemies, and it never stops throwing more and more of the same enemies at you. Merely navigating the map of Far Cry 2 can be a chore. While this does keep the player on their toes, it means most enemy encounters are quick and unexpected, and more of a chore.
The Hindrances are part of what made Far Cry 2 divisive. Personally, while I think the malaria mechanic is dumb and guns degrade a little too quick, I like the degrading guns for the tension they deliver and the lack of permanence it instills in everything. I like games which lack inventory permanence, which explains my frustration with later Far Cry games, where you'll likely pick one gun, modify the hell out of it, and then just go to town anytime you want.
Unfortunately, the unforgiving environment combine poorly with the hindrances at times, leaving random encounters a massive threat in which you end up getting a malaria attack and your car breaks down and one random enemy has a shotgun, leaving you shot randomly in Africa.
Saves are just fine on the PC version, although I pity the console players who can't save anytime. Missions are long treks and save points are few and far between. You could lose tons of well-earned progress if you didn't hit a save point before some random encounter shot you.
Difficulty is fine, I guess. I'm on Normal, since I'm no hardcore gamer, and most of the time, it's easy enough to fight through encounters provided your weapon doesn't break and you don't get a malaria attack.
Weapons. I would absolutely evilly laugh here if I could. The guns in FC2 are well chosen, and a flamethrower is so fun to play around with that it almost wrecks the survival-built tone.
Man, what a weak point. While Anthony Burch is right that everyone being the same flavor of asshole is the point, nobody is even slightly likable, enjoyable, and I want every character in this game to die. It's a slow burn, missions mean nothing, and even once you've finished off the game, the conclusion is fairly unsatisfying.
The exception here is The Jackal, who's like a prototype Vaas, not nearly as crazy, but much smarter and more fearless. He's primarily conveyed through tapes, but what those tapes present is an intriguing Anti-Villain who, while lacking sympathetic motives, is just as broken by the violence he creates as anybody else.
But man, what I wouldn't give for Pagan Min in this experience. While the junk-food action flick atmosphere of the other games isn't my favorite thing, Far Cry 2 doesn't have much of a story to speak of, and what little story there is consists of unlikable characters and a depressing atmosphere.
Far Cry 2 tries to be unique, but in that way, it often fails mechanically compared to its peers. Still, there's something to admire in its gritty atmosphere and attempt to do something very different from most other shooters in the industry, and a massive oddball in the Far Cry franchise.
Those are my thoughts on Far Cry 2, everyone. I might post a longer review at some point, but for now, have a nice day.