Sunday, 25 October 2009
Far Cry 2
Hostility pervades Far Cry 2. Even when working for the interchangeable factions that rule this African playground, adventurers can expect no quarter. Out in the field, your approach will always be deemed dangerous, and you will be constantly attacked. After all, you are an invader. Far Cry 2 teaches you to avoid human contact, and covet loneliness. It's a disquieting ambiance than informs a central thesis of unbridled amorality. Even though the bare narrative thread is contextualised by the idea of a police action, the majority of your missions are pathological. Tasked with tracking a phantom weapons trafficker called The Jackal, players find themselves at the beck and call of indigenous militia and circling mercenaries. Notions of heroism or justice, endemic to this genre, are entirely absent. Players must commit great evils to reach a goal. This isn't war as an exercises in chest inflating glory, it's a colossally messy affair balanced on the whims of madmen.
Far Cry 2 is also unusually uncooperative. Sacked guard posts refill endlessly with aggressors who enjoy clairvoyant lines of sight. Equipment rots and degrades, requiring constant upkeep or outright rejection. Missions are rarely expedient, briefs are prone to wild digression thanks to an interfering ally cast. Even the experience of playing is fraught with inconvenience; unpatched the game has a tendency to corrupt saves, patched, missions and characters go astray barring side-quest completion. Deep in the wonderfully bloody-minded final act, my game got into the habit of freezing and crashing. The whole frightful experience was shaking itself apart. Irritating though this was, I couldn't help feeling this added something to the overall experience. Far Cry 2 is about illness, both physical and mental. It seeks to simulate a particular state of mind in which social contracts and morality cease to matter. You have dreadful objectives and no-one cares how you accomplish them. It's also a sandbox of ineffective colonial folly; wilful men of alleged civility drawn to new frontiers, with a mind to bending the country and its people to their designs. Naturally it resists. Far Cry 2 is a ruinous path of hubris, you cannot change this world, the greatest good you can do is to affect an escape. Far Cry 2 is a staggeringly immersive game that repays patience in spades.