Far Cry 2 - updated hands-on

The most impressive enhancement to the Far Cry 2 universe is the jaw-dropping effect the weather has on the environment. When the wind picks up, the grass sways violently, trees arc, branches are ripped off, leaves and grit get blown in your face and all of this is unscripted. It either occurs over the course of time or kicks off dramatically depending on what’s happening at that given moment in the game (like when one of your buddies is killed).

Although the game’s a giant sandbox, it’s not all open from the start. The second half of the map is unlocked after twelve missions, and will be much darker than the first half. Once open, you’ll be able to hop between the two worlds at will. The malaria hallucinations and combat ‘freak out’ sections both hint toward the protagonists’ decent into madness, and having seen some concept artwork we’re quietly confident that the latter part of the game is going to be genuinely creepy and full of scares, without resorting to the old ‘trapped in a dark cellar witha mad zombie’ ruse.

Ubisoft have made it quite clear that you’ll just be fighting mercenaries. There are no predatory animals in the game and no mutants either. The madness twist should provide a welcome change of pace, and with everything else looking as good as it is, you’d be foolish to lose interest in this one. We’ve only got down and dirty with the PC version so far, but after questioning the producer about the console conversion he said something quite magical: “It’s the same game. It will be the same.” Superb.

Everything about all-new Far Cry screams quality, and the team is so passionate about their product that it seems like it cannot fail. Our only concern is whether or not the 360 and PS3 can handle it. We don’t want a scaled down version; we want the same load-free eye-porn. Ubisoft: better start working your magic.

Mar 4, 2008