Why Far Cry 2 is Better Than Far Cry 3

CAUTION: Spoilers for Far Cry 2 and 3 lie ahead. Read at your own discretion.

Considering the world is singing Far Cry 3’s praises – with some claiming it to be a Game of the Year – you might read my view as somewhat controversial. However, it’s true, and that’s a fact, even if you don’t realise it. Now, let’s not start off on the wrong foot here – I love Far Cry 3, it’s just, well, Far Cry 2 is better, in spite of and sometimes because of its notorious glaring flaws: impossibly clever AI, borderline broken stealth (thanks in part to the impossibly clever AI), and outposts that replenish its supply of guards the second you turn your head away made it near unplayable for some. Indeed, it took until my fifth attempt at Far Cry 2 before I actually started to enjoy the title proper, and even then it was five hours in before I actually got into the swing of things. Those preliminary hours hold some of my most frustrating gaming memories of all time, but the proceeding twenty-plus hours also hold some of my greatest, which is something I cannot say the same about regarding Far Cry 3.

Anyone who persevered through those aforementioned flaws can attest that – in a weird and twisted kind of way – they enhanced the Far Cry 2 experience. It’s one of those rare releases where the faults, however deep they may root, genuinely add to it. After a certain amount of time you can’t help but begin to wonder if it would be worse off if these issues were fixed as you soon learn to accept and appreciate them as a fundamental part of the experience as the shooting and fictional African state open-world setting. They also inject a large dose of excitement into the emergent gameplay too, and as with any good sandbox game, it’s the emergent moments that form the backbone of the oft-legendary water-cooler stories you come away with.

Now, I could tell you a number of anecdotes relating to GTA, Assassin’s Creed and Fallout, or I could tell you about the time how once, in Far Cry 2, a botched attempt to sneak through an enemy outpost (like any of them are successful) turned into a massive shootout of Heat-level proportions before escalating into a jeep chase across half of the 50km2 map. After putting some distance between me and my pursuers, I pulled a 180o turn, plastered some C4 onto the bonnet of my jeep, waited for the enemy convoy to roll into view (the AI will always find you even if you’ve broken line of sight – impossibly clever, remember) and hammered the accelerator with the intent of a head-on collision, before bailing out at the last moment and detonating the explosives on impact, the resulting explosion setting the surrounding plains alight as I picked off the remaining stragglers with gunfire whilst desperately trying to avoid the flames myself. Anyone unfortunate enough to not get pumped full of lead got cooked instead. That, my friends, is a story, and it’s beyond anything you’ll ever encounter in Far Cry 3, and not just because C4 doesn’t stick to surfaces, thus eliminating that classic tactic.

With hindsight, the closest thing to an emergent story I ever witnessed in Far Cry 3 was seeing a tiger hunt a wild boar before turning its appetite onto a nearby group of pirates, which is all well and good, but pales in comparison to the epic heroics of my Far Cry 2 tale. Watching the wildlife prey on one another like David Attenborough and using it to your advantage is about as interesting (although far from dull) as Far Cry 3’s emergent gameplay gets, because in all but eradicating it’s predecessor’s oft-over-criticised imperfections it has unintentionally taken out what made that title so nail bitingly tense and memorable. Persistently aggressive AI can be an absolute pain in the backside, true, but AI that gives up the chase too easily can be just as disappointing, if not moreso.

Undisputedly though, where Far Cry 2 excels most, more than any other game before or since, is in immersing you in its world. The opening taxi ride to your hotel, while not as iconic as Half-Life’s tram ride through Black Mesa or BioShock’s descent into Rapture, does a grand job of setting the scene. For the best part of ten minutes you soak up the surrounding scenery, the atmosphere positively radiating from the screen as you spy a raging fire, animals grazing (although sadly none of the carnivorous variety – something Far Cry 3 is slightly over-reliant on) and guards patrolling the roads. You also get a grasp on how the civil war is affecting the people who live there, if not from what you see but what you hear from your informative cabbie.

But Far Cry 2 takes its immersion even further, even beyond a minimal HUD. This was a game where the map screen saw you pulling out an actual map, where badly degraded weaponry can jam in the heat of battle, and where fast-travel is restricted to about a dozen bus stops that are few and far between – if you wanted to get somewhere you had to make your own tracks. It was a title about forward-planning as much as shooting bad guys, as you should expect in such a hostile country in order to survive, and if you failed to take into consideration such complications then you almost certainly weren’t going to make it, probably placing you among those who wrongly call these clever flourishes a hindrance.

Most importantly though, Far Cry 2 made you work, made you sweat, its unforgiving world relentlessly hunting you, tiring you, trying to kill you, with no remorse. Even your buddies, the other possible playable characters you decided not to choose at the beginning who instead become NPCs you meet on your travels through the story, turn against you in an unexpected and masterstroke of a twist towards the climax for one almighty showdown. Turns out the only person you can trust is the man you were sent to kill in the first place. So when you triumphed over such steep odds it felt all the more rewarding. You might say Far Cry 2 is the Dark Souls of the FPS genre, or as close as it’s ever got.

Far Cry 3, in contrast, strips all this back in a bid to make the game more accessible, more casual. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that – for Ubisoft to break even it’s the casual market it needs to get on-board – but in doing so Far Cry 3 can at times feel as if it’s suffering from a classic case of “press this button to win” syndrome, especially when boss fights resort to QTEs, which everyone loves, right?

By the story’s midway point protagonist Jason Brody is so empowered that every enemy encounter is a breeze, rarely requiring much effort on the player’s behalf to succeed. It’s all well and good for a game to be a power fantasy, but is that what we want from a Far Cry game? It swaps out Far Cry 2’s hardcore nature for arcadey thrills, the slow and chunky movement replaced by something more smooth and swift, and the incessantly dangerous yet natural feeling and beautifully stunning landscape exchanged for a more artificial flavoured Asian archipelago. Far Cry 3’s Rook Islands never convinces as a credible place, with temples, bunkers and settlements sprinkled across it like hundreds and thousands on a cake, reinforcing the notion that this place was designed on a computer (which technically it was, but that’s not the point) rather than formed over time.

The reason it doesn’t feel real may be derived from the idea that the islands exist on the hinges of reality, as the constant references to Alice In Wonderland and the dev’s very own words prior to release suggest, but the setting also possesses a slight repetitive tinge, in a way that comes close to bringing Just Cause’s San Esperito to mind, and once you’ve seen one ancient temple or decayed World War II bunker you’ve more or less seen them all. There’s no tangible sense of danger or urgency when Rook Islands’ equivalent of Tesco Express resides just over every other hill to restock your supplies at either.

You could argue that all of the above ultimately comes down to a matter of taste. It’s no secret that some players wholeheartedly loathed Far Cry 2’s insistence on grounding itself in reality as much as possible, but Far Cry 2 is superior in other areas, chiefly the series’ trademark attitude to player freedom. Looking back over my playthrough of Far Cry 3, I could recall very few missions where I was given total freedom to do what I wanted, where I wanted. I’m confident in wagering that a good two-thirds of the main story missions take place within the confines of underground caverns and tight corridors of enemy strongholds or, in one level that owes a lot to Uncharted 3, a sinking ship. For the pacing purposes, a scripted linear level and the occasional on-rails set-piece can work wonders, but when Far Cry 3 drops invisible barriers within its so called open-world I can’t help but feel things are a bit awry.

One level approaching half way through the story tasks you with clearing out a small encampment, and literally a few steps away from your starting point is a radio tower which – naturally – I wanted to climb for a better vantage point, and to reveal this particular segment of the island on the map screen (in a way that is totally not unrelated to stablemate series Assassin’s Creed’s synchronisation points). I approached the tower, psyching myself up for another piss-poor platforming sequence (question: with the exception of Valve, why do developers think that first-person platforming is any good?) only to be told that I was leaving the mission area.

Granted, Far Cry 3 may be running a lot of things under the hood (and it shows) but the mission area could quite easily have been extended a few more feet, and sadly this wasn’t a one-off case. Sure, you’re given enough room to swing your arms around in, but Far Cry 2 offers a whole country to explore at nearly all times and looks even better, technically and visually on console, whilst doing so despite being over four years old. Yet, if you so much as tread a toe over the invisible borders in Far Cry 3’s missions it’s an instant fail, and that’s if you haven’t already had to restart from a couple of other pre-determined insta-fail sections anyway.

Far Cry 3 also stumbles in trying to engage you in its story and characters. By the time you arrive at your hotel in Far Cry 2 it’s put a gun in your hand and given you a reason to fight. Oh, and malaria. Yes, Far Cry 3 does the same (minus the malaria) but its reason to pick up a gun is a less motivating one. Jason Brody and his band of misfits are such a dislikeable, arrogant, self-indulging bunch that you’ll ponder whether they’re worth the hassle of rescuing. You’ll probably find yourself rooting more for the villains instead, which is arguably Far Cry 3’s strongest suit, even if the show-stealing Vaas is criminally underused. It’s no exaggeration when I tell you that you’ve already seen most of his screen time in the E3 demos, but luckily just as insane baddies Buck and Hoyt save the day, or ruin it depending on how you look at things.

The truth is that Far Cry 2’s descent into the Heart of Darkness is much more harrowing and haunting than Far Cry 3’s trippy tumble down the rabbit hole. The plot feels – dare I say it – less serious, dabbling in the ludicrous at times, but Far Cry is no stranger to ludicrous, with the original turning into sci-fi hokum arguably its weakest link. At least Far Cry 3’s wackiest turns aren’t quite as silly, even if an insipid boss battle against a giant ink monster in a hallucination sequence cuts it close.

Now I’m not so naïve to not understand Far Cry 3’s messages, or blind enough to not see when and where it steps into deeply dark territory, but it conveys its themes in a manner that never fully resonates. Having Brody gun down masses of people with a minigun, or roast them with a flamethrower, while shouting “THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME” at the top of his voice may be Ubisoft’s way of demonstrating how Brody’s mind has been corrupted by insanity, but it’s not as adeptly handled or nuanced as, say, Spec Ops: The Line, relying too heavily on hallucinatory storytelling and not making the player feel anything for Brody or his friends at all. It’s up to interpretation whether that’s intentional, but to not encourage a greater emotional stake from the player will be seen as a missed opportunity for some, myself included.

The fact remains that killing is made far too easy, from both a narrative and gameplay mechanic perspective, almost to the point where – at the risk of sounding like a Daily Mail reporter – it glamorises it. Brody can flit between such devastating styles of killing with sod-all combat training that it almost feels out of place in a Far Cry title. It’s making a statement about us gamers and our playing habits, but Far Cry 2 takes a more basic yet ultimately more effective approach; you’re in a bad place doing bad things, and it damn well makes sure you have a hard time doing so. Its intensity far overshadows the fact that it too is lacking in story and characters, but it never forces you to care about characters you don’t want to either.

It may sound like I’m casting Far Cry 3 in a dark light here, but that is not my intention. It’s clearly a fantastic game and one well worth picking up if you have the slightest interest in open-world games or First-Person Shooters, but is it really 2012’s Game of the Year? I beg to differ; I think that 2012 was littered with so much disappointment (not bad games, just disappointment) that everyones’ hopes strayed to the last big release of the year, and that release just so happened to be Far Cry 3. Take off those rose-tinted glasses and you’ll see that the true essence of a Far Cry game has been to a certain extent compromised, primarily the freedom, boxing you in with both physical and invisible walls.

On a final note, a word of warning: just because I say Far Cry 2 is better does not necessarily mean that you’ll personally enjoy it more. Compared to Far Cry 3 it’s the smarter, richer, and more beautiful of the pair, but it is not for the faint of heart You’ll need to be forgiving, patient and strong-minded to come out alive (the horror, the horror). Far Cry 3 is admittedly brilliant, and you can trace back the reasons as to why everything in it is as it is, but if you’re like me, it never satisfies wholly. As for Far Cry 2, it’s the ultimate in open world FPSes, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.




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42 Comments

  1. Stu says:

    Interesting piece, undoubtedly going to cause a few discussions. I fall into the opposite camp, I rated Far Cry 3 above it’s predecessor in pretty much every single category. My memories of Far Cry 2 were basically driving, repairing the vehicle when it hit a small bush no higher than my ankle with a magical wrench, driving some more, trying to find diamonds, driving and then maybe a bit of shooting to get to another diamond. Admittedly I never even got around to completing the second half of the story once I’d hit the southern map – that’s how dull I found it.

    Skip forward and Far Cry 3 had me hooked from beginning to end to the point I’ve maxed the single player and on the hunt for a friend for the co-op stuff. Sure the story missions at points curtailed the action to a limited area, but outside of that you could do whatever you liked – for instance grabbing all the radio towers straight off the bat. I can’t say I felt any connection to Jason & his group but then FC2 didn’t do anything for me either (often using the henchmen mates as bullet sponges and eating through them like a fat bloke eating through a bumper pack of Haribo) but the bad guys in FC3 far outstripped anything FC2 offered for me (agreed that Vaas was underused but much more of him would have been too contrived to fit in I expect).

    You are right though, personal opinion on this is everything and not being an FPS fan in general, the many fast travel points, the frequent autosaving, the loot system (as opposed to those fucking diamonds), the crafting, the skilltree and other things may make the game more accessible and enjoyable to me. Pointless traveling is my bugbear in so many sandbox games…at the end of a quest when I have traveled (and fought hard) to get somewhere far away, the last thing I want to do is return the same way to the original quest giver only to send me back near the original quest location again! Hated it in MMOs, hated in RPGs, still hate it in sandbox FPS. The thing is, if you prefer not to use the fast travel…you don’t have to…but then at least that decision is left up to the player. It also made it easier to drop in and out of game without having that horrible knowledge that if you put the controller down now (because something’s come up or you’ve had enough for now) then next time to fire up the game you have to make that 15-20min journey all over again.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article, and I can definitely see where you are coming from even if I don’t always agree. ;)

  2. Edward says:

    I can’t say I’ve played much of either (I played a demo of Far Cry 3 and got kind of bored, to be honest) but I like that you’re able to take the flaws and allow them to turn the game into a fundamentally hardcore experience. I wish I could do that but normally the flaws turn me off!

  3. Lorna says:

    I really enjoyed this. Far Cry 2 has been sitting unopened on my shelf for a long time. Despite it being in a genre that I usually avoid, something about the setting interested me enough to want it, and as for Far Cry 3, it looks stunning, with the island setting grabbing me in the same way the lush beauty of Crysis did. To be honest, the more I hear about both games, the more tempted I am to jump in and start playing, which is always a good thing, regardless of which one is supposed to be better.

  4. Toffer says:

    A very, very interesting piece and as a person who’s been playing FPS games for the last twenty three odd years, you raise some very good points.

    If you’d asked me, prior to reading this, which was better, I would of hands down stated Far Cry 3. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy Far Cry 2, but I felt Far Cry 3 was offering just that little bit more. When you break it all down and look at it in the manner you have, it is actually a much closer affair.

    Without getting into a massive debate about it in a reply post, I would certainly state that some sort of bastard game, a combination of the both parts of each, would be near perfect. I can’t lie to finding Far Cry 3 a little underwhelming in some departments; I miss the jammng weapons, being given an in-game compass and map, these are very easily implimented things that aid immersion.

    But Far Cry 2 irritated with it’s re-spawning enemies to a large extent.

    I never finished it, (corrupted save about three quarters of the way through) but I would certainly consider going back. I’m still working my way through Far Cry 3, but the fact that I’ve only put about ten hours into it, does suggest something…

  5. Doug says:

    I highly disagree I feel farcry 3 was way better … when I play a game I don’t stop until its destroyed with nothing left to do… I’ve been doing this since atari 2600 and pong

  6. brian says:

    thank you i have been saying that since i first played fc3.yea fc3 looks better,single player is cool but not the same and the dropped the ball big time with the multiplayer and player created maps i can almost live without vehichles but no ammo boxes?wtf?

  7. id rather just play crysis, it did everything better and was the real far cry 2 to me. Funny how things have changed though, crysis 2 was good but not great, and far cry 3 is awesome.

  8. Phillip says:

    I really think, you have no idea what you are talking about. Farcry 3 smashed 2 out of the fucking cosmos, Farcry 2 was dull and lame dude, you mustve been on crack when you played it. 3 is so much bigger, better and more fun than any of the farcrys, either you dont know how to play it properly or your just a hater mate, get over yourself.

  9. Rahul says:

    I’ve completed farcry 2 (ya, i consider it as an achievement, because most of my friends left it in mid-way) and now playing farcry 3, farcry 2 was far more challenging than FC 3 , FC 2 really tested your patience and skills which sadly FC 3 doesn’t offer, the closest to challenging it offers is the carnivores and heavy armored enemies.

  10. Stevie K says:

    For someone who attacks the OP for being on crack because they disagreed with your opinion of the game, you don’t do a very good job of putting across your own opinion Phillip. Try a bit of decorum and common sense next time, and maybe people will respect your opinion as an adult rather than coming across like a petulant child.

    Getting back to the point, I enjoyed Far Cry 3 more than Far Cry 2. I would play Far Cry 3 again but I don’t think I would ever go back to Far Cry 2 again. Different things appeal to different people, but I think Far Cry 3 is the better game. For me.

  11. dakan45 says:

    Why fc2 was better.

    it had better story with more philosophical meanings and better writing. What didnt have was good voice acting. Propably because there were so many characters that swtich roles and had so many diffirent lines to say.

    Jackal>vass. I dont need to explain why, if you dont see why, you are only looking at the surface. Vass is a guest, jackal is someone who is nor nuts or a bad guy, you kinda feel for him in the end.

    It had better atmosphere better vistas and sound. Seeind the vegetation move and hear the wind, the impressive shadowing and sunlight reflections, the gun sounds themselfs being UNIQUE and not beeing able to confuse them with any other game. FC3 sound and atmosphere are stale. The Ambieon occlusion doesnt substitute for actual lighting and the guns sound bad and weak also the music is nowhere near the music in fc2 as are the themes the hud and the menus.

    On actual gameplay, fc3 campaign is linear and scripted. You go to an area and you have to do something very specific. Such as a forced sneak sequence. You say “That is a nice area to go gunz blazzing” Nope the mission demands that you sneak and get a mercenary suit to pass undetected. “I will do this mission with a grenade launcher….” NOPE you will be stuck inside a sniper rilfes scope, you will kill the enemies and LIKE IT.

    FC3 took away all the freedom that fc2 had. IN fc2 i could do the mission for both day and night. I could snipe the enemy, i could bring a truck with a machiegun, i could sneak, i coud go in guns blazzing, shoot and run away making the ai to investegate that area as i go around the buildings and fire a greande at them fron behind. Or settinge explosives and draw their attention. The ai was very agressive and the bases were dense and complex.

    Fc3 has few small areas that are scripted, you wont get anything at the scale of fc2 till you are halfway the second island. Fc2 took thinking, fc3 is your typical linear shooter when it comes to missions. On that regard, fc3 is also smaller and has useless crap todo in the map. You could easilly max out all skills and get enough money to buy everything multiple times. Also free guns for doing an essential part of the game. SERIOUSLY?

    Fc2 made you work for it, go there, do missions, find diamons, spend your diamonds WISELY in the guns that you UNLOCKED and not gotten for free. But i forgot, most people are retards and coudlnt reallize that you should not use the guns that jam. In stalker guns jam far far far more and worse, i dont see anyone complaining.

    The ai was amazing, i could shoot them down and they crawled back into a hoose to take cover or their buddies helped them.

    The missions did not take place 5 meters from where you started them, they could take place ANYWHERE. Alot had problem with this but you had to SLOW THE HELL DOWN and enjoy the atmopshere and the map, you essentially make your own mission by going from point a to point be, stop trying to get there as fast as possible and enjoy your way getting there, clear outposts and find diamonds along the way.

    Fc2 had great assasination misions, in fc3 it DEMANDS that you knife the target or mission fail. SCREW YOU fc3 i want to use a mortal like fc2. Where is the freedom where is it?

    In fc2 i had to regrets i could go anywhere explore everything and kill all enemies in a base as many times as i wanted. I coul SAVE GAME and load it and do it again diffirently.

    In fc3 you will find 2 enemies here and there walking around or in a truck. You cant find checkpoints or base like fc2. Some bases that are used in the main story campaign can be exploited to get your fill of action but most of them are empty after the main missions are finished or have 2-3 enemies when outside the missions.

    If that was not enough the game also REMOVES ALL ENEMIES from the region after you capture a safehouse and you got NOTHING to shoot as you move around opening chests.

    Finally the guns in fc3 are very innacurate and unbalanced. Meaning that if you move and shoot like fc2, you wont hit anyhing, you have to take cover behind boxes and shoot from cover to be accurate. The starting guns suck and cannot even be customized. There is no reason to use any of them, just use the guns that you unlock further and forget the first ones. Finally many complained about headshots not being easy in fc2, so they made headshots automatic in fc3. You just aim high at the torso fire a few shots and you will randomly get a headshot thanks to autoaim when your gun keeps missing if you shoot at the torso. What is this crap? This is not good gunplay/

    At the other hand the guns in fc2 were balanced and varied. There were guns that were best used in full auto without worrying about recoil and guns with alot recoil that were missing. Which lead into morrons trying to kill someone with burst shots of mac 10, mp5 and g3 when those weapons were designed for auto fire players. Also unlike most shooters you didnt use assault rifles as your primary weapon. You used shotguns which in every game are dissapoiting but in this game, they are 1 shot kill. You used grenade launchers that can clear and entire checkpoint with a single shot. Apparently that was missed by the dumb players. Finally it didnt take many bullets to kill someone. Clearly more than fc3, but fc2 had no armored enemies, all enemies were the same. So you firgured out how many bullets you need to fire. Also you could take more hits than fc3 and the headshots were not easy to do. You had to aim for the head, line up your shot and fire a single shot instead of burst and auto fire as most did, desperatly hoping to get a headshot.

  12. KoolBreeze says:

    Far Cry 3 is an awesome game Far cry 2 I can’t say much about I haven’t played it yet but after reading this I will give it a try and then I will see if I agree with any of the things mentioned farcry 3 does have a frustrating invisible wall glitch where you cant walk in a door or walk up a set of stairs right now farcry 3 the very last tower I need has an invisible wall at the very last hop before getting to the stairs that take you to the top so I wont be able to get all 18 towers because of this if FC2 has this I can see me not getting very far with it I am to frustrated with FC3 I did finish the story on FC3 once but I went back to do the alternate ending and decided to try and get all towers and all camps before finishing the alternate ending but looks like I will not be able to because of that glitch.Thanks to this read I will check FC2 out maybe ill enjoy it as much as FC3 but I enjoyed Fc3 story and all.

  13. Alan Lewis says:

    I pretty much agree with this article. I have played Far Cry 2 so many times that I know the entire map more or less by heart but Far Cry 3 doesn’t really cut it for me. On the point about Jason Brody becoming “too empowered” to be fair that applies to some extent to FC2 – once you have an MGL 140 and a shell firing Assault Truck its simply a matter of wasting the hostiles with as much overkill as possible.
    Another thing which worries me is that FC3 pushes my GTX 690 GPU to alarming temperatures on max settings. It can handle the temps but I don’t want to risk a dead GPU for the sake of a video game.

  14. B STATS says:

    I’m playing FC2 right now :) Second play through. Played 3 twice through too. FC2 is better in my opinion as well. The clouds didn’t even move in 3 and the Sun and Moon only moved when you did! The screen tearing was HORRIBLE, they removed the brilliant graphics FC2 have and we were promised a survival game, not a super hero game. Jason Brody is unstoppable! And not in a good way either. He is all scared and weak at the start which is good, but then ten minutes later he gets some ink and BAM! He’s the Angel of Death. FC3′s only redeeming features were the stealth take-downs and sharks :P

  15. JPoh says:

    Good piece. I personally liked Farcry 2 better as well. There was more tactic to it and it was more unpredictable. ie. throwing rocks? Farcry 2 you had to shoot them in the leg/belly to make them scream for their mate and then you nailed both of them! But then a leg/body shot didn’t guarantee an incapacitation either… but SOOOO satisfying when you pulled it off. I never got the hang of it completely but if you get good with the mortar you can just wreak those annoying guard posts without batting an eyelid.

    The stealth gameplay in FC2 is also a bit buggy. ie. if you nail a guy in the head there’s no detection but if you miss they turn and run straight for you! but again… SOOO satisfying when you pulled it off.

    I think because Farcry 2 was more difficult I found it more satisfying as well. ie. FC3 has pretty much unlimited heals, whereas FC2 you HAD to rely on your (limited) syrettes.

    And I also love the immersion of FC2 compared to FC3. It makes FC2 feel more like a simulation because there are not many menus.

    FC3 is easier. The secrets are handed to you on a platter (no more diamond hunting by beeping red light!) People are also drawn to progression and sometimes FC2 can get a bit hung up in that regard. Where as the trait system in FC3 can make people feel a sense of achievement as they level.

    Both are great games but my take is, If you want more of a simulation (not many bells or whistles) go for FC2 – it just feels so RAW. Do what you want, how you want, always the hard way and get it wrong most of the time haha! It has that old school mentality that punishes you for not doing it right (I like that).

    If you want an action shooter – go for FC3.

  16. AlexanderDKB says:

    Having played Far Cry 2 on console when it was first released, my experience with it isn’t fresh, but I have to disagree with the water cooler moments comment. FC3 has provided me with so many unique emergent game play moments and opportunities to craft my own experience it’s the only game occupying my (limited) free time.

    Waiting until after dark to sneak up on a base camp, knifing a pirate and dragging him out of sight then luring more pirates to the body. Once discovered, the pirate calls to raise the alarm, and I detonate the c4 I placed near the body and knife the pirate running for the alarm. So pleased with my trickery I get sloppy and a heavy spots me, and now 5 pirates are gunning for me. I try to hide, but the C4 started a fire and I’ve blocked my escape – run for a hut and hide, try to heal. There’s a box of fireworks outside the hut which get ignited, and through the smoke and explosions the heavy’s silhouette limber towards the door while I fire wildly. He finally drops, and I run for a jeep to escape the madness. The alarms going off, should have disabled it. I drive the jeep through the fire and crash headlong into reinforcements arriving at the base. Using the vehicle as cover I manage to take then out, and climb into their vehicle to use the mounted gun to take out the last few baddies at the base. One is more cautious and stays behind cover, so I lob in a few molotov to smoke him out. It works and as he runs across the ruined base on fire the sun is starting to rise. Epic.

    The best part about this is I can outfit myself with any combination of weapons, a true sandbox where I can do what I want with the tools I want.

    The immersion could be better (hate tagging enemies and the minimap) and the story missions are a mixed bag, but that’s not why I pick up and play. I play to create my own epic set pieces.

    And fast travel, I agree with the other comments that point out its optional, and a great tool for when you don’t want to drive 15 min before being able try and take out a base. When you’ve only got 20min to play, that’s just not right. But, when I’ve got the time I’m all for exploring and enjoying the world and random encounters.

    Hopefully Far Cry 4 (or a mod for FC3??) will bring back some of the more immerse elements, and have the spoon-feed-me options as configuration options.

  17. Yuca Hervida says:

    Well, I like both games, but Far Cry 3 single player mode entertained me more than Far Cry 2′s. However I enjoyed more the multiplayer online play in FC2. Far Cry 3 I just play it for improvements. In my opinion, overall, Far Cry 3 is better, but there are many things that I miss from FC2: The realistic graphics, the physics, and the action. Why? At some point, they made FC3 so realistic that it lost a lot of fun, specially in the multiplayer, they also removed grenade launcher assault trucks and MKs. However you can enjoy more FC3 in another perspective: level improvements, skills,carrying equipment (armor, grenades), whereas in Far Cry 2 you couldn’t do that many things in the multiplayer. The FC3 single player also allows you to do many things, in contrast, FC2 single player is boring, not in the shooting part, but in the open world. In my opinion, both game were made in a different style, even being both FPS. You just have to pick up the style that you like the most. For action fun, physics, destruction, and realistic graphics go with Far Cry 2, which is something that I enjoy a lot. Now, for and open world shooting game that you can do many things, hunting, modifying weapons, and doing many other things, Far Cry 3 is your game, which I enjoy it a lot too.

  18. Alan Lewis says:

    Just another point regarding “realism” – Yuca Hervida said “The realistic graphics, the physics, and the action. Why? At some point, they made FC3 so realistic that it lost a lot of fun”
    With FC3 I get little hints like when an animal is bounding towards me it has indicators that I can see a long way off. I don’t regard that as “realistic” and it doesn’t happen in FC2; I have to work out where enemies are based on my own senses.
    Also in FC3 I get that message “you are leaving the mission area”, which doesn’t happen in FC2 where I can go to the opposite end of the map if I choose to and there is no problem. So FC2 has greater freedom of movement than FC3.

  19. Yuca Hervida says:

    Alan Lewis, when I was talking about realistic graphics and physics, I was referring to FC2 not 3. Now, what I was saying it was realistic in FC3 was the shooting part, they kill you quickly and all that stuff, and the combination of realistic shooting with lack of physics and destruction made the game boring, in a way, compared with FC2, because FC2 was also slower. Far Cry 3 looks more like a tactic game, like Metal Gear, whereas Far Cry 2 was more like a shooting and destruction action game. Far Cry 3 is lacking that, they made it more like a Call of Duty (referring to the online gameplay). Both games were made in different styles, but both were good. I understand what you say about unrealistic indicators for animals and enemies and out of bounds mission messages in FC3, but those details aren’t important, in my opinion. In Far Cry 3 you can do many things that you couldn’t do in Far Cry 2, but they fail by removing the realistic graphic, the physics, awesome explosions, and war vehicles in the multiplayer.

  20. FC3 is and always be the better game, I played FFC3 first then went and downloaded FC2 from a friend on PS3 and it was so disappointing, the controls for starters wtf is up with them? feels so dodgy, the graphics aren’t as good on FC2 to say the least, when I first bought FC3 I was buying it solely for the story mode because I know with games like this there isn’t a good online multiplayer, but the multiplayer isn’t actually that bad, many options to chose from online needless I go into them, plus the co op is a massive bonus, as a big FPS lover on consoles from BF3 to COD, I never tended to go for this type of game let alone a story mode I hate campaign mode on almost every game but I get it over and done with for the PSN Trophys, but with FC3 it’s hands down the most beautifully designed game with so many things to do from side missions to even hunting wild bears with crossbows! The list goes on and on but when I’m reading these posts of people saying FC2 is better, I will have whatever drugs you guys are taking because it’s pretty much instant that you know that FC3 is better, playing FC2 felt like I was playing a PS2 or XBOX game on the only generation consoles, very underdeveloped and so frustrating and annoying to say the least, but everybody has their own opinions so fair play, but if I was to pick any FarCry game I’d pick number 3, due to the story lines not being linked from 1 to 2 to 3.
    Adios!

  21. Yuca Hervida says:

    ”ThatMong”, Far Cry 2 is better than Far Cry 3 only in graphics and physics, in anything else, FC3 is wins. That’s why the latter is the best in overall features.

  22. Matt says:

    I’ve played both games, and Far Cry 3 is a lot more fun. What people are missing is that Far Cry 2 is, by far, the more adult game.

    Far Cry 2 makes a bunch of decisions that are less fun strictly so that the game can be internally consistent: it’s a dark, confusing game, full of bad people, and little hope. As you fumble with your paper map, treking long distances through the African heat, fighting mercenaries who—at the final moment—beg to not be killed, a comprehensively dark picture reveals itself. Far Cry 2 is not as good of a *game* as Far Cry 3. But it’s a consistent adult experience that trusts your intelligence, and forces you to think about the choices you are making. Far Cry 2 attempts to be a message game, in a way that very few videogames do.

    In comparison, Far Cry 3 is an awesome game with great voice acting and presentation, but once you get past the superficial level, there’s nothing there. It’s all flash. The story is some bullshit about a white dude who turns out to be a holy warrior, the enemies are all just cannon fodder. All the intentional difficulties of Far Cry 2 have been replaced with game-systems that allow you to have a fun, easy time as you slaughter your way across paradise. One of the central points about Far Cry 2 was how *hard* things were. Far Cry 3 on, the other hand, is all ridiculous hero fantasy.

    All that said, I had more fun with Far Cry 3. All the changes add up to a beautiful, super-fun game. I just think that everyone who is saying that FC3 is easily better needs to also realize that while it is the better *game,* by every other artistic metric, FC3 was a huge step backwards in terms of intelligence and maturity.

    FC2 was a slightly clumsy art house movie; FC3 is a big dumb summer blockbuster.

  23. Brandon Watkins says:

    @Matt

    That is a very good description of the two games, I share the same opinion. They are both good games, just in very different ways.

  24. Phred says:

    I loved FC2 over FC3 so much.

    I played FC3 once… probably won’t play again. I’m currently playing FC2 for the 5th time. I’ve beaten it on all difficulty levels. It has a very specific sense of nostalgia for me. Every time I play, I feel like I’ve been to Africa and like I was a bad-ass merc!

    The story line, characters and environment were so gritty and cool. The injury animations were AWESOME like the one where you pull a fucking nail out of your hand! The buddy system is great. Each buddy has his/her own very specific attitude (FRANK BILDERS FTW).

    Even now as Nelson Mandela is all over the news, I see shots from Africa and boom, I want to go play FC2!

    In fact, Im done typing. I’m going to go play now!

    Great article.

  25. Nige says:

    I think Matt hit the nail on the head FC2 is the more adult game and I think older gamers such as myself 30+ will enjoy it more. It is one of the most immersive games I have ever played, and this immersion even with all its faults is what makes it so good. Compared to FC3 there is more choice and it is more tactical I feel, even the annoyances such as the respawning guard posts display this and force you to think more, ie try to kill every body before they see you, or drive through be followed and then try to kill them, or try to lose them (you won’t) or sneak past (almost impossible).
    The buddy system too is so original and can be genuinely engaging i.e when a buddy dies despite your attempts to revive.
    FC3 is good but does not make the emotional connection that FC2 does, if you have the patience to let it.
    FC3 captures what the kids seem to prefer now being told everything and quick adrenaline fixes over thought.

  26. Xenovore says:

    Great article; agree wholeheartedly! Farcry 2 is definitely the better game:
    10 ) No stupid achievement or race missions.
    9 ) Doesn’t take place on yet another tropical island; environment has variety: jungle, savannah, desert.
    8 ) Mission alternatives: you don’t want to do the “red” mission, then you can do the “blue” mission.
    7 ) Can choose a protagonist that is not a asshat.
    6 ) Buddy system, with characters you actually care about.
    5 ) Guns aren’t handed out like candy; you must earn them.
    4 ) More immersive with better art & better sound. E.g. map is viewed *in-world.*
    3 ) Enemy responds more realistically, using appropriate tactics. (And isn’t conveniently colored red.)
    2 ) Makes you actually have to think and use appropriate tactics and weapons.
    1 ) So much more freedom to do what I want, when I want.

  27. Astral47 says:

    Great article, So far I agree with you and you were still fair to Farcry 3. I actually played Farcry 3 first and i thought it was the best FPS i have ever played, everything i ever wanted an FPS to be, stealth, hunting, scary characters and it had immersive and visually beautiful landscapes, ….. not endless rooms, corridoors and bad guys like every other FPS.

    Then i got to the level where you fight some stupid monster with fire and crap in the temple and i was like WHAT??? i was dissapointed, such a perfect game ruined by a stupid fantasy monster, up until then i thought it was kinda realistic with great chatacter development. If i wanted to play fantasy id get Skyrim.
    Needless to say i cant beat it and i have given up trying for the time being…..So Farcry 3 went back on the shelf once i got tired of doing everything but the mission…

    Then i picked up a copy of Farcry 2 for a steal at $8 and all i can say is Wow, its brought a new environment Africa, diamonds, jamming Ak47s and Zebras and it just feels realistic again ..im only about 5 hours in but i am thouroghly enjoying the experience, I Love Farcry 3 but I am enjoying Farcry 2 so much at the moment becuase the series feels exciting again and REALISTIC. I just hope I dont get to a mission where a 3 headed Lion breathing fireballs comes running out of the savanah.

    I really like the COD and Battlefield titles but they are repetitive and limited worlds and i get tired of just shooting bad guys all time, isnt real War hiding, running and being generally scared out of your mind? There are other cool FPS’s but enough said Farcry is the FPS for me, the Best FPS series of all time! Brilliant job…Ubisoft, just. “Keep it real Dog!”

  28. Steve says:

    I hope Ubisoft make another one like Far Cry 2. I always wondered why it was showed as the sequel to Far Cry. In my opinion Far Cry is a good game too. To me it’s something like Action Man. Tropical Islands, mercs, monsters, evil mad scientists, weapons technology, etc.

    Far Cry = Horror monster-creature things, crazy scary monster experiments, tropical islands, bad guy mercenaries, etc.
    Far Cry 2 = africa, humans, civil war, arms dealers, diamonds, etc.

    Far Cry 2 environment and objects; the weather, terrain, land objects, people, vehicles, are all nicely displayed. The game doesn’t look comic book at all.The controls: walking, running, driving, shooting, are all smooth if played with relaxed posture, arms, fingers, not too cold etc. This makes playing the game fun even on Infamous difficulty.

    “Don’t expect any help out there, even from us!”

  29. Steve says:

    Things I personally like about it are…

    1: The grittiness
    2: The audio: the quick speaking, the accents, conversation style, mannerisms, etc. All make you really feel you are about to blow something or somebody up and that it is all just another day in the office.
    3: The environment: Interior building styling, posters on the wall, the characters clothing. The music and talking on the radio’s. The extremely random and sometimes spectacular explosions.
    4: I liked the subtitle text. It is like an Arial font, it very subtle and professional looking.

    Issues that got me thinking:
    1: Enemies sometimes keep coming after being shot with high powered firearms. I remember reading about this in past reviews. But there is no doubt if I get a shot in the upper torso or head with a snper rifle, the enemy is dead.

    2: The player’s vehicle is never faster than the enemies. An enemy vehicle always has a faster rate of acceleration and a higher top speed. Even if it’s the same model. It doesn’t make sense from a motoring point of view.

    3: I think the enemies firearms jam a little too frequently. Maybe. But when they come apart, sometimes I think ”thank f*ck for that”.

    4: The classic: the respawning checkpoints. #lol.

  30. Junaid Soni says:

    I totally agree with this post. Although I may argue that the monsters in the first Far Cry 1 contributed largely to the game’s theme of going in way over your head, and suddenly and unexpectedly facing even more challenging adversaries, I do feel that Far Cry 2 did a great job of throwing you into this fight for your life environment, and truly testing your ability to come up with strategies while under immense pressure from impossible AI. Now, Far Cry 3 as you’ve rightfully explained seems to remove the thrills you got from Far Cry 2. In it’s defense, I think they wanted to give the user a sort of Far Cry 1 setting with Far Cry 2 playability, and some insane lunatics to add more of a storyline than you got in Far Cry 2, which admittedly it did lack. Too bad they made a hash of it, as I think bringing back the island setting was a nice touch, if you fancied Far Cry 1 back in the day.

  31. Michel Sabbagh says:

    Incredible article. Everything you just said perfectly matches my thoughts about Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3.

  32. Fredrik says:

    Excellent observation. I totally agree with more or less all your views on those games. I gotta say I did enjoy Far Cry 3 a lot, but it’s not as tempting to play it all over again the same way I did with Far Cry 2. I don’t know exactly what they did right, but Far Cry 2 has this gritty, uncanny and mystical atmosphere. The storyline was ruthless and cynical, and I think that part passed most players unfortunately. It’s probably the smartest plot ever for a videogame, and I guess players didn’t even notice. The Jackal and that fucking twist just haunted me. That guy was just waaay more interesting and subtle than that puberty dipshit dude Vaas with all his annoying tantrums. I guess I’ll get unpopular by that comment, but Vaas didn’t really appeal to me at all. In my opinion Far Cry 2 had the mature storyline, while Far Cry 3 had to dictate everything for the player to understand

  33. egregre says:

    thanks for the spoiler warning you stupid fucking cunt

  34. MarkuzR says:

    I think it’s fair to say that if the article itself leads in with a spoiler warning, anyone reading the article and getting as far as the comments would have resigned themselves to the fact that they could have something spoiled. If the spoiler was in the article, it did carry a warning. If the spoiler was in the comments, if you didn’t want anything spoiled then you really shouldn’t have read comments on an article with a spoiler warning.

    Just doesn’t make sense otherwise. Not saying that you’re a stupid cunt yourself, but it’s just fairly obvious.

  35. Princess Wafflesnakes says:

    Good article!

    I still need to finish Far Cry 3 (almost done! I’m on the second island.) and I want to check out Far Cry 2 at some point so I can see this comparison myself, if the story is better I will likely be pulled in, so far the 3rd game has had a pretty disappointing story and a disappointing cast of underdeveloped and annoying characters, plus it’s barely challenging, even the crafting system was pretty disappointing. There are a lot of things I’m not digging with it. But it seems like the 2nd one is more down my alley. I’m hoping that the 4th game will be a lot better in many respects than the 3rd, I am REALLY looking forward to it and I’m hoping the story is much more excellent.

  36. Joe says:

    I commend you for going out of your way to explain why FC2 is better than FC3, but it really isn’t for these main reasons:

    1. During combat, enemies can see you even when you’re hiding behind an object. For instance, there was a small but long barrier of sandbags that i crouched behind. Enemies were shooting at me, no one had “sight” of me. But when I hurried over to the other side of the sandbag wall, I realized the enemy wasn’t shooting at the position where they last saw me. They were shooting at my current position! All of the FC2 fanboys are talking about how realistic the game is, but how can it be considered a simulator when the enemies have X-ray vision??

    2. The instant-respawn enemies…I know you brought this up during the article, but it needs to be brought up again because its a big annoyance which also breaks the immersion of FC2. If the game didn’t have a half-assed fast travel system, then this wouldn’t be as much of a problem, which brings me to my 3rd point…

    3. The fasttravel system. Sure, there’s the bus stops, but there aren’t enough. No one wants to go down really long stretches of roads back and forth, especially when you have to drive through incredibly aggressive enemies that respawn instantly at every outpost!

    4. Broken AI…FC2 is littered with it. I can’t tell you how many times the enemy knows exactly what I’m doing even when I’m out of their sight. For instance, one enemy rushes for cover behind a wall, facing away from me. I get on a mounted gun and point in his direction. The enemy never comes out of cover. I swear to you, I sat there with my mounted gun pointed at him for nearly 5 minutes! He never popped out, but as soon as I get off the mounted turret, he pops out and starts shooting. I mean, really??? How in the hell did he know I was manning a turret when he never saw me enter the vehicle in the first place?

    I like FC2′s setting, and it also doesn’t hold your hand like most FPS do. But the game is littered with immersion-breaking elements, and also one more thing that FC3 has: fun gameplay.

  37. lOL says:

    Too.
    Much.
    Text.
    A.
    List.
    Would.
    Be.
    Better.
    Thanks.
    Bye.

  38. Briony says:

    Yeah Tim why did you go to the trouble of writing a well presented article with detailed explanations when all you really needed to do was to write a traffic grabbing list like every shit site out there. Some people don’t have the intelligence to wade through actual words and reasoned responses and need everything spoon fed to them like babies.

    I thought it was a great article. Ignore the one who calls themselves “lOL” as they obviously don’t have the intellect to read anything that doesn’t have a numbering system.

  39. Stefan Energy Beams says:

    At first i thought fc2 ws better beucase of the graphics,phychics and other stuff but fc3 is way more fun has animals,tourists which you can kill for fun i rated games about the graphcis now i only care about the gameplay.

  40. Rishabh Kumar sinha says:

    farcry2 :
    other guards are alerted even if i silently kill someone in the post.
    farcry3 :
    other guards are not alerted if i silently kill someone unless they see a dead guard’s body in the post.
    so farcry 2 has better AI.

    Farcry2:
    Better and realistic graphics and gameplay and killing is far more difficult as compared to farcry3.

    farcry3:
    Finished just in 2 days and it was funny and childish.
    Farcry2:
    finished in 1 month as it was challenging because of aggressive enemy AI,degrading weapons and lack of fast travels.

    farcry2:
    The hero dies in the end and jackal turns out to be friend rather than enemy.
    Farcry3:
    the hero becomes insane and is eager to kill and kills even for little reasons.

    Farcry3:
    Knifing enemies or animals to death was very easy and created an unrealistic feeling about the game.
    It has sexual themes and killing was absolutely necessary no chance to spare someone’s life.

  41. Punkduck says:

    Thank you! Far Cry 2 over and over and over again.

  42. E NOMiNUS says:

    Totally agreed with you , sadly Far cry 4 just looks like a repacked Far Cry 3…..I think that’s what people nowadays want—more COD-ish games… :”(

    (PS. I had a great fun with Far Cry 2 and i even made my own mod for it )

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