E for All Hands-on / Far Cry 2

I’m going to just get this out first: I am extremely excited for Far Cry 2. I, like many of you, have been subjected to a ridiculous amount media over the past few weeks, all geared to increasing the hype. Well it did, and my first mission on the E for All floor was to find it, and then play the hell out of it. Ubisoft had a booth open on the floor with a playable build of both Far Cry 2 and Tom Clancy’s EndWar. At about 10:30 it was pretty much one of the most popular booths on the floor.

I got about 35 minutes of personal time with the PS3 build of the game, and I must say it is both exciting and worrisome. I’m not going to go in-depth here, because frankly, I didn’t spend enough time with the game to be able to make a concrete opinion. So instead, I’ll just break it down in short, digestible list form for you guys. Mind you, this is the best impressions I could get with a few dozen sweaty men shouting in the background.

What’s awesome:

  • Immersion. This game puts you in your avatar, and I mean that literally. You are never subjected to a third-person camera view, everything you do is fluid and in first-person. A perfect example of this is simply entering a car, or moving into the gunners seat of a jeep. The camera never breaks away, and instead you shuffle your way into the passengers seat or lift yourself into a gunner’s seat. Also the map, which you take out instead of pressing the pause button, is quite quite possibly the greatest way to present a tool in a game world.
  • Graphics. I played on the PS3 build, but I expect that the 360 version will look just as good. Simply said, this game is pretty.
  • Story. While I couldn’t really hear the dialogue being spoken, I could read it, and it was pretty impressive. I didn’t get an all around grip of the story, but the script work seems well done.

What could go wrong:

  • Enemy AI. On a few accounts I had enemies who simply stood and absorbed bullet fire, and they can absorb a s***tload of bullet fire. I rattled off hundreds of bullets, and while some ran for cover, most just kind-of stood in the way.
  • Fire. I didn’t really get to see the fire dynamics in motion (i.e. watch how fire spreads), but I did get to see plenty of it. Having played other games that use fire, the way these flames look don’t look as good as I expected. Sometimes they even look like they are two-dimensional. I hope this is simply the fault of the HDTV settings, but somehow I doubt it. A shame considering Ubisoft has heavily marketed the element.
  • Animations. Still look a little rough around the edges, it’s cool when an enemy struggles to his feet to get a pop-off at you. However, it’s not so cool when an enemy simply crumbles to the ground after you pump 50 rounds into him. This is more of a gripe than an actual complaint, and Ubisoft still has plenty of time to iron this out.

All in all, I’m still insanely excited for this game. Check back with TVGB for our impressions on Tom Clancy’s Endwar. In the meanwhile, don’t forget our EndWar VIP demo token giveaway.