There are games like Doom that forever change their genres. Then there are games that are not necessarily going to keep in mind on a daily basis, but constantly engaging in conversation when developers come together and talk. Far Cry 2 is a true developer game: an imperfect gem to be sure, but one that changed the industry by changing how people thought about games.
Far Cry 2s central genius is that there is an open world that does not exist to glorify you, the player. At best you are a villain. Most of the time you are honest with little consequence. Intro sets the scene with you as the world's least prepared hired soldier, visiting Africa in search of a wanted weapon dealer called The Jackal. It's not going well. Before you can even start the hunt, you take malaria, go up to bed, and Jackal himself pops around to go through your stuff, pointing out that you have failed badly and will not be paid until you wander off with a "so long. " Few games have been quite so happy to lower their efforts to something that does not exist.
Of course you do not just go home. Instead, the mission quickly falls into the kind of nihilism that would not be matched to the undervalued Spec Ops: The Line. You kill because that's what you do, working for two fractions that were criticized at that time to be basically the same collection of psychopathic arse holes before people realized that yes that was the point. There are no good boys in Far Cry 2, and no brilliant crusades to save the war-torn country from any handsome snapshot-dictator. It's just war, malaria, death and greed.
As would be a series of booklets, Far Cry 2 had almost nothing to do with the game that came before it rescued being a shooter, and certainly none of the mutants and other stupid items that slowly took over their story. The developers, led by Clint Hocking, explained that the goal was to catch the spirit of the series, although it often felt (maybe cynical) as the money men just were not aware until it was too late.
Far Cry was a level-based game that just happened to have very wide open emotional levels. Far Cry 2 was a playground. Surely, it was not open because the story was still tied together with mission and specific goals, and no matter how much you drove around killing things, nothing would change to the plot dictated it did. But when you were actually on duty, there was something going on. Snipe enemies from a distance, steal a car and walk and smash in a base, run into fire, set things in fire …
What did Far Cry 2 differ from the average open world game was how it managed to embrace the potential of This freedom without sinking into anarchy or coming over as ridiculous. You are absolutely no divine presence. Along with the need for common malaria treatments to prevent vomiting on the intestines in the worst time, each system and plot point there to strengthen the darker elements in the setting ̵
Another legacy from Far Cry 2: one of the very best wagons, thanks to the perfect pairing with Massive Attack's Angel.
More Direct, even standard elements like taking a ball, go a bit longer than most. Get hurt and you will be "treated" to unpleasant examples that your wounds are patched up in the field. Throughout the game you are regularly paired with mercenaries who are willing to lend a hand, pull your injured body out of danger and give their own goals, but no one is holy. At the end of the game, the glitter of diamonds and the chance to escape more than enough to crush any friendship.
In fact, Far Cry 2 was the military shooter what Deus Ex had been sneaking around urban environments – a game that made these environments another weapon, giving them the weight that had been missing from most previous open world games as 2006's comic-like Just Cause, or GTA and its endless copycats. It was also primarily a shooter, unlike RPGs like Fallout 3 or Clunky Hybrid as Stalker.
It contributed greatly to how smooth the action was, in addition to the character of Far Cry 2's basic playlists: clearing outposts, the simple action of navigating the world, and the use of physics, tools, and AI to ask for forward action. These things made Far Cry 2 feel natural in small, vital ways.
Everything from checking a real map to the effect of a grenade (spoiler: it explodes) flowed realistically from your basic understanding of reality, without thinking about the action regarding hit points, levels and game mechanics. If something felt like a good tactic then it probably was and when things went wrong or wrong, it was usually in a way that made for an interesting story.
Despite all this, Far Cry 2 can feel clunky today. Much of it did it too. Especially strange is the way the characters speak twice as fast as they should, and without much of the human thing, we call emotions. The shooting is not the best genre has to offer. And it's hard not to get rid of NPCs you're working to still take a pop on you every time you meet their patrols or that the world is a bit too static – there is no way to separate safe spaces or even permanent handle an outpost. It is appropriate but still annoying. Unfortunately, despite all the progress that was taken with the open world, Far Cry 2 removed a first plane where the point of the game would be to only track and kill Jackal and you could ignore the story in favor of making one beeline for him and put a bullet in his head. The game itself had no such possibility. A real pity.
What is achieved at the end, however, is even more impressive. It entertained players, but more importantly inspired an industry to expand its perspective and explore the power that opens the world that is truly offered. Later games have refined these techniques, with elements ranging from Ubisoft's own Assassin's Creed, to the later Just Cause games, to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Although there is no direct influence from sitting down and playing Far Cry 2, few designers have heard whispered stories of what it achieved and what turned out to be possible. It may have claimed several official followers in the last decade, but the real legacy of Far Cry 2 is freedom inspired.