The extensive array of weaponry in Far Cry 2 gives you a lot to chew on (over two dozen weapons in all) and puts a little RPG flavour on the game since weapons must be gradually acquired by purchasing them in gun shops. All the weapons are categorized and your weapon loadout is limited to one weapon from each category. The weapons function and sound very realistic, the latter of which I find extremely important.
A really neat feature in Far Cry 2 that will throw a huge monkey wrench into many of your firefights is that all the weapons degrade with use. This means that along with their appearance getting rusty and corroded, weapons will jam on you when trying to fire them. This results in making you think twice about running and gunning your way through the game as getting caught out in the open surrounded by enemies while fumbling with a jammed weapon is no picnic.
About the only gripe I have with the weaponry in Far Cry 2 is there is surprisingly no easy method of determining which weapons you have currently equipped. Identifying weapons involves an encumbersome procedure of cross referencing the weapons on display in the armory with the Upgrades section of the game menu as well as the information on the computers in the weapons shops. So although I enjoyed very much pouring over the choice of weapons and figuring out which would be the best loadout to carry out into the field, the whole process was made unnecessarily tedious by the lack of being able to quickly identify my currently equipped weapons.
This is one of the situations in which Far Cry 2 developers may have shot themselves in the foot with the push for authenticity and total immersion. Had the game interface in the armory for example, carried text labels in front of the weapons instead of just icons —many of which required close comparison to differentiate them from others— selecting the right weapons would have been a lot easier for all of us mere mortals who are not card-carrying members of the NRA.
As far as looks, Far Cry 2 is just a gorgeous game. Throughout the game you are treated to a spectacular, panoramic and photorealistic rendition of a rugged and dusty sweltering hot African outback. The environment is replete with wildlife (including zebras actually running alongside your jeep) and includes realistically spreading brush fires (most of which you start), day/night cycles and weather so real that you actually feel miserable when it starts to rain. A pat on the back should go to Ubisoft for paying so much attention to detail in creating the Far Cry 2 gamescape and they deserve additional kudos for actually taking a visit to Africa to get those details.
The HUD-less view, i.e., no quintessential in-game overlay providing you with real time data on your current health or remaining ammo and whatnot, was also a great idea and actually went much further than I expected to create a thoroughly immersive experience when playing the game. Some players have reported that they have found themselves simply spending time 'living in the game', e.g., they will meander around not doing anything in particular besides watching a sunset or enjoying the wildlife. I've had similar experiences and it's quite surreal.
I particularly liked the way the boundaries of the gamescape were handled by simply turning the perimeter into a desert and having you faint from the heat when you ventured too far into it. (This was a little more skillful and aesthetically immersive than the way game boundaries were handled in Crysis, i.e., a stern warning suddenly popped up in the HUD telling you that you were leaving the battle area and get back or else you die... *chuckle*.)
The best part about the graphics in Far Cry 2 is that they are not as demanding as other games of the genre. The Dunia game engine does a good job of allowing those with budget gaming rigs run Far Cry 2 on the highest display settings without breaking a sweat.
Soooo.... Buy it? Absolutely.
Even if I had read all the posts on the Far Cry 2 forum regarding the various bugs in the game, I think I still would have gambled and bought the game. It flew off the shelves here in Montreal and I personally think it's destined to become a classic.
All in all, Far Cry 2 introduces a thrilling new concept in first person shooters and is definitely my personal fantasy remake of Crysis. It may not be for all but if you do try it and find yourself getting frustrated, be sure to experiment with different approaches to the gameplay before giving up. Just like a fine wine, if you try gulping it down too fast, you will miss all the flavor.