When I first played Far Cry 2, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I was a very big fan of the original and was expecting a direct sequel. Instead, I found there was very little in common between Far Cry and Far Cry 2 bar the name. The graphics, as you would expect after 4 years, have been radically updated, but rather than the lush green paradise of old, we are faced with dusty, derelict Savannah. The game effects, due in part to PhysX and DX10, are stunning and best of all, you don't need a triple GPU setup to obtain half decent FPS. While the DUNIA engine is not quite as complex as the Crysis engine, interaction with environment is still very good. There were a few anomalies, which will hopefully be rectified with future patches and driver fixes, but overall the visuals were only a very, very slight second to Crysis.
The story line and the way it is integrated into the game is totally different, with much more freedom of choice rather than the faux freedom of old. Missions are diverse enough to keep you wanting for more, and the added bonus of new and upgraded weapons ensures that your thirst for the game is never quite quenched. Longevity, it seems, is applied in bagfuls with Far Cry 2. Well, yes and no. The initial few hours of trying out different weapons and their effects on the environment, standing back in awe at the destruction you have let loose is very satisfying. The effects, however, can only last for so long. The constant traveling to and fro can become a little tiresome and the odd skirmish in between does little to relieve this frustration.
Far Cry 2 is in some respects a victim of its own prowess. You can't have action around every corner if you want realism. You can't have realism without having the odd dull moment. Ubisoft have tried to balance action with exploration, and for the most part they succeed, but there were occasions I found myself too far away from my mission and too far away from a bus station to 'insta-travel' and therefore amused myself with my flamethrower and some grassland full of Zebra before getting a little bored and wondering what news is being posted on the OC3D forums.
If you have the patience and are yearning for adventure with the full effects of a modern game engine, then Far Cry 2 will satisfy your needs. It is a masterpiece of gaming that is surely a big contender for game of the year. If, however, you were hoping for a Far Cry sequel with an updated GPU engine and fresh graphics, then you might, like me, be a tad disappointed.