After spending somewhere around 25 hours getting through Far Cry 2's single-player campaign, there was one question I couldn't quite answer: why is this game called Far Cry?
The sequel, developed by Ubisoft, retains nearly nothing from Crytek's 2004 original or from the Xbox and Xbox 360's Instincts and Predator derivations. The story doesn't carry over, the characters aren't the same, there's no mention at all of Jack Carver, there are no mutagens, no feral powers, and no Trigens. Instead, it's a struggle between warring factions, called the APR and UFLL, in an unnamed African nation.
The game also doesn't give players a pre-determined protagonist. Instead, you select a character to play as, and the rest of the cast appear in the game world around you as friendly NPCs, called buddies, who you can choose to work with. Things begin with a simple tutorial section, introducing you to basic first-person shooter controls and the game's premise. Your main goal is to find The Jackal, a menacing character that supplies weapons to the APR and UFLL to keep lit the fires of conflict. The point is, with this kind of setup, it's odd that the Far Cry name was even used at all, other than for its obvious name recognition value. Pushing that issue aside and accepting that this is basically a totally different game, you'll find there's quite a bit to like.
For instance, there's no inventory in the game, just four weapon slots. There's one for your machete, one for a sidearm or accessory, one for a primary weapon (assault rifle, SMG, sniper rifle, shotgun), and one for a special weapon (rocket launcher, mortar, flamethrower). All these weapon types aren't available at the game's beginning; you must unlock them by performing side-quests for weapons vendors located around the world. Much of the game works like this, letting you unlock little bits and pieces here and there to make your journeys across the grassy plains, mountains, and jungles of the world more convenient, and make the process of killing a little easier.
Also, unlike S.T.A.L.K.E.R., there's no real quest log. Instead, you basically have one 'active quest' at a time, though the single quest can veer in several different directions. Main quests are most often delivered through the APR and UFLL headquarters, and most of the time, the mission you pick up is predetermined. In other words, you can't pick between APR and UFLL missions every time you go to get a new mission connected to the main quest. There are choices to be made, some fairly major ones too, but those are intermittent and mostly don't crop up until the end of the game. Because of this, it's difficult to care at all about the story, setting, or characters in the game for the first few hours. In all likelihood you'll be distracted by exploration and testing out the boundaries of the game world, but it's quite some time before the story starts to gain any real momentum.