There’s something about Far Cry 2 that I just can’t shake. It’s a special kind of magic, a game that isn’t afraid to make your life awkward in service of true immersion. The open-world playgrounds of Ubisoft’s various Far Cry games are something I’ve long delighted in, with the FPS games always having incredible gameplay at their core even when the likes of Far Cry 6 fell a little short elsewhere. If, however, you’re a player who missed out on the early entries then this Far Cry 2 Steam sale is a perfect opportunity to find out what makes it so beloved.
Released in 2008, Far Cry 2 stands alongside its predecessor as a more grounded, realistic spin on the series than the more over-the-top approach adopted by later entries. This is a tale of civil war deep in the heart of Africa, where you step into the shoes of one of nine unique mercenaries looking to make their fortune by hunting down notorious arms dealer, The Jackal.
What really makes Far Cry 2 special, in ways that its sequels often fail to capture, is just how dynamic and interactive the world feels. If you think the spread of fire in modern Far Cry is something, wait until you see just how devastating it can be here. Pretty much the entire environment is breakable, too, making driving down bumpy dirt tracks through the jungle and having to manually glance down at the in-game map spread out on your lap to check your destination as your jeep cracks through low-hanging branches a strikingly immersive experience.
You might have heard tell of the “frustrating” aspects of Far Cry 2 – while you can grab older weapons, they have a tendency to jam in the heat of the moment, and your character’s affliction with Malaria necessitates regular top-ups of medication to avoid crippling bouts of sickness at inopportune times.
Stay with me, though; these factors only further serve to enhance the tension, leading to frantic encounters with even a small number of enemies you can’t quite pin down the location of. In the fifteen years since, I haven’t really had many open-world games that kept me on edge quite like the breathless, dirt-strewn struggle of Far Cry 2.
Remember those nine mercenaries I mentioned? They’re more than just character choices; the ones you don’t choose take up their places in the game’s world and story, and you can team up with them and bring them along to help if you so choose. They’re truly vulnerable, though; if a fight goes wrong, you may find yourself with the unenviable choice of whether you can afford a scarce medkit to help them out, or whether a merciful bullet is the answer.
Far Cry 2 is 70% off on Steam until June 15. Expect to pay $2.99 / £2.57, and at that price you really can’t go wrong. It’s certainly still well worth seeing for yourself. Alternatively, the original Far Cry is 70% off ($2.99 / £2.57) if you want to go even further back, while those seeking something a little more modern can get Far Cry New Dawn for 80% off ($7.99 / £7.59), or buy it bundled with Far Cry 5 for 85% off ($14.99 / £12.59).
If you want to get a little fancier, a full Far Cry 2 mod polishes it up even more for a modern-day audience without losing that gritty realism. You might also fancy a look at some of the best co-op games, or save yourself even more money and grab the best free games on Steam to keep yourself entertained.