Far Cry 5 has recently launched, to vaguely positive reviews from the press. The game introduces players to a familiar format - that of an open world filled with bad guys, flora and fauna. Yet, despite the game’s admirable graphical fidelity and Ubisoft bringing the setting of Hope County to life, the game is actually missing a whole bevvy of features present in Far Cry 2, a game released ten years ago in 2008.
Crowbcat, possibly one of the best YouTube channels out there for exposing detail drops, mistakes and development lies, recently uploaded a video comparing the two games. Despite being seperated by 10 years, and running on the same modified CryEngine, the 2008 game has quite a few features its successor does not. Crowbcat’s video is 20 minutes long (though I recommend you watch it), so here’s a TL;DW for those without the time on their hands.
1. Shooting through walls and objects
In Far Cry 2, should an enemy position themselves behind a wall, or thin cover, the player could shoot through the material to kill them. It worked the other way around, too, where players could be injured by shots penetrating their cover.
In Far Cry 5, this feature is totally absent. Wooden fences, vehicles and more are all perfectly fine to take cover behind. That is until you equip armour-piercing ammunition, which can actually go through some materials.
2. Projectiles falling back to earth
Everyone gets bored now and again, and decides to shoot something up into the sky to see what happens. In Far Cry 5, your RPG or rocket will sail into the clouds, never to be seen again. Gravity hath no power over them. In Far Cry 2 you better watch your head, as projectiles will plummet back down to earth, usually around where you’re standing.
3. Dynamic Fire
While both games feature fires that can spread across shrubbery and grassland, only in Far Cry 2 do the flames have a visible impact on the environment. Grass will blacken and smolder and trees will be burned to husks, their leaves completely gone as rhe fire spreads from branch to branch.
They must put something in the water in Hope County, though, since the trees and grass will remain green and lush, even after fire sweeps across it. Trees will burst in copy-pasted balls of flame, instead of the fire working its way along them. Granted, the ground turns black, but anything growing in it survives.
4. Reactive flora
Pretty self explanatory, this one. In Far Cry 2 you will disturb grass and bushes as you walk through them, trampling them to the floor. Flattened grass will stay that way, too, so you can follow the trail of enemies. Far Cry 5? Nope, you pass through the plants as if existing on some other material plane.
Plants and trees are also destructible in Far Cry 2 - you can shoot individual branches off of bushes should you please. Explosions will also cascade leaves, branches and bits of plant across a wide area. In Far Cry 5, none of this is possible.
Driving into plants in Far Cry 5 will make them explode in a small shower of leaves, never to be seen again. In Far Cry 2, they will be crushed under your car, while tire-tracks will be left behind in the savannah grass.
5. Wounded enemies continue the fight
If you wound a deranged cultist in Far Cry 5, they’ll lie ragdolled on the ground, shouting obscenities at you until a friendly touches them. If they’re touched, they’ll leap back into the attack. Should the timer above their head expire, they’ll drop dead.
In Far Cry 2, enemies will crawl away from the player, yell for help, or draw their sidearm to continue fighting. If they find a safe haven they’ll prop themselves up against it. Should a friendly AI find them, they will attempt to patch them up, and also yell for help from others. Seriously wounded enemies will be picked up by their allies and carried to safety over one shoulder. All the while your foes will talk to each other, asking for updates, how much medical attention is needed, and where the shots came from.
On top of that, some enemies will play dead, lying still until you approach to pop up, pistol in hand, to wreak retribution.
6. AI switching vehicle positions
Shoot a driver in the head in Far Cry 5 and the gunner will carry on as if nothing had happened, happily firing away as his car plummets into a ravine or rams an unhappy grizzly bear. Take out the man at the wheel in Far Cry 2 and the gunner will jump into the driver’s seat to stop the car. He’ll then get back onto the gun to get some revenge.
7. Vehicle explosions
In Hope County, the cars have been painted with force-protective paint. If an explosion goes off underneath them, they will blow up, sure, but barely move position. If a car explodes in Far Cry 2 it goes flying, sometimes flipping multiple times, depending on the force.
Running over animals in Far Cry is practically part of the series by now. In 5, you can mow down bears, cougars and wolverines to your heart's content, safe in the knowledge they’re doing no (visible) damage to your car.
Ram a hefty animal like a bison in Far Cry 2 and you’ll know about it, as the animal takes part of your bumper, radiator and bonnet with it.
9. Destructible environments
Within certain limits, players could take apart buildings, roadblocks and environments to their heart’s content in Far Cry 2. Cars, explosives and weapons fire could be used to chip away at masonry, metal and fencing.
No such luck in Far Cry 5. The game also fails that most rudimentary of tests: “Can I shoot out lights and lamps?” Nope. You can in Far Cry 2. To be fair, in Hope County you can explode plates, chairs and house items with enough firepower, yet they tend to disappear in a puff of smoke. Popping a cap in a plate in Far Cry 2 will crack it along where you hit it, while shooting metal fans will cause them to rotate.
10. Ragdoll dead bodies
Chuck a grenade at some dead guys in Ubisoft's latest title and they will disappear in a puff of blood-tinged smoke. In Far Cry 2 you can watch them be flung about in that classic ragdoll fashion to your heart’s content.
Present in all their (admittedly annoying) glory in Far Cry 2, not so much in 5, where they're toned down or non-existant.
12. Varied health recovery
Often poked fun at, Far Cry’s health recovery system allows you to watch your hero recover from their injuries in real-time. In 5, your character will wrap a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bandages around their arms, no matter the type of damage. Bullets? Bandage. Falling damage? Bandage. Shrapnel? Bandage.
In Far Cry 2, the recovery is based on the damage type. You’ll dig bullets out of knees, arms and hands with pliers, spit teeth after the concussive blast of a grenade, and crack dislocated bones back into place after falling damage.
13. Dynamic weather
Nope, not in Far Cry 5. Present in Far Cry 2, though.
14. Idle animations
If you happen to look away from your computer or console for a moment while exploring Hope County, your player character will remain standing stock still, weapon moving slightly.
In Far Cry 2, your character will nonchalantly inspect their weapon. They’ll twang bowstrings, blow dust from the barrel of a RPG, rub dirt from a scope, and test the hinges on the legs of a mortar tube.
15. Wear and tear on vehicles
Drive your car through the mud in Far Cry 2, it’ll get muddy. Through some water, it’ll get wet. Shoot the windscreen? Bullet cracks will be there when you get behind the seat. None of this happens in Far Cry 5.
Let’s be honest, a number of these features are quality of life, and perhaps it’s harder to implement some of them when working on a game that is so much more demanding on a graphical and mechanical level, not to mention the difference in scale.
What’s perhaps the bigger shame is how frustrating Far Cry 2 was for players, and how unpopular (relatively speaking) it was compared to other entries. Crowbcat's video almost makes me want to jump back into it, but then I remember that whole thing about having malaria and it puts me off.
Is it a case of a developer having competition in 2008 that it no longer needs to defeat in 2018? Is comfort leading to less design decisions? Do mechanics and little touches like this really matter?