Double Buffered

A Programmer’s View of Game Design, Development, and Culture

Of Fallout and Far Cry

Posted by Ben Zeigler on October 31, 2008

I started playing two new games this week, and both of them are excellent so far. Both Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 start extremely strongly, and combined it’s been the best 4-5 hours of gaming I’ve had this year. I suspect both might be less compelling the farther I get in, but they have something important to say and genuinely new experiences to show players. It might just be becuase I’ve been thinking about it recently, but both games remind me strongly of elements of Deus Ex, but in very different ways.

The core mechanics of Far Cry 2 are extremely exciting and well implemented. The key word for Far Cry 2, and for once it isn’t a cliche, is Immersion. The opening interactive cut scenes really set the mood, with a real sense of body awareness and environmental integration. You really do feel like you are in war-torn Africa, and all of the elements emphasize both the YOU part and the AFRICA part. For instance, you suffer a malaria fit from first person, and then the primary antagonist (maybe, I’m not very far) points a gun in your face. And then once you get out into the world, you can freely wander around an awesomely realized world. The environmental effects and lighting are the best looking I have seen, and it runs great on my 8800 (unlike Crysis). Oh, and then you get into combat, shoot a onrushing jeep with an RPG, watch it flip into a field, set it on fire, and kill several enemies and zebras. That NEVER gets old, and Far Cry 2 is the best open-world pure shooter I have played.

Fallout 3 also starts with some very interesting interactive cutscenes, principally you being born. Your movement tutorial takes place when you are 1 year old. From the very beginning, it starts throwing a lot of choices at you, and they’re all interesting and important. The skill system is straight out of Fallout, and the character advancement is WAY more satisfying than oblivion so far. Also, they do a really good job of letting you stumble on media and materials from the post-apocalyptic world. There are compelling character interactions and moral choices, and I’m very much looking forward to where the story goes. Fallout 3 is so far the best choice-based game I’ve played this year.

The main fault of Far Cry 2 is a lack of non-combat characters and actions. There aren’t really many conversations, and after the beginning 99% of the NPCs in the game will shoot you on sight. The main fault of Fallout 3 is a lack of immersion and versimillitude. The combat feels a bit detached, and many of the animations are pretty crappy. The interesting thing is that while both Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 are GREAT open-world first-person games, both are great at the one thing the other is lacking. Perhaps combining them together would make the best game ever, but for now we’ll just have to be happy with two (so far) great games that complement each other nicely.

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5 Responses to “Of Fallout and Far Cry”

  1. Hi,JZig

    Thanks for putting up efforts for the comparison, I was trying to get my hands on both of them but probably now i would go with Fallout rather Far Cry and this seems pretty interesting.

    Thanks for the article

    Cheers

  2. Tim said

    Heh what have you been doing to those NPCs to make them all shoot at you? :^)

  3. Whaledawg said

    Perhaps combining them together would make the best game ever, but for now we’ll just have to be happy with two (so far) great games that complement each other nicely.

    Or you could take both disks out of the box, put them next to each other on the desk, light a few candles, play some Marvin Gaye and get out of the house for a few hours.

  4. JZig said

    You work for one of two factions that hate each other, but every time you take a mission it’s a “Secret Mission” where they apparently don’t tell their faction members to not shoot you, so the whole time both factions are shooting at you, no matter who you’re working for.

    It’s really artificial, and the only reason I can think of is that they didn’t want to burden players with figuring out if a certain NPC is actually dangerous or not.

  5. Mrop said

    I’m finding it really hard to choose between which of these two games deserve my money, and this post hasn’t made it easier. I’ll probably go for Far Cry, since Oblivion was kind of dull and I feel they haven’t handled the heritage of the franchise (Oh here I go sounding like a fanboy, but what can you do?). It seems all the reviews by people who played the original two games are more critical than those who haven’t.

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