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Author Topic: Far Cry for those who have finished HL2  (Read 2317 times)
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NoMeansNo
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« on: December 15, 2004, 04:11:00 AM »

Warning: The following is a post I put up on the Steam and Far Cry boards.  It is a repeated post, and I apologize first-off for the cut-n-paste.  Why put it on 'Console Gold'? .....
Because, had 'Gone Gold', in all its glory, still been a live site, I would have posted once, and only once, and recieved the type of feedback from my posting that I would hope to garner.  Unfortunately, Gone Gold is no more, and while some have migrated to this site, I still miss it.

I rarely posted on Gone Gold, but enjoyed the abundance of opinions and dialogue concerning my favorite hobby, with minimal idiocy that is found on most boards that have to do with video games.  However, after playing both HL2 and Far Cry, I felt the need to voice my opinion, and try to get feedback on what other's thought of the games themselves.

If you've seen the following on other boards, disregard.  If this is a brand new post to you, and you played/enjoyed either/or Far Cry and/or Half Life 2, please let me know which you preferred, and (most importantly) why your preference was formed......  Thanks


Mood of the topic.    posted Mon December 13 2004 21:10
Hello,

I have been thinking quite a bit on two games I've been playing recently, Half Life 2 and Far Cry, and I thought I'd jot some notes down concerning conclusions I've drawn from the games, both in comparison, and on their own merits. To be truthful, I had written what was turning out to be a 5000-word post, and trashed it after some re-reading/editing. It was too fawking long and boring. I'm not promising this post wont' be boring.....but it sure wont' be 5000 words long.
So this is another shot at a post whose audience should be either the person who played HL2 and had never given Far Cry a chance, those Far Cry vets who have yet to give HL2 a chance, and/or those folks who have played both and think I'm nuts. I'm hoping to both illicit comments from the community, and possibly move a game player who likes the same type of games as myself to give Far Cry a testdrive. I am posting this in both the Far Cry official forum, and the HL2/Steam forum, as this post touches upon both games. These are my opinions, based on my experiences with both games, so if you aren't interested, move along, citizen........

First off, been playing games since my dad brought home PONG when I was 5. Been wasting my time with them ever since. Out of all the genres of video games, however, none have I enjoyed more than first-person shooters.
Secondly, I should get the obligatory 'I loved both games'statement out of the way. I enjoyed them both; bought HL2 when it was made available by Steam in November, and finished the game this past weekend. Started up with Far Cry the minute I finished HL2, which in turn caused me to rethink what I like about these types of games. Here I had been enjoying HL2 very much, and along comes Far Cry, which I came to find was more 'my type of game'. More on that in a bit.
Lastly, the rig I'm playing both games on is a:
P4 3.4 GHz
1 GB RAM
ATI Radeon X800 *128 MB Vid Mem*
SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit 5.1 Surround Sound
WinXP Pro

Half Life 2 I found to be a very immersive FPS, setting the mood and story with crisp and spectacular graphics, and a story line that was so opaque it was intriguing. I got sucked into what I can only imagine was Valve's intention of getting the player hooked on the game's story: by not banging the player over the head with it. (My preferences for movies and books, so no surprise that I enjoyed that aspect). There's been plenty of complaints on different boards about the lack of story, but I disagree strongly on this aspect; the story is there, it is ongoing, and is engaging.
The enemies the HL2 player faces added to the immersion fact, but only so far. I found the Combine soldiers to be cool looking adversaries, but once I discovered that there were only 2 or 3 variations of the Combine soldier model, they became rather dull. Same with the 'monsters'; an example of this lack of variety can be seen with the zombies the player encounters throughout HL2; they *ALL* look the same. Same clothes, same moves, same headcrab. After about midway through the game, they became 'obligatory', and that equates to less-immersion, and less enjoyment, for me.
Not to say the Zombies didn't provide some scary moments; the 'Ravenholm' chapter I found to be one of the best FPS 'scary' moments that I had played, but I could definetly have standed for more variety in either the creatures, or, the creature's appearances.
I played HL2 on the hardest difficulty (HARD), and found the game to be challenging in places. However, I replayed a few level's on the lower difficulty, then back to 'HARD', and witnessed no changes in the AI's behavior. The enemies were harder to kill due to their ability to take more hits, and my inability to take as many, but the AI's tactics did not seem to change. The bad guys did the same thing after repeated tries.....take the same path, react to my actions the same way. I started to really notice how scripted the events in the game were, taking away from the tension and immersion, and leaving a 'Mario-Brother's' kind of play experience, where I was relying on predictability and learned bad-guy timing, to take 'em down. I may not be explaining this adequately enough; bottom line is that the AI just wasn't as clever as I had thought it would be.
Half Life 2 is definetly a game that is played on rails; I found it to be very narrow and linear. However, the scripted events Valve has peppered within the game make HL2 *the best* game of this type I've played. I've come to find, however, that I prefer a differen type of FPS game; I found myself looking for different ways to accomplish tasks, and found that my choices were extremely limited. I couldn't open all the doors I wanted to in buildings, I couldn't roam about and explore a rich graphical world, I just didn't have to think that hard in playing HL2. While I enjoyed the excellent physics (ability to play with the playground toys and stack boxes, gravity gun, etc.), I found that they weren't adding to the immersion, but were in fact taking away from it! I'd stack boxes to try and climb onto a roof-top for a different way to access a certain point in a level, with no success.
To be fair, I realize that a game that has scripted events requires percise pathfinding and linearity, so that the scripted events fire off. And, again, HL2 has in my opinion the best scripted events of a FPS to date. Until I got to Far Cry, being led around by my nose was fine with me; HL2 *is* a fun, somewhat immersive game.
As a side-note, I enjoyed the game so much, I bought it for my father's 60th birthday. I might as well have gotten him ebola. While I had downloaded the game from Steam, I had got him the CD. It took us collectively 2 days of dinking with it to get it to the point where he could start the game. I found tech-support to be non-existent, and shook my head at the hit Valve must have taken from having so many folks have issues with installing the game, much less playing it. My dad's system met the requirements of the game, yet the game crashed everytime it 'autosaved', stuttered at times, and was such a hassle to install, with little support from Valve at the time, that it left a bad taste in my mouth. My dad, on the other hand, liked what little he got to play so much that he is still going at it, playing a bit, crashing, reloading, rinse, repeat. Happy Birthday, Dad.

While I was playing HL2, I received an email from a company called 'Direct2Drive', and affiliate of GameSpy. I would never have been tempted to buy Far Cry, had it not been for this piece of spam. The ad was for downloading Far Cry for 29.95, direct to my HD. Remembering the bevy of positive posts about the game on the now-defunct 'GoneGold' website/forum, I gave it a shot.
Downloading the game on cable modem took about 2 1/2 hours, and the install took about 20 minutes, but once it was installed, I fired it up on the first try, set all the graphics setting to max, and jumped right in.
Graphics were better than I had expected; I had not realized how far the Crytek engine allowed the player to see! I had thought the water in HL2 could not be beat, but Far Cry's water, with moving fish, actual underwater terain, and reflections that didn't effect my frame-rate, were outstanding. Shadows, use of light (flashlight), and vegatation add a dynamic to FC that was missing in HL2; these graphical high-points are actually *very* useful in how the game is played, adding to the immersion factor quite a bit. Enemies were varied, and while the dialogue and voice-over's were a bit cheesy, the fact that there was a fair amount of variety in the bad-guys added to immersion, as well.

The second surprise was the freedom of movement. I had not been aware of how free and liberating Far Cry was, as a game. I had goals to accomplish, a story-line to follow, but the number of methods and paths I could take to accomplish these goals was a bit crazy. And exactly what the doctor ordered.
When I first started to interact with the AI, I could tell right away that Far Cry was a far cry from the AI in HL2. Reactions were more varied, different tactics could be witnessed on repeated attempts at missions, different ways they went about to find and kill ME! Having the ability to go stealth, as opposed to gun's blazing, ratcheted the game up another notch in my book, and added another dynamic to the replayability of the game. I found myself replaying certain missions I had already accomplished successfuly, trying out new tactics, and setting little goals for myself (using the machete only, getting to the chain gun and only using that, bypassing enemies altogether, etc.). I had only replayed a few HL2 lvl's, and once I found that the experience was identical to the last time I had tried it, I didn't go back.
I find the story behind Far Cry a bit weak, but the immersion factor in the different missions is off the charts with me. *This* is the FPS I've been waiting for, and all I could think about when I played it was 'why didn't you pick this game up sooner?'.

As someone who has played both; For immersion, replayability, AI challenge, I'd tell any FPS fiend to give Far Cry a shot. I'm sure glad I did.

NoMeansNo
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TheMissingLink
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2004, 04:17:51 AM »

I tried Far Cry, I really did.  It got a lot of praise on the GG board, so naturally the GGFE got me and I traded for it.  I put about two hours into it and traded it to somebody else.

Far Cry didn't feel like a shooter.  It's hard to put into words.  Maybe it was how fast you walk/run, I don't know.  I can't put my finger on it, but it really did feel only like a tech demo to me.  Maybe it was because I had read previous posts with people saying they felt that way, but it just felt wrong.  

I'd definitely have to rank HL2 > Far Cry.
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NoMeansNo
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2004, 04:31:19 AM »

Oh sweet lordy, I just took the time to read the following thread, which gives what I imagine is a pretty good sampling of the feelings toward FC:
http://www.consolegold.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3549

Hehe, I should have checked here *first*
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Valael
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2004, 05:40:10 AM »

Eh, I also tried Far Cry.  I got fairly far in and had a good time.  But it never grabbed me like HL2 did.  Freedom doesn't mean much to me if the gameplay is the same as every other FPS out there.
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2004, 06:20:43 AM »

They were both very good games in their own ways.  Two different approaches to the FPS genre and both very successful.  I'm happy with my purchase of both, which as it turns out, are my only two purchases of the year.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2004, 09:11:19 AM »

I never got the "freedom" people talk about in Farcry. The places that don't have anything to do with the main game are just jungle and shoreline. Its fun to explore for awhile but there's no other reason to wander and it got boring with nothing to reward exploring. You still had to go to a specific place and do a specific thing in order to move forward like any FPS. Its nice to look at but it was style and not much substance for me.
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Valael
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2004, 09:23:48 AM »

Quote from: "Jumangi"
I never got the "freedom" people talk about in Farcry. The places that don't have anything to do with the main game are just jungle and shoreline. Its fun to explore for awhile but there's no other reason to wander and it got boring with nothing to reward exploring. You still had to go to a specific place and do a specific thing in order to move forward like any FPS. Its nice to look at but it was style and not much substance for me.


They mean the fact that maps were wide open so that you could go about attacking a camp from any direction, instead of being lead straight into it without any other options.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2004, 10:38:21 AM »

Count me among those who started skeptically but then went to utterly love FarCry.

At first the stealth aspect rubbed me the wrong way. Coming from the Thief games, I found the soldier alerting system rather awkward and dodgy.

After a few levels, it all began to fit in and I could enjoy the amazing graphics and immersion - unmatched so far (keep in mind I haven't tried HL2 yet). This engine cries, and I mean CRIES for a Jurassic Park-based game... looking at some evening landscape I expected to see a long neck raise at any moment. So in this area the game was EXCELLENT.

The immersion didn't include the characters, however, who were all cliches of the worst kind. The main character was a joke, you have the mandatory tough-as-nails chick (at least they didn't fall in love at the end) and the mandatory - and completely expected - end-game twist. The story was almost nonexistent. Go there, blow this, run there, destroy that, etc. So in this respect, the game was mediocre.

Once I accepted this limitations, I really had a great time. Many people say that the game loses steam by the end, but actually by that time I was loving it and wanted it to keep going. In retrospect, given the basic storyline and characterization, I think that the whole immersion factor and the absolutely beautiful engine were the points that made FarCry stand well over the competition.

My 0.2,
Khelavaster
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2004, 03:20:59 PM »

Quote
The immersion didn't include the characters, however, who were all cliches of the worst kind.


God, tell me about it. "I'm gonna shoot you in the face!" has to be about the stupidest line from a videogame ever, but the other ones were close runner-ups. I enjoyed the game and I thought it was pretty but HL-2 was head and shoulders above this one.
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2004, 03:29:19 PM »

I think I liked HL2 more but I have to say that nothing in HL2 looked as amazing to me as the first time I walked in the jungle in Far Cry and saw the shadows from the leaves moving accross my gun and the ground.  It was just incredible.
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2004, 05:09:56 PM »

Far Cry was fine, though I got stuck at the sinking boat with the helicopter, and never had the desire to go back to it.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2004, 06:03:16 PM »

Quote from: "Valael"
Quote from: "Jumangi"
I never got the "freedom" people talk about in Farcry. The places that don't have anything to do with the main game are just jungle and shoreline. Its fun to explore for awhile but there's no other reason to wander and it got boring with nothing to reward exploring. You still had to go to a specific place and do a specific thing in order to move forward like any FPS. Its nice to look at but it was style and not much substance for me.


They mean the fact that maps were wide open so that you could go about attacking a camp from any direction, instead of being lead straight into it without any other options.



*shrug* So? Don't see how that really changes the game. You go in from the left and fight those soldiers first and then the others, or vice versa. Its the same experience wether you went straight in or circled to the back. Its not like you had some sort of moment like say from the movie Predator were Arnold's character improvises with the truck on the blocks and the bomb. Now if they had put something along those lines in there to reward the player for taking their time to asses the situation then ok I would agree thats cool, but its not there. The same experience from a diffrent angle makes no diffrence to me. It might as well be a corridor setup then.
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2004, 06:29:03 PM »

I never got a hard-on for nonlinearity in shooters like some people seem to.  If the game is well-made and fun I'll have a blast.  If not, blech.

I'm replaying the first Max Payne and you couldn't ask for a more linear shooter.  And I'm enjoying the hell out of myself.

My gripe with FarCry (and I have it, didn't finish it but intend to finish it soon) is that you had to have a fairly high-end computer system to play the game but they couldn't/didn't/wouldn't put in a save-anywhere feature.  Remember when they said they would add quick-saving in a patch?  Heh.  Even Doom had the ability to save-anywhere.  That should be mandatory for PC shooters.
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2004, 06:30:43 PM »

Quote from: "Suitably Ironic Moniker"
Quote
The immersion didn't include the characters, however, who were all cliches of the worst kind.


God, tell me about it. "I'm gonna shoot you in the face!" has to be about the stupidest line from a videogame ever, but the other ones were close runner-ups. I enjoyed the game and I thought it was pretty but HL-2 was head and shoulders above this one.


I agree with you, there... but I have to admit, even thinking about that line, even now, makes me laugh.  It was SO campy, and so ridiculously delivered.

Far Cry's story was laughable, at best.  Regardless, I had a fun time with it... but I simply don't understand how people can claim it's more entertaining or designed better than HL2.  To each his own, I just found myself having my jaw dropped and generally enjoying myself more with HL2.  Far Cry, by the end, was quite boring.
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2004, 07:13:57 PM »

Having finished both, I'm still debating the HL2 vs Far Cry issue.  Each has strengths and each has weaknesses.  I do keep coming back to the idea that if HL2 had come out first, before Doom 3 and Far Cry, we'd probably all think it was as significant as HL1 was.  Instead, it's only somewhat better than D3 and FC.

The other problem I'm having is that there's no doubt in my mind that one of HL2's strengths is it's story.   However, my enjoyment of that story was undoubtedly enhanced by my reading of the "Raising the Bar" book.  That book has details that I didn't see in the game and I wonder if I would be one of those people who wasn't drawn in by the story if I hadn't read that book.

Right now I'm giving HL2 a slight edge, but Far Cry has several advantages, most of which have already been mentioned.  The ones that stand out for me are:

1) the distances you can see and how good that looks (compared to only a few areas like that in HL2 and there the distant features look featureless).

2) support for different forms of gameplay.  You can create ambushes, snipe, go run and gun, or be silent and stealthy and it all works in Far Cry.  

3) Large areas that you can approach in different ways and from different angles.

That all said, I'd like to see the original poster update us as he goes, as Far Cry was pretty unbelievable to me early on but the story has some really disappointing elements that really take away from the overall experience as you get further along.
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2004, 07:58:23 PM »

Quote from: "warning"
I'm replaying the first Max Payne and you couldn't ask for a more linear shooter.  And I'm enjoying the hell out of myself.


Warning, have you played the Cinema 1.6 mod for Max Payne 2? After trying that, I swear you will never go back to MP1. Or regular MP2 for that matter. biggrin
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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2004, 08:24:48 PM »

Quote from: "Khelavaster"

My 0.2,
Khelavaster


Your 20 cents? Nice. Tongue

I enjoyed HL2 and the story was very compelling. I noticed the guy in the suit several times in the game, leading me on (the one I remember clearly is at the end of the skimmer level).

Far Cry AI detecting me was far too stupid, in my experience. I mean, they'd notice me even though I was being stealthy, and they had their backs turned. Oh, and they'd all run through the same door for me to slaughter them. Mind you, I only played the demo; that being said it *is* the product released to showcase the game.

I dunno, FPS genre has lost it's lustre, but I *really* want HL3. slywink
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2004, 09:27:46 PM »

Quote from: "whiteboyskim"
Quote from: "warning"
I'm replaying the first Max Payne and you couldn't ask for a more linear shooter.  And I'm enjoying the hell out of myself.


Warning, have you played the Cinema 1.6 mod for Max Payne 2? After trying that, I swear you will never go back to MP1. Or regular MP2 for that matter. biggrin

Not to derail the topic completely but I'm playing the original Max Payne with the Matrixed Reality mod (Matrix + Kung Fu 3.0 = good fun).  I'm actually waiting for MP2 to arrive in a trade and when it does I intend to play it through using the Cinema mod.  From everything I hear it's stunning.
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NoMeansNo
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2004, 01:58:31 AM »

Quote from: "Jumangi"
Quote from: "Valael"
Quote from: "Jumangi"
I never got the "freedom" people talk about in Farcry. The places that don't have anything to do with the main game are just jungle and shoreline. Its fun to explore for awhile but there's no other reason to wander and it got boring with nothing to reward exploring. You still had to go to a specific place and do a specific thing in order to move forward like any FPS. Its nice to look at but it was style and not much substance for me.


They mean the fact that maps were wide open so that you could go about attacking a camp from any direction, instead of being lead straight into it without any other options.



*shrug* So? Don't see how that really changes the game. You go in from the left and fight those soldiers first and then the others, or vice versa. Its the same experience wether you went straight in or circled to the back. Its not like you had some sort of moment like say from the movie Predator were Arnold's character improvises with the truck on the blocks and the bomb. Now if they had put something along those lines in there to reward the player for taking their time to asses the situation then ok I would agree thats cool, but its not there. The same experience from a diffrent angle makes no diffrence to me. It might as well be a corridor setup then.


To expand on what Valael wrote, and to try and better explain my reasoning in my post, there are not only different physical directions you can approach targets and objects, but different methods by which you can obtain your objectives.  This is the big 'freedom of movement' that I was trying to lamely explain in my initial post.  For me, it boiled down to enjoying a movie (HL2), and playing a game where I had to do some strategic thinking (FC), both with incredible graphics.
And, after playing HL2, then FC< found that my personal preference is the 'freedom' associated with vastly different methods by which to achieve objectives that Far Cry offered, and HL2 does not.

I don't mind playing games that are more linear than others......I have just found that I'm starting to prefer FPS's that require more thought and replayability, to those that just tell a good story.  

And I think the campy story if FC ain't that bad.  Someone else compared it to watching Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and I love the comparison...........
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« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2004, 06:53:33 AM »

Well I don't think your getting my point. I didn't see any way to "approach" things diffrently. You will have to list these diffrent ways you could complete objectives. Mind you I don't personally consider being able to approach a base from a diffrent way if the objective is still just to kill all the guards and or find something to be all that diffrent. In the end there was one way to complete the objectives that I saw. You just could approach the camp from a diffrent way(east, west, etc). Thats minimal too me and is pretty much negligable in terms of gameplay IMO.


Also don't see were Farcry took more "thought" to play than HL2.
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NoMeansNo
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« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2004, 04:00:48 AM »

Quote from: "Jumangi"
Well I don't think your getting my point. I didn't see any way to "approach" things diffrently. You will have to list these diffrent ways you could complete objectives. Mind you I don't personally consider being able to approach a base from a diffrent way if the objective is still just to kill all the guards and or find something to be all that diffrent. In the end there was one way to complete the objectives that I saw. You just could approach the camp from a diffrent way(east, west, etc). Thats minimal too me and is pretty much negligable in terms of gameplay IMO.


Also don't see were Farcry took more "thought" to play than HL2.


Sorry Jumangi, if we're not on the same page.  From your post above, it appears that we still aren't.

There are not only multiple *physical* paths to reach an objective, there are also multiple *method's* by which the objective can be met.
You state, '...just to kill all the guards and or find something to be that different...'  My point was, you don't have to kill the guards to meet your objective!  You still have to deal with them, but the way you do is up to you!
You could make it your methodology to completely bypass the guards, using stealth, and kill no one!  Or, you can still use stealth, and try to sneak up and take em all out silently (at least the ones you needed to take out to meet your objective), and try to not trigger their setting off the alarms (and more reinforcements).  Or, you could snipe from afar, with the knowledge that the AI can tell the general direction of the sniper rifle, and come search & destroy you, leading to a fun game of cat and mouse in a jungle stretch.

You make another great point in that a player really isn't required to think that hard when playing FC to accomplish goals on the easier difficulty levels; the player does have the option to go Rambo, and try to storm and kill everything, following one path (probably the easiest, or most obvious), much in the same way Half Life 2's gameplay pans out.  With FC, however, when you play on harder levels, this type of 'thought-less' play usually leads to quick deaths and frustration.

But, to my point, FC is a really good game in that it also allows those who do enjoy using the ole noggin to figure out different and more challenging routes AND methods to accomplish tasks, especially with a difficulty setting that appears to effect AI's behavior, as well as strengths.

NMN :idea:
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« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2004, 04:35:25 AM »

I look at it this way. One game is about combat, one game is about adventure. Farcry can throw you into skirmish after skirmish but I didn't play past even one of them without getting sick of it. HL2 takes you to many different areas and the goal is not to fight better and smarter AI but to simply survive and continue on. Halo is basically the same thing as Farcry. They both model combat well. HL2 is not about that to me.
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« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2004, 10:02:54 AM »

I guess were on diffrent pages then. I never saw anything I would consider stealth gameplay from FC. Also never had the AI come after me if I sniped them. They would just try and shoot at me, but they never came after me regardless of the difficulty level.
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