The Perfect Game – Part 5: Replay Value (Part 2)

I had this post sitting as a draft for over a month.. I thought it was finally time I put some pictures in with it and posted it.

So, my (second) last post was a little bit short, as I wrote half the post and then got sidetracked (with work, games etc). In this post I’ll try to continue where I left off, talking about Play-Value and Replay-Value. To help me I’ll be using examples from Lost: Via Domus, Just Cause and Far Cry 2 (which I have just finished playing).

Before I begin though, I’ll say a couple of quick words about Far Cry 2.

Far Cry 2

This would be the most demanding game (graphically) that I’ve played so far on my PC, but (as to be expected) it had no problems at all keeping up. This isn’t due to Far Cry 2’s graphics being lacking in any respect, it’s just due to the fact that my PC is awesome :) . As with the first Far Cry, the graphics are one of the big selling points of the game. Far Cry 1 had beautiful island views, everything was lush and green. You could almost drift away and imagine yourself sitting on one of the beach, sipping a mojito; if you didn’t have guys with machine guns shooting at you. Far Cry 2 continues with this level of graphics (kicking it up several notches for the new high end cards). I won’t get into the specifics of what the graphics engine can do, but suffice to say, it is an extremely beautiful looking game, one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Before I start talking about the story, missions, game play and Play-Value (the topic of this post), I’d like to go on a quick tangent and rant.

Far Cry compared with Far Cry 2

With most games that do as well as Far Cry, people want demand a sequel. Theres lots of reasons, but usually it’s because they want more of the original, or they want to see the original taken one step further when the technology advances. I can only imagine that the demand for Far Cry 2 was so great that Ubisoft felt compelled to make the game. The thing is though, Far Cry 2 isn’t really a sequel to the original, in fact, the two barely have any overlap.

Here is a list of all the things that are different between the two games:

  • Different main character (in fact you can choose your character in Far Cry 2)
  • Different location (tropical islands in 1, African country in 2)
  • Different style of FPS (linear in 1, free-form-rpg in 2)
  • Different weapons (theres only a set number in 1, and you can buy more and change weapons on the fly in 2)
  • RPGness (well there is no RPG elements in 1, 2 has some: degrading weapons, missions, sub-missions, characters, item collection/unlocking)
  • Different premise (1 is about saving some girl and getting off the island, 2 is about killing an arms dealer)
  • SCI-fi (1 has some sci-fi type elements (nothing too over the top though), 2 is more realistic).
  • Different engine (1 uses the Cry-Engine, 2 uses xxxx)
  • Different Developers (1 was developed by CryTek, 2 by Ubisoft).

Ok, so what do the two have in common? :

  • Both contain beautiful lush environments, that previous generation and low end cards will struggle with.


I think Ubisoft just bought the rights and used the name to help them get publicity and sell the game!

\rant off

Phew… just wanted to get that off my chest.

Play-Value in Far Cry 2

Some interviews that were performed with various people from Ubisoft stated that there would be “Up to 100 hours” of gameplay, with the game taking around 25 hours to complete the main missions.  At first thought you think “Wow! 100 hours! This is the only game I’ll need to play for the next 6 months”, but for most people, these thoughts would change quite quickly after a while.  This prompts the questions:Where do the numbers 100 and 25 come from and how much play will I actually get out of FC2?  I think that the number 100 is a gross overestimation.  The number 100 though is supposed to incorporate completing all the main missions, buddy missions, side missions, unlocking all the safehouses and guardposts and finding all the diamonds.  The 25 is supposed to be a rough guess at how long it takes to just the main missions (maybe the buddy missions too).  Personally, it took me about 19 hours to complete 30 of the 33 main missions, all of the buddy missions, some of the side missions and collect about 1/4 of the diamonds.

After about 12 hours of gameplay, I was quite bored with the game and playing it almost became a chore.  I don’t really see how anyone could play it for 100 hours!  This brings us towards the topics of this post.  I feel that the Play-Value of FC2 was quite high initially, but after about 10 hours had dropped significantly.  The Replay-Value is almost non-existent, I enjoyed playing the game, but can’t see any reason why I would submit myself to playing it again.

The replay value for Lost: Via Domus is also quite low, but it’s Play-Value remains consistently high throughout the game.  The same can be said with Just Cause, the Play-Value starts to degrade after a while, but there is a decent amount of Replay-value.  I think one of the main ways that Just Cause and Via Domus keep the Play-Value high is with story and locations.  Via Domus features a relatively in-depth story that evolves as the game progresses, and as you progress through the game you rarely vistit the same location twice.  Just Cause’s story isn’t quite as in-depth as that of Via Domus, but JC features a huge environment, with each mission taking place in a different corner.  Comparing this with FC2, we can see why it falls short.  In Far Cry 2, there is a story, but the devices used to tell it are quite lacking, all you have are the mission briefings and a little bit of character dialog.  Too many characters are introduced and the story becomes confusing after a while.  While the size of the environment is quite large in FC2, you are constantly returning to the same locations for missions and after a while all the terrain seems to blend together.

Hopefully this has all made sense (like most of my posts I think I made it at around midnight, so I might not have been firing on all cylinders).

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