Far Cry 2
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If you've ever had the inclination to go on saffari in Africa you'd probably be disappointed after playing Far Cry 2. You wouldn't be allowed to shoot the animals or the mercaneries that wonder about armed to the teeth, or set fire to things and generally cause a lot of mayhem. You probably wouldn't find nearly as many diamonds lying around either.

In the game's reality one has the freedom to explore a vast wilderness, all carefully designed to look as close to real life as current gaming technology can get. Purchasing weapons is easy and your choices determine the way in which you go about killing the enemy. The stealthy ninja route, for example, is time consuming but so rewarding. The "bull in a china shop" approach on the other hand will get you through quickly with lots of adrenaline, explosions and carnage. Different missions require different stratergies, but every time, you have a choice.

You can also choose who you do your missions for- pick a side or play one on both teams. You make friends along the way who will dilligently come to your aid when you get in over your head. There's the diamond treasure hunt to keep you busy and, of course, your ultimate target: the bad guy they call The Jackal. Find him and make him pay for his evil ways.

The atmosphere they've created will give you chills. There are birds singing in the trees and even animals wandering about (which you are free to hunt). The cities and building even have that grubby "third world" feel about them.

There's a variety of transport options available too. You can navigate the rivers by boat, drive off road vehicles or even fly about on a hang-glider. To get somewhere quickly you can take a bus which functions more as a teleportation device, something Africa so desperately needs.

The AI is remarkebly intelligent. They can ambush you and sneak up behind you, but the challenge is stay one step ahead of them and lure them into a trap of your own. Distract them by starting a fire, or wound one with your sniper rifle and take out the others that come to his rescue.

But, like every game, after spending enough hours playing it, it does become a little repetitive. Fortunately there's the multiplayer and the map editor where you can create a landscape of your own design in which to shoot your friends.

Sadly the gameplay itself didn't receive enough attention. The controls at times feel a bit rigid, like that of a much older game. Compared with the smooth movements of COD4 and 5, it does fall a little short in that regard and you'll frequently be frustrated by your inability to go prone. This often leaves you a bit too exposed when sniping from a hill or trying to hide in tall grass. The running slide move, however, is a nice touch.