Played on PS4 (Also available on PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC)
Sure, let’s wipe out this base while riding on an elephant.
Thoughts like this continually passed through my mind whilst playing Far Cry 4. Utilizing similar, and sometimes identical, gameplay and design mechanics from 2013’s Far Cry 3, this new iteration builds upon the faults of it’s predecessor to create an excellent sandbox video game.
The latest in the open-world shooter series from Ubisoft, FC4 brings you to the Himalayan set country of Kyrat, a fictional version of Nepal. You play as Ajay Ghale, a native returning to Kyrat to spread his mother’s ashes. His arrival is quickly disrupted by Pagan Min (voiced impeccably by Troy Baker), Kyrat’s eccentric dictator. Taken prisoner by Min, Ajay soon escapes with the aid of the local rebel group, named the Golden Path. Discovering his family’s deep ties to both Pagan Min and Golden Path, Ajay is quickly thrust into a plot to dethrone Min, all the while battling his own personal demons and navigating a civil war brewing within the Golden Path leadership.
The story and characters of Far Cry 4 has been decisive between fans, with some digging it, and other’s finding it boring, poorly implemented, and faulting Ajay for being a flat character. While I agree with the criticism on Ajay himself, I found everything else to be interesting and fun. Given the open-world nature of the game, story moments come and go rather infrequently compared to the abundant amount of side missions, but when I was experiencing them, they definitely go above and beyond any other type of quest in the game. Pagan Min is also a wonderful character, possibly the best of last year, with his only crime being that, given how much fun he is on-screen, he is moderately under-utilized, featured only in pockets of the campaign.
That being said, the area no one is complaining about when it comes to Far Cry 4 is the content on offer. Building upon the groundwork laid out in Far Cry 3, and pulling from many other Ubisoft properties, this is the ultimate open-world experience. The map is huge, with endless amounts of activities to do and places to explore. There are hunting quests, a variety of racing challenges, outposts and fortresses to conquer, bombs to defuse, a huge selection of collectibles to find, weapons and skills to upgrade, and more, and that’s not even counting the story missions. I platinum’d the game after just over 27 hours, with a completion of around 65%. I still have a hundred plus collectibles to find, and a decent amount of minor side missions leftover.
Gameplay is similarly fantastic. Combat is tight and smart, utilizing stealth and full-blown assault in ways that are both fun and always possible to execute upon. Weapon variety is vast and allows for personalization of gameplay. I commonly rolled in a stealth fashion, with silenced sniper rifle and semi-auto assault rifle, but also keeping a grenade launcher on-hand in case shit hits the fan and I need to rain hellfire on some fools. Completing a mission without alerting a single enemy is exhilarating and satisfying, but it’s equally so when everything goes wrong and you annihilate an entire area with explosives and molotov cocktails.
Mobility is also improved upon from past Far Cry games. Vehicle variety is large, and almost all of them actually handle well, meaning you can freely hop in any available ride to make a quick escape. The hang glider and wingsuit from Far Cry 3 return as well, allowing you to cruise the vistas of Kyrat in a swifter fashion. The greatest addition, however, comes from The Buzzer, a small gyrocopter that allows you to quickly fly around the map. Having to always quick travel was my least favorite element of Far Cry 3, and this quite honestly was a game changer for me. It’s easy to fly, and a joy to drop grenades from.
Oh, and you can ride elephants. And they can kill people for you.
In terms of presentation, Far Cry 4 is an absolute stunner. Playing on PS4 I was constantly in awe of the visuals, especially considering the consistent framerate. Character models are gorgeous, only second to the even more beautiful terrain and scenic views. At every turn is a wide open mountain view. Just look at the screen shots in this post for further proof. On the sound front, the game also excels. Music is beautiful and fitting, and the use of licensed music adds to the twisted charm presented in the world, as well as complimenting Pagan Min’s eccentricities. I played much of the game with Sony’s Wireless Gold Headset, and the use of 7.1 Surround Sound is implemented wonderfully here, allowing you to hear animals and enemies from every direction flawlessly.
Multiplayer exists in Far Cry 4, and is unfortunately a mixed bag. There are a variety of PvP game modes, in which teams of 5 compete to complete different objectives. It’s fairly fun, but pales in comparison to any other current PvP offering available. Co-op is another story, proving an awesome experience for 2 players to assist in completing the full campaign of Far Cry 4…provided you can actually connect to a game. There are a handful of co-op based trophies, and in my attempts to snag them, I spent around 4-5 hours of just attempting to connect to games, and then successfully stay in them once connected. Only once did I manage to stay in an instance with a public player, having had much more success when connecting to those on my friends list. It’s a shame, because once online, co-op can be a blast.
Far Cry 4 has been me into a tough position. Until playing it, my Game of the Year pick was tough enough deciding between Mario Kart 8 and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. Now I have this to toss around in my mind. It’s an excellent open-world shooter, that demands hours of exploration from a player, and provides an equal number of hours in pure fun and excitement. If you’ve missed any previous titles in the series, this is a must play.