Written By Twisted Ideas
Ubisoft is an interesting developer. They are one of the most hit or miss triple A developers and their failures often overshadows the great games they produce. Far Cry is one of their triple A titles that hasn’t been run into the ground nor has it over promised and under delivered. It has been nearly a year since it was released and is a cheaper title to get but is Far Cry 4 something worth adding to your collection?
Far Cry 4
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: PC, PlayStatoin 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
What is it about?
You play as Ajay Ghale, a Kyrati who returns to his parent’s country of Kyrat to spread his mother’s ashes. He’s intercepted by the Royal Army and taken in by Pagan Min, the warlord of Kyrat. Pagan has a connection to his parents, as Ajay’s mother was his lover and his late father Mohan Ghale founded the Golden Path, a rebel group at war with Pagan. Ajay is shortly rescued by The Golden Path and is roped war for the future of Kyrat and to ultimately fulfill his mother’s final wish.
How does it play?
Far Cry 4 is an open world first person shooter. You can travel via land, water and air in the expansive mountainous region of Kyrat. Kyrat is populated with wildlife, small villages and is filled with lakes and rivers and ruins to explore. Kyrat is occupied mostly by the Royal Army. They possess outposts, fortresses and radio towers to maintain dominance over the country.
Ajay can carry up to four weapons (two sidearms and two primary), a hunting knife and a variety of explosives for combat. Stealth allows for infiltration for easy kills and you can mark targets with your binoculars so you can see them even through walls. If you capture the aforementioned outposts or fortresses you can quick travel to them. If you capture radio towers the map will reveal the roads and layout of the surrounding area.
There are two leveling systems. Standard experience main comes from killing, and completing side missions. Each level rewards you with a skill point that can be spent on skills that increase your combat and/or survival abilities. Karma is earned through random karma events, clean kills of animals and side missions related to Kyrati culture. Karma levels slowly but rewards you with passive bonuses. However, killing innocents and allies removes Karma experience.
Ajay can drive several vehicles for land, sea and air which he can shoot sidearms from. You can buy as wingsuit that allows you to glide after jumping off of high locations.
The wildlife is varied and poses potential dangers. Most animals are passive but some are aggressive when provoked or if they sense you nearby. Larger animals are powerful and difficult to kill. You can hunt animals for their skin and clean kills with arrows or your knife yields twice the skin. New equipment can be crafted with specific animal’s skins.
Campaign missions aside; there are several side missions and collectibles available. Most side missions are variations of combat and stealth with some vehicle related activities. The optional story missions enhances the history of Kyrat and the flavor text found in collectibles and notes give context of the past and current events.
The Far Cry series has always taken place in tropical or savanna environments with lots of nature and wildlife. This is the first game to feature snow as some missions take you high into the mountains. The weather allows for natural camouflage against the Royal Army.
The Buzzer is a personal helicopter that allows for ease of transportation above the ground. Unfortunately, if you fly too high then the engine will fail and you’ll start falling out of the sky.
Ajay is equipped with a grapple that lets him climb to quickly climb up to high locations, lower himself into pits and swing across gaps at grapple points.
There a skill that allows you to ride elephants. Elephants are occasionally found in Kyrat and are very durable in combat. You can shoot while riding them and their size scare, run over and toss enemies aside.
There is online co-op where you can bring friends and strangers into your world. The competitive multiplayer consists of two rounds in several game modes. There are two factions: The Golden Path that has standard guns and vehicles and the Rakshasa only uses bows and arrows, can harvest plants and summon wild animals. There are also user created outposts where you can edit the enemies, buildings and even available weapons; They can be uploaded online and played by anyone.
How does it look?
Far Cry has always looked fantastic for its time and this is no exception. Kyrat is massive, the detail is staggering and the world feels natural. Kyrat’s regions all have different looks and feels.
The southern region is lush with greenery and has most of the caves and ruins. The northern region is dry with a lot of dead plants giving off more earth tones; that look is balanced by the remaining green life, the grays of the mountains and buildings and the clear blue skies.
The snowy mountains are something that hasn’t been visited before and stands out from anything in the series. The wind blows snow in the air and the bright blue sky highlights the beauty of the area.
The hallucination and flash back sequences are psychedelic and has a bizarre look and atmosphere unlike anything else in the game.
The animals are incredibly detailed. They don’t have flat textures. Animals are furry, or have well defined hides and scales and even battle scars are seen on them. There could be more variety in a single species however.
How does it sound?
There’s an abundance of voice talent at work here. James Woods and Troy Baker do a great job as always, the soundtrack has tribal tracks that complement the gameplay and the radio station hosts have standout personalities and plays more modern music.
What do I think?
Far Cry 4 is a very solid sandbox game that doesn’t leave much of an impression. The world is more varied and the story is more mature but while most things are good, even great, nothing truly stands out.
I enjoyed the story. Ajay’s connection to the game’s history makes it more meaningful. I wasn’t a fan of the “choose a side” moments in the Golden Path but it makes sense for the characters. You have two “leaders” with varying opinions for the future of their people. Amita and Sabal are both extreme but their values both have legitimate pros and cons.
My biggest problem with the story is the villains; they get so little screen time. Pagan is a great villain. He’s well characterized and even likable to a degree but Pagan’s rarely seen. Pagan’s allies suffer the same issue. Other than the sympathetic Noore, Paul and Yuma, while characterized enough just come and go. They feel empty and their departure feels flat and empty. The lack of representation by any of the villains doesn’t help the game whatsoever. They needed a Vass from Far Cry 3. maybe not a similar character but one who is often present who antagonizes you. Vaas wasn’t even the main villain but his presence is the most memorable thing about Far Cry 3.
The driving controls take some getting used to. They’re controlled entirely with the left analog stick so you can aim and shoot while driving. This is a fairly unique control scheme which is a major adjustment. You have to move the analog stick much more than standard driving controls for turning and reversing is confusing. The buzzer is god send because it ignores all of the nonsense of driving.
Far Cry 4 reminds me of Far Cry 3 because of how forgettable it is. The gameplay is great but everything feels so ordinary. Other than the hallucination and flashback missions, most of the game boils down to light stealth and shooting similar areas in Kyrat. Again, the gameplay is good but it needs a new killer feature, just like how Assassin’s Creed added their economy systems, the assassin’s guild or the Jackdaw to make their game better. They were fun distractions that played differently from the rest of the game. Far Cry could benefit by implementing something new and different.
I only played multiplayer briefly but it’s unique to say the least. You have two rounds where you play completely different styles, nature vs. machine. The Golden Path is simple to play because it’s like an ordinary shooter. The Rakshasa are completely different that when the round switched for the first time I didn’t know what was going on. Again, I only played briefly but the concept of asymmetrical teams is bold move. I don’t know how many people are playing it nor do I care but the lack of a simple deathmatch mode hurts it.
Should you get it?
Far Cry 4 is great but doesn’t add anything new to really hook you beyond its gameplay. The game has a more mature than Far Cry 3 but they didn’t produce a memorable character like Vaas for this game. This, coupled with the good, yet standard gameplay, Far Cry 4 is a bit forgettable. You will probably enjoy the game but as of right now, there are better open world sandboxes to play in.