Far Cry 4
“Did I ever tell you…the definition of insanity? Insanity…is walking out of the safehouse in Far Cry without a weapon.”
Welcome to Kyrat. A beautiful little country high in the Himalayas, and the setting for the 4th instalment in Ubisofts’ massive runaway success, the Far Cry series. Instead of pirates in paradise, the setting for Far Cry 4 has moved up in the world…quite literally. And from the moment you’re in the game, it’s breathtakingly simple to see that you have as well. You are Ajay, a somewhat likeable local who has been abroad for many years. All you want to do is return your mothers ashes to this beautiful country, as per her dying wish. But…well, this is Far Cry. And you should know full well it’s never that simple. Right from the start you come face to face with Pagan Min, your main antagonist who right off the bat seems to know you rather well. Pagan was someone I cringed at, but laughed at the same time; the right mix of dark humour and psychotic behaviour that made Vass such a hit character in Far Cry 3. Very quickly you find yourself embroiled in the country’s civil war, fighting alongside the rebels who seek to throw Pagan off his mountain fortress. Along the way you’ll find out more about yourself, your parents, and why you are so revered and respected among the local population.
If you’re like myself, and coming back after having so much fun with Far Cry 3 and it’s standalone Blood Dragon expansion, you’re in familiar territory. The game feels much the same, the mechanics are quite similar and simple, and the characters are well structured and quite easy to sympathize with. Don’t fret, however, if this is all a brave new snow covered world, because the game is quite forgiving whilst at the same time giving you a large amount of say in how you do things, and where. To help you along the way there are several eccentric, slightly mad and also caring characters who can provide a variety of services. You can hunt animals to collect skins, with which you can craft different packs to carry more weapons, ammunition and power up syringes, although be warned…Kyrat is the Australia of the Himalayas. Everything wants to kill you-Pagans soldiers, and the wildlife. Being in the mountainous roof of the world as well, charging through the undergrowth blindly is a bad idea…unless you like cliffs, rivers and possible fiery death.
There is a plethora of weapons to help you along the way, most of which you can unlock and purchase through the many trading stores throughout the world. Some can also be purchased for free by disabling bell tower transmitting stations (which have replaced the radio towers from FC3.) Liberating these also opens the map further, allowing you to see key areas and any collectables nearby. You can level up to earn skill points, which you can use to make yourself an even further refined killing machine and creator of chaos. There are outposts to liberate as well, further expanding the friendly control over Kyrat and opening up further challenges.
Speaking of challenges…they alone can get you lost up here. I spent a good 5 hours in the game and I only did around 3 story missions. It’s very easy to get side-tracked with side quests, exploring for loot, or just admiring the scenery. New side quests include ‘Karma’ quests, which involve liberating villages and hostages, intercepting government trucks which can be destroyed or turned over to the resistance, and escorting supply convoys of your own. Ubisoft also give you a certain degree of freedom with some of the story missions, giving you, at times, several ways to accomplish one mission. As the resistance is led by several people with several different agendas, it’s wise to choose carefully my friend. Provided you aren’t distracted by the side quests-tearing down propaganda posters, finding lost treasures and masks, opening the world by not falling off the Bell Towers, avoiding heart attack out-of-nowhere airstrikes by eagles (I’m not making this up..). The Far Cry team have gone to a huge amount of effort to make you think 3 dimensionally-not just what’s in front of you. Thanks to grappling lines and the new autogyro vehicles, there’s a whole new dimension to combat in the world of Kyrat, and you can even coerce the local wildlife into helping you dispose of Pagans’ troops at times. Just make sure to keep your distance, or you’re likely to end up as second course.
It’s fairly easy to navigate between multiplayer and single player here as well. Along with the dedicated multiplayer matches you can also enjoy co-op campaign. You and your friend can jump in and out of story mode at will, not having to worry if your friend drops connection. Take the roof of the world by storm as a team, or by yourself like a true warrior. Whatever path you choose my friend, the choice is yours. But be careful, you are on the roof of the world.
And it’s an awfully long way down…
- For a newly released game, it’s incredibly smooth. No lag, no glitches and the load times aren’t a century and a half.
- They basically took far Cry 3 and stuffed it in some mountains with amazing graphic displays, spiffy new weapons and an awesome open-world game play scenario! I had so much fun with FC3, and it’s nice to see they haven’t changed what made it so fun. If you’re coming back like myself it’ll be very easy to pick up where you left off.
- So much space! So many activities! (Watch this for that reference to make sense!) Honestly, the story mode isn’t overly long! But with the treasure trove of unlockables, side quests and side missions you will be coming back to this game for a long time.
- Er…can’t skip a few long cutscenes? They’re fun the first time around but if you fail a mission, it can be a drag.
- In all seriousness, I couldn’t fault this game enough to put other cons here. I put the game through a thorough crash course to try everything Kyrat has to offer and I can honestly say it’s hard to fault. It’s smooth, it’s fun, it’s challenging without pushing it to frustration, and it’s repeat playability is massive. And dang, does it look pretty!