Crying Out for More
Far Cry 3 was one of the biggest surprises of 2012. It was a game packed full of rich content, an engaging story, and an awesome villain. Far Cry 4 attempts to emulate the same tried-and-true path of its predecessor and to that extent it succeeds, but it’s disappointing to see the game follow that exact path without major deviations and because of that it feels more-or-less like a re-skinned world of its older brother.
Far Cry 4 tells the story of Ajay Ghale, a man who’s mother has unfortunately passed away and has given him one more task – spread her ashes in their home country of Kyrat. After returning home to Kyrat, he finds that the country is torn apart by civil war. Leading the Golden Path is Amita and Sabal, both valiant leaders in the war on taking down Pagan Min, a sociopath built on corruption who is the king of Kyrat. It’s a fun story to engage in and it has some excellent moments of writing throughout, my only qualm coming down to the fact that it doesn’t last that long. It ended up taking me around eight hours to finish and that’s including a handful of minutes hunting and re-taking missions after realizing I didn’t have the correct equipment for the job. The story is one that focuses on a couple of interesting themes – but perhaps the biggest one of those is vengeance. It’s a well written story and it has enough variety to keep you interested throughout. You’ll encounter a handful of ‘boss’ fights and the ending is absurdly awesome, complimenting the demented world of Far Cry with aplomb.
Character-wise, there’s really not much there. Ajay himself isn’t very well developed, as is the problem with a multitude of FPS protagonists, main characters Sabal and Amita are also underutilized. Pagan Min is the one who shines most bright, and it’s his moments that make Far Cry 4 worth playing and trudging through. Every time he arrived on screen, it was a moment to savour. It was akin to seeing The Joker’s moments in The Dark Knight, and that’s the highest compliment I can give to Troy Baker and his excellence in portraying such an intriguing, psychotic character. The only problem with Pagan Min is that he only appears every now and again – he isn’t technically a main character, and I feel that the game would have benefitted if he had more time on screen. Other than that, Hurk and Yogi & Reggie are fun characters to engage with but provide nothing more than a few giggles and some extra missions to adventure through.
Far Cry 4 is littered with things to do, and besides the actual gameplay, the amount of things to involve yourself in is the best part of the whole game.
When it comes to Far Cry’s quests, there’s a ton of them to enjoy. Far Cry 4 is littered with things to do, and besides the actual gameplay, the amount of things to involve yourself in is the best part of the whole game. If you’re like me and enjoy finishing the game and then jumping into extra content, you’ll be nearly overwhelmed with the multitude of things to do. Outposts to liberate, Bell Towers to capture, Yogi & Reggie missions to complete… There’s basically something for everyone to enjoy. There’s also the stronghold missions which can be completed with a friend, and if you own Far Cry 4 on PS4, you can even bring in a friend who doesn’t even have the game with a Key to Kyrat. Pretty nifty if they’re not so keen on the game or they just want to ride elephants. On the topic of multiplayer, there’s a couple of multiplayer modes to sink your teeth into as well, but they don’t offer up enough to really keep you glued to them. There are a variety of basic modes that you can jump into, but the best part about multiplayer is the included map editor, which enables you to make your own maps and download maps made by others and explore them. It’s akin to something like LittleBigPlanet and the older days of Far Cry Vengeance and the original Far Cry, and that’s seriously awesome and makes the replayability of Far Cry 4 that much stronger.
The best part about Far Cry 4 is its gameplay. Technically, this is an excellent FPS game, nearly perfect in fact. The button layout takes a little bit to get used to but after you’ve succumbed to a couple of hours of the game swapping weapons, lobbing grenades and setting crops on fire it all feels like second nature. The guns feel brutal, and the top tier weapons are powerful. There’s a lot of customization options as well, so if you feel like chucking a Red Dot Sight on top of your weapon of choice, you can do that. Need a suppressor? No worries. It’s all there, and like Far Cry 3, it adds a great feeling of personality and fun to the game. Another one of Far Cry 3’s enjoyable additions was the ability to hunt, and that’s (of course) back in Far Cry 4 and works as well as ever. You’ll no doubt end up sinking dozens of hours trying to find specific animals to help you gain an extra weapon slot or a bigger loot bag, and that makes the game as enjoyable as it is hilarious. My attempt at finding honey badger skin was one I could write a small novel on, because Far Cry 4 labels itself as something that contains a story within every second and that’s dead-set spot on. The way the game reacts to your actions enables so many random things to occur at the same time. At one point I rode through an outpost on an ATV and in the crossfire of shooting at enemies I accidentally hit an elephant, who then proceeded to flip my ATV and then kill EVERY single one of the enemies in the outpost, all the while I was trying to regain my composure and hoping I wouldn’t get slaughtered by an elephant. It’s things like these that truly make Far Cry 4 unique and special to everyone who plays it. You can come in to work the next day and exchange hilarious stories, and that’s just plain awesome.
Sound and audio are also a necessary quality in Far Cry 4, and some of the soundtrack really pushes the emotional level of the story to new heights. It’s no Last of Us or BioShock Infinite, but it really does the job well. As I mentioned above, the sounds of animals, guns, vehicles and the like are all great and it’s easy to realize a hornets nest is around in comparison to something like a bear. Because really, you don’t want a bear chasing you near a hornets nest while enemies are shooting at you.
Far Cry 4 is not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a great game, but I’m sincerely disappointed that there weren’t many new elements added into the core mechanics of the game. Far Cry 4 feels more like an upresed Far Cry 3, or perhaps even a Far Cry 3.5, because it doesn’t do that much new. You can absolutely argue that the Far Cry formula is a great and nearly perfect one after Far Cry 3, but for me I just hope that the inevitable sequel takes a serious step forward and not a small waltz to the side. Kyrat is awesome, Pagan Min is great, but next time I need a bigger change than people, wildlife and the map to seriously consider it a perfect sequel. Until then, I’ll be hunting the honey badgers.
You can absolutely argue that the Far Cry formula is a great and nearly perfect one after Far Cry 3, but for me I just hope that the inevitable sequel takes a serious step forward and not a small waltz to the side.
A review copy was supplied by the publisher.