Far Cry 4 didn’t have to do much to make me fall in love with it. With me longing for more of Far Cry 3, all I really wanted from this open-world action-adventure first-person shooter was the core of what they did before, again.
With a couple of small steps forward followed by a couple of small steps backwards, Ubisoft largely provided the sequel I was looking for.
You play as Ajay Ghale, who is on a quest to fulfill his mother’s dying wish and scattering her ashes somewhere in the mountainous region of Kyrat. Shortly after beginning his quest he becomes caught up in a civil war between forces of the current dictator and main antagonist of the game Pagan Min and the a group of rebels who you ally with, known as the Golden Path.
On your journey you encounter many well developed characters with colourful personalities. Unfortunately a couple of these characters only last a couple of missions before being put to the side. The antagonist, Pagan Min, is one of the best and most entertaining video game villains I have encountered.
Despite the story for the most part being both enjoyable and engaging, it fell short in a few areas.
First of all I couldn’t at all buy into Ajay’s motivations. He leads what feels like a one man war against the entire region, continually placing his life at risk for the sole purpose to scatter his mother’s ashes. Personally I would have taken a more pragmatic approach and have waited the war out and returned when the region was safe.
Also there seems to be no character development at all, which was one the biggest strengths of Far Cry 3. He just picks up a gun and starts mowing people down without a second thought. He begins the game as an expert in survival rather than being taught or forced to learn how to become one.
A few times throughout the story you are given tough choices to make which impacts the next couple of missions. Despite only affecting the next mission or two, being able to choose your own path helps the story feel like your own.
The gameplay in Far Cry 4 is very similar to its predecessor with only a few minor modifications.
Its major strength is the general openness of the world and the missions. Objectives are given but the means adopted in order are completely up to you. The missions also vary to a great degree which ensures that the game never feels repetitive or dull.
A problem I had with the plethora of side missions available was a lack of any reason to do them.
Offering only money and experience, both of which you will never find yourself lacking in, there is little incentive making completing them worthwhile. These missions do vary a lot though from the very enjoyable assassination missions to the somewhat less enjoyable racing missions.
As someone who loves stealth games, I generally opted to take a more stealthy approach whenever I could, using a combination of silenced weapons and take downs to clear out areas without being seen. The options and tactics available for stealth in this game are vast and very well implemented.
Using your camera, you initially scope out targets. This enables them to be seen through walls and better plan your approach. There are also a wide range of weapons available including bows, throwing knives, silenced assault rifles as well as silenced sniper rifles which can be used to quietly take down enemies.
If you prefer the more violent route, there are many options available for that including rocket launcher, light machines guns, explosives and numerous other weapons. Often I attempted to take the first approach, only for things to go not quite according to plan leading me to take the latter option mid-way through. Both approaches are enjoyable to use and the general mechanics to support them are excellent.
The region of Kryat is both mind bogglingly massive and very well created. Environments vary from icy mountains to lush green landscapes, all of which look stunning and fun to navigate and explore.
While traversing the world with your wingsuit, by vehicle or on foot, you not only have to fight against enemy forces but also nature itself.
The region is home to many animals both passive and aggressive including everything from tigers to yaks. These animals randomly appear in the various areas they are designated to. Killing these animals allows you to skin them which you can then use to upgrade various items.
Liberating outposts is one of the most fun things to do in Far Cry 4.
Littered throughout the world are small enemy controlled bases called outposts. Your basic objective is to kill all enemies in the base. If seen the enemy calls for reinforcements, provided you haven’t sabotaged their systems, which encourages a more stealth approach.
Once liberated, these bases become home to the rebels which subsequently unlocks a variety of side missions, allows a place to trade equipment and also enables you to fast travel to that location.
One of the most talked about additions to Far Cry 4 is the online co-op. While I can certainly see the appeal in playing the game with a friend, playing online with random people is a much different story. My experience with it predominately involved extensive matchmaking times.
When I finally did find a game I hopped into the side seat of my online partners car for 5 minutes as he drove around aimlessly before finally being kicked. My subsequent attempts to find an online match yielded nothing.
Overall, this is one feature which I could have personally done without.
Despite having an interesting and solid idea, the online player-versus-player multiplayer was also disappointing.
You play as one of two factions in objective based matches. One team only has bows but can call on wild animals to fight for them and can go invisible when crouching.
Their position is however shown if the opposing team has control over the radio tower. The other faction has guns which can easily mow the enemy down, provided they aren’t taken out with an arrow first.
While I enjoyed the idea, the experience wasn’t addicting or enjoyable enough to warrant much play time. My experience was also dampened with extensive matchmaking time and also lack of dedicated servers causing host migration.
Overall, the excellent gameplay mechanics in Far Cry 4 makes any moment of the campaign enjoyable.
This is backed up by an excellent story and an amazing world to roam around in. Far Cry 4 is easily one of the best games this year and a worthy sequel to Far Cry 3.
Whether you are a first-person shooter fan or not, I think you will very much enjoy this game.
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