Far Cry 4 – Review
Many might say Far Cry 4 is just, “More Far Cry 3.” They wouldn’t be wrong in saying that; both place an ordinary, young adult in a beautiful location, have an eccentric main antagonist, and play in a similar manner. Despite these similarities, Far Cry 4 shouldn’t be discredited. Far Cry 4 is still an amazing game with a beautiful setting and organic combat that will provide hours of entertainment.
Set in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat, Far Cry 4 follows Ajay Ghale, a young American returning to his native country to spread the ashes of his deceased mother. Ajay soon becomes entangled in a Kyrati civil-war, and learns of his parents’ key involvement in the revolution against the oppressive king, Pagan Min.
Ajay spends the entirety of the game working for the rebel army, The Golden Path, lead by Sabal and Amita. Pitted with conflicting philosophies, it is here that the game periodically forces the player to choose to support one character or the other. Depending on whom Ajay sides with, missions will play out differently. Instead of destroying an enemy location, you may have to capture it. These missions instill a sense of moral conflict, but really neither is particularly “good”. This becomes more apparent further into the game, when one can argue that there really isn’t a good side, and neither is much better than Pagan Min’s world.
The main story missions, although not bad, aren’t particularly memorable, but excels when the frequently absent Pagan Min makes an appearance. Pagan Min is often mentioned in conversation, and his effects on Kyrat are ever-present, but he rarely gets screen time. Using an interesting character sparingly can be a good thing (see the Joker in The Dark Knight), but the game could have benefited with a bit more of Pagan. I found the villains of Far Cry 4 to be more interesting than the “protagonists” if that’s what you can call them. Most of the story elements and character building comes from the lore in the form of letters and messages located throughout Kyrat. If you don’t want to read all of it, then you will miss out on insight into some of the characters.
The free-roaming world of Kyrat is massive, with tons of collectibles and side missions to keep you busy. I spent about 20 hours on the game only to realize I had only covered half the map. Unfortunately, once you have played one type of mission, you have played them all as the game can get a bit repetitive, but still fun regardless. The only real incentive to keep playing these missions is to unlock new abilities and weapons. Once I got past the point of unlocking these awards, I didn’t even bother finishing the rest of them, since they only rewarded money, experience, and karma, all of which are plentifully obtained anyway. Gaining Karma is mostly meaningless besides unlocking certain abilities and guns. There’s a series of missions set in Shangri-La, a hallucinated fantasy world, which were a chore to get through mostly because of the limitations to combat and the fragile nature of your character; I liked the style and structure of the world, though.
Exploring the gorgeously designed world of Kyrat and capturing outposts are the real reasons to play Far Cry 4. Far Cry’s knack for sandbox style combat experimentation can be a blast with the unpredictability of the environment. One minute you can be cornered, under heavy gunfire, then out of nowhere, a rhino or elephant can come charging in, tossing vehicles aside to save the day. You never know what can happen. In a similar situation, while trying to capture an outpost, I found myself trapped and near death with little ammo. I was sure to die as the enemy made their advancement, but in my last bit of desperation, I threw a Molotov cocktail. My Molotov missed completely, but it started a brush fire, forming a wall of flame, forcing the enemy to back off long enough for me to make my escape. These organic moments can provide much discussion amongst friends (who can also play alongside you in two player co-op; however main missions will be locked during that time).
These unpredictable encounters aren’t always as cool as they sound. Most of the time, animal interaction was frustrating and an annoyance. I eventually quit opening animal cages to aid in outpost capturing because half of the time the animals ignored the enemy entirely, making a B-line straight towards me. Nothing feels as pointless as rescuing a prisoner only to have him/her mauled by a tiger the second after freedom. Nearly all animals take almost a full clip from an assault rifle to bring down, especially those evil honey badgers. I often felt uncomfortable basically poaching these animals to begin with, but since it’s necessary to craft storage upgrades, you don’t have much of a choice. I’m far from a PETA advocate, but I didn’t enjoy the hunting aspects and considered it more of an obstacle than anything.
Most games start you out with the bare minimum, and it’s the player’s goal to find better items. One of the things that surprised me the most about Far Cry 4 was the amount of awesome items available very early in the game. Within the first hour or two, I had access to explosives, RPGs, machine guns, a glider, a wing suit, and a gyrocopter. Far Cry 4 is all about having fun, and it wastes no time in that regard.
One thing I absolutely must mention because it can be easily ignored is the attention to detail put into each of the many unique locations scattered throughout Kyrat. Each location, based on the layout of materials, tells its own story. I often found myself examining locations like a detective trying to decipher a crime scene. In the aftermath of one bell tower, one can notice the bell crashed through every level of the tower, and broke through an underground tunnel below. Every bell tower could have been made exactly the same, but the developers took the time and effort to add character to the world.
I did not play much of the multiplayer, but what I played of it was fun, although it was a bit hard to understand what was going on at first. Players are placed in one of two factions, the Golden Path, whose focus is on traditional gunplay, and the Pagan Min’s elite guard, the Rakshasa, who rely on stealth and nature to gain an advantage. The Rakshasa wield a bow, craft syringes to buff abilities, summon wild animals, and turn invisible when crouched.
At launch the multiplayer included 3 game modes: Outpost, Propaganda, and Demon Mask. Each mode is just an alternate take on conquest, base defense, and capture-the-flag, found in many other games. There is also a map creator that lets users build their own levels.
With a 5 vs. 5 limit, matches felt a little bare, and the character upgrade system felt lacking. Unfortunately I didn’t feel much desire to continue playing for long.
Far Cry 4 is a gorgeous looking game with lush forests, rivers, lakes, and snowy, white mountains in the distance. Kyrat is now one of my favorite game worlds to explore. I can see myself going back to Far Cry 4, years later, just to explore the environment.
The voice acting is performed very well, but I can’t help but wonder why a native Nepali character like Pagan Min has a British accent. Troy Baker was good as usual, so I’ll ignore it. Listening to the games limited radio broadcasts got repetitive really fast. The same excerpts will be heard over and over, with a new one thrown in every now and then the more the game progresses.
Far Cry 4 is the first game of the series I have ever played, so any complaints about being too similar to Far Cry 3 doesn’t apply for me. Before playing, I had no interest in the series at all, but the more I played, the more I enjoyed my experience. Expect to complete the main story in about 30 hours, but the extensive amount of content available to the player can easily extend your playthrough to 60 hours or more.
Style – Single-player, co-op, multiplayer, First-person shooter, action-adventure
Developer – Ubisoft Montreal
Release – November 2014
- 5.0 – Gameplay
- 5.0 – Graphics
- 4.0 – Sound
- 5.0 – Entertainment
- 4.0 – Replay Value