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Review

Far Cry 4 Review

Hardly a far cry from its predecessor.

Far Cry 4 has learned a lot from its predecessor, taking the solid gameplay, exploration, and villainy to a new location: the battle-ridden Kyrat, where Ajay Ghale has returned home to scatter his mother’s ashes and fulfil her dying wish. It’s absolutely a mission of discovery, with both you and the protagonist uncovering the twisted past – and present – of this beautiful and flawed location.

Kyrat is almost a character of its own; just as Rapture in BioShock or the land of Skyrim feel like real, living places, with their own culture, history, and people, this mountainous area is more than just a backdrop for the story to be told: it’s the focal point, with the plot having you pave the future for the region as a one-man army, picking sides and single-handedly saving the world as you go.

Really though, Kyrat is a playground; it’s a multi-tiered obstacle course for you to work your way round; a large theme park where you make your own rides as you go along. Throw in some mountaineering with a grappling hook, plenty of vehicles, a good amount of wildlife, and even the wingsuit later in the game, and you’ll begin to see the appeal, particularly when you get two players and cause mass havoc.

Outposts are littered around the world, as are radio towers, creating opportunities for you to take over the territory. These will be familiar to anyone who has played Far Cry 3 or a similar open world game immediately. The radio towers – recommissioned traditional bell towers – spew propaganda to the masses, and opening these will clear up the large map, while outposts are essentially enemy hideouts.

The outposts have alarm systems, which will immediately call for reinforcements upon activation, so the best option is to sneak around and take these out (along with some enemies) before properly attacking. If there’s an animal cage handy, you can always set the beast free – be it tiger, dog, or elephant – or you can just jump on said elephant’s back and cause carnage, taking out waves of reinforcements with ease. There are a lot of ways to approach each situation, though the best option is almost always stealth.

It’s very much the same as the previous title, though – there aren’t many improvements in this area, even if riding a tusked giant is a hell of a lot of fun. In fact, a lot of the side stuff in the open world is quite similar too, with a decent amount of (somewhat repetitive) smaller missions, and an insurmountable number of collectables strewn across the many locations on the map. The big difference here is that all of this – everything aside from the main story – can be played co-operatively with another player, and it’s even more enjoyable to do so.

The new fortresses make for great co-operative opportunities. These are essentially the bases of characters who you’ll meet in the story, and work like larger scale outposts. You’ll need to weaken these first by completing missions and capturing other territories, but once you’ve done that you should be able to tactically plan your entry and then work together to secure the location, it can be quite exciting, a lot of fun, and often quite hard. In fact, even on easier difficulty levels, there are these difficulty spikes which, when coupled with a poor checkpointing and saving system, can make the game quite tedious at times.

FarCry4-Inter-IL3

Even though it may be a challenge in places, the game is often quite unbelievable, as your protagonist often feels like he has superpowers when he’s taking down entire armies without flinching. Similar, in a way, is Pagan Min, the maniacal dictator of Kyrat, a fine villain with Joker-esque (or Vaas-like) tendencies in amongst his calm and collected nature. He’s a great villain, voiced by the seemingly ever-present Troy Baker, and while his lack of screen time in the first two acts is a slight shame, you’ll love every second of him.

It’s a decent story too, which essentially focuses on the Golden Path – the rebels in this case – taking on the empire of Pagan Min and his army. It goes much deeper than that, with internal conflicts having you choose sides within the Golden Path, and this becomes the game’s morality system rather than what’s good or bad. It always attempts to stick within a grey area for choices, making them even harder to choose between at times, but this leads you to seeing different missions throughout your campaign.

The overall plot doesn’t really change much over the course of things, instead just splintering at points and offering slightly different approaches to missions, but you’ll often stop to think about whether what you’re doing is right, and even whether Kyrat needs saving at all.

The story will even take you out of Kyrat at points, into the Himilayas and it also explores the history of the region and the protagonist’s family rather well. Unfortunately, Ajay himself isn’t much of a character, not quite living up to his esteemed lineage (neither in terms of personality nor actions) and ultimately feeling like a pawn in this battle rather than an important commander. He’s far better than Far Cry 3’s Jason Brody, at least – but that wouldn’t take much.

FarCry4-Inter-IL3

Ajay can of course upgrade many of his abilities, with two skill trees – tiger and elephant – available. You’ll be able to get most of these, unlocking them by completing objectives and then spending skill points which you’ll get by collecting XP. There’s also a new karma system, which ties into the random events in Kyrat as well as other good deeds. This system is superfluous, not really adding much to the title other than another form of measuring your actions.

On PS4 at least, the game looks superb. The foliage in particular, as well as the fur on some of the animals, is quite impressive, and it’s perhaps one of the best looking game’s we’ve seen on this scale yet, with its only real contender being the new versions of GTA V. There’s also a good use of music in places where it might not quite make sense but works in terms of the game, and all of the sounds are pretty much spot on otherwise.

Unfortunately, it does suffer from some visual glitches at times (as well as AI bugs, which makes it worse) as well as noticeable texture pop-in while travelling at high speed. While making your way around the world on four wheels has improved with the addition of autodrive, allowing it to route you via main roads to your objective to focus on shooting, the controls can be awkward sometimes (though thankfully can be changed altered within the options) with too much focus on using the sticks rather than something more comfortable.

Far Cry 4’s open world isn’t the only draw of the game, though, starting with the competitive multiplayer. This comes in the form of a prequel to the main story and sees an asymmetrical battle between the Golden Path with their vehicles and automatic weapons, and Pagan Min’s forces using elephants, arrows, and more stealthy gameplay. It’s clear why Pagan is the ruler of Kyrat, isn’t it? With those tactics, you’re bound to win.

At least, that’s how it feels most of the time; the sides may be balanced but I certainly played better with the stealthier option. This portion of the game does have many traits from the story mode, with wingsuits, vehicles, and even large areas. These can feel a bit too big for 5v5, and this really brings the multiplayer down, though it isn’t really anything special compared to other games available already.

Better than the disappointing multiplayer is the map editor, allowing you to create your own hunting missions, kill-them-all battles, or even outposts to tactically capture. You can then share these maps with players worldwide, with rating systems and filters in place to find what you want if you’re just into playing. It’s actually really quite deep but very intuitive, echoing Far Cry 2’s own editor and even Tony Hawk games of yore. I was able to create a decent outpost in about twenty minutes, complete with AI controls allowing characters to sit down or patrol accordingly.

What’s Good:

  • A wonderful open world playground to explore alone or co-operatively.
  • Pagan Min is a superb villain in an enjoyable story.
  • Verticality of the world changes the gameplay for the better.
  • Visuals are often sublime.
  • Tons to do and collect, with a map editor to add more longevity.

What’s Bad:

  • Some glitches and pop-in, as well as poor checkpointing and difficulty spikes.
  • Multiplayer isn’t anything special.
  • It’s a little bit too familiar for Far Cry 3 players.

Although Far Cry 4 has learned a lot from its predecessor, it hasn’t quite evolved those mechanics enough in some places. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though: those systems are just as brilliant as they have always been and the world of Kyrat only accentuates the fun to be found in these activities, providing a more vertical world for you to play in.

The story isn’t always fantastic, but when it hits the mark (read: when Pagan Min shows up), it can be absolutely wonderful. In this game, there’s tons to do, and you’ll really enjoy doing all of it, particularly if you’re riding an elephant as you go.

Score: 8/10

Version tested: PS4

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19 Comments
  1. Jag
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    I’m having a blast with it so far but, in the early stages at least, it feels too much like I’m playing Far Cry 3 as I’m doing the exact same things again.
    I love the new location and the graphics but I hope it does more to differentiate itself later in the game (and I hate the bloody eagles!)
    Still Far Cry 3 was brilliant all the way through so more of the same isn’t a bad thing at all.

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:11.
    • kjkg
      Member
      Since: Apr 2010

      The eagles suck but it’s quite funny, everytime I hear one above I automatically start running and get a real fear. So although they annoy the hell out of me, the game developers have succeeded in what they are attempting!!

      Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:43.
  2. Youles
    Member
    Since: Feb 2011

    Quite happy with the “What’s Bad” (apart from the first one – which can hopefully be improved with patches), since I quite enjoyed the MP when I tried it last night and I didn’t playthrough Far Cry 3. Multiplayer would be even better if you could get a team of 5 friends together.

    I agree about Pagan Min’s forces being (or at least seeming) better/overpowered in multiplayer, it was the speed in which they were able to cover ground that made them so good in the games I had – I’m not sure if there’s an equivalent power-up to their speed-boost thingy?! In capture the flag they could always catch up to you with ease, or get back to you quickly after spawning. It’s almost a necessity to have a vehicle when playing as the other faction. I do like how the “radar” (bell tower) system works – it can create small battles of it’s own.

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:12.
  3. kjkg
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    I am enjoying it so far but in many ways it’s more Far Cry 3.5. I am enjoying it but they definitely have gone down the “if it’s not broken” route.

    The land is much bigger and the mountaineering parts are actually really good. Especially when it saves you having to wander about to find a path up a cliff. The only downside is there seems to be no end of missions and it becomes a bit daunting. Every compound unlocks about 3 and some of these are repeatable so they never leave your map. Although, pretty sure you can choose to hide them.

    I’ve actually got used to the driving but every so often forget, hit R2 to accelerate and then shoot a random through the window.

    Overall, have to agree with your 8/10. I think someone that hasn’t played 3 might be more inclined to give it a 9 (I’m looking at you, Youles!). Overall, a very enjoyable game.

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:29.
    • Youles
      Member
      Since: Feb 2011

      Damnit, can’t wait until 19:00 when I’m home and the kids are in bed – want to get cracking with the campaign! How long would you say it takes to unlock co-op mate?

      I did the same with R2 in multiplayer, it’s just natural to press it for acceleration! :)

      Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:33.
      • kjkg
        Member
        Since: Apr 2010

        Really hard to say because I messed about a bit. Maybe 2.5 hours?

        Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:44.
      • Youles
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        Oh ok thanks, should be fine – I’ll stick to the story for sure, as it would be cool to do some co-op tomorrow evening. ;)

        Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:48.
      • Stefan L
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        I only had to play for about 90 mins tops to unlock the co-op. I didn’t go wandering though, because I was doing it in order to join Blair for the stream, but it’s not that big an effort.

        Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 14:42.
      • Youles
        Member
        Since: Feb 2011

        Cheers Tef – I should be okay, might be able to do that and still have time for some wandering

        Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 14:47.
  4. Lyts1985
    Member
    Since: Jan 2009

    Damn, I can’t wait to play this, but I’ve been banned from buying any more games now before Xmas :-( this had better turn up on Xmas day or I won’t be impressed knowing I could’ve bought it sooner!

    I loved Far Cry 3 and was a bit gutted when I actually got the platinum, so more of the same doesn’t bother me too much :-)

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:36.
  5. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    Only played FC3 recently so I’m happy to wait to get this. Also, I’ll probably let it coincide with a friend wanting to play co-op in it which is a huge reason for me to get the game in the first place.

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 13:45.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      I will throw one of those coop keys at you when you eventually get a PS4.

      Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 14:43.
      • bunimomike
        Member
        Since: Jul 2009

        Pauper that I am. :-)

        Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 15:23.
      • kjkg
        Member
        Since: Apr 2010

        Does the Key mean they have to play with the person that gave you the key or can anyone use it?

        If it’s anyone, I can give out quite a few keys to people I am sure.

        Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 15:27.
      • Stefan L
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        Seems to be that it’s only to the person that gave it to you. I’m trying to find out though trial and error, but the coop buddy has to download quite literally the entire game in order to really do anything with it.

        Comment posted on 21/11/2014 at 00:38.
  6. tactical20
    Member
    Since: May 2010

    Sounds good. My copy is waiting for me to finish AC Unity first though. Speaking of which, was there a TSA review?

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 15:17.
    • Blair Inglis
      hisnameisblair
      Since: May 2009

      It’s coming very soon, we didn’t receive review code before or on release.

      Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 17:59.
  7. boeboe
    Member
    Since: Feb 2013

    Bow your head in shame for that obscene strap line. : )

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 15:29.
  8. Andrewww
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Will definitely get this at some point. Loved 2 and 3 of the series. But, the last time I bought a Far Cry game, it came out on Plus later on.
    But, as Sony decided to develop Plus into the realm of cheap retro pixel stuff only, it doesn’t look that’s a risk anymore. Will get it, when the price came down a little.

    Comment posted on 20/11/2014 at 18:15.