You’ve played Uncharted 2, right? You know that bit about two-thirds of the way into the game, where you’re exploring the Himalayas and suddenly Nathan Drake starts noticing that there’s something off about the place, and you have that creeping feeling that you’re being followed?
Far Cry 4’s latest DLC feels exactly like that at the start, except it’s in first person and our hero’s exclamations of “What the hell was that?” and “What could have done this?” are spoiled by the title of the content including the plural of Yeti. It’s needless exposition, and you’d surely think that when “Valley of the Yetis” appears in big yellow writing in front of the character’s face, he’d act a little more clued in.
Instead of leaving, Ajay decides to take over a nearby relay station and make camp in the valley. As night falls, it’s then up to you to defend this relay station from the faction that you liberated it from – the Disciples – who are trying to plant demolition charges and blow it up. Hardly a great start as far as pieces of additional content go then, as it does nothing original or really fun.
This attack sequence is repeated throughout the game, though you’ll be able to upgrade the relay station’s defences by either purchasing various things such as fortifications, traps and even mounted guns, or completing side quests which are found around the map to unlock these for free. It does become a more tactical affair due to this, and if you’re unprepared then you can be overwhelmed easily. It definitely works well for a co-op focus, merging a campaign with a horde mode.
However, on your own the hordes of enemies can be a slog to get though, and it just feels like a way of padding out the content rather than anything remarkable or unique. It also becomes quite repetitive, despite it being quite fun seeing your new defences in action, and with every attack lasting longer than the previous one, you soon hit peak boredom, particularly when the final assault throws more enemies than you can possibly deal with at you.
Between these nightly encounters, you’ll have to complete a series of missions which is where you’ll meet the Yeti itself. These encounters are completely different from the other aspects at first, as you sneak around and generally avoid the powerful and scary foe. Unfortunately, the Yeti effectively becomes a part of the game’s existing wildlife, and leaves much to be desired when you do come face-to-face with one of them.
When your arsenal is a bit more robust, you’ll be able to take the beast on. They’re extremely hard to kill, requiring you to whittle away their health while dancing around in circles and avoiding its attacks, before performing a critical take down move. It’s a bit different from killing a bear, then, and while the design of the creature itself is successful, the execution soon becomes quite dull.
Aside from the abominable snowman featuring, these missions play it rather safe and stick to the usual Far Cry formula, often pulling the same tricks that you’ll find in the main game. It’s hardly a departure from the formula, with the same weapons, items, and skills all rearing their head – it would perhaps be wrong to expect something akin to Blood Dragon but it’s all just a bit too familiar.
It’s a shame, because a more outlandish approach could’ve been much more successful than what we have here. The poor Yeti doesn’t get the story he deserves, even when the last act begins to patch things together and attempts to redeem it somewhat. Ultimately though it’s a mess of ideas patched together from the main game which don’t really work or add anything new to the world of Far Cry.