Review: Far Cry 4
Not sure whether to buy Far Cry 4? Let this in-depth review help you decide:
You are Ajay Ghale, You’ve travelled to Kyrat to scatter your mother’s ashes as she requested in a lovely note before she met her untimely demise. Unfortunately, Kyrat is in a state of turmoil with warring factions vying for control. On one side stands Pagan Min, a charismatic narcissist with a thing for your late mother. On the other is The Golden Path, an organisation created by your late father, now headed by Sabal and Amita – two leaders with very different ideas on how they want to improve Kyrat.
Sabal wants to keep things how they were, complete with child marriage and all. Amita, however, wants to turn Kyrat into a drug state in order to grow the crumbling economy. During the game you’re given a choice of whom to aid. It’s safe to say I chose Amita as she just made more sense to me. She wanted progress and knew that we had to get our hands dirty. Sabal was a little too sentimental for my liking.
Along your ride through Kyrat, you’ll meet a few more characters. Although none of them are very memorable or interesting, Yogi and Reggie (a couple of stoners) provided me a few laughs, but their presence soon became quite jarring.
The prologue is extremely linear. Although fun, it’s a slow build to get you back into the swing of things. If you’ve played a Ubisoft game before then you already know the formula. There are main missions, a bunch of side missions and towers to climb in order to remove the fog of war on the map. There are no extreme innovations within the game’s prologue, it’s very much a standard FPS tutorial. There’s nothing new gameplay-wise, although the story is fresh and interesting.
After leaving the prologue, I went to the options to try and find out how to craft because no one told me how to, or how to get to the crafting menu. You start off with only one slot to carry weapons, and you have to craft weapon pouches to increase the amount of slots available to you. Having a variety of weapons to adapt to situations is essential in Far Cry, so that is the first thing I went to do.
While in the options menu, I realised that you’re able to reset outposts, and I think that’s such a sick idea. It seems so simple and obvious that I’m almost disappointed in other games that don’t have this feature. I remember after playing Far Cry 3, I cleared all the outposts and at that point there was nothing more to do in the game, and nothing to make me want to go back (until the blood dragon DLC, which was awesome). Plus, because of the added co-op feature (which doesn’t even require your friend to own the game), resetting outposts gives the game loads of replay value.
The auto drive feature is a great addition. I didn’t know that this was going to be a feature of the game; there was no advertisements pushing it and it wasn’t listed as a bullet point on the back of the case, so for me to stumble across this feature it was truly refreshing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this implemented in a game before (I may be wrong), but it’s a great feature to have. It enables you to shoot while in a vehicle without have to focus on not crashing into a tree, or to get a sweet headshot on an enemy driver, sending them tumbling down a mountain into a fiery abyss at the same damn time – Rockstar definitely need to pinch this idea. However, if, by chance, the angry soldiers of the oppressive powers that be are not chasing you, the feature also allows you to cruise leisurely to a waypoint you set on the map whilst merely holding down the R2 button. This makes the traversal of the island much less agonising as driving long distances doesn’t require your full attention, so it doesn’t become monotonous. It’s not perfect though; if you’re sitting on your phone scrolling through Twitter and not paying any attention at all, you may crash into an unfortunate civilian. Also, the feature does not work on certain dirt roads, which limits the way you could abuse the feature, as it still requires you to play the game.
The quick sell feature allows you to sell all the maxi pads and heroin vials you loot along the way quickly and easily with a press of the triangle button. This saves a bunch of time searching through your inventory for all the crap you want to get rid of.
While at a safe house you’re able to change the time on your watch, this enables you to skip to night-time and silently sneak into an outpost under the cover of darkness, however I never really used this feature.
The grappling hook is a great feature, but it is severely limited by the fact that it only worked in predetermined locations. For example, while I was in Shanath, I had to find a way to sneak into the arena backstage, however I could see no clear path to my destination whatsoever. After about half an hour, I finally realised where I had to go, but I couldn’t quite get to the right angle needed to utilise my grappling hook. This problem would have been easily solved if I could’ve used the grappling hook anywhere I pleased, similar to Just Cause 2.
The random events and occurrences were hilarious and interesting. For example, after completing a mission, a radiant quest popped up telling me to go rescue a hostage from one of Pagan Min’s henchmen. As I arrived, I unleashed the full force of hell on a heavy soldier that was holding my fellow man against his will. After releasing a clip into the heavy soldier and being assured of his demise, I approached the poor guy caught up in the middle of all the action and untied him. At that moment he started screaming “Angry dog!” I turned around whilst taking damage from apparently no one and looked down to see a dog biting ferociously at my ankles and two other dogs running towards me ready to rumble. These are the sorts of things that happen only in Far Cry 4.
There’s never a dull moment whilst playing Far Cry 4. There are loads of activities to choose from and random things that happen while travelling from A to B. You’re either shooting people, shooting animals, taking down outposts, taking psychedelic drugs in missions that alter your perspective, or travelling to the other worldly dimension of Shangri La.
Shangri La is a location totally removed from the rest of the open world. You travel there automatically when you collect peace of a Thangka. It seems as though you’re transported to a dream world; your character has a different name and the dialogue is no longer in English. Shangri La is supposed to be paradise, but a bunch of demons have invaded, so you’ve got to fight the demons, and ring giant bells to dispel evil from each area. The first time you travel to Shangri la, you have only your machete, which is not what I expected at all. Luckily, your enemies only have a machete as well, so it’s not unfair. On return visits, you get a bow that slows down time. I assume this upgrades on further returns, however I can’t attest to that because I did not finish Shangri La. It merely didn’t grab me like that. While you’re there, you’re accompanied by a friendly tiger (the only friendly tiger in the game). Don’t try and stroke any of the other cats in the game, it won’t work out well. You can command him to emerge from the shadows (oh yeah, he turns invisible and shit) and maul your demon enemies.
During my playthrough of Far Cry 4, I always felt like I was progressing towards something; there was always something new to unlock and something new to stumble upon. You can also tackle outposts while you’re on a mission, which I found to be very convenient. If a mission sends you to an area, you can get collectibles, swing by the nearest outpost, send the inhabitants to have an impromptu meeting with their maker and carry on with whatever you were told to do.
The missions have great variety. There is no abundance of ‘go there and shoot that’ missions. There seemed to be imagination and creativity behind most of the missions given to you. There are also trippy moments like in Far Cry 3 if you like that stuff .
The difficulty seemed much harder than Far Cry 3. The new class of enemy ‘Hunters’ were especially an annoyance. They can spot you through bushes; they sneak around and use bows. They pretty much act how the player acts if you’re trying to be stealthy, except with the added ability of being able to charm animals, which is basically hypnotising them to do dumb stuff like not eat an outpost full of bad guys after I’ve thrown a huge chunk of deer meat in there to serve as bait. They also introduced fortresses in this game. They are supposed to be suped-up outposts, which they are – don’t get me wrong. The entrance is covered in mines, there are a lot more enemies, and there are helicopters flying around to drop off reinforcements and empty lead into you real quick. The game tried to warn me that the fortresses were too difficult and to wait until I’m further into the story to make it easier for me to handle, so when I naturally ignored that warning, I was disappointed when I completed it without dying once. However, I found that waiting in a corner with cover and shooting everyone as they came into sight was a pretty efficient strategy. It made the fortresses much less challenging, so that may be my fault for outsmarting the game.
Graphics and Sound
The vast landscapes and vibrant colour palette make Kyrat a beautiful place to blow things up in. The PS4 graphics are not mind-blowing, but they’re not terrible either – I think that may be due to the game being released on both current generation and last generation platforms. The sound is spectacular; the guns sound meaty and the background music is very immersing. While using headphones, I felt myself transported to the mystical land of Kyrat, swamped by the calming sounds of wildlife, people, cars and massive explosions.
Far Cry isn’t a perfect game at all. There are a few bugs littered about in the game. At times, animals would walk into walls while I was near them, but I’m not complaining about that because it saved my life on a number of occasions. Almost being torn to shreds by a bear and then watching it smell a wall while you empty a clip into its back is not the worst situation in the world, but it does break the immersion.
Also, at one point in the game, I ceased to see mines in my hand. The model must have not loaded and all I could see was my characters hands awkwardly positioned around where the mine was supposed to be. This made it difficult to place mines effectively, and I don’t know why this happened.
The co-op mode seemed to not work properly. It regularly kicked me out any time I joined a game and kicked other players out when they joined my game. However, I don’t know whether it may have just been the connection of the people I had joined as I didn’t play with any friends.
Another technical issue I found with the game occurred after I had finished a Yogi and Reggie mission. In this type of mission you are usually injected with some sort of psychedelic drug and you go on a trippy adventure. However, towards the end of the mission my sound became muffled and after finishing the mission my sound didn’t revert to its original state, which was quite annoying. I saved and loaded my game again in an attempt to fix the issue and that didn’t work. I had to exit the game fully and start it up again in order to make the sound recover.
There was a sniper mission that was incredibly hard (probably because I am terrible at sniping), but this actually serves as a testament to the element of choice awarded to players. I was tasked to protect a guy while he goes where he needs to go. I was positioned above and relatively far from the action and there was a sniper on the ground in front of me just begging to be used. After failing the section miserably multiple times, I got frustrated and jumped down with my LMG and started mowing down soldiers like overgrown grass. The game allowed me to do that, although the soldiers still came out of predetermined places that were obviously designed for a sniper section, it didn’t force me into a fail state for leaving my position. Although the game itself didn’t adapt, it allowed me to adapt to my preferred play-style.
There was also a stealth-only mission, much to my dismay. Usually the missions allow you to tackle it in any way you want, so being forced to be stealthy was not what I was looking for. At first I was thinking “I hate these kind of missions” but I didn’t fail the mission once (if I did then I’d probably have a different opinion on it). At one point I shot a guy and they told me to hide the body, but I didn’t. Then everyone in the level went bezerk, but I didn’t fail for that so I don’t know if the mission would’ve actually failed me upon being detected because it seemed to adapt to that situation pretty well. It was a good mission because it really made use of the grappling ability. There were many buildings to grapple on; it was a bit like a lightweight Spiderman game (well, with the addition of guns and elephants strapped with C4).
The last mission felt epic. The music kicked in and the action started. It wasn’t especially difficult as I didn’t die once, but it made me realise how crap the AI companions are. You’re given 2 choices at the end; one severely cuts off a vital part of the narrative, whilst the other wraps everything up a little better.
Far Cry 4 was a great game, and you should definitely buy it. You can probably get it for a reduced price now, and there’s an abundance of value and many hours of gameplay. However, if you didn’t like Far Cry 3, then this game probably isn’t for you. It essentially is more of the same at its core, with a few new additions. If you didn’t play Far Cry 3 then, unless you really want co-op, you only have a current gen console, or the prices of these two games are close, I’d suggest buying Far Cry 3 – just to save yourself some money.
I enjoyed my time with it, I wouldn’t mind playing it again, and I’d suggest it to a friend.
Need more convincing? Check out this video:
Have you played Far Cry 4? What did you think? Drop a comment below with your thoughts.