Playing the latest iterations of Far Cry video-games is almost like taking a trip through a twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. The latest title, Far Cry 4, continues this trend with a journey to the fictional land of Kyrat.
As the main character arrives back in his homeland with his mother’s ashes, the latest crazed Far Cry villain, Pagan Min, makes a stylish entrance in an effort to make him feel welcome at home. A rather violent meal later with this deranged individual and a messy escape and our protagonist is tasked with freeing the good people of Kyrat from the oppressive regime of Pagan Min.
Surprisingly enough, not much happens for most of the story until progressing just about halfway through. But the fact is that most people will not find themselves playing Far Cry 4 for its riveting storyline. The main reason for getting into Far Cry 4 is derived from the random factor that seems to go hand in hand with the latest Far Cry releases.
The story is moved forward with every campaign mission that the player completes. But what happens whilst completing these missions is what makes it so compelling to continue playing. As with previous titles, it is also possible to set wild life on enemies. In this one, meat harvested from dead animals is even used to lure them to specific places. This creates some hilarious situations after setting a dangerous exotic animal loose on a group of enemies.
On one occasion an elephant was set free from its cage and this brave animal managed to kill a whole camp of enemies on its own. It’s difficult to explain the pleasure that derives from just sitting back and watching the carnage unfold.
Those that want to get their hands dirty can do so easily with an ever increasing arsenal of weapons at their disposal. It’s even possible to recruit other characters to help deal with tougher enemy groups, such as the ones that occupy fortresses held by Pagan’s generals. If you get a kick out of killing virtual characters, then Far Cry 4 is right up your alley. There are enemies scattered all over the land.
As with most modern titles, the developers decided to add sections in the game where it’s necessary to progress without being discovered. These stealth sections are an inconvenience and it’s very fortunate that they are rarely used. The reason for this is that it’s very difficult to adapt to this play style after spending most of the story defeating enemies Rambo style and setting wild animals on them.
Given the size of the map, it is only natural that vehicles, boats and even flying equipment are found all over the land. Driving one of the many vehicles is tricky given how difficult it seems to steer them in the uneven terrain. However, a small helicopter proved very helpful when attempting to complete some of the optional missions that games like Far Cry 4.
Completing the missions set around or near fortresses will then make it possible to gain the possibility to liberate the fortresses. Attempting to do so without levelling up and getting a better understanding on the surrounding land is not recommended. As usual, the character can level up by earning experience and unlock skills from two skill trees – The Elephant skill tree mainly for healing and The Tiger skill tree for mostly new attack skills.
One of the more interesting ideas in Far Cry 4 is the ability to slightly alter the course of the story after completing certain missions. The character is provided with counsel by two characters throughout the course of the story. Anita and Sabal are important members of the resistance and represent two very extreme sides of the conflict between those fed up with Kyrat’s government and its current leader Pagan. Anita comes across as someone who is willing to do anything to gain the power that she perceives is necessary to overthrow the ruthless leader. Sabal on the other hand is more preoccupied with helping the people and is often seen as someone that constantly worries about their suffering.
Despite these very conflicting views, it is clear that deep down, the ultimate goal for both is to free the people of Kyrat. It is down to the player controlled character to side with one of them and go about completing unique missions that reflect the views of the chosen individual. What is fascinating is seeing how these choices pan out over the course of the story and how they affect the way these characters react to the player.
Interestingly enough, Far Cry 4 manages to use its unique setting to showcase a varied cast of characters that stays true to the location. Besides one typical American character that occasionally pops up, the rest of the cast pretty much consists of natives.
The exotic location provides Far Cry 4 with a setting that is almost impossible to not want to explore. As already mentioned, it’s very easy to just set aside the story and explore. There is a lot to see and it feels like it does a superb job of taking advantage of what the current generation of consoles has to offer.
Those who want to play with others can do so by loading the single player save with co-op enabled. Although it is not possible to complete campaign missions with other players, it is still amusing to just go around and make use of the tools offered to cause as much mayhem as possible. There is also a fully fledged multiplayer mode for those who wish to get a bit more competitive. These consists of matches pitting fiver players against 5 other players. It’s also possible to create custom maps and then publish them so others can play them.
Whilst this isn’t exactly as ground breaking as Far Cry 3, it’s still a worthy sequel that is definitely worth experiencing. As mentioned, the story isn’t particularly interesting and only seems to pick up towards the end when the villain finally decides to make another appearance. But what makes Far Cry 4 stand out is the vast playground and the tools given to play with.
We would like to thank the team at Xbox who have kindly provided review code.