• Review- Far Cry 4

    Single Issue XXIX (Written by Gen. Chris)

    Far Cry 4 (2014)

    Far Cry 4
    Ajay Ghale has returned to his homeland of Kyrat to fulfill his motherís dying wish...To be buried at the shrine of Lakshmana. However when he arrives in the country he is intercepted by Pagan Min, despot of Kyrat and a former friend of your motherís. Escaping from his compound with the aid of the resistance members of the Golden Path, Ajay discovers that his father founded the resistance movement, and decides that it is his destiny to help the Golden Path bring down Pagan Min and free Kyrat.

    Far Cry 4 is an open world first person shooter, taking place in the mountains and valleys of the fictional country of Kyrat. Within the game there are many promising features that come to mind. The country of Kyrat is indeed an astoundingly pretty setting for the game that has been lovingly detailed by Ubisoft with gameplay, story, and side activities fully in mind to bring an inspiring and deadly setting. Kyrat is a large country, with the whole region being about a dozen square miles or more. Within this large world the I found the environment to be rich and lush, filled with many interesting locations, collectibles, and various plants and animals that the player utilizes in his quest to free his countrymen and the nation as a whole from the despotic Pagan Min. Every location is unique, and really helps to bring the world to life. I especially love how every region of the world has unique places to uncover and secrets to find, as well as many different animals that are either harmless or incredibly deadly to Ajay. Despite playing it on the PS3 initially, the world is quite pretty, though it does show its age at times.On the PS4 it looks much better, however there are still some graphical issues, the only notable one being the presence of a fair amount of pop in at distances, especially when moving quickly in vehicles such as the gyrocopter. However, with the magnificent size of the world of Kyrat, I find it to be somewhat okay for there to be some graphical issues, even on the PS4.

    Unlike the previous character, Jason Brody, Ajay Ghale is himself a soldier and therefore is very skilled already in the ways of combat. This is much more realistic than in the previous game, which I consider to be a bonus to the gameplay itself as it makes more sense than what happens in Far Cry 3. However, there is still many skills for him to learn throughout the game. . These skills as well as the the upgrades in weapons, weapon modifications, as well as upgrading/crafting equipment through hunting is one of the best features of Far Cry 4, as it feels natural for the player, through Ajay, to need to improve himself to become the savior of Kyrat and carry on the legacy of his parents who founded the resistance movement. The main flaw that comes with this, like in Far Cry 3, is that naturally players who are familiar with FPS mechanics may not really need to upgrade that much and may skip it, depriving themselves of a useful mechanic. Many of the upgrades are not necessary for the gameplay, fortunately, so players can focus on the necessary ones throughout the course of the main campaign and not spend so much time grinding to better themselves. Unlike my playthrough of the previous game, I DID spend a lot of time grinding to get many of my skills up, and while it caused my game to go on much longer, I found myself much more comfortable with the combat and other things this time around.

    Combat is of course the centerpiece of the gameplay as the game is an FPS shooter. Ajay has many weapons available to him.The combat mechanics themselves are fairly straight forward as it is an FPS, but along with up to four main weapons Ajay can use mines, grenades, and other side weapons to assist him in freeing Kyrat. All of these weapons can be found, purchased, or given for free upon completion of certain side activities. Returning to the game is the most overpowered weapon in the game; the bow, and this time also a small crossbow. With these returns the issue present in the previous game; how overpowered these bow weapons are. Carrying up to fifty of each arrow type plus the special arrows, Ajay is very overpowered. With the ability to collect the ammo after it was used and their silent capabilities help stealth and accomplishing tasks with such ease that it feels like it is almost cheating. Witha small amount of practice it would not be difficult at all to finish almost the entire game with only the bow or crossbow, which should not be how the game should really be played. However, that is really up to the player to decide. It is simply a bit much that a bow and arrow is good enough to take on a veritable army of men armed with assault rifles, grenades, and other high-end weapons. It is disappointing that this relative flaw returns from Far Cry 3, but it is still a fun mechanic.

    Other positive features of the game include the sense of exploration that comes with having an entire country at your disposal. There are many things to collect and do in the Kyrat, much like the previous location of the Rook Islands of Far Cry 3. Like before, there are outposts (formerly strongholds) and radio towers that can be captured in order to be used by Ajay throughout the game. Outposts, like strongholds before, become spawn points, fast travels, and safehouses where weapons can be purchased and equipped once captured by the player. while radio towers, once climbed, reveal significant parts of the map, aiding the player in navigation and completing objectives. There are also several forts throughout the game that, once liberated, give the player several advantages. Much of this gameplay mechanic is very repetitive, however each outpost and radio tower do offer something different, as the outposts have different set ups while the towers must be climbed in different ways. So while repetitive, Ubisoft did at least try to mix it up with each one. But Ubisoft did make the mistake of allowing the gyrocopter to be used in clearing radio towers; the ability to fly to and land on almost all the radio towers simplifies this mechanic and reduces the challenge. It is disappointing, but it entirely reliant on player choices to do it this way.

    Another interesting feature is the hunting and crafting, already mentioned above. Like before, Kyrat has many native animals, and Ajay can hunt them to use their skins to upgrade his capabilities, such as number of weapons that he can carry, ammunition limits, and more. Each subsequent upgrade takes a different animal hide, so variety in hunting is required. In addition to this, the side activities from the Kyrat Fashion Week provide Ajay with a final test for fully upgrading each thin by hunting special animals that have their own challenges associated with them. Ajay can also cut down many different plants scattered throughout Kyrat to make different drug cocktails to help in several different areas of gameplay mechanics, the most prominent one being a health syringe to heal him while in combat, which can of course be upgraded.

    Not much has changed from Far Cry 3 in terms of collectibles. The collectibles range from lost letters about the history of the Golden Path and other things, relics, and loot chests to give Ajay extra cash for the gameplay. The economy system, like before, is adequate for the the gameplay, if a bit too simple. However it is necessary as there are many things that must be bought and sold throughout the game, and while money is somewhat tight initially since ammunition is expensive, it becomes much easier throughout the game. In fact near the end it is pretty much impossible to spend enough unless you wish to acquire every single item, including the expensive (but unnecessary) signature weapons. In addition, moving throughout the world is simple enough, and you can take several vehicles or move with your own feet in order to accomplish your travels. Like before, driving in first person, can take a bit of practice, but it does not take long to become an accomplished driver.. And with the large variety of underground structures and other locations in the game, exploring is fun as well as rewarding. There are also numerous side quests that can be done, such as hunting challenges, that can give Ajay Ghale an edge as well over his enemies as well as other things to do. Many of these side activities involve liberating people from the soldiers of Pagan Min or otherwise helping them. The most interesting activities come from liberated outposts, with each one providing separate challenges and rewards.

    The soundtrack and the voice acting are also quite good, with a stellar performance provided by the voice actor of Pagan Min in the form of Troy Baker. The rest of the cast does a good job, but Baker is magnificent as the tyrant of Kyrat. Min himself is a very interesting and cunning villain, and that personality is only aided by Bakerís performance in the role. The soundtrack itself is quite beautiful, especially the main theme, which is rather haunting. The story itself is also quite good (though not as good as Far Cry 3 in my opinion), and is further aided by the ability to ďchooseĒ the future of Kyrat by aiding one of the two different leaders of the Golden Path, though ultimately Ajay has the ability to ignore each of them in helping Kyrat achieve its freedom.

    There are only a few negatives worth mentioning. While I do enjoy the mechanics, much of the gameplay is simply a retread of the previous game. While those mechanics worked, I wish that Ubisoft had taken a few more risks with the story and mechanics and delivered something a little more fresh. The already mentioned pop in and texture issues can be distracting to the player during certain sequences, but ultimately have no huge impact on the course of the gameplay. There are also some performance issues with loading new areas in the form of lag but the instances are somewhat few and do not last overly long. Glitches are also fairly common but usually they do not actually affect the game play. Like before, combat in Far Cry 4 can be frustrating at times as it is easy to overlook some enemies in the heat of battle and have them flank you, leading to complicated situations. This is especially true of a new enemy class, the hunters. Silent, invisible on the minimap, and can fire arrows quickly, the hunters are nearly universally hated by players of the game, and that includes me. An example of this is an early mission where you are attacked entirely by hunters; it is by far one of the most challenging missions, and that includes the last mission where you take on dozens of enemies. There are also several missions that deal with supernatural elements, one of which you cannot fight back, that I personally do not like. Of course this all does increase the difficulty, but it can be a turnoff to many players, including myself. The same can be said from hunting, as the predatory animals can often be heard but not seen, leading to surprise encounters that could end up costing the player dearly. Far Cry 4 can also feel a bit repetitive at times during several missions and other activities, and the need to climb the radio towers to be able to see the entire map can also be frustrating, as without the full map it can be difficult to plan adequate routes. Finally, though the sense of choice in certain missions and who ends up being the leader of the Golden Path is cool, though ultimately it is meaningless, which is frustrating. None of these issues are game-breaking to me, but they nonetheless can be quite frustrating to me as a player.

    Like Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4 is simply a purely fun game. The sense of adventure in Kyrat as well as Ajayís journey are fun for me as a player. The story, the gameplay, the mechanics, and everything together combine to once again create a wonderful experience for me. The game is simply my type of game, and perhaps in that regard I am biased. There are some hiccups, certainly, but few games ever lack those. The worst part of the game is that Ubisoft did not take risks by changing things around, and in the end it is not much different from the previous game. However, it is a winning formula in my mind, so in some ways I donít fault Ubisoft for wanting to take many risks. Overall though, this fourth main entry into the franchise comes together quite nicely, with the world offering plenty for me to do, plenty to see, and an overall good experience. Far Cry 4 is a solid game in the end, and while I did not like it as much as the previous entry, it is nonetheless a fun game to play.

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Alwyn's Avatar
      Alwyn -
      This does sound like a beautiful game-world and an enjoyable adventure. Despite the modern setting, some of its aspects remind me of Skyrim - an attractive world with many unique places to discover, using a bow (it's a shame that bows are overpowered), acquiring weapons in safe places for the next mission, hunting and crafting using animal hides and even using plants to make drug cocktails/potions. Of course, many other games use similar mechanics, so I shouldn't over-emphasise these similarities. Even so, it makes me wonder if there is a convergence going on between RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls games and first-person shooters such as the Far Cry series (unless Far Cry games have always had these features.)
    1. TheDarkKnight's Avatar
      TheDarkKnight -
      I have yet to play SKyrim. But with how many times it is being released, i'm bound to run into it accidentally eventually

      I'm curious how they will continue the "mystical" side of these games in the next one, which is kind of part of the RPG aspect. Far Cry Primal made sense given its ancient setting but the next one is in America. I suppose maybe using Native American folklore if they go down that path.
    1. Gigantus's Avatar
      Gigantus -
      I am a big fan of the Far Cry series, but then I am a sucker for open world games anyhow - right now I am (unsurprisingly) hopelessly enthralled by Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon - Wildlands.
      Primal was fun as well, but the mystic stuff was 'trying' at times, same as in #4 - otherwise hours of entertainment if you go for all the side quests. For some reason or the other it took me quite a while to realize that you could use the gyro copter to land on the towers...
    1. Flinn's Avatar
      Flinn -
      Like Gig, I'm too a big fan of Far Cry, since the very first one, sadly I don't have that much time anymore to play that huge games; however, great review and the game looks to be amazing, a must try for those who have time
    1. TheDarkKnight's Avatar
      TheDarkKnight -
      I too am a sucker for open world games. Ubisoft is pretty good at creating engaging ones so you can imagine that they are one of my favorite companies, regardless of how other people view them.