Video Games – Review – Far Cry 4

farcry4_review

Played On: PS4*
Available On: PS4/PS3/XBOX ONE/XBOX 360/PC
Released On: November 18th, 2014
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genres: First-Person Shooter, Action-Adventure, Open World
ESRB: M – Mature
Modes: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Distribution: Disc, Download

*Review copy was bought by the author*

I was personally introduced to the Far Cry franchise by my brother when I saw him play Far Cry 3. I was intrigued right from the beginning being a open-world addict. When they announced Far Cry 4 at E3 this year, I immediately pre-ordered it at my local EB Games. Even the girl at the cash didn’t know it was announced until she looked in her system. There’s some cool new features and some other things, so let’s not wait any longer. Let’s climb that tower and take a look at Far Cry 4.

STORY

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As Ajay Ghale, you go back home to Kyrat to bring your mother’s, Ishwari, ashes to a location by the name of Lakshmana in the North of the country. You’re met by a road block when entering Kyrat and then problems start happening. Forced out of the bus you were previously in, you meet Pagan Min(played by Troy Baker), the King/Dictator of Kyrat. He offers you sanctuary but events happen that will lead you on the Golden Path’s side to help them defeat Min and his acolytes. With the help of Sabal and Amita, you must rebuild your father’s, Mohan Ghale, legacy as the founder of the rebel army.

I find the story quite interesting to say the least. Pagan Min is a well thought out character and really makes the game lots of fun. The power-struggle between Sabal and Amita is a fun twist to the game that puts you on the spot when you have to choose a side on those pivotal missions. It creates tension but also a realization that you must be the one to guide the Golden Path in the right direction, even if it’s the wrong one.

VISUALS

The game looks stunning. Picture FC3 but higher resolutions and graphics. The color pallets are very nice and give a unique look to the game. You do see a difference between the main characters and general AI when it comes to their faces and appearances detailing. The scenery when looking down at Kyrat is breathtaking. The biggest problem when it comes to the visuals is the popping in. This happens a lot when it comes to buildings, foliage and such. I did get the occasional enemy that detached from their planned routes and got stuck in the tree line, leaving them hopeless to my gun fire.

GAMEPLAY: WEAPONS

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In Far Cry 4, you get a wide variety when it comes to weapons. Almost all weapons offer customization options like scopes, silencers, paint and so on. You can purchase weapons at the stores or you can also unlock them when completing missions like Bell Towers. One of my favorite must be the Recurve Bow. At first, it takes some getting used to, but after a while, you can take out teams of enemies without ever looking twice. It gives you that satisfying sound when you land a hit.

Also a favorite of mine is the M-79 grenade launcher. This one can be equipped as a sidearm, note that 1 slot is reserved only for sidearms in your weapon wheel. While driving, this weapon can become your best friend when it comes to clearing out enemy vehicles or surprising someone with a quick “Bang! Surprise!”. I’m also a big fan of snipers, because going in stealth is always a good challenge. The best in my opinion is the ever popular .50 cal sniper rifle.

There’s also another set of weapon scattered across the world of Kyrat. You can find mounted guns and mortars close to roads or in outposts. Mortars are extremely awesome to use and the sound it make when launching tells you it will get the job done right. In the end, pretty much all the guns and hand weapons are well-balanced and are great to use.

GAMEPLAY: TOWERS

Taking over towers is done in the same vein as FC3. You climb up and destroy the beacon/transmission which opens up a new area of the map. This time around, it comes in the format of a bell tower that were decommissioned by Pagan Min and now serve as propaganda transmitters, which broadcast on radios when the tower is not taken over. Once the Bell tower is taken over, it transmits Radio Free Kyrat hosted by Rabi Ray Rana.

I generally enjoy doing these to open up the map. It is repetitive if you look at other Ubisoft games. There was one particular moment that I enjoyed when I got to a location of a tower and saw no guards waiting there. I was surprised but happy at the same time. As soon as I entered the tower, I was greeted by a tiger. I rapidly found the way up and started to taught the tiger by shooting at him, big mistake. The tiger leaped to the platform I was on and almost got me. He chanced me all the way to the top almost. This was a moment I enjoyed the most about the towers. Also, don’t try and land a buzzer on the top of the towers, it won’t let you. It will just make you fall off it and probably die from your injuries.

GAMEPLAY: OUTPOSTS

Taking out outposts resembles, once again, what we saw in Far Cry 3. You go in, take out all enemies without tripping the alarm and claim it for yourself, creating a new save spot in the process. But in FC4, Their is a couple of adjustments to the formula. This time around, when there is multiple alarms and they are activated, each represents a wave of enemies. Here’s an example: If you are able to turn off all the alarms, either by manually turning it off or shooting it, before the first wave ends, you will cancel all remaining waves. If this is not the case, waves will be done after their has been equal amount of waves to alarms. The simplified version of this is 2 alarms, 2 waves of enemies. I enjoyed this new addition because it adds an extra challenge to the outposts takeovers.

This is not the lonesome new feature. Far Cry 4 also includes retaliations which happens when the fortress in that area has not been taken over. When you are close to an outpost you have control of, the game will randomly launch a retaliation to that outpost. Going to help out will give you karma points which help you get unlockables. Now, here is where this little feature lacks, not going to the aid of the outpost has no effect what-so-ever on karma or anything else which seems kinda pointless to includes these event which no repercussions. I would have loved to see something in the line of when they attack and you don’t help, you lose the outpost and have to take it back again. This would have been a simple solution for this little misstep.

In general, Taking outposts is still a favorite of mine in this game. Personally, I try to do them with stealth only using my Recurve Bow. This adds a even greater challenge and gives you more experience points. The best part is when there’s a caged animal and you just open the cage which unleashes hell to the enemies standing close to the beast. In Far Cry 4, you can also use an elephant to charge in and crush all the enemies, which I did a couple of time with great satisfaction.

GAMEPLAY: DRIVING

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Driving in Far Cry 4 comes with a new upgrade, auto-drive. This feature can be activated, when there’s a GPS location marked, by a click of a button and it takes you to your location. You can still temporarily overwrite the controls without turning it off. I usually hold the gas button to make it go faster. On a side note, the default car control is only the left joystick. You press forward to accelerate, backwards to reverse and left/right to navigate. The control is set up that way so you can shoot with your sidearm with more ease. Personally, I switched it to the standard L1 for accelerating and R1 for reversing/braking. Going back to the auto-drive, it has it flaws. For instance, I have auto-drive on and I decided to use my grenade launcher to destroy an enemy car in front of me. I succeeded but immediately the auto-drive crashed right into the pile of ruble. It then went on and kept trying to go through it. Eventually, I just turned it off and drove myself out of this wreck. Auto-drive also weaves a lot back and forth on the road which does get annoying. It will also not work in smaller roads that are usually marked in white on your mini map.

GAMEPLAY: SIDE MISSIONS

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Hunting is back with a bigger attitude. Animals seem more aggressive and, with the additions of many new animals, will get you at the most inconvenient times. Some of the roughest animals to the game in this iteration of the series must be the Honey-badgers, the rhinos and The hawks. You will be caught off-guard by those pesky little badgers and believe me, they will piss you off when in a gang. As its predecessor, you can upgrade your equipment by skinning animals. I feel like upgrading in FC4 is a bit easier than it was in FC3. Still, you can do a lot of it right out of the gate. I was able to get all weapons slots pretty early in the game.

A great new addition to Far Cry is the Shangri-La side-missions. You are basically on a drug trip and traveling to this magical place where you can control animals and you have a pretty sweet looking knife. You have to get rid of all the evil plaguing the land by ringing a giant bell. I really dig these side-missions. I haven’t completed all of them yet but will definitely do so when dropping back in.

There’s a ton of other fun side missions that I wont all go into details because there’s a ton of them, but they do deserve a honorable mention: the arena, convoys, supply truck, hostages, eye-for-an-eye and so much more. They are all very enjoyable and didn’t really dislike one out of the group. I’ll let you discover them for yourself.

GAMEPLAY: CO-OP

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Co-op free roam is a fun new feature to the Far Cry universe and replaces co-op missions. You can invite or join a friend in their campaign. You can due pretty much everything except story missions and do outpost master replays. One thing I really enjoyed was grappling on the buzzer while my friend was driving it. I was attacking enemies while he was flying over them, then he jumped off and I fell to my death.

We completed a couple missions which are extremely fun to plan while stacking the place out. There was lots of frame dropping and lagging during our playthrough which was sometime frustrating.

GAMEPLAY: MAP BROWSER/EDITOR

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This is something special. Tons of games try to give you the option to make your own map, but FC4 does it very nicely and easy. I personally spent about 3 hours making my map(if interested, it can be found under the name Dropping In On Min) and really enjoyed the simplicity of the editor. You can do pretty much whatever you want, adjust terrain, seasons and, you can event set AI action makers. This means when they reach those specified markers, they perform whatever action you setup for them to do like drinking or sitting down.

I also played a lot of player generated content in the map browser and believe me, some people are very talented. I found mine really good but some of them are extremely complex. Map Browser and the Editor offer 4 types of games: Assault, Hunt, Outpost and Extraction. The one I enjoyed the most was probably the Assault maps. These maps make you eliminate all enemies. There’s also a lot of modifiers you can implement in the games like invincible, no wingsuit, infinite ammo and much more. I really enjoyed using this mode and could have made a ton more if I had time to do so.

GAMEPLAY: BATTLE FOR KYRAT

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This online component is a great replacement for what FC3 had last year. In all cases, you play as either the Golden Path or The Rakshasa, Pagan Min’s elite guards. There is 3 different types of games: Outposts, Demon Mask and Propaganda. Outposts is pretty much the same as the campaign. In Demon Mask, you must find a mystical demon mask and bring it to a shrine to be destroyed. And finally, Propaganda’s mission is to either play as the Golden Path and destroy objectives with bombs or play as the Rakshasa and make sure the installations are safe. In all the modes, you can turn on/off a towers signal that will show/hide the enemy.

There is a twist to the multiplayer: The Rakshasa only have a bow for a main weapon, they go invisible when crouching and can call upon animals to help take down enemies. On the other side, the Golden Path have rocket launchers, guns and more. At first, playing as the Rakshasa was frustrating because of its limited abilities, but after a while you get a sense of what you must do with all their allocated weapons.

MUSIC/AUDIO

One of the most remarkable aspects when it comes to the audio is the voice acting of Troy Baker as Pagan Min. Believe me when I tell you that everything thing that Baker touches is gold and he does a great job as our villain. Apart from the main characters, a lot of your standard talking people seem a bit like your stereotypical Indian speaking voice. It’s not bad but does seem a bit odd sometimes.

The general ambient music while performing task such as stealth and combat are well done. It really does the job when it comes to putting you in the mood to perform these tasks. The music is also a nice little touch. When you’re playing in an area where the bell tower is not liberated, you get Pagan Min’s transmissions which play a sort of presidential type army music which is just entertaining to listen to. When the towers are in the Golden Path possession, you get a sort of jungle-esque music which is a nice listen when driving.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Far Cry 4 has everything an open-world addict like me enjoys to do. There’s is enough stuff to keep you busy for a long time with crafting, hunting, propaganda posters and so on. The biggest hiccups come in the graphics with all the big popping. In the end, what I enjoyed the most has got to be the buzzer planes just because it takes the traverse to another level. It just makes it easier to enjoy the landscapes and go to one location to another much easier. I found the story captivating and enjoyable. Personally, I would put this in my top 5 of my favorite games of 2014. If this seems like you type of game, you should definitely give Far Cry 4 go.

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Follow Me-Time Gamer on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube! You can also read Jonathan’s articles at Gambitcon.com

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