The Far Cry franchise has always teetered on the bizarre and beautiful but with a brand new platform to stretch-out on, and an incredibly popular third-installment behind it, the series has never come together quite as well as it has for Far Cry 4.
Instead of being trapped on a remote archipelago, this new game has players the visiting the Himalayas, carrying the ashes of a family member to their final resting place. Chaos continues to be a main theme in the game, and even well-planned excursions to a distant mission point often times lead you into ferocious run-ins with the natives (both human and animal). The scenery is so wonderfully tempting in the distance that you might just venture off course to explore it, only to pick-up and check-off a few extra missions before you have to remind yourself what you were trying to do in the first place.
There’s more to do in Far Cry 4, and more ways to do it, then any of the previous installments. Although missions are just a quick helicopter ride away, or an elephant ride away if that suits you, the world is so massive and dense at points that you could spend hours playing the game and never reach any of the quests that you had outlined for yourself to do.
I say the map is expansive but it’s also vertical, you are in one of the most picturesque and mountainous regions our planet has to offer, and each subtle change in location offers new challenges and different wildlife to deal with. With the exception of a few tweaks, the gameplay hasn’t changed much from Far Cry 3, and really it shouldn’t have had too. The third installment only released two-years ago, and the mechanics of first-person shooting really haven’t grown by any leaps and bounds in that time. The game made the best out of what has been updated in those two years, graphics and support-mechanics, and creating a tighter story. You won’t find an incredibly new Far Cry experience with this game, but it’s worthy of the franchise title and I think Ubisoft recreated all of the signature events that fans have come to expect in the series.
The long-standing tradition of being a fish-out-water in a dangerous and remote land ruled by a tyrannical psychopath still remains in this game. You will still turn from ordinary young-man into a wild and heroic killing machine with the helps of upgrades, stim-packs and unlockable traits, and yes you will find more weapons lying around than in the aftermath of a hurricane at a gun-show.
The game also allows you to play at your own speed (until the fighting starts) and allows you to slowly and carefully attack your enemies with stealth, or disperse them in a fireball of bullets, gasoline and napalm. The tiny tricks are still in play as well, unlocking tiger cages to turn the tides against an encampment, silencing alarms or quietly stabbing your foes as not to awake his sleeping friends, but the new locals and settings make each attempt a little different than the last game. Crafting returns to the game as well, skinning animals for new holsters and larger backpacks. Not much has changed here as well, just new animals to hunt and new weapons to forage for.
There is also the secretive game that I feel most of us play outside of the story-line, the one where you just go off exploring, hunting any large animal that you happen upon, looking for the tiniest nooks to find secretive locations and gear. This is where the Himalayas offer a bit more longevity that the previous island in Far Cry 3 offered. There’s simply more places to find, more mountains to scale, ledges to jump from, secret tunnels to uncover. The game offers more to do, even when you feel like doing anything at all.
I think Far Cry fans will find a lot to love about the game, and really nothing outside of possible server errors in multiplayer to complain about. If you are new to series and have thought about jumping in, this would be the best installment to do so.
More information on the expansive collections that the game comes in, as well platform and other finer details can be found at amazon.com