Review: Far Cry 4
This week I got to play a game that I had been looking forward to for many months, Far Cry 4. I couldn’t wait to try out all of the new attack tactics I’d heard about and most importantly, ride some elephants. Here are some of the new features that stood out to me while playing.
– In Far Cry 4 we are introduced to a new kind of enemy – the hunter. These guys are master marksmen, they’re difficult to track (as their enemy marker disappears after a short period of time) and they can charm wild animals to attack you. They communicate by misleadingly friendly-sounding whistles and if you’re not careful you can find yourself punctured with multiple flaming arrows very quickly. I had an experience where I was finally in a decent position to shoot them with my sniper. I lined up the shot, held my breath and as I was about to pull the trigger, was attacked by an evil possessed eagle. Fair warning: When you can’t hear them coming and you are looking through the scope of a sniper, they really scare the hell out of you.
– Speaking of animals, some of the other new inhabitants of Kyrat you can look forward to meeting are raging rhinos, gigantic demon fish and some honey badgers that really don’t give a f**k.
– Riding elephants is a blast. They’re super effective against large numbers of soldiers (especially when clearing out an enemy camp) and, as is expected, you can shoot enemies while riding the elephant. The immense satisfaction I felt after picking up an enemy and slamming him against a building is something I’m going to bring up with my therapist.
– BAIT is a brilliant new attack tactic that will help you distract and whittle down your enemies. Throw a piece of meat towards your targets, and this will spawn a dangerous animal like a tiger or bear. While your enemies are panicked and distracted, either wait for the predator to do your dirty work for you, or pick off the soldiers one by one. Either way it’s a lot of fun.
-‘Karma Events’ have also been introduced. If you come across some members of the Golden Path army in need of your assistance and you (successfully) help them, you will receive karma points. This is also the case if you hunt and ‘clean kill’ an animal using a bow or knife, or spin a mani wheel. In doing so you can unlock multiple discounts, map locations and upgrades. (Keep in mind that killing civilians/hostages will make you lose karma).
– You will find helicopters (or buzzers) placed throughout the map. They are ridiculously enjoyable, even though upon my first attempt I flew too high, started crash landing, bailed out, fell and landed next to a tiger. Nailed it.
The second time I flew a buzzer I encountered some Golden Path soldiers in a firefight with the Royal Army. I swooped in from above, shot the 2 enemy soldiers and flew away like a badass bird that doesn’t look at explosions.
– Sherpas now roam around Kyrat which make it far easier for you to sell items, get ammo and buy new weapons without having to find a bell tower or village.
– If you’re in a tight jam, call in reinforcements. You can summon members of the Golden Path army to come to your aid.
– The grappling hook is an awesome addition to the Far Cry world. Grappling between ledges and swinging around like Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider made for a lot of fun, but it also helped with alternative routes to hard-to-reach places and quick exits.
– Another new feature is Autodrive. Your car can now drive itself to your next destination which will allow you to turn around and focus on shooting all of the enemy soldiers hot on your tail. I found that it was not always reliable though, as at one point the AI couldn’t figure out how to get me to my destination and drove me straight into the centre of a group of Royal army soldiers before parking.
– There are little details in the game that I thought made it better. For example, in the opening scene, Pagan Min takes a phone and shows Ajay the text messages. The fact that we can see the text messages in an up to date layout is a small detail that I felt bought a sense of reality to a foreign and chaotic environment.
– The voice acting is definitely dramatic, but thankfully not to the point of becoming a joke. Troy Baker does a great job voicing the flamboyant and devious Pagan Min. His relentlessly sarcastic radio calls to Ajay reminded me of Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2. If you’re a fan of LOST or Quentin Tarantino’s Planet Terror, you’ll recognise the voice of Naveen Andrews who plays Sabal. Additionally actor Emerson Brooks (who also briefly appeared on LOST but has lent his voice to multiple games including the Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty franchises) voiced the character Longinus. Other notable names include veteran voice actor Travis Willingham (who plays Paul De Pleur) and if you think Ajay sounds familiar, it’s because his voice actor James A. Woods also played Keith in Far Cry 3.
What I wasn’t a fan of:
– The fact that I couldn’t skip the cut scenes I had already seen was quite frustrating, especially when some went for between 1 to 2 minutes and I just wanted to get to the gameplay.
– If you are in the middle of a long mission and need to stop playing, FINISH THE MISSION or the game will take you all the way back to the start of it upon the next time you load the game. Not usual, however more frequent save points within long missions would have been amazing.
– Not so much a negative but an observation – Apart from a brief appearance at the start of the game, I am yet to encounter a hive of killer bees. I sincerely hope I find more soon as their potential to cause chaos is huge!
Overall, I think that Ubisoft have done well in taking the fun parts of Far Cry 3 and making them better. Far Cry 4 is chock-full of new features and experiences whilst keeping around the main tropes of Far Cry 3 like climbing and claiming towers, stealth hunting, item crafting and having to make decisions that will affect the rest of your gameplay. Overall I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to play more.