Far Cry 4 Xbox One Review
Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Genre: FPS Players: 1-10 Age Rating: 18+
Other console/handheld formats: PS4, PS3, Xbox 360
Far Cry 3 was widely viewed as a masterpiece, and for very good reason. The game was easily the best one in the series, which built on everything that made the second entry in the series so enjoyable, but got rid of many of the things that had polarised opinion in that game. Any sequels were certainly going to have a lot to live up to.
Far Cry 4 takes place in the fictional Kyrat, a region in the real life South Asian mountain range that is the Himalayas. The region is ruled by the crazed Pagan Min, a tyrant who has banned religion, and a civil war is raging between Min’s army and the Golden Path; a resistance movement. The protagonist meanwhile is the bland Ajay Ghale, who is simply in Kyrat (his homeland) to scatter his mother’s ashes, who, along with his father, was the founder of the Golden Path. If the game had been simply about scattering your mother’s ashes, it really wouldn’t have been much of a game, would it? With that said, Ghale is obviously soon involved in the conflict. The story does its job, and you are even given the odd choice, which will affect how things play out.
With its open green spaces, flags blowing in the wind, dark caves, huge mountains, and its overall visual beauty, Kyrat is a sight to behold, and it certainly delivers yet another wonderful setting for the series. There are also many rewarding things to do in this Nepal-esque land, and, if it grabs you, then Far Cry 4 could potentially have you playing for 30+ hours.
Alongside the 32 main missions, you’ll find lots of distractions, which includes hunting, assassination, delivery, bomb disposal, hostage rescue, racing, as well as other side missions. Some of my favourite side missions were definitely the Shangri-La missions, which take place outside the main environment and are actually set in a more fantastical and mythological world, with its own separate mini storyline. The vibrant gold, red and glowing white colour scheme of this world is a stark contrast from the main environment that the game takes place in. You even get a beautiful white tiger as company, who will kill for you on command as well as by his own free will. If Ubisoft were to make a future Far Cry game based in this world or was to deliver substantial DLC, then I, and I’m sure many others, would be overjoyed by this announcement.
Taking over outposts as well as climbing to the top of towers (revealing more areas and activities on the map) were some of the best side distractions in Far Cry 3, and they both are welcomed in their return in Far Cry 4. In terms of the outposts though, once you have taken over one here, you are given the option to replay it, to perhaps take out the enemies without being spotted. Perfectionists will obviously want to do this for each and every outpost in the game.
Far Cry 3 had a co-op mode, although it was a mode that could be found outside the main campaign. Far Cry 4 ties the online co-op mode into the main campaign of the game, but doesn’t allow players to team up to tackle the main missions. Besides the story missions though, everything else is available for players to do together, which is most welcome. It’s certainly hugely enjoyable to do a variety of things with another player.
If you’d rather play alone though, you can now also call in AI support. This is done through the Guns for Hire tokens. These tokens are gifted to you by earning Karma or can be purchased at trade posts. Karma is aimed in various ways, which includes saving and helping people in their time of need, killing couriers and lieutenants, finding and spinning mani wheels, ripping propaganda posters down, and so on. Karma isn’t only used for calling in support though, as you’ll also receive discounts when you go shopping at trade posts for new weapons and whatnot.
Far Cry 4 does take a lot of things from its predecessor, but this is in no way a bad thing. The excellent gunplay can be still rather challenging when outnumbered, and the stealth is the type that makes you plan and think ahead before rushing in. The crafting and upgrade systems also make their return, meaning you’ll need to go hunting to cull the local wildlife if you’d like to carry more weapons, ammo, health syringes, and so on. There’s also driving to get from Point A to B, but this is the first game in the series to allow you to ride an elephant, which is just as fun and as chaotic as it sounds. Gyrocopters have also been thrown in, which allow you to travel to destinations from the sky.
Far Cry 4 does offer more new things than riding elephants and gyrocopters though. The grappling hook joins the vehicles, hang gliders and wing suit as a way to traverse the mountainous environment. The grappling hook is limited in the way that it can only be attached to certain points in the environment, although it’s still a very welcome addition that also makes a lot of sense. Using the grappling hook to get to rather difficult positions by climbing up and down walls as well as swinging on it is a very satisfying thing.
I already mentioned the co-op options, but Far Cry 4 also has competitive multiplayer modes. There are three modes for up to 10 players, with one team of players controlling Golden Path soldiers who carry guns, while the other group take control of the Rakshasa, who are armed with more primitive bow and arrows, but can also summon in wildlife to assist them. The modes offer little that hasn’t been seen before with the well used capture, control, destruction and protection missions that can be found in dozens of other games, although the multiplayer component is still enjoyable enough for what it is, and it feels like far more than an afterthought. Currently though, the online community is only modestly sized, sadly.
Far Cry 4 is set in a beautiful open world, and has much to see and enjoy. With all the latter said, it’s one of 2014’s gaming highlights. True, the game does take a lot of things from Far Cry 3 but, as it currently stands, that’s not a major issue, and bigger and better in a brand new setting is far from a bad thing.