Far Cry 3 was a gem of a game. At the time it could easily have claimed to be one of the most ambitious on consoles to date. Having a well realised open world that was your own personal playground. It had a decent enough story to lead you through and a villain that would stand as fairly memorable.
Far Cry 4 certainly has a big pair of boots to fill, especially moving into the PS4/XB1 era. And truth be told, it is at first glance just more of the same, just with a new setting and a new story.
In Far Cry 2 you were on the African plains (which by the way is still an amazing experience), then the island paradise of Far Cry 3. Fary Cry 4 takes you to the Himalayan mountains with a new villain that has a ton of character.
Pagan Min is evil, he is a mad man, a psycho, yet a very clever manipulative character. He is the the main man of his world, ruling under his own monarchy. You are meant to hate Min, he has all the characteristics of someone you should despise, yet here he is, the one person in the game you want to see have more screen time, as he is naturally unnerving, as you never know when he will snap.
That’s not to say other characters aren’t well portrayed, as even Ajay Ghali, the man you play throughout is well written, his reasoning for being in the mountains makes sense and the air of mystery that links him to the area and to Min himself is delivered rather well across the main story arc.
Min doesn’t get enough screen time, but without him turning up for scripted set-pieces, it is hard to work out how he could. But the team behind Far Cry 4 have thought of that and instead have him in your ear almost constantly, mocking and guiding you as you take on various missions for the Golden Path and progress the story. It works really well as just having his voice cements his position as the clever, manipulative psychopath that he is.
Much like Far Cry 3, you have the main story that you follow, but also many…many side missions that are designed to take you off the beaten path. The usual go here, help these types are included, along with the find this and oh by the way, you can collect all these, then go and hunt these because you’ll need what you kill to help you further down the line.
Mechanics aren’t all that different either, with various vehicles dotted around that each offer you a way to get around faster, or to even just appreciate the views. This time though you can ride elephants, which is bloody cool and even weaponise them should you need or want to. Hunting feels good in Far Cry, it shouldn’t because hunting is bad, but doing it digitally is really fun and know onegets hurt, so it doesn’t matter. Lining up a shot on a wolf, or tiger from a distance with an arrow is very satisfying.
The co-operative play in Far Cry 4 is well done too, as you can have drop in drop out stuff by selecting to play online, or you can send a key to anyone on your friends list and have them join you for a period of time. It is a lovely idea and is something you will find yourself using now and again, whether that be because you need help, or simply because you are acting as a glorified demo for a friend.
There is something about Kyrat that stands out. Because even though it doesn’t immediately scream next gen, the more you play the more you spot little things that just enhance the world. Snow effects are stunning for much of the time and the character models are some of the best in the series. It all adds up to a very impressive visual package.
It is hard to hide from the fact though, that this is more of the same, a retread of previous games in the series, just with improved visuals. Now at this time that isn’t a bad thing, it is still a fantastic experience but at the same time this also feels like this should be it. This formula for Far Cry stops at Far Cry 4 and if Far Cry 5 is revealed in 2015 and is again the same, then fans will get fed up.
It is the Assassin’s Creed effect, playing it safe and not doing anything different leads to frustrations. If this was the end of the series, then it is a perfect time to bow out it does nothing wrong and is a perfectly fine game, visually impressive and a wonderful world to explore and play in, but the end of an era.