Far Cry 4 is Ubisoft’s latest instalment in the ‘Far Cry’ franchise. The game is an open world first person shooter set in the fictional and breathtaking land of Kyrat, a country modelled on the Himalayas. The story is based on a young man who is on his way home to scatter his mothers ashes. But luck isn’t on his side as he is instead drawn into a civil war between a despotic ruler and the revolutionaries that fight to take him and his henchmen down. So without further ado, here is our review of Far Cry 4.
You play as Ajay Ghale, a Kyrati-American on his way to scatter his mothers ashes in his homeland of Kyrat. While journeying through these breathtaking lands, you are attacked by a despotic ruler and his minions as the country plunges into civil war, and what’s worse, it turns out your father was once the leader of the rebellion. So no, you’re not leaving Kyrat anytime soon. Although Ajay does have a decent back story with his connection to the rebellion, he is a half baked character. There is nothing interesting to note in Ajay, in fact he’s more of a blank slate and it’s his (or rather the players) actions that count.
The main villain this time is Pagan Min, a Chinese national with a questionable dress sense, who rules over Kyrat with an iron fist. Pagan is a psychopath and an autocrat, two very bad combos and not unlike a certain North Korean leader. He tortures his people and spreads propaganda across the country, prints his mug on currency notes and has even banned candles!. Even though this might seem crazy, keep in mind that the story isn’t all that far from eccentric either. Ajay is in Kyrat to finish one job..except somewhere along those lines he ends up fighting wildlife while trying to take down a crazy ruler and his regime. The bottom line is, don’t get too caught up with Far Cry 4’s story, because there isn’t much to go by.
The civil war in Kyrat is between Min’s regime and a rebel organization called The Golden Path. And although Min is a cruel leader, he does not come across as threatening. In fact, he’s a very memorable character who is hilarious and eccentric with an excellent voice acting performance by Troy Baker. It’s a shame that his role is a little too minimal and his henchmen and quests are not very memorable. We wished he could have seen more of Min or at least he should have had a bigger role to play in the games story. His actions however do help guide the players more towards The Golden Path, a rebellion lead by two of Far Cry’s stronger characters Sabal and Amita. Sabal wants to preserve the countries traditions and cultures while destroying any and all corrupt elements. Amita on the other hand wants to fund the war and demolish the very traditions that Sabal is trying to protect because it is unfair to women. These two are very well crafted and complex grey area characters and are probably the best in the game. The only issue here is that the war isn’t dynamic, Sabal and Amita and the story itself depends on your actions, making the war seem very stagnant. Its only when you show up that it gets going. The story fails to take advantage of the setting of Kyrat.
The map of Kyrat is huge and involves a lot of exploring, enough to make up for the forgettable story and non memorable characters. Campaign missions basically involve aiding The Golden Path in taking down Min and his regime. The missions will let you choose between Sabal or Amita’s modus operandi, but doing so will not drastically affect the stories outcome, just the way certain characters act towards you. Missions involve attacking bell towers which broadcast propaganda, and taking down military outposts, which will then let you purchase goods from them and basically making life hell for Min and his MINions?!. You also get a wide range of weapons and vehicles to choose from as well as side quests which are unlocked by completing these missions. Liberating outposts operates more like a puzzle, requiring you to be calculated and stealthy in your approach. Also when reclaimed, enemy territories become travel-points which is very useful in case you die. But don’t get too comfy. Enemy AI is pretty advanced so they are going to try to reclaim the outposts you took for them.
Other than campaign missions, there are a lot of other quests and ‘karma events’ to complete while exploring Far Cry 4, with quirky side characters to boot. These range from rescue missions to assassinations to searching for hidden treasure. All of these quests are very rewarding, granting xp, equipment, new weapons, skills, and coins. You can also practise your skills by hunting animals whose leather can be used to make better equipment and larger wallets to store all the junk you pick up. All of these missions and side quests rewards players in big ways.
Given that this is an open world game, you will have a lot of opportunities to improvise. Improvising helps but can also turn the tides of battle. Animals for example can be used to your advantage. You can have an elephant rampage and take down your enemies or have Bengal tigers do your bidding by tossing some raw meat in the middle of a camp. Of course, this could back fire and the Bengal tiger may turn to you for its next meal. All of this makes the game very unpredictable and also a lot of fun. This is one of Far Cry 4’s greatest strengths, basically handing the controls over to the player and letting them do whatever the hell they want in a world that is both entertaining and unpredictable. Ride elephants and storm a camp or defeat very ticked off honey badger, there’s no end to what you might encounter in Far Cry 4 and how you choose to deal with it.
This time, Far Cry 4 has added another very unique supernatural element to the game. By gazing into ancient paintings you can enter Shangri-La, a stunning utopia that is plagued by demons. Shangri-La explores Kyrats myths and legends by letting the player relive the life of Kalinag, a hindu warrior. You get to complete a handful of missions inside Shangri-La and you even have a white Bengal tiger to aid you. It’s a great side quest for those of you who want to explore a vastly different map and enemies then the ones found in Kyrat. Of course this does not have anything to do with the main story and sometimes makes no sense, but it’s still entertaining.
Far Cry 4 also has an online co-op mode, which happens in the main campaign instead of any co-op specific missions. This isn’t that great an addition but can be a lot of fun playing with a friend who has your back while you storm into an enemy camp. But the co-op feature needs a stable connection otherwise you get booted out of the campaign and into the main menu, sometimes without the campaign being saved. Far Cry 4 also has a multiplayer mode that pits two teams, namely the Golden Path and Rakshasa. This plays out like the Navi versus the Humans in Avatar. The Golden Path is more aggresive and uses modern weaponary like guns, explosives and vehicles, while the Rakshasa are more mystical, using animals, bows and arrows and other supernatural abilities like invisibility.
There isn’t really much to explain here, the graphics are stunning as seen in the games launch trailer. Kyrat is huge, detailed, and gorgeous. All of Kyrats destinations are beautifully designed, from the lakes, the temples and towns, to the extremely large snow covered mountains you can spend hours climbing. Even the fur on the animals found in the game is realistic and highly detailed. Its hard trying to take a leopard down when you’re busy gawking at how beautiful and real it’s fur looks.
Far Cry 4 takes a lot of time to fully explore. And each vista is amazing to gaze at and take in. Who needs to go to the Himalayas when you have a game that beautifully renders the destination which can be enjoyed from the comfort of your home?. Okay maybe that’s pushing it but what I’m trying to say here is that Far Cry 4 is a good looking game.
Another element to Far Cry 4 is Shangri La, a mythical world that is set in a fantasy realm corrupted by demons. And even though this map is very different from what you’ll find in Kyrat, it is no less stunning. Shangri La, tinted with golden skies and crimson foliage, is a psychedelic and aesthetically beautiful world to explore.
Far Cry 4 utilizes the Dunia Engine 2, which is the updated version of the engine used in Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, so the games graphics may feel very familiar to these previous two instalments. The engine is merely an upgrade but this works out for the better, as it enables developers to use tools and code they are already familiar and fine-tune/optimize the game better. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially since Far Cry 3 was praised for its fast-performing engine and high-fidelity graphics. So what we get with Dunia 2 is a well coded engine with a new layer of polish that renders the world of Kyrat beautifully.
Final Verdict: 8.5/10
Far Cry 4 is a stellar game. The characters may be weak and the story forgettable, but the graphics and the gameplay is really what makes Far Cry 4 a game worth playing. There are a ton of adventures to be had in this open world which will keep players entertained for days. The game is unpredictable yet entertaining and dynamic and the world of Kyrat is visually stunning, steeped in culture and diverse making for a very entertaining and immersive gameplay experience.
- Entertaining unpredictable gameplay
- Amazing graphics, the huge mountains down to the fur on the animals is very detailed and spectacular
- Amazing open world. Huge map with many side quests and missions. Needs tons of exploring.
- Rewarding economy.
- Weak characters
- Story is forgettable