Far Cry 4 Review (PC)

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Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft Montreal

Main Review

Review Context: I played Far Cry 3 in its entirety upon release, I have not played Far Cry or Far Cry 2.
Date of Playthrough: July 2015

PC Specs Game Played on:
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
RAM: 16 GB
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
Resolution: 1920 x 1080, 60Hz

Far Cry 4 is a first person shooter, open world, RPG, set in the stunning Himalayan mountains. It’s in a map filled with hidden caves, dangerous wildlife, fortified outposts, and jaw dropping vistas. With never a lack of things to do, weapons to buy, and new additions to mobility, like the grappling hook, Far Cry 4’s solid shooting and stealth mechanics make it a blast from start to finish. So put your wing suit on because it feels good, and let’s liberate Kyratt from the clutches of Pagan Min.

Far Cry 4 is another prefect sequel, just like Assassin’s Creed: Rogue was for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, taking the same gameplay formula and upgrading it in almost every way without losing the feel of the original. Far Cry 4‘s biggest improvement has to be the wingsuit and the grappling hook. Far Cry 3 had a wingsuit, but it was given to you very late in the game. The map was designed to be traversed by car or on foot, so the land generation tended to be rather simple. There were some mountains you had to find the right side to walk up, or certain cliffs that couldn’t be jumped down safely, but all in all, the land was very smooth and regular. This left very little opportunity to use the wingsuit effectively. In Far Cry 4, the developers wanted a more dynamic locale to play in. The vast mountains and deep valleys of Tibet make for a very interesting environment, with lots and lots of varying altitudes and sheer cliff faces. However, the world still needs to be easily traversed, otherwise it starts to become frustrating trying to get to your objective. Thus the developers gave the player the wingsuit very early on and introduced the grappling hook, which allows the player to scale vertical cliff faces at certain points. This way, the exciting and awe inspiring landscape of the Himalayan mountains was used to full effect. Nothing is better than grappling up a mountain to attack an outpost, then jumping and gliding off the mountain hundreds of feet down towards your next objective. One of the best ways to make your open world game better is to make going from point A to point B fun, and Far Cry 4 succeeds with flying colors. Climbing up the winding and treacherous mountain paths can be almost as dangerous as the wildlife, and just as exciting.

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The map is filled to the brim with hidden loot chests, collectibles, crafting ingredients, and points of interest. No matter where you’re trying to get to, there is always something there to catch your eye. Never having to go far to find something to do helps get rid of downtime, time spent not having fun, and the sheer density of collectibles and points of interest add to the total amount of gameplay, which some gamers use solely to rate a game’s value. The actual main story is only about 15 hours long, but trying to accomplish that without getting sidetracked should be an achievement. With so much money to find, and ways to get EXP, there needs to be stuff to spend it on, otherwise the effort in collecting it becomes wasted. Far Cry 3 had a small problem with its economic system: If you were trying to get as many loot chests as possible you would quickly run out of things to buy. The game would give you more things to buy after you reached certain story milestones, which Far Cry 4 does as well, but there just wasn’t nearly enough to spend it on. Far Cry 4 does a much better job of giving you things to spend your hard earned cash on. With more guns, attachments, maps, upgrades, and even a homebase to improve, you almost have to pick the map clean in order to buy all of it, which is exactly how I like to play the game. However, if you are not the kind of gamer that wants to collect everything, Far Cry 4 like Far Cry 3, has it so that liberating radio towers to reveal the map makes certain weapons free in the shop. If you are tight on money, there are other ways of getting the better weapons you need to progress. So no matter how you play the game, it never feels like you are doing it wrong.

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Far Cry 4”s difficulty progression is also a little more fleshed out than it was in Far Cry 3. There are more story-based milestones, which unlock new and more powerful weapons in the shop, as well as certain special weapons and abilities that are only unlocked after specific requirements are met. Also you can still hunt animals for skins in order to upgrade your max ammo, wallet size, holster size, or syringe case. This creates a good feel of progression as more and more enemies start wearing body armor, and more densely populating their strongholds. In Far Cry 3, once you reached the second island the difficulty spiked. In Far Cry 4, the game feels harder the farther north you go on the map. It doesn’t just shoot up at some point, it’s a gradual increase. This also leads to unlocking new weapons, making it feel more worthwhile. You’ll need much more powerful weapons to hold your own, as well as improving your aim and tactics. Taking the difficulty selector into account, Far Cry 4 has enough challenge for both the casual and hardcore players.

Far Cry 4 has a mission for every gameplay mechanic in the game. From hunting missions to stealth hostage missions, to vehicle races. Far Cry 4 even has new acid trip missions where the player is forcibly injected, at least at first, with a psychedelic drug, and then the player has to accomplish a task while the world constantly changes between vibrant colors while crazy things start happening. Between falling from great heights, and giant statues springing out of the ground, you never know what is going to happen. I can’t say that it sends a good message about drug abuse, but the missions certainly were fun. There are also missions in which the player assumes the role of an ancient warrior with powerful abilities, fighting demons in a religious fantasy that can really boggle the mind. With dozens of different missions and weapons being unlocked only after completing certain ones, there is plenty of reason to take a side trip and race a boat down some rapids.

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As well as just generally improving the online experience, faster load times, and better matchmaking compared to Far Cry 3, the game modes were revamped to revolve around hunters versus soldiers. The hunters get bows, wingsuits, stealth, and syringes, while the soldiers get guns, explosives, and mortars. It’s a fun dynamic that is balanced surprisingly well. Though nowhere near Battlefield 4 sized maps, the maps are larger then standard Call of Duty maps. A big emphasis is placed on positioning, strategy, and teamwork, over straight gun fighting. Relying on teammates to revive each other to shorten respawn time means that a close knit team can be fearsome. There are only four game modes; outpost capturing domination, bomb planting demolition, point scoring king of the hill, and what is essentially capture the flag, but the flag barer gets special powers depending on which flag they are holding. Also added was the ability to summon NPCs and other players during the story mode to come help you. You could summon a group of people to help attack a stronghold in an epic firefight, or call a friend to help defend civilians against a pack of wild animals. No longer just the lone wolf in the jungle, you can even play the entire story mode co-op, with either your friend, or just some random people. I wish other games had that kind of co-op.

Wrapping it all together, it’s an engaging story about the liberation of Kyratt from the intimidating, yet enigmatic, Pagan Min. Among other very interesting characters, Pagan Min is the thought provoking Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3; the icing on the cake that gives the whole experience a meaningful and grandiose feeling. Pagan is so intriguing that the game makes you want to talk to him as much as you want to murder him, creating a true emotional connection that some video game stories fail to elicit entirely.

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Far Cry 4′s controls are tight and clean. With the use of several quick select wheels, not only is everything you might need in the heat of battle one press and swipe away, but this leaves enough buttons available to make sure you have full control in the fight. I can switch weapons, pick a grenade, and use a syringe all in a matter of seconds. I prefer to play FPS games on mouse and keyboard, and had no trouble configuring it to a scheme I like. My only problem is that for some reason you can’t bind the ‘activate wingsuit’ button, because it is permanently tied to the sprint button; which has often lead to me running and jumping to land on and stab to death an enemy, only to find myself plummeting head first into the wall with my wingsuit. Though this tends to only happen when I’m panicking and moving quickly, it does happen. This is a disappointing flaw for otherwise tight controls, as this often results in immediate death.

Far Cry 4 is a rather stunning game: The impressive geography of the Himalayan mountains is brought to life with brilliant clarity, despite me with my current setup only being able to utilize about half of the game’s possible graphical capability. Beautiful plant life, bright colors, and effective rendering distances, combined with breathtaking geography make Far Cry 4 a joy to see, and with NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience software, setup was a breeze. The sound design, however, though not a negative by any means, is rather ordinary. Nothing special or extra, but it gets the job done.

In the end, Far Cry 4 does what it set out to do and then some… It’s a fun and exciting ride from start to finish, with plenty of reasons to come back for more. With replayability being the name of the game these days, Far Cry 4′ s unique multiplayer and co-op capabilities will make sure it is a long time favorite. Far Cry 4 is the one true competitor to the upcoming Fallout 4, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Far Cry franchise in the future.

Similar Games Liked:
Fallout 3 (PC)
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS3)

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