Far Cry 4…*sigh*…where do I begin? I love you? I hate you? I want to see more of you? I think we should see other people? Dang gurl you lookin’ fine? Dang gurl you lookin’ wreck’d? I just don’t know.
Far Cry 4 chronicles the journey of Ajay Ghale as he ventures to Kyrat to do something with his mom’s ashes and find Lakshmana. Not unlike Jason of Far Cry 3, Ajay is quickly kidnapped and embroiled in warfare against a warlord who seems like he’d be a really cool guy to go have drinks with some time. Seriously, I’d totally be Pagan’s BFF, dude is totes chill and wildly hilarious.
Once again like Far Cry 3, you make a daring escape, someone you don’t know dies and you’re told you should feel bad about that, you and this one guy are all:
And you meet the token mean girl of the game:
Who is basically not African token mean girl from the last game.
Like Far Cry 3, you have to help a group of people that you owe nothing to because why not your dad was a rebel leader or something and then you get a bow that is still awesome but less awesome than it was in Far Cry 3.
You’ll go play the story for about half an hour to an hour because the game hates the idea of you playing with your friends or exploring until it’s good and certain you won’t mess everything up, and all the while you’ll be yelling “SHUT UP I KNOW ALREADY!” because there’s no “I already played Far Cry 3” button.
After you do a series of missions that you won’t remember tomorrow that teach you to tell the shooty end from the clicky end of your gun, you’re free to explore the bottom half of Kyrat as you see fit. GO NUTS! KILL PIGS! KILL SMALL BIRDS! KILL MONKEYS! SHOOT A RHINO! RUN LIKE A SMALL CHILD AWAY FROM THE RHINO! SHOOT A HONEY BADGER! SIT AND THE SHOWER AND WEEP FOR HOURS ON END BECAUSE THAT HONEY BADGER RIPPED OFF YOUR FACE AND USED IT FOR TOILET TISSUE AFTER YOU SHOT IT FIVE TIMES POINT BLANK WITH A BOW AND ARROW AND EMPTIED YOUR PISTOL AMMO INTO IT’S GULLET!!!
Seriously though maybe run the other way when you see a honey badger…
Far Cry 4 is hard to review, because on the one hand it’s Far Cry 3 but now in Nepa– I mean Indi– I mean Burm–I mean Kyrat. You’ve traded your jungles for mountains, and that’s not a bad thing. Kyrat is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Far Cry 3 was darn near perfect save for an awkward divorce between the Billy B-A Jason you play in free roam and the pansy Jason you play in the story as well as two hideously unsatisfying endings.
The problem is, Far Cry 4 could’ve been DLC for Far Cry 3 which makes it great, but Far Cry 4 could’ve been DLC for Far Cry 3 which makes it awful.
If you were worried they would somehow much up the controls, rest assured everything plays and feels as it should. The gameplay is just as tight as Far Cry 3’s; running feels good. Stealth kills feel good. Shooting a rhino in the butt with a bow and arrow feels good. Driving still feels like trying to control a drunk pregnant hippo in labor, but I’ve given up on anything outside of Saints Row, Midnight Club and Need for Speed having driving that feels good. Also pre “what on earth were you thinking” Ridge Racer.
Some interesting new mechanics are a helicopter programmed to murder you if you try to fly high enough to get to the North part of Kyrat before the narrative gives you permission, lotsa boats, a wing suit that the game likes to glitch and make not work (and will literally kill you if you happen to activate it two feet off of the ground without triggering a parachute because programming), and an auto drive which is cool I guess (except it keeps running over civilians and ruining my karma).
Aside from the usual glitches that open world games ship with, falling through the ground, the wing suit thing, etcetera, the game feels just as tight as it always has.
We Didn’t Fix Anything With the Mobility
Ajay, not unlike Jason, was born without knee caps, so don’t expect him to jump more than like a foot off of the ground. And, don’t give me that every man crap cuz apparently Ajay is Army so that’s just dumb. You’ll still trip and fall and break your legs if you go more than a few feet off of the ground because apparently no one taught Ajay how to tuck and roll on impact.
Cars are still awful to drive but necessary because you have to walk a hideous amount even with way points to get to each mission. Hang Gliders still crap out on you pretty frequently, essentially everything that you didn’t like about maneuvering Jason in Far Cry 3 still applies in Far Cry 4…because reasons.
An Exceedingly Interesting Antagonist
Pagan is just, a really cool guy. I mean, he’s super nice, he’s super funny, I’m diggin’ that fifties Joker outfit, he just really seems like someone I’d like to have drinks with and chill.
Like, Pagan is always nice to you. He’s a little batty sure, and I don’t agree with his no religion stances, but I mean as far as sociopaths go he’s alright. Also, he doesn’t give me the impression that he’s always trying to murder-date me like Vas, so, points there too.
From the moment you first meet Pagan he steals the show, and every time he chats with you thereafter not only is he a witty crazy joy, he also makes you question what you’re doing fairly often which is always great in a power struggle narrative.
Pagan is By and Large the Most Likable Person in This Game
Seriously, Sabal or as I call him Kyrati Fabio is an overbearing mood swinging jerk who I always felt like might stab me some day if I choose cheerios over lucky charms (but I mean…only a monster would do that), and Amita is just…a word that I don’t say. So…yeah… I didn’t like either of them.
Hurk is his usual hilarious self, Longinus is just…a mess if not a hilarious one, and I don’t remember anyone else in the game honestly. Oh, right, the stoners are, well, a diversion, and the arena lady is also a diversion. No one has a personality outside of Longinus, Amita, Sabal and Pagan. And, Amita’s personality is “Mean girl/Overly attached girlfriend”, Sabal’s is “Schizophrenic/Overly attached boyfriend”, and Longinus is…a hilarious mess.
Arena girl is token “I don’t want to do this”, Yogi and his companion are the token “White stoner guys”, Hurk is the token “Dumb american with guns”, if you were looking for Pride and Prejudice keep searching.
While Pagan’s charm compelled me to keep playing just to hear him talk again, little more held my attention in the way of narrative.
I won’t elaborate much more here beyond saying I somehow liked Far Cry 3’s awful endings better than this game’s.
Shangri-La Just Doesn’t Even Give a Crap
I cannot in good conscience tell you anything at all about Shangri-La beyond the fact that it makes the entire game worthwhile. Seriously; I would pay $60 just for “The Adventures of Ajay and Spirit Tiger in Shangri-La!”
For super mega serious, do yourself a favor and listen to my words. At some point early on Longinus will send you to the Himalayas to get something for him. You will be in a blizzard. Visibility for yourself and your enemies will be awful. Even if you hate the bow with every fiber of your being DO THIS MISSION WITH THE BOW!
You will feel so freaking ninja.
Tying it All In:
Buy, Rent or Avoid?
Buy. Despite having all the same flaws as Far Cry 3 with the added frustration of a considerably bigger world that takes considerably longer to maneuver through, Far Cry 4 is a great game. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the weak mobility or the narrative that is almost literally Far Cry 3 with a slightly less whiny Jason. I would also be remiss if I didn’t tell you that going ninja in a camp is exceedingly fun. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that you’ll be treading much of the same literary territory that you already tread before. I would also be remiss if I didn’t tell you that you can RIDE A FREAKING ELEPHANT INTO WAR!
Is it Far Cry 3 with prettier graphics on a different continent? Yes. Absolutely yes. But, Far Cry 3 was pretty close to perfect story and mobility aside, so, that’s not altogether a bad thing. Just, know what you’re getting into and play with a friend if you can; the game was infinitely more fun when I played it with TehZebraKing, who has agreed to be a guest on our website for a tag team retrospective on the game.
If you don’t mind buying the Dynasty Warriors Xtreme Legends of Far Cry, give it a shot. If nothing else, Far Cry 4 is completely worth it for moments like Shangri-La, the Himalayas, and those other rare moments that make you just look up and grin.
Look forward to Adlwolf’s review on Assassin’s Creed Rogue tomorrow!