Far Cry 3 helped reinvent the first person shooter franchise by infusing a memorable narrative into open world gameplay. It also happened to feature one of the most fearsome villains in a game to date in Vaas Montenegro. Far Cry 4 aims to build upon this foundation while introducing new characters and setting.
Far Cry 4 puts you in the shoes of Ajay Ghale, the son of a Kyrati freedom fighter. A family commitment brings Ajay back to his Himalayan birthplace, and there he gets pulled into a revolution. What should have been a short visit turns into much more as Ajay gets involved with The Golden Path faction in a journey across the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat.
The Golden Path is led by Amita and Sabal, and their goal is to dethrone the evil king of Kyrat, Pagan Min. Their goal is unified, though they have differing philosophies on how to carry out the revolution. Depending on which of the two you choose to lead the rebellion, the direction of the Golden Path will be affected and so will the available missions.
The campaign missions are action-packed and are spread across diverse locations in Kyrat. Details about Ajay’s background and his family history unravel during quests, as does the mysticism and secrets of Kyrat. The large and diverse nature of the game world in Far Cry 4 means there is no shortage of things to do and explore.
As in Far Cry 3, progression in the game is determined through the liberation of outposts. Every outpost taken over expands your influence in Kyrat and the growth of the Golden Path revolution. The open nature of the gameplay means you can either attack outposts head-on with guns blazing, or take a stealthier route by disarming alarms and distracting enemies with baited animals.
The enemy does not take your advances lightly, as they will sometimes move to reclaim territories occupied by you. In situations like these, you have no choice but to rush over and protect the outpost from being taken over by the enemy. The constant threat of a counter-attack by the enemy encourages you to think about which territories to occupy in what order.
Reclaiming enemy territory is rewarded with fast-travel points and access to rewarding side-quests. Capturing and holding onto outposts gets increasingly difficult over time, so there are opportunities to bolster your skillset. Hunting and skinning animals lets you hold more weapons and money, while taking down propaganda posters nets you experience points.
Far Cry 4’s biggest challenge is not how it compares to other first person shooter, but to its well-received predecessor. The story and setting is interesting from the get-go, though the character of Ajay is not as interesting. Despite all of the mayhem that takes place, his personality never really shows or develops during the course of the game.
The Golden Path perspective of the story is engaging, though the Pagan Min piece is not as epic as it could be. Like Vaas in Far Cry 3, Pagan is a twisted and memorable villain. However, he ends up being relocated to the background for most of the single player campaign, robbing the story of a notable bad guy.
The core of the Far Cry 4 experience is the open world gameplay, and the game shines from that perspective. The landscape is completely different from the previous game, and the culture is one rarely shown in other games. There’s plenty to explore in the game as well, ensuring your stay in Kyrat is an extended one.
– Patrick B.