Charging into an enemy base astride an elephant, firing your gun left, right and centre before leaping off, stabbing someone in the neck and claiming it for the Golden Path, the freedom/terrorist movement (depending on where you stand) that you are a part of. There is no denying that moments like this in Far Cry 4 make you feel awesome and that’s not even a campaign mission or the only way you could go about it. Want to sit on the hill opposite and snipe, never even being spotted by those in the base. You can do it. Want to float in on a hang glider raining grenades from above. Yup, they’ve got it. Far Cry 4’s greatest strength comes in moments like this.
I have to say from the outset that I didn’t play Far Cry 3, so while I acknowledge the complaint that this game is pretty much the same, I can’t really comment on it. What I can comment on is how much fun I had playing Far Cry 4. It doesn’t do anything particularly different. It’s a Ubisoft game, so you climb towers in order to reveal the map and the first person combat is alright to good. However, it’s all wrapped up in the gorgeous world of Kyrat, where you are as likely to be killed by a rampaging rhino, as you are a gun wielding dictator.
Which nicely brings us to what makes Far Cry 4 stand out. Because this game is essentially a hunting simulator. Whether you are hunting people or animals, the whole game revolves around the idea of sneaking up and dispatching them efficiently. Now, the stealth isn’t always great. It does that annoying video game thing where if one person spots you, the whole base is suddenly aware of your presence, exactly where you are standing and probably your shoe size. It’s a weakness, but one that doesn’t ruin the game. It’s still perfectly possible to take an enemy base without being spotted and you can’t help but be pretty damn proud when you do.
All of this doesn’t even touch on the main campaign. You play Ajay Ghale, who has returned to the place of his birth to scatter his mothers ashes. There you are dragged into the battle between the Golden Path and Pagan Minn (the swankily dressed man sitting on the cover who caused a bit of a fuss.) The main story missions see you choosing between the two futures of the Golden Path, Amita who wants the country to move forward, selling drugs to make their fortune. Or Sabal, who wants to go back to their roots, embracing religion and tradition. Who you choose to side with, will ultimately become the leader of the Golden Path. Besides the political missions, you also have tasks that see you stumble around the wilderness high on the drugs cooked up by Yogi and Reggie, two guys whose purpose in life seems to be finding even more incredible ways to get high. There is a literally a bit of everything in this game.
Which in many ways is also its biggest problem. When you turn on Far Cry 4 and look at the map you can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed. Besides the main missions, there are what feels like hundreds of side quests. You can go defuse bombs, hunt animals or assassinate members of Pagan Min’s army. All standard video game tropes. However, there are just too many of them. You can’t cross this map without being thrust into some sort of side mission and I can’t imagine how long it would take you to actually complete everything available in this game and I’m never going to try. It’s not often you will hear me complain about their being too much content in a game, but Far Cry 4 might have crossed that bridge.
Despite this issue, Far Cry 4 is still incredibly good fun. It’s the kind of game you find yourself lost in for a few hours, wandering around the beautiful Kyrat just pissing about. While things like the story never really go past the generic, (although it does have a pretty cool ending) it never gets as ridiculous as something like Assassin’s Creed and it also never stops it being fun, which at the end of the day, is probably the most important thing.