If you were a fan of Far Cry 3’s free roam, hunting and countless side missions, the sequel will be right up your alley. We test a wide array of hardware with this game, and get a good look at how it improves upon its predecessor.
Far Cry 4's protagonist, and your avatar in the game, is Ajay Ghale. He's the offspring of two iconic members of 'The Golden Path’, a rebel group labeled as terrorists by corrupt warlords who govern the land. The Golden Path's chief nemesis is Pagan Min, a man who murdered his way to the top, seizing the throne as a self-styled king of Kyrat (a territory that smacks heavily of Tibetan influence).
As the game begins, you’re forced into a position of opposition against the despotic leader, aligning yourself with the group of natives seeking to free themselves from tyranny. Sound familiar? That's because it's exactly the same basic plot as Far Cry 3. Sure, the details are different. But in many ways, this is more of a reboot than a sequel. Thankfully, that doesn't prevent the game from being wonderful at what it does. If you loved playing Far Cry 3, I can pretty much guarantee you will love Far Cry 4.
The similarities carry some advantages, too. For instance, anyone who played the previous title already knows what to do and how the game’s mechanics work. From travel to hunting to upgrades, vehicles and weapons, it’s all very familiar. Despite this, there's a tangible difference: Far Cry 4 feels more polished. There are a myriad of subtle upgrades that make it the best Far Cry game yet.
Get your bait and gun ready, because you're going hunting. Skinning your catch continues to play a big role in the newest Far Cry installment. Tracking down the various wildlife that inhabits Kyrat can be good fun, and it's also necessary to complete some side missions and craft new, improved gear to help you rise against Pagan Min. The surprise giant bird attacks are irritating beyond belief, though, and I always feel bad when I'm forced to gun down a poor little monkey in order to complete my task. Admittedly, the stylish ammo bag I crafted out of them softened the blow. Two warnings: first, if you’re going rhino hunting, take something bigger than a shotgun, and second, never underestimate a honey badger.
The minds behind Far Cry 4 continue to lampoon the ridiculous tropes that comprise first-person shooters, such as self-healing. I got shot, so let me fix that broken hand with a bandage and I'm good as new. Maybe I'll lever that bullet out of my wrist with a pointed stick. All better now. Ajay should have died halfway through the campaign from an infection in his often-maimed left forearm. Of course, I'm thankful that no matter how badly he was brutalized, there was nothing that 10 seconds of miraculous bandaging and stick-removing couldn't fix. It all was avoidable by stocking up on instant-heal stims, of course. But ain’t nobody got time for that.
Complaining aside, the story feels more engaging than earlier chapters in the series, and this time around you have a lot of opportunities to shape the outcome of the conclusion. The plot is pushed forward via a series of missions, each of which forces you to choose between The Golden Path's constantly disagreeing leadership: Amita (an attractive, strong female figure who values gathering military intelligence in order to achieve goals) or Sabal (a charismatic fellow whose priority is to protect his people without fail). I should avoid going into detail about these two, since it’s up to you to form an opinion based on their points of view. But it's never obvious that there's a right or wrong choice. Both options always seem reasonable and justified from two characters sharing a common end goal. They simply disagree about the best way to get there.
In order to get around Kyrat, you need transportation. Trucks, cars, quads, boats, hang gliders, helicopters, dune buggies and elephants are all fair game.
That’s right. A freaking elephant.
To quote executive producer Dan Hay, “I want to be able to ride an elephant.” And he made it happen. Thank you, sir.
Now let's take a closer look at the game's graphic engine, check out the detail settings and see how it runs on different hardware.