Far Cry 4 Review
Far Cry 4 is a lot like that one friend that everyone has; the one that's able to convince you to do some incredibly stupid but fun things even against your better judgement. He's the friend who convinced you that the last minute trip to Vegas on a single tank of gas was a great idea and that you could definitely take that guy in the bar. Far Cry 4 is similarly packed with gorgeous action set pieces and jaw droopingly fun moments, it just lacks an interesting enough story to make you care why you're doing any of it. Still, fans of shooters, adventure games or just plain fun shouldn't miss their flight to Kyrat.
Far Cry 4 follows the story of Ajay Ghale, who returns to his home country of Kyrat to carry out his recently deceased mother's final wishes to spread her ashes at a place called Lakshmana. Ajay's mother was a freedom fighter in the region before she died, a fact that isn't lost on Pagan Minn, the country's eccentric king with a passion for violence. Minn sends his troops to stop Ajay's bus and bring him back to his fortress and Ajay begins to align with a group known as The Golden Path to usurp Minn's reign. It's a pretty basic story, and follows the path of Far Cry 3 pretty well but Ajay is a decidedly one dimensional character compared to Jason Brody of the previous game. Sure, Brody may have been a dude-bro who went from afraid of even holding a gun to rampant killing sprees to quickly, but there was a sense of desperation to his character and his quest for his friends, with Far Cry 4, Ajay just seems like he's doing it because it's what his parents wanted, like, "I guess I'll get involved in this civil war, it's what mom and dad wanted!"
"Karat has no shortage of things to do..."
If you played Far Cry 3 at all, you'll feel right at home with the latest installment as the fourth game in the series doesn't change much. Run, drive, swim and yes, even hang glide around the island, shooting bad guys and interacting with wild life in effort to restore balance to the region. It may be familiar but the good news is that it's still incredibly fun throughout the experience and it somehow all still feels remarkably fresh. Karat has no shortage of things to do, from the main quests to liberating outposts and hunting missions, and they're all a ton of fun to play through. While some mission types have a tendency to repeat themselves (go here, liberate this, free that), there are some really cool action set pieces thrown in later on in the game that are just too good to spoil.
Improvisation is key in Far Cry 4, and unquestionably the game's strongest feature. When I say there's no real way to handle any mission in the game, I mean there's no real way to handle any mission in the game, and you're left to your own imagination, as devious as it may be to get the job done. For instance I was having a tough time getting past one of the first outposts so I kept trying different approaches. I went in guns blazing, tried to sneak in, used bait to lure lethal creatures in to take out my enemies for me, even rigged a truck with C4, released the breaks and let it roll in and triggered the explosion when the guards took a look at it. That's key for Far Cry 4, even when I was continuously failing, I was still having a great time because I wasn't having to repeat the same steps each time I tried, and the open world of Kyrat seems incredible alive and fluid.
It also helps that exploring the island country can lead to some pretty cool discoveries. During my first hour or so of playing the game I started to become worried that Far Cry 4 was too rigid and had abandoned what made the franchise so fun, a fear that was erased so after. Exploration is encouraged and often rewarded in Far Cry 4, by finding things like majestic herds of elephants, vistas with great views and even sunken treasure if you're willing to look for it. Nearly everything you find is something that you can choose to either dick around with, or use to your advantage with the story. Even those majestic elephants to can be used to attack your foes if you agitate them enough. The story in Far Cry 4 may be lackluster, but there's so much to do that doesn't even involve the story that you may not even notice.
"It's truly amazing what mayhem two people can come up..."
Everything that makes Far Cry 4 so inanely fun gets turned up to another level when taking the game online with Co-Op. Now, you're not only taking a gyro-copter across the island, you're taking a gyro-copter across the island with a friend tagging along and lobbing grenades off the back. You're not just trying to stealth your way past an outpost, you're using your friend's sniper fire as a distraction as you try to stealth your way through an outpost. It's truly amazing what mayhem two people can come up with when they're left with no rules and a ton of cool toys at their disposal. The game also features a competitive multiplayer mode pitting the Golden Path against Minn's forces and a map editor but they never felt like they were distinct enough and never captured the fun that the rest of the game did.
With Far Cry 4, Ubisoft may take the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" approach, but there's nothing wrong with that when the end result is this much fun. Far Cry 4 takes everything it's predecessor did right and turns it up another notch, leading to one of the most insanely fun and packed shooters of the year. It's highly unlikely that you'll run out of things to do in your time in Kyrat, especially if you bring a friend with you. The story may not be the most inventive but it never seems to get too much in the way. If you're looking for a fun and seemingly limitless shooter to pick up this holiday and pass the time, you can't go wrong with Far Cry 4.
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