Far Cry is a game that emphasizes adventure and freedom, the fourth installment is no exception. You assume the role of Ajay Gale who is returning to his parent’s home country of Kyrat to spread his mother’s ashes. From the moment you enter Kyrat, tensions are high. This is one of Far Cry 4’s most appealing qualities. Nearly every single moment of the game is either tense and gripping, or action packed. Kyrat is a massive playground with an abundance of life and character, and Far Cry 4 is a beautiful game with lots of color and texture. It is also worth mentioning that the game has some fantastic sound design, an aspect that sadly, often goes unnoticed in games. I found myself, several times scaling to the top of a snowy mountain just to listen to the sounds and watch the world below.
Far Cry 4 gives the player a lot of freedom and flexibility. Almost every situation can be handled in a variety of ways. Combat is varied and satisfying. You can go in guns blazing and strapped with explosives, stealth kill your way through while disabling alarms, or open a few cages and toss some bait to let the wildlife of Kyrat tear your enemies apart. You will spend a significant amount of your time traversing through Kyrat and travel is also varied. The game offers several different land vehicles including trucks, ATV’s and hovercrafts. Additionally there is a variety of options for air travel, from your trusty wing suit and hang glider to small gyrocopters that allow for quick and convenient travel through the mountains. Of course there are also fast travel points which can be unlocked by liberating outposts and load times are pleasantly short.
The characters of Far Cry 4 are compelling and interesting, though they mostly only serve to guide the player from quest to quest via cut scenes. The games most interesting character is the game’s antagonist, Pagan Minn. The current King of Kyrat, and voiced by Troy Baker, Pagan is the most important and most interesting character and it is a little disappointing that for the better part of the game he isn’t seen and is only heard over your walkie.
The campaign will have you leading the Golden Path, an army that was once formed by your Father in order to liberate Kyrat. Several times during the campaign you will be asked to make choices which will have different effects on your game and will result in completely different missions for you in the future. This helps you to connect more with the characters and give you a stake in the future of Kyrat. Beyond the main campaign missions, Kyrat has a lot to offer. There are a large variety of side missions which serve as good distractions as well as expand upon the life of Kyrat. From hunting animals, liberating enemy outposts and radio towers to recovering conflict diamonds and experiencing various drug induced hallucinations, there is always something to keep you busy.
Far Cry 4 also offers ways to play with others. The campaign can be played cooperatively with one other friend. The player who joins the game will play as Hurk, a comical companion who enjoys big guns and explosions. Only the player who hosts the game will make campaign progress, but both players can earn experience and weapons. Additionally the game offers competitive multiplayer with a few different game types and a map creator. While these work well, they aren’t nearly as enjoyable as the campaign and lack the liveliness that you experience in the open world.
Far Cry 4 is an excellent game with beautiful landscapes and lots of action. It stays true to the Far Cry formula and is one of the best open world games this year.
*reviewed on XboxOne