Back in 2012, we gave Ubisoft’s Far Cry 3 Game of the Year, a decision that our panel has not regretted. A great story, with solid gameplay and beautiful graphics but most importantly it was Fun. This year, Ubisoft released Far Cry 4, moving away from the Island setting that was prominent in Far Cry 1 and 3, bringing us to the cold mountains of Kyrat.
Far Cry 4 follows Ajay Ghalie, a native to Kyrat who was brought to America by his mother when he was young. Ajay travels back to Kyrat when as part of his mother’s dying wish to have her ashes scattered in her homeland. Shortly after arriving to Kyrat; Ajay’s bus is attacked by the Royal Army, this introduces us to the civil war and Pagan Min, the egomatic dictator and self-styled King of Kyrat.
After Ajay escapes Pagan Min, he is thrust into a civil war between The Golden Path, a rebel army that his father started, and the Royal army controlled by Pagan Min and his associates. Ajay joins The Golden Path to help them liberate the country and find more about his parents and their relationship with Min.
The story is not as strong as Far Cry 3, which is a bit of a disappointment. In comparison, Far Cry 3 had your character fighting to rescue his friends and turning himself into a warrior from a privileged prep. Ajay appears to know how to fight with every gun and has no quarrel with killing immediately, only staying to scatter his mother’s ashes and help people who feels no attachment to.
Far Cry 4’s missions are primarily based on helping The Golden Path, to do so Ajay needs to select from its two leaders, Sabal, who wants to bring back the old ways of Kyrat where they live off the land, and Anita, who wishes to push Kyrat in a new direction where people get equal rights and better education. This ends up being a game of Head vs Heart, leading to missions changing depending on your choices.
Of course there is plenty to do in Far Cry 4, with outposts, hunting and races making a return. Several new side missions have been added to test your skills including assassination missions, Hostage Rescue, and a survival mode where you are pitted against soldiers and beasts alike. Another addition is the Fortress, which are essentially bigger, more difficult outposts, which can be made easier as your skills increases and as you do missions to take down their leaders.
There are several new gameplay features added as well, including a fixed driving mechanic that plays more like Halo which gives you the ability to use Sidearms to shoot while driving. New vehicles like the Gyrocopter allows you to take to the skies, and an Elephant can be ridden into battle with it’s ability to toss enemies like rag dolls.
Ajay’s upgrades fall under two categories, The Tiger and The Elephant. The Tiger is combat focused, giving you more silent kill options and better abilities, meanwhile the Elephant is a support, giving you more health and Syringe possibilities. It’s much a much more simplified version of Far Cry 3’s upgrade system but feels lacking in comparison.
One of the coolest features is a side mission featuring Shangri-la, these are side stories about the mythical valley that has you fending off demons with a spiritual tiger, a knife and bow and arrows. These levels are gorgeous, difficult and honestly would make for a great spin-off game.
Graphically, is nothing short of amazing, there has been countless times when I used the PS4’s share feature take screenshots of the environments just to post them all over my personal Facebook and Twitter feed. The snow covered mountains, the beautiful animals that I got to hunt down, everything in the game is just so pretty that it’s hard not to admire.
Far Cry 4 delivers another fantastic experience, while we are disappointed that the story is not as good as it’s predecessor, it does delivers the best parts of the previous game with plenty of updates to keep you playing. With the ability to drop-in to co-op or play solo, interesting characters and great gameplay, it’s no wonder why we gave it Game of the Year 2014. Far Cry 4 is the most fun you’ll have in a First Person Shooter for a long while.