In Far Cry 4, Ubisoft’s latest in the series which pits a normal guy against a raging loony in a Himalayan principality called Kyrat, I like to think of the player as nothing more than a meatsicle. A tasty treat just waiting to be eaten by a bear, a bengal tiger or … a honey badger.
You see, in Far Cry 4 you’ve got to have eyes in the back of your head so you can see the animals coming in for the kill. I lost count how many times I was standing on the top of a grassy knoll when for no reason, I was attacked by a pack of wolves.
Or the time I was minding my own business and a bloody great eagle swooped down and attacked me. Or the time I was standing on the roof of a shack and something with sharp teeth decided it wanted to eat me for lunch. That’s the proof right there: That Far Cry 4 is nothing more than a game where the wild animals are more frightening that dictator Pagan Min’s thugs. As well as tigers and bears, you’ll encounter rhinos, yaks, deer, pigs …
Then there’s the honey badger. What the hell is a honey badger? I can’t say I actually knew what a honey badger was before Far Cry 4. They look so cute until they start biting your face. One thing I know: A few honey badger skins make for a nice weapon holster.
It makes it sound like all there is in Far Cry 4 is animals that want to eat you, and that’s not true. There’s a heck of a lot to do as you fill the boots of Kyrat-born but US raised Ajay Ghale as he tries to get his dead mother’s ashes to her final resting place, and if you’ve played Far Cry 3, you’ll recognise the pattern where the more of the game world you unlock, the more side missions you unlock. Far Cry 4 is like a fancy all-you-can-eat buffet: There are plenty of delights to keep you satisfied for a very, very long time.
I’m going to digress for a minute: my history with Far Cry began when I played the original game on PC, a few years ago. It was a game that would cause your PC to smoke if it wasn’t powerful enough (much like Crysis). Sadly, mine was never as grunty as it should have been.
But back to Far Cry 4 … In terms of open-world games, Number 4 ticks all the right boxes – without really being revolutionary. That said, some of the most serene moments were when I hopped onto a little propellor-driven helicopter and glide across the Himalayan tree tops. You can jump onboard an ATV and blat about the dusty trails, drifting around corners (although I struggled with the controls to start with) You can scale radio towers to destroy the propaganda-spouting machines at the top.
Another great thing was actually using the environment as a means of clearing out enemy outposts. Elephants, wild dogs, bees … In one case, an elephant was being held in a pen. I shot the lock (alerting the guards, of course) but causing the elephant to rampage, trampling the soldiers, leaving me with only one or two to take care of. Once you unlock the ability to ride elephants you get to cause all sorts of chaos.
If you’ve played FC3, you’ll get to grips with FC4 right away, too – it’s not that much different from FC3 (but now have auto-drive on vehicles if you have a side-arm equipped and there’s a co-op mode) but it’s villain Pagan Min that really shines, here. If you thought Vaas in Far Cry 3 was a brilliant bad guy and couldn’t be beaten, well, think again. Pagan Min takes the crown.
I’ve loved exploring Kyrat and as I often do with open-world games I’ll get sidetracked by side missions and ignore the story missions all together (eventually you’ll have to get back to the main missions, though). As I said before, there’s enough content to keep an open-world fan busy for weeks – although that can be a double-edged sword. Often games that have too much to do, too much content, can be overwhelming and players might give up because they just can’t do it all.
Far Cry 4 is a great game that is strengthened by its villain Pagan Min.
Just watch out for those honey badgers. They’re not as cute as they first appear.