I want to welcome everyone to Kyrat, a truly dangerous place under tyrannical rule, where the cold, falling hazards, and vicious animals are the least likely things to kill someone.

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Krayt is in the Griswold’s top 3 choices for their next vacation.

This mystical mountain land is no place for heroes, and where players will spend as much time looting the bodies of their own soldiers as they will their enemies. Needless to say, I was excited to burn this place down to the ground after a slew of detailed trailers and one of my favorite shooters of 2012—even if it took me until early 2013 to play it. Far Cry 3 is a game I bought off of Steam for just over eight bucks and got about seventy dollars worth of entertainment out of. This article will be part comparison and contrast between the last and most recent iterations of the franchise, as well as a “deep massage” of sorts to show what Far Cry 4 has to offer.

So here I am back in another one of Far Cry’s war-torn locations; seemingly a normal man with no military training turned into a terminator and killing aimlessly, yelling at all of these animals that are attacking me for no reason while I try to get to this random waypoint.

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Dude, do you ever get like Deja Vu?

Far Cry 3 and 4 are incredibly similar in most ways. A new installment needs to have something cool to convince consumers into paying full price for something that is not different or innovative from its last outing. Why fix what is not broken though, especially if the last one left me with such a good impression? This does not mean that changes were not made; they are just hard to pick out.

Each new change in Far Cry 4 is centered on building, exploration, or tweaking side quests from the last game, but among these good ideas are some serious restrictions. One of the big additions was a homestead that the player can use as a central base of operations which can be upgraded to provide the player with free items and transportation. It is not a newer idea, but new to the series, and would have been cool if this element had been expanded on. The Ghale homestead does not take long to fully upgrade and quickly loses its luster. I cannot help but feel there was more here, and a lot of wasted potential left on the table. New vehicles called buzzers add a flying vehicle into the mix, which are especially nice in this new mountainous terrain, but they certainly cannot go everywhere, constantly beeping at the player, signifying that a fiery crash is imminent. I understand why these limitations were set, but these restrictions feel like too much and do not seem to follow much of a realistic mechanic. Buzzers can honestly cause more player problems than help with their ability to rain death from above.

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Dude, do you ever get like Deja…WHOA…major Deja Vu!

The grappling hook may be my new favorite tool in the arsenal of Far Cry 4. It is a simple and necessary mechanic that lends more vertical exploration, but again it is only usable in certain predetermined points for the player. Perhaps I’m asking too much, but I would have preferred more free use; to give a true sense of discovery for the player and allow for more creativity, although I found that it was still enjoyable.

However, the biggest glaring restriction in this game is the message that pops up warning the player about leaving the mission zone. Far Cry is a series that has always felt free and open, and this new leash put on the player is quite choking. In multiple missions, I would attempt to find another way around an obstacle or go just a bit out of the way to avoid patrols, only to be yanked back and slapped on the hand.

The karma level is a new addition as well that could have easily been left out. It doesn’t change much of the game, but instead adds an insane number of mini-events throughout the map to distract and disrupt players as they try to navigate the numerous number of campaign, side, and character specific missions that the game offers. It is a lot, too much in my opinion. A game having a ton of content is good, especially when deciding whether or not to pay full price or wait for it to drop, but there is a line. Too much content, where it takes away from exploration and just trying to get things done in the world proves that too much of a good thing can in fact be bad. It can lead to frustration for the player. Content may be king, but there is a reason everyone is trying to kill you.

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“Hey Bae. Raid is going long so I’ll be home late. XOXOXOXoxOxo =P”

Even more frustrating than the aggressive, hard-to-kill wildlife were the missions. Many of them are simply too similar to things players did in Far Cry 3, but with a lot less explanation of how to accomplish the goal. Many of these missions took me two tries, using the first run just to figure out what the game wanted. I love the game telling me: “Don’t be seen,” just after I was spotted, having no clue that it was important. Some missions were also just done better in FC3, like when the player is sent by Willis to burn the fields and that awesome dubstep song is playing in the background—better showmanship, more energy, and a greater feeling of accomplishment. What the last game did was pack in a lot but still feel simple.

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Far Cry 4’s map is way more cluttered and the crafting/inventory
interface was much more complicated than Far Cry 3.

This is not to say Far Cry 3 is perfect in any way, and FC4 did get some things right. I am going to get killed for saying this, but Pagan Min is a better villain character than Vaas, giving a deeper meaning to his craziness. Both characters are in the games far too little and deserve better; they completely overshadow their lackluster protagonist counterparts. Jason Brody had more personal motivation for becoming a war machine than Ajay Ghale had, just with trying to spread his mother’s ashes, but no one who has made it too far in this campaign was expecting much in the way of good writing. Also, as a very minor spoiler, Far Cry 3 did not handle its boss fights well, but sweet baby Jesus, this time they seem to just cut that idea out for the most part. Not saying that there is not a good ending, but it will be anticlimactic for some.

Far Cry 4 Pagan Min

The campaign is fun in places, but still quite frustrating. I was constantly getting my weapons taken away and being thrown into other worlds where I just walk around—those damn druggies—causing breaks in the flow and more feelings of restriction; along with the horrible forced stealth in a game without good hiding mechanics causes a lot more of the cracks in the system to show.

The game is a bit glitchy as well. I played on the Xbox 360 and had it freeze on me multiple times, even after reading that most of those problems had been fixed. There were invisible enemies that killed me at times, which was not a new mechanic, but just models simply not showing up, and the game randomly switched my weapons on me after dying a couple of times. On top of all of that, the game does not always use the checkpoints in the game, spawning players half a map away when they die. Frustrating.

I want to say I enjoyed Far Cry 4 overall, and I think I did, but other than a few small tweaks—like Outpost Master and the grappling hook—the game has just made me want to go back to Far Cry 3. This does not feel like a new game, but an add-on with an expensive coat of paint trying to fill daddy’s shoes. For anyone who enjoyed FC3 but are hesitant to spend sixty dollars on this game, I would wait. For those who have never played either though, the last one is cheap, much more fun, and waiting for new players.

  • Aaron Alcorn

    You can’t fix a burning helicopter with a wrench? What kind of Far Cry IS this?!

    The cool thing about Far Cry is that each game, while having similar mechanics and theme, is a wholly individual game. Based on how you describe Far Cry 4, I worry that Ubisoft has put a halt to the uniqueness in future installments and gone the way of Call of Duty and Madden. I was waiting on a price drop, now I’ll probably wait a little longer.

  • My only exposure to Far Cry was the original xbox port. So I’ve not been a fan. I plan on buying FC2 very soon though to give the series another go. I’ve found that the complaint between Bioshock 1 & 2 being too similar didn’t sway my enjoyment so I’m hoping that might be the case. Plus it’s going to take years before I can even get a current console so maybe a longer time span will be helpful.

  • Bert Hopkins

    Far Cry 4 is prettier, but I think that I liked 3 better. Nice Bionic Commando pic, BTW.

  • Aaron Alcorn

    The xbox port of Far Cry doesn’t count as a Far Cry game xD. Far Cry 1 on the PC is still my favorite. THAT ENDING! Far Cry 2 is a time sink, but a really fun time sink. Far Cry 3 is more straight forward. But they are all big, fun sandbox games (except the console ports of Far Cry 1…seriously don’t play the Wii version).

  • My wife hated FC on xbox. The violence got to her. I bought her the Wii version as a gag gift years later. To this day if she even sees the title she scoffs and starts murmuring with a furrowed brow

  • Stephen Wilds

    FC4 is prettier but FC3 just felt like a better all around game to me. And yes, the man who did these pictures was fantastic. Thanks for reading, Bert.

  • Stephen Wilds

    I prefer FC1 and FC3. FC2 had some fantastic ideas that I just did not get into as much.