My experience of Far Cry started with the second instalment of the series released in 2008. I hadn’t really heard of the series, or of Crytek at all but I decided I would give the game a go. I read some reviews in Playstation magazines, and I liked the idea of the weapons degrading. I love realism. I had read about the new fire system where fires could be started and then manipulated by giving it fuel and it was affected by the wind. However I hated Far Cry 2, it wasn’t fun or realistic in my opinion for example an enemy clad in just a t-shirt would take half a magazine of rounds to kill. The world as well didn’t quite feel like an open-world to me. The effects and mechanics just felt slightly squared and ill fitted. I sold it in the end, and didn’t bother with Far Cry 3.
I was planning on ignoring Far Cry 4 as well, but the lack of PS4 games around when it came out prompted me to give this a go too. What a difference! Far Cry 4 is exceptionally well tailored, everything about it reeks of play testing and it just feels so well thought out. The beauty may well be in the details but the graphics too are at all times impressive without being showy and at certain times they are beautiful. flame and fire effects are pretty cool and also the wake from a RHIB outboard is quite nice, but some things like bullet splashes don’t register after a short distance which could have been tweaked. Very minor graphical problems though and none of the inside out faces like in Assassin’s Creed.
The gameplay is really first rate in my opinion. Recently in the game, I was planning to attack an outpost, it was one I had left behind on the map and the OCD in me had decided it must be cleared as it was behind my ‘lines’ yes I think like this. So I ‘fast traveled’ to a nearby outpost that I had previously captured. I then stocked up on weapons and grabbed a quad bike and off I went, on the way I stopped to capture a machine gun post and kill an enemy messenger. When I got to the outpost I parked up near by and scouted it out from a few angles, then I tried to go up on to a hill behind it but there was no obvious route. Then I saw some vines, they looked as though they had been placed there for climbing but there were no messages… no hints or tips. I gave it a go and it worked! It’s this kind of discovery that makes the player feel clever and the game enjoyable, the player doesn’t want to be told ‘you can climb these vines’ surprise events and functionality are what makes a good game a great game. GTA IV for example I found to be dingy and bland, GTA V however was top shelf and I found the unique events on the street made the world feel alive and fund to play in.
I think Far Cry 4 has lots of cool features, some that I forgot about and don’t use, namely the syringes, but I do feel that some features could have been added. For example gun jams should have maybe come back but far less frequently. Prone mode would have been nice and also maybe setting up bipods if it worked, not like on Battlefield 4 where it frequently doesn’t. Also maybe using a hawk or other animal to drop explosives or something similar for when planning assaults. i.e. it could drop explosives on the alarms without the enemy knowing, disabling the alarms in outposts has great advantages but can be tricky which is actually part of the fun. Another really cool feature would be if you could sneak up to emplacements and remove the firing pin from weapons so that when you go to assault an outpost the weapon is useless for the enemy, or emplacements are destructible so you can knock them out with C4 or something. Mortars in enemy outposts are particularly terrifying and they are usually the first thing I try to take out, I usually sneak up to it if I can and plant C4 to booby trap it.
There are some bad points to the game too, I don’t particularly like the driving mechanics. Ever since I first played halo and had to steer and power things with one of the analogue sticks I’ve hated it. I much prefer the GTA sort of driving system however I understand why they’ve use the stick method because in GTA driving and shooting is difficult and in Far Cry there’s a lot more cliffs you can plummet off if you get it wrong whilst shooting and driving. However that said, there is the auto-pilot feature which I actually love, I thought it would detract from the realness of the game but it doesn’t it enhances the gameplay and makes it much easier to travel middle distance journeys. with this auto pilot feature I think they could have made the driving experience a bit more manual because when you get involved in a drive-by you can easily switch on auto pilot keep driving and start shooting!
Despite the minor things I think could have been added this game just feels so well rounded, and I think Ubisoft Montreal did a really fantastic job. Personally I find that one of the most important things to look at in a game is not what the developer has put in or given the player but rather what they have left out. For example, the game does not contain tanks, and whilst the Royal Army you fight against can operate black-hawk helicopters to drop troops and as gunships with mini-guns it’s only if you let the enemy set off an alarm whilst attacking a fortress or an outpost. Some developers, seeking to appease the player would give them or rather their character the ability to fly these helicopters if you find them, or would have given game tanks and let the player drive them. Yet, in Far Cry 4 this isn’t the case and I think they’ve made lots of really fantastic editorial decisions to ensure that the final product feels fair, balanced and like I keep saying - rounded.
In summary I love this game, it has some weapons like the recurve bow with the explosive arrow heads, the signature weapons like the buzzsaw and the cool real world tactical functions like the release brakes feature. One of my favourite plays is to put C4 on a truck place it up hill from an enemy roadblock or outpost, get out and release the brakes. The truck will slowly start to roll down the hill and just at the right moment BOOM, it is deadly and sows confusion into the enemy ranks, you can then whip out the buzzsaw and cause mayhem, or close in with the flamethrower and do some real damage.
I highly recommended Far Cry 4 and it is fast becoming the game with the most playtime on my Playstation 4.