Ubisoft hasn’t had the best time lately with their recent release of Assassin’s Creed Unity. People called the game incomplete, and it made me worry if Far Cry 4 would suffer from the same fate. While there are some minor issues here and there, Far Cry 4 takes what was great about its predecessor and excels to bring the best Far Cry experience yet.

That being said, the story is easily the worst element in Far Cry 4. It starts with a potential. You play Ajay Ghale who is returning to a fictional country Kyrat located in the Himalayas to fulfill your mother’s last wish and spread her ashes in her homeland. Immediately, the antagonist Pagan Min intervenes, and you are greeted by one of the best characters in the game. Every scene with the character voiced by Troy Baker is amazing. Sadly, there aren’t that many, but he does talk on the radio to you a lot so at least you get to here is sarcastic voice.

pagan min

The downside with the story is how there is deep potential to reach, but it never quite accomplishes that. Ajay doesn’t need to stay in Kyrat, but decides to do so. While noble for sure, there is too much of a jump from American-raised homebody to elephant-riding, blood-thirsty, rocket-slinging Rambo. In Far Cry 3 the protagonist at least paused for a moment and considered his position before becoming a mass-murder a.k.a. survivor. Ajay jumps right into the stereotype pretty easily.

I can get over that for the game’s sake of pushing the story forward, but I never really cared about Kyrat. I kept thinking it wasn’t really my fight. The only driving force was the stories the characters told. I really enjoyed how you had to choose a side when the two bickering leaders of the Golden Path asked you to accomplish some task. They both had good reasons for their stance, and it was often hard to choose between what I wanted to do. Every time I thought I made the right choice, I was then told a sob-story of why it was the wrong decision. I was a fan of that, but it wasn’t enough to really give me serious incentive for caring about what the fate of Kyrat would be. Then you are introduced to characters that are taken away before you even can remember their name.

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Honestly, the reason I cared about Kyrat was due to how beautiful and massive the country was. I lost track how many times I stopped to gaze at the scenery and uttered a single awe-filled gasp when I stumbled upon various sights. The detail and scope of Kyrat is incredible. Like the time I climbed a high mountain to discover a lonely campsite. There was no real point gameplay-wise, but it made the world feel alive to me. Someone hiked up this mountain and camped on it. Kyrat feels alive, and that’s something many other games have trouble doing with their open worlds.

Then there are the countless statues and paintings to give culture to this fictional land. I wonder how long someone spent putting all these extras in the game that many people may not notice. Yet, this is what makes Kyrat feel like a real place. That, and all the wildlife waiting to kill you at every turn.

In the trailer they showed an elephant walking out of the water and I thought how scripted that seemed. I figured there would be some elephant on the map that was always going in and out of water. What they don’t show you are the animals hunting other animals, the bears fighting to the death on a Cliffside, and hawks coming out of nowhere attacking people. I was scouting out an outpost when I heard a growl behind me. Next thing I know a tiger leaps on me and I’m fighting for my life. The spontaneity of Far Cry 4 is beautiful, and it’s what makes every experience unique from one mission to the next.

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The first time Kryat really felt alive for me was when I needed some Yak skin. I fast traveled to a location where Yak were known to be, and the second I stepped out of the camp I saw a Yak…and four wolves chasing after it. A wolf jumped onto its back and hung on as the Yak let out a cry spinning around trying to get it off it. I was memorized. The brutality of nature was carried over to a video game, and that’s not even the main focus of Far Cry!

I spent more time exploring random sections of the map, fighting enemies that are camped out in the wilderness, and hunting animals than I spent doing the campaign missions. That’s a very good thing. It meant the campaign felt like the side-quests, and exploring the world was the main game. Not to say the main missions aren’t fun, because they certainly are. They provide plenty of explosions, stealth, tension, and the hundreds of people to shoot. They are diverse and creative and I enjoyed almost all of them.

There only missions I found annoying were any that had to do with tripping on some acid like substance. I don’t know what Far Cry’s deal is with having the main character tripping all the time, but it gets annoying. Besides those very few missions that you are forced to do while high out of your mind, I thoroughly enjoyed the main story missions. I look forward to replaying Far Cry 4 to experience them again, but choosing the different side to see how they differ.

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Take this as a positive or a negative, but Far Cry 4 is very similar to Far Cry 3 in many ways.  You still climb towers to uncover the map, you skin animals and collect leaves to craft equipment, and you gain exp for just about everything you do to gain new skills. The gameplay feels the exact same, maybe a little more precise, but I had no complaints on a technical control standpoint.  Far Cry 4 follows the concept of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The crafting and leveling up are basic, straightforward, but perfectly acceptable.

Far Cry 4 has two main differences. There is a karma system in place now that will prevent you from killing innocent people. Leveling up your karma unlocks weapons and skills. You gain karma from just about anything, and even when I may have accidently killed a civilian now and again, my karma never took a serious hit.

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The biggest difference is the co-op. This is my favorite part about Far Cry 4. You get to explore the entire world of Kyrat with a friend. You can’t do main missions, and only the host gets to keep the major progress like unlocking towers and outposts. However, you keep anything you collect like exp, karma, and even animal skins.

There are some extremely helpful benefits to this like helping your friend liberate a fort they may have been having trouble with. I was ahead in my game, so I joined my friends and helped him liberate a few outposts. I gained exp, and we unlocked more fast travel locations.

More importantly, it is an insane amount of fun. Attacking an outpost on two elephants and causing sheer anarchy with a friend is indescribable fun. We attacked outposts in every way imaginable. From flying in on a helicopter with a grenade launchers, to putting C4 on two cars and driving them into the middle of the outpost to use them like bombs. Other times, we worked so well together it was like playing Splinter-Cell, as we moved unnoticed and watched each other’s backs. The point is, I had more fun playing Far Cry’s co-op than any other game in a long time.

The supposedly accidental mishaps made for some of the best laughs admittedly. Like the time my friend neglected to tell me that he was driving off a cliff and jumped out of the car before it went over. I paid him back by jumping out of the helicopter I was flying and wing-suiting away. He set my elephant on fire; I threw rocks on his position to alert the guards where he was. Far Cry 4 has that special ability to be as fun as you want it to be.

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Far Cry 4 is filled with so many side missions and sights to see, I find it hard to believe anyone will get bored any time soon. In the first 10 hours of playing, I only did a few main missions, and everything else was exploring with side missions. After beating the campaign, I still have dozens of more hours to play, and if that wasn’t enough there is the multiplayer.

There are three multiplayer modes that can be found in pretty standard multiplayer playlists. Taking an objective, defending a post, or fighting over an object.  You play either as The Rakshasa or the Golden Path. When you’re the Golden Path you can drive vehicles and use weapons like assault rifles. The Rakshasa have bows and arrows, and can’t drive vehicles, but they can go invisible and summon animals. You get to play as both sides so there is no unfairness of being stuck as one side constantly.

I was worried that the multiplayer was tacked on, but the game modes are pretty solid. I had some serious fun playing against others and felt it tested my bow skills more than the actual game. There were some tense moments and working with others is always fun. Compared to the main game I only spent a fraction of my time online, but I plan to play it a lot more. Currently, I am just too wrapped up on the main game.

There is also a level builder so you can set up your own situations people have to play through like capturing an outpost. You can set your own rules. Maybe there is infinite ammo, and the no alarms can be raised or the mission fails instantly. It’s not only fun, but as many games have proved in the past, when people are allowed to create their own levels the game has a much longer life-span.

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Far Cry 4 is great in almost every way, but the biggest issue I had with it were the check points. Sometimes you’d drive for what felt like ever to get to an enemy outpost, and then die while trying to liberate it. The game should – and does sometimes – put you right outside the outpost; however, other times it likes to put you back where you started driving which can mean driving all the way back. Sadly, that isn’t the worst the game will do.

Quitting the game mid-mission will often result in you starting from the very beginning. Some missions last twenty minutes at least (depending on your skill level) and that setback is pretty annoying. Especially when you hit a checkpoint and think the game saved. This will prevent you from playing missions, because you may stop playing soon, but once you start you are committed until the end. The worst part are how some missions don’t technically end until you walk about ten feet. You can finish a mission, get a cut-scene, and then quit the game—only to be sent back to the very beginning of the missions when you log back on. And all you needed to do was walk ten feet! The missions needs to be complete the second you actually finish it, and not wait for the dramatic walk.

Besides minor bugs here and there I never experienced anything game-breaking except once. I joined my friends game online and no animals, cars, or people were in the world. It was creepy being so empty and silent. We reloaded the game and everything was fine. I should mention I was stuck inside a wall once, but I killed myself and everything was fine. So minor bugs and glitches, but I wouldn’t call them a prominent problem.

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Far Cry 4 isn’t perfect, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel that Far Cry 3 put in motion, but it adds a lot of nice features. The beauty of Kyrat and how it feels like it is alive makes Far Cry 4 stand out compared to other open-world titles. It wouldn’t even be that big of a stretch for me to claim my favorite part about Far Cry 4 is the wildlife. That’s only one great part of a massive game I truly enjoyed and really recommend. The worst part about Fary Cry is the subpar story, but I managed to get lost in the world itself, not the story. I’m excited to be immersed in it once again…as I flip cars riding an elephant firing an RPG like a madman.

This review is based off a retail copy of the Playstation 4 version of Far Cry 4 developed by Ubisoft Montreal and distributed by Ubisoft. 

A Massive Playground | Far Cry 4 Review
Final Score9
  • Massive World With Amazing Wildlife
  • Gameplay is Downright Fun
  • Packed Full of Content
  • Story is Weak
  • Characters are Hit-or-Miss
  • Questionable AI
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)

About The Author

Neil has had a passion for video games ever since the Atari entered his life so many years ago. He's been writing about them for over two years and sees no end in sight. Reach out to him on twitter @nconnors13