Far Cry 4 Single-Player Review (Xbox One)
- Updated: 12th Dec, 2014
Far Cry 4 takes place in Kyrat, a country entrenched in a war between the Golden Path, a rebel group fighting against the current ruler of Kyrat, and Pagan Min and his army. The player assumes the role of Ajay Ghale, son of the Golden Path’s founders. For a while, the game feels similar to Far Cry 3 which you can take as a plus if you’re a fan and obviously as a negative if you’re not. You’ll find that the game is almost identical in opening to the previous entry; you’re captured, you run away, then you liberate a tower to remove Fog of War on the map.
The game has plenty of side missions, and even if they’re simple in terms of objectives, you’ll find tackling them stimulating and enjoyable because of the many different ways you can complete them. You can sneak around the area, taking out only the enemies necessary to reach your objective. There is a huge range of weapons on offer, from Molotov cocktails to harpoon guns, each one changing the game tactics substantially, so you also have the option to go in all guns blazing, ripping the area apart with rockets, fire and bullets.
These can cause chaos on the battlefield, but the real joy of combat comes from the animals: you can lure them into the firefight to cause havoc in different ways; rhinos will flip cars, tigers will rip enemies apart, elephants will carry you triumphantly through camps, and bees will distract your enemies while you waltz past to your objective. Having so many gameplay options not only makes each mission feel different, but also allows all kinds of players to enjoy the game.
The story is a good length but it’s underwhelming both in terms of character development and plot. Ajay, the main character, is particularly flat and unsympathetic, and as a result, it’s hard to connect with him. He has his moments, but he’s clichéd. In contrast, Pagan is captured perfectly; Troy Baker, who voices him (and also Joel in The Last of Us and Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite), is excellent. He comes across as totally mad, yet charismatic. But for whatever reason, Ubisoft chooses to sideline Pagan which is a real waste of a great character. The other characters are also unconvincing; the voice acting fails to capture the desperation and anguish that they are supposed to be feeling.
You will spend the game backing one of two characters, Sabal or Amita. You don’t make a single split choice but instead can pick a mission from either of them; while you’ll get moaned at by whomever you didn’t pick, your choices don’t affect your final decision as to who you can back at the end of the campaign. It feels like all the anger the opposition builds up for you is swept away by this final judgement, making every choice you’ve made up until this point almost redundant. In terms of replay value, I found that this meant I didn’t want to explore what alternative campaign decisions might offer in terms of outcome, but you may well want to scout through finding all the extra hidden items, because the text pieces are often funny and interesting to read.
The huge map is beautiful and convincing. You can see for miles and the environment is rich and full of diverse terrain. Another impressive feature is the sound; the wildlife can always be heard, squealing, squawking or roaring in the background, making the world a great immersive place to wander around and explore.
I played the game solo, and at first I was concerned about how not participating in co-op would affect the game, but Ubisoft have managed to figure a way around this. They offer Karma points, which are awarded to you for doing good deeds, such as stopping civilians from being abducted. These points can then be redeemed for cheaper weapons and to call in AI to act as co-op support.
Far Cry 4 is fun and unpredictable, with undeniable gameplay strengths let down by a weak story and one-dimensional characters. With more focus on Pagan, the campaign may have held my interest longer, but other than providing you with fodder to ride elephants through, the story adds nothing to the game.
Far Cry 4 review code was provided by Xbox. The game is out now on various platforms. So many platforms, but not the Wii U.