GAME REVIEW: FAR CRY 4 / DEVELOPER: UBISOFT MONTREAL / PUBLISHER: UBISOFT / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 3, PLAUYSTATION 4, XBOX 360, XBOX ONE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
For all that fans might complain about the lack of innovation in Assassin’s Creed, this latest instalment in the Far Cry series is proof of how their approach can work for the better. Sticking to what works best, Far Cry 4 ultimately make no effort to try and fix what isn’t broken while instead placing emphasis upon enhancing the overall experience.
The story this time follows the tale of Ajay Ghale, returning to his mother’s homeland of Kyrat to return her ashes. Upon doing so, he is soon drawn into the civil war raging between the despotic monarch Pagan Min and the Shining Path, terrorists opposing his rule. He also just happens to be the heir to the leaders of both sides. Returning players will soon feel right at home as the same moral ambiguity, a fantastic villain, and the choices come into play. The difference this time is that Ubisoft seems more willing to openly embrace its innate insanity, becoming far more thematically cohesive as a result.
The setting of Kyrat is by far the game’s greatest strength, offering a far more densely compact and lush environment than Far Cry 3. With vast mountainous ranges, there is far more to discover by strolling across the landscape, with far more risks when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car or searching for towers. It’s easy to get thrown off the beaten track exploring the environments and, even more so than its predecessor, the game offers plenty of hidden treasures for those who go looking for them.
The actual shooting component remains adequate overall, with a few weapon improvements, but otherwise remaining unchanged. Akin to Bethesda’s Fallout series, it fails to truly excel mechanically, yet the freedom offered by the sprawling environment is enough to distract from that and offer some real freedom. Whether it’s charging in blindly or slowly, stealthily picking off each target, both are equally viable, at just about every turn with no true disadvantages.
If something should truly be criticised – besides some of the more glaring bugs still being patched out – the PC version suffers severe optimisation problems and inexplicable drops in frame rate. Furthermore the pointlessly tacked-on multiplayer segment is a complete waste of time, boiling down to repetitive objectives and dull firefights.
Despite this Far Cry 4 is a natural step forwards of the series, keeping its strengths while weeding out a few shortcomings. At the end of the day, even if you get bored of the storytelling you can still weaponise pachyderms and find a secret ending which concludes the game in fifteen minutes. Any game including those is clearly doing something very right.
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