Far Cry 4

Since I published my first impressions of several of the games that I played over holiday vacation I started playing another that needs to be added to the list: Far Cry 4. Far Cry 4 is the newest game that I own, having been released in November. I didn’t get it from Steam; instead it came as a promotion with the NVIDIA GTX 970 in my PC. I had a choice of three brand new Ubisoft games and thought that Far Cry looked the most interesting. I’m glad I chose it.

I owned the original Far Cry way back in 2004 and enjoyed it at the time. Along with Half Life 2 it was one of the most realistic games available. Half life focused more on physics whereas Far Cry focused more on AI and stealth, so much so that I wasn’t very good at it and never made it more than 25% through. I still thought it was cool though. Fast forward 10 years and toss in a few Hitman games and I’m a bit better suited for it.

So back to Far Cry 4. It’s an awesome game. The graphics are phenomenal – it has realistic sun rays, great shadows, a day / night cycle, beautiful mountains, realistic water – it just looks really, really nice. The environments are really nice as well with lots of trees, grasses, various animals, vehicles, and characters around. It runs nicely on my graphics card as well; I can play it at high-to-ultra settings at 1440p. It’s not absolutely maxed out and pumping 120 FPS, but it looks beautiful on my 27″ iMac screen and doesn’t lag. The textures are crisp and realistic, especially when you move close to them. I actually find myself going up to objects just to see how sharp and realistic the textures look. In summary – it’s beautiful to look at.

Luckily it is also fun to play. It’s an open world game that has the full gamut of missions, interesting areas, character upgrades, weapons, and vehicles that are out there.

  • There are basic missions you have to complete to get through the game, side missions, random skirmishes that pop up, and a bunch of treasures and trinkets to find on the map. You even have a choice of which main missions to complete during the game, each of which influence the final ending.
  • You can collect objects and money from around the map as well as off of dead characters and use them to purchase weapons, ammo, additional maps, and supplies. Many of the weapons are customizable with silencers, scopes, large-capacity magazines, and even paint schemes. You can purchase the weapons or complete certain missions to earn them.
  • As you complete missions you gain experience points which can be used to upgrade the capabilities of your character – increasing stamina, unlocking new attacks, improving speed and accuracy. If you buy additional maps that show unknown locations you can also receive experience points just by visiting them. There are also Karma experience points that are gained by helping the locals fight against the enemy or by finding special artifacts. These unlock additional advantages such as reduced costs for supplies.
  • You can use your knife to find and collect certain kinds of plants that allow you to make syringes. Syringes provide additional health and additional skills such as being able to see all enemies in an area for a short period of time. You can also use your knife, gun, vehicle, bow, or any other weapon to hunt the many different animals that roam around. Animal meat can be thrown near enemies to draw other animals into the area to either distract or fight with them. Animal skins can be used to create holsters (so you can carry more than one weapon), wallets, ammo bags, meat bags, etc. Each item can be upgraded to a certain level and you have to collect a certain number of skins to do it.
  • There are lots of vehicles to use – cars, trucks, four wheelers, boats, hover crafts, helicopter thingys, air gliders, and even Elephants! They are littered about the map and are easy to find. There is even an auto-drive mode that will automatically drive the vehicle to the selected waypoint. It’s designed for you to use when you are in combat (let’s you take your eyes off the road to shoot at people) but it is a really convenient way to move around as well.
  • It supports full-on first person shooting as well as stealth. You can run in and gun somebody down or you can sneak up on them from behind. There are certain challenges where you are rewarded for not raising alarms. Animals run away when they hear you and enemies group together and call for backup. Hiding in bushes, crouching, and watching your stealth indicator is key.
  • Though the game is not a Parkour-style game, you can climb buildings and drop down on enemies. It’s possible but it isn’t the focus of the game.

I’ve put a solid amount of time into it but I’m only 10% through. That’s because I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the map, visiting areas for experience points, hunting so that I can carry more money and weapons, liberating outposts, and  emancipating radio towers. Basically doing everything that is not the core set of missions. I’m getting there though. After completing my last mission, the other missing kickoff points moved to different areas of the maps; I’m making my way to them slowly by collecting treasures and executing side missions along the way.

Far Cry 4 has been criticized as being largely the same game as Far Cry 3 but with different characters. I can understand why that would bother people, but I think it’s great. I also own Far Cry 3 and look forward to playing it after I complete this one. It seems that 3 had a winning formula that is continued in 4. So far I’ve been enjoying it. There is a lot of variety and there are plenty of bad guys around if I start running out of money or ammo and need to loot someone.

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