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Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4 review

Far Cry 4
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £29.99
inc VAT

The new location and a few gameplay tweaks can’t reinvent the wheel, but Far Cry 4 is still the series highlight


Available formats: PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One


Stunning vistas, a completely open map to explore, hundreds of side missions and collectibles to uncover and an evil warlord that needs overthrowing. It can only be another Far Cry game. This year’s edition relocates the action away from the tropical islands to the foothills and mountains of the Himalayas, which adds a fresh set of challenges and a whole new bestiary of endangered species to hunt.

Kyrat, a fictional territory on the border of Nepal, may have some beautiful vistas, lush jungle and a thriving population, but it’s also under the grip of a despotic dictator. Far Cry 3’s Vaas was certifiably insane, but the stylishly dressed Pagan Min is a whole other level of scary. With a propaganda machine spreading word of the regime in a way that would impress Kim Jong-Un, protagonist Ajay Ghale is barely off the bus before he’s recruited by rebel group The Golden Path to dish out some vigilante justice.

 Don’t bring a bow to a gunfight – unless you’re firing explosive arrows

Ajay is a much more likeable character than Far Cry 3’s irritating Jason Brody, partly because he doesn’t spend half the game whining but mainly because his silent nature lets the player put themselves in his shoes, rather than simply watch his adventure unfold. The cast is full of memorable characters and incidental AI that fill in the narrative with every interaction, so you’re always confident of your next move.

After the opening missions have set up the narrative, you’re set free to explore the map at your leisure, tackling story missions and side quests or simply wandering off the beaten path to uncover collectibles. As an “Ubisoft Open World GameTM”, there are plenty of them, with health-restoring plants, small loot caches, propaganda posters and hidden journals to uncover. It can get a little overwhelming, but you’re under little pressure to hoover them up once you’ve earned enough cash to buy your preferred weapons and gear.

The wing suit, one of Far Cry 3’s highlights, is available for purchase much earlier in the game, which opens up a world of possibilities for daring raids on cliff-top bases, or attacks from above on unsuspecting enemies. BASE jumping is somehow even more fun when you bail out from a hang glider first.

 With the gyrocoptor, they’ll never see you coming…

Along with a wider selection of vehicles, including Tuk-Tuks, traditional fishing boats and even rideable elephants, the grappling hook lets you scale sheer rock faces and navigate mountainous passages when moving on foot – albeit only on predefined ledges. Our favourite new addition has to be the one-man helicopter; as well as helping you get to new locations as the crow flies, it gives the perfect vantage point for tracking the wild animals necessary to upgrade your weapon holsters and ammunition pouches. We still felt bad sinking arrows into a white rhino in order to claim its hide, but had no remorse doing the same to the incredibly aggressive eagles that patrol the mountains.

Ubisoft has squeezed every last drop of visual fidelity from the game engine, and with the right hardware Kyrat looks absolutely incredible, with god rays shining through the trees, realistic fur on the animals and massive draw distances when you get up to high altitudes. You’ll need a beast of a PC to get it playable at smooth frame rates, but it scales well on older hardware and has none of the technical problems we saw with Ubisoft’s other high profile winter release, Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

The visuals may have received a welcome boost, but gameplay hasn’t really evolved alongside it. The biggest change is in the main story missions, where the two feuding leaders of the Golden Path will offer tasks that lead to different outcomes depending on who you side with, but they unfold in a similar manner and are heavily scripted. The twin skill trees of Tiger and Elephant earn you more abilities as you progress, but few unlocks completely transform the way you play.

 Hunting with high powered rifles doesn’t feel right – stick to the bow and arrow to double up on rewards 

Aside from a few extra side mission categories, the crux of the game revolves around liberating outposts and climbing radio towers to reveal more of the map. Far Cry’s brilliance has always been in how it hands over choices to the player, rather than forcing you to use a certain strategy or even tackle missions in a particular order, and that remains true here. There’s always the direct approach, but you can also stealthily take down enemies one at a time with silenced weapons, release wild animals from their cages and let them cause chaos, or call for backup from an AI-companion. Ubisoft has turned this up a notch further for 2014; open world adventuring will never be the same once you’ve liberated one of Min’s outposts from the air in a microlight using an M79 grenade launcher to rain havoc on the soldiers below.

You can also team up with a friend and overthrow some outposts online in co-op mode. Unfortunately there’s no way to play through the story missions as a pair, but meticulously planning a stealth takedown or going in guns-blazing on the back of an elephant is somehow even more fun when done as a pair.

 A sure-fire way to draw attention, but who’s going to argue with an elephant?

Far Cry 4’s biggest issue is that while it improves on an established formula and streamlines the gameplay to make every minute you spend exploring Kryat a joy, it’s only a small evolution from the previous game. There’s an unavoidable sense of deja vu, and anyone that explored every inch of Rook Island two years ago may feel a little miffed that Kyrat simply isn’t different enough.

That said, it’s still immensely fun, whether you’re playing alone or with a friend, and the huge new area to explore, filled with random encounters and secrets to uncover, will be enough for all but the most die-hard fans.

Available formatsPC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
OS SupportWindows 7, Windows 8, WIndows 8.1
Minimum CPU2.6GHz quad-core Intel / 3.2GHz quad-core AMD
Minimum GPUNvidia GTX 460 / AMD Radeon HD5850
Minimum RAM4GB RAM
Hard disk space30GB
Product codeFar Cry 4

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Far Cry 4
Far Cry 4 review

The new location and a few gameplay tweaks can’t reinvent the wheel, but Far Cry 4 is still the series highlight

£29.99 inc VAT