Kimo Stamboel's video game adaptation is a creepy thrill ride, just as much as it is a confrontation of the present and a Gothic Indonesian past.
Far Cry 4. 2014. Directed by Alex Hutchinson and Patrik Methe. Soundtrack composed by Cliff Martinez. Featuring the voice work of Grace Lynn Kung, Shawn Ahmed, Naveen Andrews, Shawn Baichoo, Troy Baker, Emerson Brooks, and Mylene Dinh-Robic. Ubisoft Montreal. Rated – Mature. Action/Thriller – First Person P.O.V.
Overall Game Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Replay Value: 4/5 stars
Visuals: 5/5 stars
Dialogue: 4/5 stars
Music: 4/5 stars
I’ve never reviewed any video games, so this may not read like a typical video game review. However, I really loved Far Cry 3, and this installment didn’t disappoint. Although many aspects of this game were similar, if not straight up identical, to those of its predecessor, the storyline here is fun and wild enough to keep any true fan of the previous game a fan of this one.
Far Cry 4 gives us the story of Ajay Ghale, a young Kyrati-American who heads back to his homeland to spread his mother’s ashes. Now under control of Nepal, Kyrat is ruled over by the strange and exotic Pagan Min. The Golden Path, a guerilla group of fighters, tries to free Kyrat and fight Min. Ajay is thrust into the middle of everything, and forced to figure out who will lead the Golden Path, or who may end up destroying it all.
Everything begins with Ajay on a bus, as it is attacked by the Royal Army under rule of Pagan Min. Ajay is taken prisoner; Min claims to have been involved with his mother, Ishwari. Sabal, one of the leaders in the Golden Path, helps free Ajay. This is where things take off.
Alex Hutchinson claims the campaign goes for about 35 hours. I definitely played it awhile. I can’t say for sure how many hours off the top of my head, but definitely a nice long time. The campaign certainly took a bit of playing. Although, I really like to go around and do all the little things available around the island from the hostage missions to races; so many different options even outside the campaign. One of the things I love about the previous game and this one as well.
Once again, Far Cry 4 is an absolute adrenaline rush of a first-person shooter. Like the previous game, it is fairly innovative, as far as I’m concerned. I love the open world format here. You get to take over outposts and complete missions, which lowers the level of difficulty on larger castles and complexes around the island; once you’ve lowered their defenses enough, you can attack, and take things over. This provides you with more Fast Travel points to help quicker navigation across the island. Also, you can buy and trade items here – you fill up your Loot Sack just like in Far Cry 3, full of random items you gank off dead soldiers and furs of various animals you can hunt all throughout the island – then sell it all off at the outposts. Same format as before. Except here now there are the castles/fortresses, whatever you want to call them; that is a little different, slightly, but an extra touch nonetheless.
One of my favourite aspects about Far Cry 4 overall is the trip, or should I say several trips, to the mystical, beautifully magical lands of Shangri-La; the fictional utopia similar to the Tibetan hidden kingdom of Shambhala. You get to do some wild stuff by accessing scrolls hidden throughout the landscape of Kyrat. Once there, you make friends with a majestic white tiger, whom you’ve freed from its earthly pain. You kick the ass of some creepy spirit-like beings, free the bells of Shangri-La, and it is just dripping with visual gorgeousness! I loved every second of it. There are several bells you need to release. Each challenge is greater and more difficult than the last.
Other fun little treats include: the buzzer. I loved this method of transportation. It’s like a homemade, makeshift helicopter one-seater. You can fly up above the forest trees and get to some hard to reach places. Not to mention zipping around the island fairly quickly without needing to resort to the Fast Travel options. Me, I like as much uninterrupted gameplay as possible, so the buzzer was very convenient for me – I hop in one of those and I am off. It’s great for flying in on some of the spots where you need to help rebels fight off the Army; you just drop down a little over the group, hop off your buzzer, and start slaying fools. It really is great fun.
One chief complaint I have is the driving. I really did not like the driving in this game. I can’t remember Far Cry 3 frustrating me as much in regards to the driving, but here it really made me crazy. The buzzer wasn’t so bad; I didn’t have to make too many hard cut turns or anything in the air. On land with the cars and trucks, damn, did it ever get me mental at times the way it would make it really hard to use both sticks at once. I’m usually pretty good, but here it really threw me out of whack, I have got to say. It didn’t ruin anything – I was able to keep everything under control when needed. I just wish it wasn’t such a pain because there were times I specifically avoided driving a car or truck whenever at all possible.
The campaign in the game was a ton of fun. If you enjoyed the last one, you’ll surely dig this one, too. Very cool main mission stuff, as well as some side missions where you get to take hallucinogenic drugs and blow through the landscape to test their effects; a maniac named Hurk has you extracting valuable statues out of high risk areas; you choose between Amita and Sabal who each have their conflicting vision of where the Golden Path should be headed. There is certainly enough in the campaign alone to keep fans interested, as far as I’m concerned.
Overall, Far Cry 4 is a pretty great gaming experience. The campaign and gameplay are out of this world. I’m not a huge fan of some of the dialogue, in terms of how repetitive island characters are – I don’t expect them all to have a different speech to give or anything. I just found it repetitive to a fault. I couldn’t handle it after awhile. There also isn’t as much replay value here as there was in the previous game. I could definitely play it over, but there isn’t as much as I found with Far Cry 3. While the story was excellent, I wasn’t particularly itching to get back at it once finishing my first run through like I was after finishing up the campaign in its predecessor. One other particular aspect worth mentioning is the voice work; a few familiar names both in the video game world, as well as film and television. They really pulled off some fun characters. Troy Baker specifically is always enjoyable; here he plays the eccentric Pagan Min. All actors did a wonderful job with the voice work. Very impressed on that level.
The last problem I have here is with the soundtrack. Although Cliff Martinez was involved here, I was not exactly impressed. Far Cry 3 had a really whopping soundtrack – it was awesome because the real pounding music would kick in on the missions just like it would in a film – that really made an impact. Though I certainly enjoyed the music here, it was nowhere near on the level of what the previous game had going on. Too bad, as Cliff Martinez is an amazing composer, and has done music for a few films I really thought was spectacular. Here, his talents are wasted. The music was good. It just wasn’t as good as it had the possibility of being.
I suggest all fans of Far Cry 3 check this out – judge for yourself. There are definitely some new things here, mainly the story [I’m glad they didn’t try to extend the last one or rehash things too much in another setting], but you get a lot of solid gameplay consistent with the previous game. This keeps things exciting. It doesn’t try to innovate too much. Instead, it sticks with a familiar formula while trying to add in a few bits and pieces to create something unique on its own. I think one of the biggest things Far Cry 4 has going on for it is the fact there is a lot of fun stuff happening – you can just go out and do a lot of weird , wild stuff, have a ball – it doesn’t have to be too serious. But then again, the storyline is pretty intense, so if you want serious, you can certainly have it.
Highly recommended. Definitely one of my best gaming experiences in 2014.