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Far Cry 4!

Yet another iteration in the mildly successful Far Cry series has arrived, to some controversy and a bit of predisposed criticism, but will the latest in the franchise live up to the continually rising bar of the series?

First Impressions: Whenever possible, we try to give our loyal website viewers the most video footage and most in depth unbiased reviews imaginable. Part of that development is our "initial impressions" where we offer up our first impressions of the title that we are playing.

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Final Impressions: The final impression is just that, our completed breakdown and overall thoughts on the game based off of our entire game playing time.

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Flaming Villain: With a civil war at its peak of intensity, you are placed in the middle of a battle between the flamboyant dictator Pagan Min and a struggling band of resistance fighters called the Golden Path. Taking place in the fictional region of Kyrat, based on the Himalayan regions of Nepal although easily compared in similarity to Thailand, you take the role of Ajay Ghale, a Kyrat-born man who returns to his homeland to fulfill his mother's wishes of scattering her ashes there.

He is quickly dragged into the middle of civil unrest in the region, eventually opting to side with the Golden Path and pursue the downfall of the despotic Pagan Min, who even adorns the currency.

Involving less deeply the deteriorating mental state and warped psyche of the main character Ajay Ghale than gamers saw in Far Cry 3 with the borderline psychopathic Jason Brody, the protagonist of Far Cry 4 is quickly poked fun at for being the "strong, silent type" and very rarely has excessive vocal correspondence with either allies or foes.

Ghale is far less easily distained than Brody was in Far Cry 3 but his lack of vocal lines over the course of the storyline makes him seem a bit unrealistically withdrawn from the dire situations that he is put into. Even when pressed for responses in dire, possibly life-or-death scenarios, he continues to uphold a stoic demeanor that would simply be impossible for any normal person that is not a mute.

The plotline is an engrossing one though, with the enigmatic and eccentric antagonist in the game acting as a worthy successor to the compelling character of Vaas that was seen in the previous iteration of this series. The two villains share similarities but act on opposite ends of the spectrum, as Vaas was more explosively charged and wired while the superiorly sophisticated Pagan Min showcases manners and a psychopathic calm that mirrors more notable monsters such as Hannibal Lecter.

The World Is Your Oyster: The bread and butter of any Far Cry installment these days is, of course, the environment and how you interact with the vast landscape you are unleashed upon from early in the game. From the get-go, veterans of Far Cry 3 will see striking similarities between that title and this one, as there are an abundance of things borrowed from Far Cry 3 and shared with this iteration.

Aside from the size of the world you traverse being nearly the same in mass as Far Cry 3 (although with far more depth and multilayered verticality), the weapons, shooting mechanics, appearance of much of the environment and many of the animations in Far Cry 4 are practically identical to what gamers already saw in 2012.

The environment is far more difficult to traverse though, with ease of travel being a thing of the past thanks to the hazards of the world often presenting themselves in the form of tigers, elephants, wolves and other volatile animals that seem to have a singular goal of murder on their minds.

Although the animals you skin can provide meat which, in turn, can be used as bait against your opposition, they will flat out attack you for just standing still out in the wilderness. No matter where you are, barring fortified, populated areas, being stationary for more than a small period of time will quickly entice the nearby predators to assault you.

Typically you will be able to ward them off, but it becomes a factor of racing from place to place in order to maximize your chances of survival, as simply living through each day of the game becomes challenging even with a dozen hours of experience.

Aside from animals trying to make you their next meal, simple, seemingly inconsequential things like a hornet's nest will, when provoked, lead to your death. Survival is not quite as difficult as if Ubisoft had implemented the "Hardcore mode" that was talked about even up until mid-October (catching hypothermia from swimming, diseases from being bitten by certain animals, etc.), but nonetheless this is, forgive my unintentional pun, a far cry from the ease of navigation and survival that was showcased in Far Cry 3.

Navigation is aided by the use of a grappling hook which, when given to you fairly early in the game, will allow you to traverse the environment in a bit more streamlined manner. The heightened sense of levels and layers to the foliage and harrowing mountainsides essentially make the grappling hook a necessity if you ever plan on getting somewhere in a remotely quick manner.

To Freedom! Far Cry 4 has a large focus on side missions and activities to occupy your time outside of the main narrative and while there is a fair amount to do, it is rather unfortunate that the other activities for you to indulge in out in the world are much of what you have likely already seen.

Radio towers that need to be climbed and have their communications returned to normalcy are the incentive to explore those shady parts of your map that hold mystery and intrigue. Rewiring those towers opens up more of the world map, showing you more side missions, outposts and cities to visit as you wander around the dangerous lands.

Liberating outposts is perhaps the most exciting thing you will find yourself doing aside from tirelessly hunting down packs of animals for their skin in order to craft wallets and other assisting items.

The method in which you assault the outposts, once again, allow you some freedom in your option but generally it boils down to three main choices.

Grab an elephant (yes, an elephant. A real elephant you can ride), an assault rifle and charge through the main gates walking over everything. Bordering on overpowered but laughably enjoyable the first few times you do it.

Sneak into the compound and look to eliminate the enemies without any raised alarms or reinforcements, stabbing, dragging and sneaking your way through the outpost.

Or taking a sniper rifle from afar and causing havoc at long range, oftentimes with a silenced weapon to eliminate excessive noise. Now, this option was typically a go-to choice in Far Cry 3 but this time around you may find yourself bombarded with mortar fire if your position is discovered, or even have attack dogs and scouts sent to hunt you down.

You have the choice of tossing meat all around the facility and waiting to spark a battle between man and beast, but quite honestly the aspect of throwing meat slabs at people in order to designate a target for a predator gets old after the novelty of the act wears off.

Band of Hunters: A large addition in Far Cry 4 is a slightly more focused multiplayer mode and the inclusion of a co-op mode that unlocks in the second half of the game. When co-op, the main focus of the "non-single-player" portion of the game unlocks, you will be able to bring your friends into the game to wreak havoc with you.

A unique feature is the fact that each person who buys the game will have 10 guest passes that can be distributed out to friends so that even if your buddy lacks ownership of the game himself, he will be allowed to download a version of the game and play with you.

There are a couple issues that present themselves when you are in a co-op game with others though, not the least of which include the age-old problem of "he is not playing right!" While you may want to assault an outpost with stealth, your cooperative partner may not be so cooperative and instead ride an elephant into the main grounds, ruining your opportunity to be a ninja.

Aside from that problem, which admittedly has a chance of being remedied with communication, trustworthy friends, not playing with random people or all of the above, the host of the game will also see no progression of his story despite what he does when his partner is joined in. It makes sense from the standpoint that the narrative does not allow for the inclusion of more than one person, but it may turn off some players to spend hours of time in their single player world, without having accomplished much of anything.

Rent vs. Buy: Far Cry 4 does a lot well, but then again, so did Far Cry 3 and quite honestly this iteration borrows many aspects from its predecessor. From the nearly identical animations of skinning and stabbing, to the continued focus on radio towers and outposts, to practically unchanged weapons and shooting mechanics, it simply feels like Far Cry 4 made a lot of minor tweaks but was not bold enough to make significant changes.

I may be a cynic, or maybe I am just a realist. I do not give substantial weight to a higher volume of more aggressive animals that you happen to be able to interact with on a more regular basis (for purposes other than skinning and crafting goodies out of).

While nobody can say Far Cry 4 is a bad game, and it is an improvement upon the 2012 installment in the franchise, there is not nearly enough innovation here to justify the laughable claims from many mainstream gaming websites that Far Cry 4 is significant different, changed, or altered in many ways.

Report Card

Far Cry 4 does a lot well, but then again, so did Far Cry 3 and quite honestly this iteration borrows many aspects from its predecessor..it simply feels like Far Cry 4 made a lot of minor tweaks but was not bold enough to make significant changes

Get your Own Copy of Far Cry 4 - PlayStation 4

(Krakrabbit.com)

B+


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