Game Review: Far Cry 4

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I played Far Cry 4 right after finishing The Witcher 3. It’s a nice game but nothing spectacular, so here’s my short review. Take into account I didn’t try cooperative mode.

Far Cry 4 essentially maintains the core game play present in Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. That means the game revolves around doing main quests for advancing the main game story and side quests for simply gaining points to invest in an abilities tree. While it has some RPG elements, every ability can be unlocked and used so it’s not a proper RPG game. It takes place in a large open map that’s revealed by exploring and by conquering radio towers, as well as clearing enemy bases so enemies mostly disappear from the surrounding area.

As stated above, if you played Far Cry 3, all of that will sound familiar to you: it’s the same. Different map, different main story, different characters and locations but the same core game play. Some game play elements have been subtly polished here and there without any major changes, while some new vehicles, enemies, animals and traveling mechanisms have been introduced.

I definitely like the story in Far Cry 4 more than the one in Far Cry 3, but neither of them are brilliant. It also follows a recent trend seen in other games were the endings are not exactly the same depending on a few important choices made during your adventure, with no ending being completely “good”.

Its game play low points are similar to the ones I found in Far Cry 3. In my opinion, there’s too much money and too many treasures in the game. Having a limited-capacity wallet can be a bit frustrating sometimes for a completionist player like myself. Learning from the previous franchise entry, I didn’t buy treasure maps and didn’t get obsessed with clearing every chest mark appearing in the map.

Again, there are also too many people and wild animals for such a small area. It’s almost impossible to travel from point A to point B without encountering a so-called “karma event” (good guys needing your help in a skirmish with bad guys) and facing several predators. It can be annoying and time-consuming, specially if, from time to time, they manage to seriously injure you or even kill you. Your safe bet becomes traveling using vehicles, which is usually faster.

Finally, the game is too easy, a common problem with recent titles in this game series. It gives you easy, medium and hard difficulties. I played in hard mode and it’s game over after completing less than 1/3 of the game. Once you have a silenced sniper rifle, the recurve bow and a silenced assault rifle or SMG you’re a lethal and invisible ninja, and even conquering fortresses (the most heavily-guarded enemy bases) is a trivial matter, so you may have to set your own challenges.

Don’t get me wrong, game play is entertaining and I’d like to emphasize, like I did for Far Cry 3, that I like the controls a lot (except the long key press for healing!) and the “physical behavior” of your character when it runs, jumps, grabs ledges, vaults over obstacles or slides down slopes. Being able to attack enemy bases while riding an elephant is interesting and fun.

Technically the game features some improvements, with more detailed textures, better lighting and weather effects and more polished geometry, but without drastic changes. It ran pretty good for me, with some very occasional, and not easy to explain, dips below 60 FPS, but I decided to stay away from the demanding TXAA anti-aliasing mode, using SMAA instead. UPlay is still a liability and the lack of a quick save key is an annoyance I’m starting to get used to in Far Cry titles.

Technically, I’d say the game is an 8 or 8.5. The game play is a solid 7.5 or 8 and the overall score is about an 8. If you still haven’t played it and find it on sale, I recommend you to grab it. If you didn’t like Far Cry 3, take into account Far Cry 4 is just more of the same. Blood Dragon is still my favorite Far Cry title to date, followed by the first Far Cry, but I haven’t played Far Cry Primal yet.

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