Yesterday, Ubisoft Montreal hosted a media event to allow attendees a hands-on experience with their latest instalment in the popular action-adventure first-person shooter series. Lucky for us, we were on the list of those who got to chat, eat sandwiches and play some Far Cry 4.
I spent a few good hours immersed into the exotic playground of the Himalayan mountains as Ajay Ghale, the Kyrat-native returning home on some family business. Not only did I get a feel of the game, but I also learned two things about myself: Owning only the Xbox One, I suck hard using a DualShock4.
Press X? I am pressing the damn X button.. oh wait,it’s true, that’s square.
I, apparently, also get gaming performance anxiety. With eyes all around, and a controller that felt upside down, it took me a few frustrating moments to get into gear. But when I did, the sun grew brighter, the flora glowed and I started to enjoy my first moments in Kyrat.
Sad to have missed out on the event? Don’t be; here’s a few impressions from my time with Far Cry 4 to get you guys excited for it’s November 18th release.
A Wolf, An Eagle and a Snake Walk Into A Bar…
Man, the wildlife in Kyrat is intense. Not only do you get to hop on an elephant that squishes dudes shooting you, swim in a lake with man-eating Demon fish, you also get to walk side-by-side (well, not too close) with rhinos and tigers. As menacing as those beasts may sound,true danger lies in the insidious forms of wolves, eagles and snakes. You may be sitting there thinking “pffft, sounds easy”, but ha-nope. At one point, while I was getting simultaneously attacked by fireballs, arrows and melee-wielding berserker-types, a wolf sneakily came up and was chewing me from behind. As I turned around to give it a quick stab, an eagle swooped down from the heavens and starts gnawing at my head. Panicked, I try and run away only to fall into the warm embrace of ankle-bitting snakes.
So word to the wise: danger lies everywhere.
Ode to the Bow
I love me a good gun in video games . Give me anything from shotguns to sniper rifles, I love ’em all- except during my Far Cry 4 playthrough. I should mention that I only tried 3 different types of weapons in the game, and had an unfortunate death-by-own-grenade incident (again, DualShock4).
I cycled through the pistol, the machine gun and the bow. The pistol was fine, but with no silencer to kill upclose, it was difficult to outshoot your enemies from afar. The machine gun, on the other hand, was a smooth and effective killer. The ultimate downfall for both was the limited ammo, especially in the parts where your enemies used arrows.
But what really shone through was the bow. The aiming was great and it took down targets silently. I kept dying over and over again just to avoid using my pistol in order to gain mastery over it. So ditch the pistol, and use the bow.
Friends, Friends Everywhere
The event was split into two segments: solo and co-op. Far Cry 4’s inclusion of a co-op mode in their massive franchise makes for a more expansive experience with their drop in/drop out feature. It was super simple: find a friend, invite them and poof! they’re side-by-side with you in the game. Guns for Hire was by far the best new feature. While roaming the mountainside, Ali and I decided to liberate some outposts. It’s essential you work and communicate together because some of them can prove to be pretty difficult. If you die, your partner can continue to go forth and you’ll just spawn where they are. If you’re not one with many friends, don’t worry; you can also call in for AI-assisted back up if the area you’re dealing with an area proves to difficult to assault on your own. While I didn’t get a chance to call in NPC backups, they’ll likely be less reliable than your buddy you sent an invite to.
Choose Your Ride
After I cleared the first area with my elephant, I decided to do what I do best in open-world games: explore on foot. It was actually a terrible decision because I ended up going around in circles, defiantly wanting to parkour and grapple my way over huge mountains. After I ended up in the Demon fish-riddled lake 4 times, I gave up and took up the gyrocopter. You reach pretty big heights quickly but beware; if you accidentally fly over an area with enemies you’ll trigger them and they’ll try to shoot you out of the sky, which is exactly what happened to me. If you’re not a fan of flying, you can also either hop into allies trucks or grab your own. The driving was pretty disjunctive and I always had the bad habit of look around with my gun, ready to shoot stuff, and ended up crashing into trees. If you’re bad with directions or you’re as easily distracted as I am, Far Cry 4 added the new Auto Drive feature where you can kick back, enjoy the scenery (or blow shit up) while the car does the heavy lifting. Other means of transportation (from what I did) include the elephant and a speed boat.
The World of Kyrat
My experience with Far Cry 4 proved to be really fun, frustrating, embarrassing and definitely left me wan. If you’re a fan of the series, you won’t be disappointed; if you’re new to the franchise, again, you won’t be disappointed. The open-world shooter has a lot to offer and will definitely set you back many hours as you explore Ajay Ghale’s backyard. The best part of it all is the different ways in which you can tackle missions, enemies and wildlife. Of course, I omitted any sneaking around to go in guns blazing so I can get a feel for the weapons, but the way you choose to advance is entirely up to you.
I also need to mention the new karma levelling system. While Ubisoft Montreal had previously given you free reign to terrorize the countryside, you now need to conscious of whom and what you kill. If you kill enemies and free their captives, your karma goes up. Likewise, if you kill innocent civilians (like I did), you lose karma points and everyone runs away from you screaming.
Here’s Childish Gambino’s Crawl trailer to hold you off until the November 18th release for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows.