Within the first 20 minutes of playing through Far Cry 4 it becomes apparent that not much has been changed from the core gameplay that carried Far Cry 3.
It’s not an unexpected turn but it’s still shocking at how familiar it feels, though this may be due to the fact that each Far Cry game has felt like a drastic improvement over the next, but with less development time between installments this time around I suppose familiarity is to be expected.
You’ll still be presented with the familiar outposts to liberate and towers to ascend in order to open up the viewable game map. It’s still great fun scoping out an outpost or a mission section, noting the movement of guards, picking off a couple of snipers then stampeding your way into the fort, majestically riding on the back of an elephant whilst firing a rocket-launcher into a cluster of enemies. What? Elephants? Yeah, there are elephants which you can ride, but they’re not the only mount available in Far Cry 4, but they’re by far my preferred animal warriors.
Extravagance is prevalent in Far Cry 4 and it allows you to feel that you’re in one big playbox and that you’re the one who dictates how the game plays out, even if the story presents the illusion of freedom.
I especially enjoyed the combat this time around. Far Cry 3 felt a little clunk at time, especially with the automatic cover that was present, but Far Cry 4 embraces its predecessors features and refines them. Nothing has really changed in terms of movement and gunplay but it all just feels a little more responsive and doesn’t hinder your progress.
The core fun of Far Cry 4 is the ability to play as you wish. You can choose to go into a mission all guns blazing whilst riding a glorious leopard, but you’re also afforded the option of taking your time, hunting some of the lone mercenaries before launching a surprise offensive on the remaining foes.
It’s enjoyable and I’m a big fan of allowing players to do what they want, but sometime a little too much freedom can be a bad thing. A bit more variety in the way missions played out would have been nice and I wouldn’t have minded being forced to infiltrate an enemy compound undetected a little more often. These are just my opinions though and whilst the game might not force you to do so, you can always choose to go in ninja-style.
It helps to upgrade your skills, no matter which play style you lend preference too. Gaining experience points for actions is still great fun and gives a purpose to putting bullets into enemy heads, especially as they’re a little tougher this time around thanks to the unforgiving A.I, which at times borders on barbaric. Not all enemies are mini-Einsteins though, you’ll still see the odd idiotic fool run behind cover, only the wrong side of cover, offering up an easy kill. It’s still entertaining gun-play and Ubisoft has managed to make it feel a tad more realistic and slighty less arcadey over its previous entry.
Crafting makes a return and invites you to kill animals to craft bigger sacks, weapons holsters and all the rest, with a couple of new addition thrown in for the sake of it. It’s all very familiar… Again, familiarity isn’t the worst thing and it’s not detrimental to the overall experience, but it does feel like you’ve already done it all before.
Overall the gameplay is solid and offers up some unique opportunities for some chaotic fun. The missions play out in an entertaining manner, though there are some shortfalls but they’re overshadowed by the sheer amount of fun that can be had. You can ride a freaking elephant into battle, what more needs to be said?!