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Far Cry 4

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: Nov. 18, 2014 (US), Nov. 20, 2014 (EU)

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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Far Cry 4'

by Adam Pavlacka on Nov. 10, 2014 @ 2:00 a.m. PST

Far Cry 4 is an open-world, first-person shooter that delivers the most expansive and immersive Far Cry experience ever.

Ubisoft impressed fans and critics alike with Far Cry 3 in late 2012 and the stand-alone spinoff, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon in early 2013. Although the tone of the two games differed drastically, they both shared an expansive open world that was fun to explore. With Far Cry 4 set to release this month, I sat down with a copy of the PlayStation 4 version for an early hands-on. Unlike many preview events, Ubisoft did not set any ground rules or restrictions on play, with the singular exception of starting me after the introductory missions. Once the controller was handed over, it was time to explore.

Although the setting is different, Far Cry 4 immediately feels familiar to players of the previous games, as it shares an engine with Far Cry 3. Driving, flying, movement and shooting are all as you would expect. The world looks and feels different, but the all-important aspect of moving around the world hasn't changed. Players looking for a drastic departure from the previous game may be a bit disappointed, but for most, the built-in familiarity is a good thing.


Since I didn't want to spoil the story, my first foray into the game involved a co-op mission. I partnered up with another player, and we drove through the jungle to a local stronghold. More accurately, we set the car to auto-drive and then both shot at anything that moved. This was initially quite fun, but it quickly taught us two things:

  1. Auto-drive in Far Cry 4 does not mean "flawless driver." No, auto-drive is a little like a slightly inebriated K.I.T.T. without the voice. It'll get you there, but it might be a rough ride.
  2. Don't shoot a rhino with a pistol. Really. Just don't.


After clearing the stronghold, it was time for a rescue mission. This was standard Far Cry fare, as we needed to take down some evil terrorist types while staying silent. If they noticed us, they would kill the hostages. I painstakingly snuck in, threw a few rocks to distract them, and killed two of the terrorists before we got noticed. A few explicit words were uttered, and a firefight broke out. In the end, one hostage was dead, but so were all the terrorists. We'll call that one a win (mostly).

Because Far Cry 4 is using the same engine, objectives are also similar. Radio towers are back, and climbing them to reveal sections of the map is once again a thing that you'll be doing. Navigating up took some finesse, though getting the fly-through video showing off the local highlights was plenty satisfying. Far Cry 4 does have a personal mini-copter, but trying to use that as a shortcut to the top of the radio tower didn't quite work out. Yes, you can fly up there, but when I tried to jump out, I bounced off the top of the tower and fell to my death.


Flying around is an easy way to navigate, as it allows you to avoid roaming convoys. It also has the side benefit of showing off the vastness of the map. At high altitudes, the mountains are white and covered in snow. In the valleys, the jungle vegetation is lush. I actually spent a few minutes just flying and taking in the views.

Back on the ground, I decided to try another stronghold and discovered how vicious some of the local wildlife could be. The Blood Dragons in Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon were dangerous, but they weren't nearly as nimble as the tigers are here. Not only will the tigers stalk you silently, but they are also relentless when attacking. One of them decided I was prey in the middle of a firefight, and it wasn't pretty. In Far Cry 3, the animals in the world felt like a tool you could use against your enemies. Here, they feel like true wild cards that are liable to turn on either side — except for the elephants.

Far Cry 4 lets you ride an elephant. For the most part, they are slow beasts, but they have an option to charge forward and trample whatever is in front of you.

After messing around in the open world of Far Cry 4 for a few hours, I switched over to try one of the early story missions. What I found interesting was that the story has a hard-branching patch. Early on in the game, you have to pick a side between two rebel leaders. They're not fighting each other, but both have different ideals and plans for fighting off Pagan Min's terrorists. Those ideals are mutually exclusive. It is possible that both paths will arc back into the same ending, but I'm hoping the two stay distinct. If so, that would be a massive amount of replay value.


Jumping ahead in the story, I had to prove my worth to a tribe of topless woman warriors by fighting for survival in an arena. This was standard deathmatch against bots, though regular Far Cry rules applied. I was still physically weaker than most of the enemies and couldn't just take them on wholesale. Avoidance tactics were required. It was challenging, but rewarding. All in all, the arena felt like an evolution of what we saw in Blood Dragon.

Last, but not least, was the Shangri-La area. Like the mushroom trip in Far Cry 3, Shangri-La isn't reality as you know it, but it does give the artists an excuse to show off a stylized version of the world. It also gives you the chance to tame a tiger spirit.

Far Cry 4 may not be breaking any new ground, but after playing for a few hours, it certainly holds plenty of appeal. The game seems to be focusing on all of the elements that made Far Cry 3 a success, and there's nothing wrong with that. We'll have a full review of the game later this month.



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