Wot I Think: Far Cry 4

You can crouch on vehicles and not be slid off by physics glitches! 10/10, 100%.

Far Cry 4 is a funhouse mirror. I love pointing it in in different directions and seeing the way its design reflects the videogames around it. Angle it one way and the first thing you’ll see in its reflection the only slightly distorted visage of its predecessor, as Far Cry 3’s every idea turns formula: there’s an exotic setting; an extravagant and verbose villain; crafting by way of animal hunting; a mixture of linear campaign and dynamic missions. This sequel could be considered a lavishly made standalone expansion pack and, if you enjoyed the previous game as I did, its slavish devotion to existing structures is no bad thing.

Angle it over here however, to the far corner, and you’ll see in its curved surface a twisted take on everything the Elder Scrolls series has ever achieved, only with its Dungeons & Dragons influence shrunk bizarrely small. Far Cry 4 takes place in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat, and it’s a beautiful open world, hemmed-in by snowy mountains, in which you venture through forests, stumble upon secret caves, become wrapped-up in sidequests at the risk of ever doing the awful primary missions, and earn points to be spent towards skill progression with every little action you perform.

Despite its beauty and the density of activities, Kyrat feels nothing at all like an actual world, and its mechanics are more rooted in Doom than in any RPG. There are no conversation trees, and characters with names and personalities exist almost solely in closed rooms and cutscenes separate from the broader world. You might have two-dozen methods of dealing with any given situation, and your unlocked abilities might offer you new syringes to craft or a greater reserve of hitpoints, but your main mode of interaction is always from behind the barrel of a gun.

One of the game's least annoying quest givers. She's in it less than any of the others.

The most interesting place to point Far Cry 4’s twisted mirror however is towards that old RPS favourite – the immersive sim. Perhaps by accident Far Cry 4 is mainstream videogames’ take on the same design principles that underpin a Looking Glass game.

That’s best expressed by the game’s forts, which were also the best part of the last game. As you drive, sail, fly or wingsuit across the terrain, smoke stacks rise up above the horizon, each one marking a camp containing half a dozen buildings, at least half a dozen guards, and an alarm or two. The challenge is to clear all the people away and to claim the camp for the rebel army you’re fighting for, the Golden Path. You can approach these bubbles any way you want, and each of them is an unscripted puzzle.

Hurtling between destinations yesterday, I saw some smoke and decided on a whim to stop and take a look. There was a hill to the west on which I could see climbing points – prescribed areas where you can attach your grappling hook, one of the game’s new toys. While the attach points are prescribed, the rope itself is physically simulated and you can use it to swing, to kick off from the wall, and to attach to points while falling, wingsuiting, or leaping between surfaces.

How often does this happen exactly?

From atop the hill I get an overview of the situation. As in the previous game, your camera can be used to tag enemies on the map and confirm what type of threat they pose. I shuffle through the bushes, trying to cover every angle. I tag two snipers on different roofs, an armoured heavy carrying a flamethrower, a charger who’ll sprint towards your location while lobbing molotovs, two normal soldiers, and a caged bear. Next I switch to locating the alarms – enemies will use them to call in reinforcements should you be spotted, introducing new enemies and vehicles into the mix.

Each of these targets introduces some hard rule to the situation which I’ll have to bear in mind as I plan my attack. For example, I’ll want to disable the alarms first, which I can do by getting close to them or by shooting them. If I shoot them, an enemy might hear the shot or the bullet, or a guard on patrol might later notice that it’s broken. I can shoot a guard, but another will see the death or the body and start looking for me. If I can get close enough I can silently take down the guards with my knife and then hide the bodies, but being close puts me at greater risk of being spotted.

It’s a case of creating and closing problems for yourself, and attempting to do so in a manner which makes life easier – or more interesting.

I’ve come to this particular party with a silenced sniper rifle and so I decide to keep my distance. I take out the alarm and, as predicted, a nearby heavy hears the bullet strike and moves to investigate. Heavies require a headshot to take down in a single hit and if I miss I’ll only make things worse. I don’t miss.

The Shangri-La sections are very pretty but shit to play. You only need to do one.

Normally I’d now move in closer and use my bow and knife to take down the rest, aiming to remain undetected while capturing the whole camp. I’m feeling jaunty though, so I take aim at the bear cage and shoot open its door with my rifle. The bear should be able to take down two of the nearest soldiers before being killed, allowing me to easily mop up the panicked few remaining.

The bear bursts from the cage. The soldiers turn and ready their aim at it… and the bear ignores them. Instead, it’s sprinting in my direction. I’m up a hill, in some bushes, and none of the guards know I’m here. But this bear does.

I missed someone when tagging the guards earlier: a Hunter. Hunters are a new guard type who only remain tagged for a few seconds when seen, and when alive, they affect animals in a way that causes them to never attack guards and always attack you. They’re a neat new rule that changes the way you approach camps, not so much to make any old tactic useless, but enough that you need to always make sure there aren’t any in your vicinity before you let loose or lure in an animal.

Best stealth game ever.

The bear is closing the distance between us fast. My sniper rifle is already useless at this range, and the bow and arrow is too weak to take it out before it reaches me. I switch to my sidearm, which isn’t a pistol but a grenade launcher. Three shots and the bear falls just as it reaches me, but the downside is that everyone in the camp now knows I’m here. The upside? I’m already holding a grenade launcher. I finish the camp with a flurry of explosions.

I like to complete each camp stealthily, so being spotted in Far Cry normally prompted me to reload from a checkpoint. Here, I don’t need to – run to the extinguished campfire at the center of any captured camp and you can re-populate and re-play a fort over and over again, attempting to either better your performance or to complete the objective in some new way.

This is where Far Cry excels. These camps are systemic puzzles in an open world full of toys. Maybe you want to climb a higher mountain and wingsuit directly into the middle of the camp. Maybe you want to approach from a river on a boat, or swim down to find an underwater cave that loops up and inside. Maybe you want to hover above the camp in one of the new gyrocopters, dropping explosives down on the helpless guards below. Maybe you prefer your weapon loadout to be a flamethrower, a harpoon gun, an AK-47. Maybe you want to charge in on the back of an elephant. Maybe you want to chain these things together in a single, choreographed action movie assault. Maybe you want to do any one of these things, but then a passing armored truck disrupts your plans, or wild boars decide to butt you in the butt while you’re crouched in your hidey-hole.

Press F to become an impossibly fast and silent killing machine.

Far Cry offers consistent rules and predictable systems, and then challenges you to maintain control in a world desperate to tip into chaos. Whether you succeed or fail, it’s always fun and satisfying because you know the outcome is your fault, because you still have a lot of options, and because you can always run away or painlessly retry. These camps – and other similar activities like assassination, revenge and hostage missions – don’t take place in a believable world, and are obscured by both the game’s story and marketing, but together they form one of the most rewarding stealth games ever made.

Which is what I was thinking when I started playing the game in co-op. Far Cry 3 had an entirely separate co-op campaign which no one played, so Far Cry 4 instead lets two friends jump into the full open world together. All the singleplayer campaign missions – the awful ones I haven’t talked about yet – are blocked off, leaving only the camps and other dynamic activities. Eg., the best bits. It’s a right faff to get it working through uPlay: which of the two friends menus do I need to use? Why can’t I receive party invites when I’m already in game? Why can’t I invite specific friends to play with, instead of simply clicking a generic “Invite Friends” button?

But when you do stumble through the menus and get co-op functioning, it’s sublime. I like piloting the gyrocopter while my friend stands on its frame, using his camera to tag enemies on the ground. I like even more that I can pilot the gyrocopter while my friend dangles from its undercarriage on a rope. I like perching atop my usual hill with a sniper rifle in hand, calling out enemy positions and clearing a path for him to go in low and quiet with his knife. I like coordinating takedowns, counting down our shots over voice comms.

My friend is on the other side, throwing a body off a cliff.

I like that these are the pleasures of playing co-op in Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six: Vegas, except in that same open world toybox that makes the Far Cry 4 singleplayer so great.

Again, this gets lost among the cynicism over the Ubi-formula, the quick sequel, the trite cutscenes, but Far Cry 4 is a co-operative open world stealth game with consistent rules and predictable systems from which tense, chaotic, heroic and hilarious situations naturally arise. Let’s not be blasé; these things are amazing, still too rare, and on their own make Far Cry 4 a delight.

Which is why I’m talking about the game without explaining much of what would normally be considered its most basic details: who you are, why you’ve come to this place, who the baddies are, and what the plot is. Those things don’t matter. For the first time, there are hints that the game agrees they don’t matter.

Blissfully, Far Cry 4’s mirror never turns towards itself. Far Cry 3 was maligned for its colonialist storyline of a ‘white saviour’ being the hero for a native people, but also for its heavy-handed meta-commentary on the admittedly bizarre videogame power curve. While those efforts went some distance towards closing videogames’ essential strangeness – by, for example, having your castaway friends stand witness to the changes in you – it also felt like the game was attempting to have its cake and eat it, using stupid or offensive tropes without the real wit or clarity to skewer them, upend them, rise above them.

I'm about to miss this shot, improbably.

Far Cry 4 doesn’t so much aim to do better as to not do at all. The plot is paper thin. You are no longer a white saviour, as main character Ajay Ghale is native to Kyrat – albeit raised in America and returning as an adult for the first time with the aim of delivering his mother’s ashes. Gone is Jason’s self-entitled dialogue; gone are his douchebaggy friends; gone are at least some of the links between plot progression and skill progression. After a too-long, unskippable, unpausable cutscene that introduces the world, your character and flamboyant moustache-twirler Pagan Min, it’s only a short hop and a skip to the big wide world.

From there, the game moves at double speed. Here is the obstacle: the site to which your mother requested her ashes be taken is behind enemy lines, as the country is in a decades-long civil war between Min’s forces and the Golden Path, a rebel army founded by your long-dead father. Here is Ajay’s immediately jumped-to solution: by joining the rebel army, murdering thousands, scaling radio towers, doing oddjobs and singlehandedly turning the tide of a war, you can make your dead Mum’s wish come true. Ajay never states this as his intent. He never really states any particular long-term goal. He simply volunteers to do things on a whim, and no one around him flinches. Within 45 minutes of beginning the game I was doing a favour for an old lady, as a favour to a young lady, which involved crawling through a cave and firing arrows at explosive barrels in order to kill wolves which were disrupting a pig farm. It’s fitting that Far Cry 2 director Clint Hocking is responsible for coining the phrase ‘ludonarrative dissonance’ to describe situations where game mechanics and story seem to pull in opposite directions, because Far Cry 4 is basically Ludonarrative Dissonance: The Game.

Importantly though, who cares. I am glad that there are games that strive for cohesion and offer richly detailed worlds, but it’s unlikely that I’m ever going to care about the plot of a Far Cry game. What the series loses by jettisoning that impulse to justify, it makes up for by being inoffensively forgettable. I don’t hate Ajay like I hated Jason, because he’s just an empty shell. My slight curiosity over why he doesn’t simply say, “Sod this, I’ll scatter my ma in a nice park” is overwhelmed by my desire not to be bothered.

This man fights for Pagan Min. Why? No one cares.

That’s a desire made all the stronger by the activities in the campaign missions being by far the weakest parts of the game. These sometimes take part in siloed areas of the open world and sometimes in separate, high mountain locations and in either case they tend to shove you in a wide corridor and constrain your abilities in some way by triggering failstates if you’re spotted, or removing some of your weapons. In doing so, these missions curtail some of the tactics you’ll have learned and come to prefer in the rest of the game. That’s frustrating in itself, but my real problem is that I don’t think Far Cry’s systems work well when confined.

If you’re spotted under normal circumstances in Far Cry 4, you have a range of options to deal with the chaos. Number one is running away entirely, number two is relocating and approaching from a completely different position, number three is finding a vehicle that tips the balance of the fight. Those options aren’t just nice to have, they’re essential because enemies have been designed with the player’s powerful toolset in mind. In the campaign meanwhile, you’ll be railroaded into a narrow mountain pass. There’ll be a high road and a low road, but no vehicles, no option to run away, no ability to wingsuit off the mountain. Death means restarting from a too-distant checkpoint and there is no mid-mission save, while being spotted means you’re immediately exposed to every guard in the entire region, some of whom have mounted machineguns, some of whom are snipers, some of whom have rocket launchers.

The result is a game in which you stealth your way by six enemies, get spotted – sometimes because the enemies have been made artificially more powerful in ways not communicated – and then find yourself almost immediately blown up, knocked to the ground, and shot to death.

Both sides completely dead. This is what me helping looks like.

On other missions, like an airfield defense, your reward for stealthily completing a section is a subsequent section where you’re forced to engage in all-out combat. Did you come kitted out in your favourite stealth gear? Then you better loot a body for a rattly machinegun fast, because now you need to play Call of Duty for a bit, dealing simultaneously with mortar fire, heavy-turret trucks, a dozen enemies or, worst of all, lame set-pieces where your wingsuit needs to be used to fly a fixed canyon route or a snowmobile must be used to jump a bridge. These moments feel pathetic and miserable next to an open world that habitually and authentically presents the same situations in ways you can control.

Do these alternately frustrating and boring missions harm Far Cry 4’s greater strengths? Unfortunately, yes. Your geographic progression is linked to these story missions, and if you want to unlock the northern half of Kyrat – with its second batch of dynamic, emergent fun – then you need to play through more than two-thirds of the dreadful missions and dull plot. It’s nice that skills, like all those knife takedowns, are now only tied to side missions, but it’s time for the series to finally put the pretense of linearity away and embrace an open world where you can ignore the main plotline entirely. Make me an anonymous prisoner in a foreign and strange land; I won’t complain that it’s derivative.

This guy has two people about to kill him, and doesn't know it.

In almost every other way, Far Cry 4 is almost too eager to make sure you’re having fun. You’ll find that gyrocopter within a couple of hours of play, and the game is perfectly happy for you to use it as I did, as an easy shortcut for reaching the top of radio towers, taking down camps and fortresses, and for speeding between every mission. I found the wingsuit – locked until after the halfway point in Far Cry 3 – on a bench about three hours in to Far Cry 4. It’s up to you how much you want to use these powers, and I still prefer the feeling of off-road driving across the world than flying or fast travelling, but crafting at least is made almost worthless by the urgency with which it makes you powerful. While in Far Cry 3 I went hunting animals specifically in order to craft that bigger bag and be able to carry more things, here I never felt the need. I often run out of money, but I don’t need money anymore except for ammo. I often run out of space for loot, but I don’t need space for loot except to have items to sell – which I don’t need to do because I don’t need money, and so on.

Far Cry is a series still struggling with that balance, between offering you the freedom to do what you want while enforcing the limitations to make what you want meaningful. I think it’s also only a game away from needing a gritty, Bond-style reboot back to its Far Cry 2 roots.

But the faults aren’t what matters to me. Look beyond the campaign and Far Cry 4 is a razzle dazzle mainstream take on game design defined by being systemic, player-driven, always first-person, and with no fail states bar death. Looking Glass would be proud, and now that I’ve unlocked all its pleasures, the final thing reflected in Far Cry 4’s funhouse mirror is my dumb, grinning face.

100 Comments

  1. McCrank says:

    Hummm… Some of that checkpoint/lack of save and difficulty spike stuff sounds downright scary…I enjoyed FC3 for the 10 or so hours I put into it, but I had enough of the repetitive outpost attack and tower climbing. I may wait on this one…

    • khomotso says:

      Someone’s bound to mod or come up with a cheat that unlocks the whole map without you having to advance the campaign, no? Might be worth holding out for that, too. A bargain bin purchase of an unlocked map sounds like my sweet spot, and level of interest in this title, so I’m also in no hurry.

      • babymoses says:

        You can buy all the location maps. At least I did, because I was drowning in money and there was nothing else to buy.

    • w0bbl3r says:

      The towers aren’t so bad this time I though. Still annoying to have to unlock the map this way, but they are better than in FC3.
      The camps are MUCH better this time. A lot of variety in size, shape, enemy types and surrounding terrain makes each one quite different, especially the big forts.
      This is, by far, the best far cry game ever made. And I say this as huge fan of the original (which I just recently started playing again, for the first time in about 8 years)
      No other game can let you hunt a boar with a bow, have an eagle steal the boar before you manage to kill it, shoot the boar from the eagles talons in the air, grab the carcass on the ground and skin it, only to have the eagle then get pissed and attack you for stealing its lunch. Then to move on to wing-suit gliding into an enemy camp, smashing open a tiger cage, watching the tiger kill all the guards, then finishing off the tiger, skinning it and riding away peacefully on the back of an elephant.
      This happened to me yesterday. All those things happened in less than 20 minutes. And the game is chock full of this kind of random hilarity and insanely fun gameplay.
      Sure, some of the slightly annoying things are back from FC3. But most have been changed for the better. The only thing I found better in FC3 was the skill tree. I don’t like the new skill tree much at all.
      Other than that it is a huge improvement in every way.
      Game of the year for me, definitely. And that’s after playing and loving shadow of mordor AND alien isolation.

    • Zekiel says:

      I think if you didn’t like the outpost attack bits of FC3 then you should definitely steer clear – most people seemed to think they were the best bits. (I agreed)

  2. Freud says:

    RPS made Far Cry 3 their game of the year while I found it underwhelming and repetitive. Grinding to kill animals for pointless crafting and checking off icons you don’t even stumble upon.

    I’m not sure I can trust your view on FC4 if you were that high on FC3.

    • Baboonanza says:

      I agree completely, I was shocked by RPS choice and could only put it down to the fact it was released so close to the time the time the Calendar was decided.

      Far Cry 3 was an enjoyable but ultimately shallow experience calculated to give the recipient just the right sort of pleasure without showing them anything new or exciting. Like a reasonably priced hooker (sorry).

      I can’t work up any enthusiasm for more of the same frankly, certainly not enough to put up with UPlay.

      • Rich says:

        Conversely, I’m playing it for the first time right now and I’m enjoying it more than I have any game in a very long time.

        • Baboonanza says:

          That’s the thing, I did mostly enjoy it. But I felt dsifferently after I had finished it and came away with few memorable experiences and a feeling like I’ve just done something completely meaningless.

    • KenTWOu says:

      I found it underwhelming and repetitive.

      It depends on player creativity.

      • Freud says:

        I didn’t take many hours for Far Cry 3 to empty it’s bag of tricks. Yes, you can take over outposts through stealth, force or chaos. After that it was same old same old. By the time I came to the second island I was sick and tired of the game and rushed through icons to finish the main story line. I was more creative in 30 minutes of Just Cause 2 because it gave me the tools to have fun, than I was in Far Cry 3.

        I wanted to like FC3 but it was so shallow and so cynically designed around reward systems instead of fun.

        • KenTWOu says:

          Just Cause 2 is way too big and that’s one of the main reasons why I think even Far Cry 2 has a better fun density. And there are enough tools to have fun in Far Cry 3 and more than enough in Far Cry 4.

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      The crafting is less of a focus, but if you disliked Far Cry 3 there’s little chance Far Cry 4 will convince you.

      • DXN says:

        WHAT!!!! How is… what is that man doing in that small box! Where did the monsters go!? I’m distressed and confused now!

        • Gap Gen says:

          The monsters caught him and are going to eat him! Oh no!

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          Man was the real monster all along.

          • Gap Gen says:

            And would have remained undetected were it not for the meddling DXN.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        What if I loved Far Cry 2 but mildly disliked Far Cry 3? There are millions of us!

    • Howard says:

      FWIW, I loved the *idea* of Far Cry 3 but utterly *loathed* the reality of it. The main quest and its childish, pathetic writing and utter lack of player agency were the worst things for me, but I just hated the hollowness of the world and the general feel of it as a shooter.
      With that in mind, I have genuinely enjoyed my first run through of Far Cry 4. Sure, it is still LITTERED with bugs and shitty design, but like Skyrim et al before it, there is so much going on , I can take some issues in my stride.
      The main mission is far better put together and not overly restrictive, but the main draw for me was Pagan Min himself. His cutscene stuff and radio chatter had me genuinely laughing out loud. Main mission wise, there are only 3 points in the whole game that really got on my nerves, pointed were they do the old tropes of drugging you up to wander through a dream world or fall back to the worst FPS trope and take all your gear from you, but even these (utterly fucking annoying) points are over with quickly and you are left to your own devices.

      TL;DR? It may look, dance and giggle like FC3, but FC4 is a far better type of animal.

  3. Kobest says:

    I have a feeling that if they made this to be a stand alone expansion, it would have easily become an even bigger hit.

    By the way, does it still have performance issues where people would get FPS drops during traveling?

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      I didn’t experience performance problems, but they do seem to persist for others. John was having some bother with it today, for example.

      I had no technical issues bar it initially not running when my HOTAS flight stick was plugged in.

      • Kobest says:

        Nice, thanks for responding! Might give this one a go.

        • Howard says:

          There is currently a known issue with Nvidia cards and certain light/shadow rendering that means you get huge projected shadows that dash around after you, but other than that, this game has run flawlessly for me (quad core 4.4 g, 8 gig ram, superclocked 970, decent SSD)

  4. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    Just before I read this,

    Pic 1.

    Is that a Škorpion with a suppressor and a scope?! Oh Ubi you crazy cats you :D

  5. Monggerel says:

    Ah yes, Ajay Ghale performing the famous “Skorpion Driver”, a dark and ancient dance routine well feared for its hypnotic properties. Only the most willful or the most foolish could hope to withstand its mesmerizing influence.

    Ubisoft should really be more careful with the inclusion of vague and mysterious foreign “influences”.
    *spikes microphone into the ground*
    *ground catches fire*
    *fire catches sky*
    *all is lost*
    *all is lost*

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      I don’t understand what you are trying to say. But I have to tell you that I found your ending part to be very fascinating and stylish.

  6. jonahcutter says:

    I’m finally playing through Far Cry 2 (with Dylan’s Mod) and as obnoxious as things like the checkpoints still are, it made me realize how much I appreciated just being able to buy my upgrades. And thus how much I hated the hunting and crafting in Far Cry 3.

    I like the animals running around and the emergent chaos they help create, but I just can’t stand having to do hunting quests for skins for upgrades. It sounds like FC4 may not push it as much, but I’d still love if you could just buy the upgrades you want with money earned from missions, fort takedowns, etc. I want to be able to upgrade my kit, but not have to spend a bunch of time hunting animals to do it.

    • Rakombo says:

      All the games in the series have unnecessary annoyances,FC2 is probably still the biggest offender but FC3 has enough of them too. Having the crafting system would be ok if it was optional. I still remember how fun it was to stop whatever I was doing and go run around collecting flowers just so I could make the potions I wanted.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Yeah, I get that a lot of people do like the hunting, gathering and crafting. I don’t think they should remove it necessarily. But it’s not for me though. Not in an action-y fps anyway. In something more survival-based I’m fine with having to hunt for resources.

        It would be nice if FC5, 6, 7, whatever… made it optional. You can hunt and gather if you like, or just buy the upgrades at a store somewhere with mission-earned cash.

  7. Turin Turambar says:

    Far Cry 4 is a fun open world FPS, bigger and better than FC3 (thought not by that much, as it’s really FC3.5), but it has the problem of being too easy. Just go playing all the side missions and content you find and you will find yourself full chock of money and xp. Really, I was at 50% of the game when I had unused money and skill points. Even forgetting the badly planned progression, the difficulty is a bit too easy, hard mode is not that different of the second difficulty (of 5) of a Call of Duty game, putting a recognizable example. It isn’t like I’m a Dark Souls or Roguelike fan, but the game goes too far into power fantasy territory trivializing itself and making less fun than it could be.
    There are some other aspects that they could be better, like the game has new mission types (yay!) but several of them are underwhelming. Like Armed Escort, attack the convoy, or Take the supplies.

    • derbefrier says:

      Far Cry 3 was the same way concerning difficulty. I was hoping that would change in 4 or they would at least make the “hard” difficulty actually, you know, hard….

    • GameCat says:

      Really, I was at 50% of the game when I had unused money and skill points.

      At least there’s no room for “there’s a fun weapon/abillity for you, but too bad you will finish the game within next 10 minutes”.

    • horsemedic says:

      Thanks for the warning. To make FC3 even a remote challenge I had to forgo most upgrades, hack out the UI and never using my camera to avoid the OP, immersion-ruining tagging system.

      Relatedly, it’s really inexcusable for a reviewer to not at least mention the difficulty curve. RPS has some of the most well written and thorough reviews around, except I’ve stopped trusting them after being lured into buying Shadow of Mordor and D:OS because the reviewer forgot to mention that they have no more challenge than a Lego game.

  8. KenTWOu says:

    …but it’s time for the series to finally put the pretense of linearity away and embrace an open world where you can ignore the main plotline entirely.

    Far Cry 4 is a cross-gen game which was limited by X360/PS3 hardware. So the time hasn’t come yet.

    • Stevostin says:

      Hm, I am not sure you understood what he meant…

      • KenTWOu says:

        I understand what Graham is trying to say. He wants some kind of Fallout:NV approach to an open world game inside Far Cry framework. But it’s really hard to maintain that keeping FC game mechanics and systems. Especially when you’re developing a cross-gen game. The game uses lots of really important low level features like stealth AI, animals, fire propagation. And it’s a Ubisoft game, it doesn’t have ‘real’ exploration, you can’t find narratively meaningful NPCs/activities in its open world yourself. You need to unlock a tower first to open up an area and side quests, you need to finish mission A to get to mission B and ‘you’re leaving the mission area’ is still there. You can’t ignore the main plotline entirely in the game with the simple structure like that and the lack of persistence. And I think, even if they knew how to avoid that from the game design point of view, they weren’t able to do it anyway because of technical limitations. They need to redesign/improve lots of high/mid level stuff to completely embrace an open world. If Far Cry 5 will be a next-gen only title, will be restricted by PS4/XO unified memory, it will be appropriate to demand more from it: real exploration, some kind of nemesis system, etc… But right now Graham’s goal is too high for the game IMO.

        • P.Funk says:

          I think your interpretation is baffling and entirely of the mindset of justifying a paradigm for reasons unrelated to actual impasses involved in game design.

          FarCry so far has evolved to be an open world game that is held back by its plot. The open world game is there, its right in front of you and apparently while you claim its mechanics don’t work in an open world this reviewer specifically says he thinks the opposite, that the game’s strengths evaporate the moment the campaign missions arrive.

          So, what is the restriction? Is it technological? No. Is it design based? No. Whats the impasse? In my opinion its simple. The formula of big AAA title with cliche campaign is required because suits say its required. So they stick it in there and it sucks and everyone suffers through it so they can wing suit into the rest of the game.

          You’re right to some degree. Its a partly console game and console games are some of the most contrived over marketed crap in gaming, salve to suit-think. I was watching TV last night and saw a FarCry4 commercial. It actually attempted to sell me the game via the main character’s story. I knew that was not going to be the meat and potatoes of what made it good.

          So its held back and we don’t need a revolution in game design to release it. You just need to not have the check box sitting there on the sheet handed out by the publisher that says “Single Player progression locked campaign”.

          • KenTWOu says:

            while you claim its mechanics don’t work in an open world…

            What? No, I didn’t mean that. What I meant is to fully embrace open world the game needs new hardware-demanding game mechanics on top of already existed hardware-demanding mechanics. It’s a first person shooter with sophisticated interconnected systems and relatively high graphical fidelity. It’s the game where you can set grass on fire, effectively sneak up on enemies, destroy vehicles and stuff. It’s almost impossible to add something like, let’s say, Radiant AI to its formula and fit it in X360/PS3 limitations. You need to scale back everything else to achieve that.

            So, what is the restriction? Is it technological? No. Is it design based? No.

            Yes and yes. If that wasn’t an issue almost every open world game will be as systemic/dynamic as Shadow of Mordor on next gen consoles and PC. Meanwhile Shadow of Mordor is seriously scaled back and works awful on old-gen hardware, despite it’s a third person view game. It’s hard to achieve commercial and critical success when your game performs so bad.

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            But the game already does what you describe. It already has missions in which you do stuff in the open world where grass can be set on fire and so on. The problem that Graham describes is that those missions don’t advance the plot. You could remove all the main missions and tie the plot to the sidequests and you’d effectively address Graham’s complaint, and end up with a game that runs on old consoles just as well (since it’s the same game with less stuff.) I also find your claim that this is a hardware issue to be absolutely baffling.

          • P.Funk says:

            Ken, just tell me what the limitation is on having the game literally just all the bits that aren’t the ones in the crappy campaign missions? Nobody can tell me that a game like GTA can’t function as an open world game, because it does. You still unlock islands through the single player missions but the entire open world can be enjoyed without it. You can cheat to unlock the islands and the game somehow still works.

            What you insist must happen doesn’t make sense. It might not be a fully realized vision owing to some technological limitations but at this point we’re just saying “don’t block access to the stuff in there that we like in the open world by making us do dreary missions that we can’t get through fast enough”.

            Thats it, keep existing content and don’t firewall it behind content that sucks. There is no design limitation preventing this. This is entirely because they chose to make a crummy single player linear experience.

    • BreadBitten says:

      Just Cause 2 did exactly that with last-gen hardware.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Just Cause 2 didn’t do what Far Cry 3 or 4 did with exactly the same hardware.

  9. Stevostin says:

    “it’s time for the series to finally put the pretense of linearity away and embrace an open world where you can ignore the main plotline entirely.”

    This, exactly. And I hope Bethesda reads that bit too.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Bethesda doesn’t need to read that; that’s been true of their games for awhile. You’ll generally have 20 -45 mins of linear tutorial dungeon before the game opens up and you’re entirely free to ignore the main plotline with very little, if anything, gated behind completing main quest stories.

      The main quest is there if you want it, but it definitely doesn’t force it on you, and why would you begrudge it existing for those who do want it?

    • padger says:

      Yep. Yep.

      Also see: yep.

    • Razumen says:

      Um, every game from Morrowind on has been like that, you can sod off and do whatever you like for as long as you want. Bethesda’s games have a lot of faults, but linearity isn’t one of them.

      • SubmarineRocket says:

        From Arena onwards, actually. It’s always been open-world after a short introductory period.

  10. Zodiac says:

    To be honest, the more I think about the joke ending and the good ending, the more I feel like this was the point they were trying to make, that games right now are all about sacrificing consistency between gameplay and story for the sake of either one or the other. That last remark by Pagan Min at the end of the game seems a really good jab at the whole game and how you’ve played it: nobody forces you to actually do anything along the lines of cheerful and gratuitous massacre, and you can scatter the ashes of your mother without shooting a single bullet. Of course, that wouldn’t be fun, but isn’t that the entire crux of the question? You’re given a way to achieve almost instantly what is the supposed ultimate goal of the protagonist, and by reflex, yours. But you couldn’t care less about a fictional dead mother and her fictional ashes, so it is actually just an excuse. But for whom? For Ajay to partake in constant and stylish massacre? Ajay Ghale doesn’t exist, he’s a fictional character, but you, as the player, do. You’re the one that chose to kill your way through Kyrat, to care nothing for the ashes, to just blow everything to bits. I don’t think neither Far Cry 3 or 4 were about deconstructing the white saviour trope or the power-levelling in videogame, but rather a pretty clear parable of the fps player. There is a complete detachment of your moral sense when you play a videogame like Far Cry, where you’re given freedom to kill, maim and destroy in a thousand different and flamboyant ways, yet you lament that normal people like Ajay or jason don’t bat an eye after a couple of hours on Rook Island or Kyrat. But they aren’t actually agents in the game, like Vaas, or Amita or Pagan Min, fictional characters yes, but also things you can interact meaningfully. You don’t interact with Jason or Ajay, you are Jason or Ajay. Every decision they make is your own. If you guys notice, whenever this topic comes up, the writer of the article never refers to himself as the one who actually did those reprehensible things in the game, it’s always the fictional persona they are impersonating: Ajay did this, Franklin from GTA V did that, and so on. But if you booted GTA V and didn’t press a single button, Frankling wouldn’t a single thing, because he isn’t capable of acting. He’s just a persona, he’s fictional, however tangible he may be, just like a theatre mask is completely inert until donned by an actor and used BY that actor.

    So when Pagan Min tells you that you’ve been using the ashes as an excuse to do whatever you wanted, he isn’t talking to Ajay the persona, he’s talking to you, the player. The game is giving you a way to actually scatter the ashes and beat the game in the first five minutes, without killing anyone, but you chose to use that as an excuse to do whatever you wanted in the Far Cry sandbox, effectively detaching your own sense of responsibility in the process, and the game is mocking you for that. You refuse to “take responsibility” (if you will) for your own, albeit virtual, bloodlust and you blame the supposed paper-thin story.

    • Monggerel says:

      But I never cared for the excuse of a story. I’d skip all the cutscenes if I could, honest. But this fucking game won’t even let me. Even AssCreed wised up to that at some point I think. So did Blood Dragon. But the game that tries and makes a limping fucking point about the ludicrousness of even including a narrative doesn’fucking’t let you ignore that fucking narrative, unless you just leave the computer running to go make some fucking tea, as I fucking did. And subsequently found out about the secret ending, hur-ray.

    • Rakombo says:

      That is some spec ops the line shit right there. The plot IS paper thin though and if the designers of games want me to actually care about their story maybe they should actually put some effort into it. The plot of this game consists of 99% stupidity and 1% narrative about games and the people that play them.

      • El_Emmental says:

        Wow, so you want an AAA game, but don’t want it to make enough money to recoup its development cost and keep the studio afloat?

        If you want a game focusing on a “good” story, just play one of the bazillion low-budget indie games (most of oblique/perspective projection) that nobody ever want to play because “omg it looks like shit”.

        Far Cry 3 and 4 are doing an extremely difficult balancing act, where they have to please and entertain the most superficial audience (who’s only there for the spectacular explosions and “cool” impressive scenes), while not being a completely empty and “dumb” game.

        If you were to walk in Ubisoft Montreal studio, put 20 millions of dollars (because that is the real total cost of an AAA game development) on the table without asking for a single dime back (unlike investors who want at least 25 millions out of it), and ask them to make an AAA game with a good story, then yes finally your story wouldn’t be hidden behind all the explosions and action movie plot.

        NB: the following section is not directed at one person in particular, it is simply the sum of all frustration I stockpiled while reading comments about nearly all AAA games in the last few years or so. So it’s not just about Rakombo, it’s about all the similar comments.

        People act all outraged at shitty plots and how the game’s story looks like on the superficial level, but they forget they’re not paying $500 for that game. You really can *not* have an AAA production quality *and* keep the price at $50-$60 per copy, unless you want a studio to burn 20M of cash just because they’re that nice. Please tell that to the 100+ developers with a straight face, how they should work for free, for “art” or gaming or whatever that may justify throwing away your entire bank balance and life for a single game that might not even be recognized by the audience (like so many forgotten titles).

        And it’s the exact same with movies, music or any product related to the entertainment industry: at the end of the day you have to live decently from your work, to pay the bills and not constantly have to worry about the rent or the car repairs. Having to squat in abandoned buildings, steal electricity from the neighbors, and going out in the freezing winter for the soupline, is not something we should believe to be normal whenever entertainment or art is involved.

        Beyond the stupid idea that “it’s ok doing art is cooool, unlike my boring daily job”, beyond the stereotype of the clueless young adult who refuses to grow up and go back to childhood activities (while branding it as “art”), entertainment is a freaking job that requires actual skills and hundreds of hours of work to achieve quality.

        Especially for video games: all these developers could just leave the VG industry and work in other IT fields (for the programmers) and entertainment/marketing fields (for the non-coding devs): they would earn more money while working less hours, in better working conditions. They’re still working on video games, with all the crunching, unpaid overtime, unpaid bonuses – not because they’re angsty adult teenagers trying to be a kid one last time like way too much indie developers (I’m sorry but that’s a reality, even if I understand the reason behind that) – they’re still in video games because they believe they can create something great with their skills, something they can be proud of, something that can be a tiny little more than just dumb entertainment, even if it’s only visible to 1% of their audience.

        So please be realistic for a minute and accept the fact that games don’t grow on trees – if it doesn’t sell, they’re all in debts and unemployed, while you the consumer can just shop for your entertainment at another studio, like if nothing happened.

        • Rakombo says:

          First let me start by saying this: What the fuck does any of this has to do with my comment? You understand that when you read a REPLY you have to take into account the original comment, without that context it loses it’s meaning.

          With that out of the way let us proceed with your comment. You really think that the thing that will cost the most is hiring competent writers? I think Rockstar would disagree, I think it’s reasonable to assume that many of their sales come from people that just want to do drive bys on hookers but for whatever reason they still deliver an interesting story with every game they release.

          “Far Cry 3 and 4 are doing an extremely difficult balancing act, where they have to please and entertain the most superficial audience (who’s only there for the spectacular explosions and “cool” impressive scenes), while not being a completely empty and “dumb” game.” Do you really believe that? Personally I don’t think it even tries but if it does it fails miserably. Ubi’s biggest IP is one of the most unchanging franchises in the business, Assassin’s Creed received criticism for it’s poor combat since the first game but it took them 6 games to TRY and fix it, they aren’t trying to do anything, they are willing to stick with something that is obviously subpar as long as it sells.

          Your last four paragraphs you go on a rant about the poor people that work in game development, You go as far as saying: “Beyond the stupid idea that “it’s ok doing art is cooool, unlike my boring daily job”, beyond the stereotype of the clueless young adult who refuses to grow up and go back to childhood activities (while branding it as “art”), entertainment is a freaking job that requires actual skills and hundreds of hours of work to achieve quality.” Story is part of the product they are trying to sell so why the fuck it isn’t fair to judge that as well? It is part of the product and it is of low quality so it brings the quality of the product down,I think that is quite reasonable, it has nothing to do with art.

          Finally about being realistic. The reality is there is a story and it’s fucking stupid. Things aren’t judged by how hard it was to make or how easy, they are judged by the end result, giving excuses or explanations for why something is bad doesn’t change the fact that it is bad.

          P.S. If making a good story is such an expensive and unrealistic task they can at least include a fucking skip button.

    • Gap Gen says:

      This was kinda a theme in Far Cry 2, too – your effect is entirely negative, and mission choices are between very bad or just bad.

    • picollo7 says:

      I played this for a little bit, and then stopped. The game is not compelling. I played FC3 all the way through and had fun, just cruisin around, base jumping, 4wheeling, jetskiing. FC4 feels like a chore. Go do all those things that are fun! Look, you can ride an elephant! You get a gyrocopter! But then the gyocopter stalls out because the devs want you to climb to that location. So I still get invisible walls. And I’m tired of waiting 10 seconds for him to skin an animal and go ugh, or pat down a corpse, or open a chest. Just give me the bling and don’t make me watch the stupid animation for the gillionth time.

      You know what game I want to play? The joke ending game. Side with Pagin, fuck shit up, kill the rebel scum. I hope they make that DLC, or FC4-2. You’re an open world terror regardless of which side you’re on. The Pagin side is at least honest about it.

  11. BreadBitten says:

    “Ludonarrative Dissonance” — I thought we were over discussing this pointless issue, or was that just blissfully ignorant ol’ me?

    • Monggerel says:

      It’s called “Vaulting the Grave” now, according to Joel Goodwin.
      I personally prefer the much more straightforward “When what you actually do as an action in a game makes no sense in light of what someone, somewhere thought was a story”.

      • P.Funk says:

        You prefer to use a whole sentence of words over a 2 word phrase?

        • Monggerel says:

          Mmmmmmaybe.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          There are people who say ‘ludonarrative dissonance’ is bad because it’s elitist. Those people usually write stuff along the lines of ‘I hate to talk about ludonarrative dissonance because it’s a stupid thing, but in this game *giant post about ludonarrative dissonance*’

          If using trope-speak is what will take for them to admit it is a thing that exists, let it be so.

          Also, what’s wrong with using a three-word sentence instead of a two-word expression? Especially when one of the three words is ‘the’? Are you actually arguing that a three-syllable, thirteen-letter expression is harder to use than a nine-syllable, twenty-four letter expression because it has one more space?

          • P.Funk says:

            No, I was referring to his admission that he preferred a sentence that was too many syllables long for me to care to count. He was basically saying that he’d prefer to describe the meaning of a phrase than use a phrase, be it the two or three word one.

            I think treating genre specific terminology as elitist is odd since any legitimate form of media or art has such things. I think gaming suffers from a lack of academic sophistication. If one were to analyze a work in literature you’d use terms similar to ludonarrative dissonance. In gaming apparently we balk at such terms.

            If you can give me a legitimate reason to think ludonarrative dissonance is stupid I’m open to it. I’m not overly familiar with any controversy over it. Do people just not like the fact that it sounds academic?

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      You can still use it, but the rule now is that you have to take a drink after every time you say or type it.

      • BreadBitten says:

        Shit, my religion prohibits me from consuming alcohol…

    • Zekiel says:

      I’m genuinely interested – why is this a pointless issue? Is it just because its been discussed to death?

  12. Slice says:

    I want you to play the map I made in Far Cry 4!
    I love taking the outposts too as in FC3, but what surprised me was how fun it is to use the map editor. I’ve never created a video game level in my life, but the editor makes it pretty simple and enjoyable. I noticed that most of the additional maps are in rural settings and I wanted a more urban one, so by golly I made one. Playtesting it I have to say it’s pretty good, and I think you fellow RPS folk might enjoy it too as a change of pace. It’s called “Gunfire in town!” (The editor doesn’t allow any explanatory text for a map, so the title hints at how you start the level hunting in the forest, but want to get to town immediately.)

    If you like it let me know here or offer feedback and add it to your favorites list after playing it. RPS folks supporting RPS folks. Yay!

    • padger says:

      Sounds like a job for the RPS forum community portal place thing.

  13. silentdan says:

    I started up FC4 last night, and the first hour of the game is just unbearable. I spent a lot of time with the game muted, reading a book, waiting for a moment when I, the player, am needed. Fun fact: that part where you have to sprint to a car, and shoot pursuers from the passenger seat? You don’t have to do beans. You’ll succeed without firing a shot. I think the latest CoD made me a bit oversensitive to this, because that thing is just a movie that stops in places if you don’t push the proscribed button. I ended up just shutting FC4 down for an hour of Mount and Blade instead.

    Tonight, I’ll come back to it, and wade through the rest of the dreadful lead-in, where it assumes I’ve never played one of Ubi’s cookie-cutter-identical games before. I’ll do this for the same reason I play most of the AC games, and the reason I played a little bit of Watchdogs: I’m just a sucker for taking over outposts. I buy Ubi games for the outposts. To me, they’re not Ubisoft, they’re OutpostSoft. They put outposts in everything, bless them, but I’d really appreciate it if they had a button for skipping the campaign. I couldn’t care less about the so-called “plot.” I just wanna wait for an elephant to wander near an outpost, launch an angry badger at the elephant, laugh myself silly, and kill the survivors. Is that too much to ask? For single-player, apparently it is, but it sounds like co-op mode does exactly that, so maybe I’ll try roping in a friend.

    Seriously, though, if you’re just about to start up FC4 for the first time, steel yourself for the impending awful, and have a book handy.

    • DrollRemark says:

      Oh man. I only started playing Far Cry 3 a few weeks ago, and thanks to an issue with my graphics card (and the UPlay overlay settings), it would never get more than a few minutes into the intro section before crashing. And Ubisoft, in their ineffable wisdom, decided to not let me (a) skip the intro movie, (b) skip the whole damn tutorial section, (c) save wherever and whenever I wanted, or (d) put some god damn checkpoint saves in that intro. I got so sick of that tiresome, unskippable sequence quickly.

      What is the point in having a difficulty setting that’s captioned something like “I have played FPS games before and want a challenge”, and NOT letting people just get straight into the action?

    • 6double5321 says:

      Thank you for this post. This is something I wish reviewers would note, because it drives me nuts. I remember screaming at my monitor during the first 45 minutes of Max Payne 3, ” Can I play???” I eventually uninstalled out of frustration. I have very little patience when it comes to scripted events in a game. If I want to watch an animated movie, I’ll watch a damn animated movie.

      At any rate, count me among those baffled by RPS’s continual lovefest with Far Cry 3 and 4. Now that the commenters here have told me 4 is the same as 3, I’ll pass. I made it to about the 12th outpost in FC3 before I got that sinking feeling of, oh, so that’s all there is?

  14. padger says:

    STOP THE GAMES, I CAN’T PLAY THEM FAST ENOUGH.

    • Kerr Avon says:

      Hehe I know what you mean.. but NO!!!! Hang in there. Just one more with “Cry” in the title that should be with us within the next 48 hours… RAVEN’S CRY!!!! Yes, the “pirate simulator” we’ve been waiting years for since Akella’s Sea Dogs and Pirates of the Caribbean set the scene. Once we have Raven’s Cry, that’s it, stop the games! No need for anything else (besides Elite: Dangerous in December) :)

  15. SubmarineRocket says:

    How many enemies do you encounter during the course of a session? I ask because one of my biggest problems with FC3 (aside from its not being FC2) is that it was so difficult to find a good firefight. Enemy patrols consisted of a grand total of two men, they couldn’t call in reinforcements outside outposts, and even outposts only had 5, maybe 10 guards inside them? The game lost the frenetic power and urgency of FC2 because the firefights never evolved into skirmishes.

    Now I play FC3 with the Gyga Island mod and it makes things exactly as they should be; the island really is occupied by a large enemy force, it really is dangerous to travel (multiple patrol squads are within earshot of each other and can be reinforced), and attacking an outpost noisily calls down 40-60 enemies and mounted guns on your head. It’s great!

    • Cinek says:

      ” I ask because one of my biggest problems with FC3 (aside from its not being FC2) is that it was so difficult to find a good firefight. ” – it’s identical in FC4. If you want a firefight you need to go into the camp (“follow the smoke!”) but even there you won’t have too many opponents. There are some fortresses – new thing – that got more opponents, but even there it’s nothing I would call “crowd”..

      • Csirke says:

        “If you want a firefight you need to go into the camp”

        Weeeell, I wouldn’t say that. If you stick to the roads, you’ll probably meet enemy cars and patrols, especially in enemy territory. There’s the Pagan’s Wrath convoys that you can accidentally run into, and are pretty tough to take down without preparation. (Okay, if you always carry rocket and grenade launchers, they are not hard.) Of course, you can always run away, and they won’t follow you too far. And there are the karma missions, for example sometimes when you are approaching one of your outposts you’ve already taken, there’ll be an assault on it by enemy forces, and you can repel them for karma points.

        The density is similar to Far Cry 3, it’s still easy to take on everyone nearby in a firefight most times, but these, especially the karma missions, do make the world feel more alive and occupied.

  16. CookPassBabtridge says:

    oh its out now is it ok dear thats nice maybe it will come up in the sales wait and see maybe father christmas will buy it for you oh look eastenders is on go make a cup of tea theres a dear

  17. SuicideKing says:

    FC3 coop was horrible. Each mission was far too long, and you’d always start from the very beginning if you had to wind up the session mid-mission. Also Uplay.

  18. merbert says:

    This is a terrific review Graham, really enjoyed the balanced approach you took in your wording and observations….probably won’t bother my hole playing the game, but thoroughly enjoyed the review of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      Thanks! I appreciate that.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Yes, pretty dang good review. And it did leave me knowing that I probably wouldn’t want to play the game, even for free. It sounds just awful. The parts Graham liked were things I wouldn’t care for, and the parts he didn’t like were things I’d hate.

      The Far Cry series just isn’t for me, apparently, but it is good to know it in advance, so I don’t waste my moolah.

  19. Davidsve says:

    Having played a couple of hours of FC4, I find it identical to its predecessor (to a degree that I’ve come to expect only from Ubisoft). If you want to play the same game again, i.e. take down forty outposts and climb fifty towers (truly tedious stuff), go ahead. I can’t muster the energy to do it. I’ve done it sooo many times already. It’s better than FC3 in many ways, which makes me wish I hadn’t played the predecessor, but that’s faint praise when you consider that Ubisoft is releasing the same game over and over. Cheerio!

  20. DarkLiberator says:

    The co-op is a blast. There’s some sync issues with it, but there’s nothing like charging into an enemy fortress while you and your buddy are on elephants firing grenade launchers at everything and everyone.

  21. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Good review which describes the strengths and weaknesses of the game well. One of the many things I like about RPS is the good writing which explains the appeal of games I’ll never play cause I’m not into that genre.

  22. jangove says:

    So, I’d love to like this game; I liked its predecessor, for all that there was to criticize. But I cannot… CANNOT complete the tutorial.

    As soon as I get to the rope climbing, the game just will not let me do it. Period. All the internet and tech support will tell me is to reset my controls to the default binding. But of course, I haven’t changed anything from said default binding. So, basically, I’m pretty enraged, since I cannot believe that I’m unique somehow in being unable to accomplish this, and yet… here I am. Having played the same damn tutorial six times now.

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      Change the controls from the default binding, then change then back to the default binding.

      I know nothing about this game but that is a solution I’ve found to work frightening often.

  23. Jakkar says:

    Just let me know when Blood Dragon 2 happens. That justified the third Far Cry’s existence.

    I found Far Cry 3 to be something like the American Pie/Scary Movie of gaming, and broke the disc in horror. Between that and Bioshock: Infinite, I lost any faith in RPS, and come here now only occasionally, and well armed.

    Am I the only person who finds the mass-slaughter of nicely animated/recorded endangered species for a wallet sort of.. creepy? With some dark humour, hurl those dead leopards at me, but the game didn’t seem to have any idea when it was trying to be serious.

    Blood Dragon seemed to be the satire FC3 pretended to be – like the developers who hated their own game were trying to make amends for the crime.

    • Jalan says:

      I’d be okay with Far Cry: Blood Rhino.

    • Davidsve says:

      Yeah, agreed. RPS’ praise of FC3 and BioShock Infinite really threw me off. Especially the latter.

      • padger says:

        You guys know different RPS writers have different opinions, right? Like all us readerfolk?

        Alec, for instance, thought Far Cry 3 was rubbish and slated it in the end of year round up when the rest of the RPS team loved it?

        And I am pretty sure Jim and John have said a number of times re how bad Binfinite is.

        There is no “RPS” opinion on anything, just writers and readers with different opinions on things. Figure that out, and you will have a better time.

        • Davidsve says:

          This is true. I’m aware some writers on this site disliked the aforementioned titles, though FC3 did get the Game of the Year award on RPS, and there was a lot of articles on Bioshock: Infinite, and most of them were positive. Either way, in my opinion, RPS is a refuge from hype and mainstream gaming, and I just hope it stays that way.

          • padger says:

            I hope so too. Seems like they’d be crazy to change a winning formula, anyway.

  24. Yargh says:

    The main things I took from this WIT are: I’d quite like to play Far Cry 4 and UPlay is still a broken pile of crap.

    Point two wins for now, as I’ve had terrible luck with UPlay pretty much since Assassin’s Creed (despite repeated hopeful purchases since then).

  25. ffordesoon says:

    Of all the things they could have kept from Far Cry 3, why in God’s name did they keep the unskippable cutscenes? Given how much Ubibullshit they strained out of this one in the name of putting the player first, it baffles me that every single time I start a new game, I have to watch the same cutscene – and I say this as someone who thinks FC4’s opening cutscene may be the best one in the series, and Pagan Min its best villain. But after I’ve seen it once, I get it. No matter how much I like your cutscene, shoving it in my face every single time I start a new game just makes me hate it. It’s no longer a fun bit of scene-setting, but a barrier to my enjoyment.

  26. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    your main mode of interaction is always from behind the barrel of a gun.

    That is the reason why I don’t really go for Far Cry games. Sure, shooting things can be fun, but if you provide a more detailed, realistic-looking world you don’t just pass by.. I just feel like I should be able to.. you know, talk to people. Barter, discuss, negotiate.

    It’s a bit like the uncanny-valley thing. Realistic graphics incur greater assumptions on what should be possible within a world than less realistic graphics (but the graphic style and the setting are also important). Therefore it jars more when such games don’t allow for those possibilities.

    • P.Funk says:

      I didn’t realize that shooting as the main feature of a First Person Shooter was unexpected. Though you’re right. Somehow I find shooters unsatisfying because my favourite action movies always involve a great deal of interacting verbally in addition to the gunplay. The various tools and options available to the protagonist in the film Commando for instance were well received. Even the ability to choose hand to hand as a means of dealing with an enemy didn’t preclude the use of dialogue to propel the story forward:

    • Csirke says:

      Yeah, I did feel that a few times. There was an article here on RPS about pointless interactions (like flushing a toilet), and I did feel those missing here.

      Like, I’d find a shrine in a cave, but the candles/bowls/incense are in disarray. It would’ve felt good to have a “hold E to clean up shrine”. But the only actions like this that you can take are the ones part of a collectible mission, the rest of this stuff is not interactive.

  27. Zanchito says:

    What I love in FC4, and did too in FC3 are the delicious evil characters and their actors (and the secondary characters too). Vaas and Pagan are a joy every time they speak, they are utterly nuts and scary (Pagan is unapologetically over the top, Vaas was actually beliveable as a murdering psychopath, really intimidating and scary). The missions themselves are something I have to endure to see what the writers and the actors have created.