A Ranger In Far Cry 4 – Part One: Bullet Dodging

How to approach Far Cry 4? Having loved so much about the previous entry into the sprawling series, there’s the temptation to just dive in and play like a kid at a swimming pool, but that’s already nicely covered by Graham’s review. So I need an angle. But what angle?

There are a few that immediately spring to mind. Try to play as a pacifist – not particularly feasible in a game that requires death for progression. Play as an animal conservationist? Cute, but limited interest. Travel everywhere by foot? That’s for someone far more patient than I. Then it was suddenly obvious: play as a ranger. (The very opposite of an animal conservationist.)

Far Cry 4 knows itself very well. It knows that while some will care about the story of this fictional land and your character’s role in its fate, the real reason most want to play is to drive cars to the tops of mountains, paraglide down, then set fire to a town. They want to unleash mayhem, see what happens if you lure a rhinoceros into an enemy encampment, or kill an eagle with a Molotov cocktail. (Within an hour of playing the game, I’d killed an eagle with a Molotov cocktail.)

So rather than wasting your time with dribs and drabs of new equipment, this time out vast amounts is thrown at you straight away. It’s a sand pit, and as such it would be madness to sit you in the sand and not give you any toys to play with. And a whole better kind of madness to give you so many toys that you can barely reach the sand.

But how about I try to roleplay within this? My default class choice in any RPG is ranger. Bow and arrow, sneaky-sneaky, ideally a fine green hat. Obviously FC4 doesn’t have classes or such frippery, but it does have choice. And it’s my choice to take a bow, and eschew all other weaponry. Which is harder than it may sound.

FC4, rather obviously, expects you to fire guns. It gives you so many of them, often against your will. From the very start there’s absolutely no choice but to pop lead into the tummies and faces of men in red, before you escape its opening salvo of obligatory story missions. And mercifully, the acting’s so good that while this drags on, it’s at least independently entertaining.

But it sneaks guns in elsewhere pretty quickly too. A strange decision to immediately give you about forty-five different option wheels to muddle up, and yet only one slot in which to store a weapon means it desperately wants you to switch the bow out for whatever juicy new bangstick it’s trying to show off. Then it tacks on sidearms, which it turns out automatically replace your main weapon should you run out of ammo. And with a quiver only capable of holding ten arrows, that’s going to happen. In my attempts to Robin Hood my way through an enemy base, I’ve found myself involuntarily spraying bullets before I’ve know what’s happening. And then having to carry on in order not to instantly die.

The answer, I conclude, is that I need to heavily focus on improving my bow and arrow abilities, and perhaps most importantly, need to craft myself some better quivers. And to do that, I need to find that most exotic of animals – the pig.

I love that in Far Cry 4, I have found and senselessly slaughtered tapirs, rhinos, dhole, bright cheerful monkeys, peculiar rare species of which I’d never heard before… but pigs – not even seen one. So my game has become primarily about avoiding nagging main quests (I literally got a game over/reload because I walked across a tiny village to look at a door at one point – UBISOFT!), to look for porcine pens.

In my search for them, I’ve paraglidded to multiple deaths (I’m not well skilled with paraglides), picked many flowers, discovered hidden caves and sunken wrecks, gained karma for murder (videogames), and rescued hostages from red-clothed scoundrels, all using only my bow and arrow. A ranger I truly am.

FC3 and 4 both offer a lovely rangery option, with their caged animals in baddylands. Find a nice vantage point, hunker down, and shoot the lock off that elephant cage. Enjoy ensuing silliness. Like this:

And then there they were. Just snuffling about. My little piglets. Tempting though it was to fill them with ironic bullets, instead it was just a swift arrow to their piggy knees, before setting about creating an arrow purse from a sow’s rear.

And with this I shall persist. I will see how far it’s possible to get through the game without firing a gun. Because guns are horrid, while sticking people with arrows so they agonisingly bleed to death basically makes me a superhero.


  1. Walsh says:

    Arguably, the bow has its due. They give you fire and explosive arrows for the tough stuff. You can kill a helicopter with the explosive arrow. That has saved my bacon a few times when I had no other way to kill the helicopter.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I used to use fire arrows in FC3 to kill the heavies. Usually one or two would do the job. Much easier than emptying two assault rifle magazines and/or multiple headshots with a sniper rifle.

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    Did you saaay “bullet dodging”?

  3. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    The bow is great! I’ve had it in my loadout pretty much since I got it. More silent than most silenced weapons, recoverable ammo, decent range with a scope.

    I guess that if you want to avoid the sidearm, replace it with a flare gun, or maybe the grenade launcher, which is the ‘anti-vehicle-bow’. Throwing knives should fit your ranger style if you don’t think grenades or molotovs feels ‘rangery’ enough and bait truly makes you the beastmaster (until they run out of other victims and turn on you, that is).

    • Graves says:

      Alternatively, there is a crossbow pistol sidearm thing. Its a little bit too fancy looking for a ranger, but its not a gun. I just unlocked it but haven’t used it yet because I like my 87 too much. I just pretend I’m using Zoe’s Hogleg.

  4. unangbangkay says:

    Even lightly committing to the bow made for a great way to learn how to use that damn Marksman Sight. Once you can lob fire and explosive arrows into enemy heads from the maximum draw distance, you’ll feel like a god.

  5. Myrdinn says:

    My druid used to be stocked with skillpoints as his charm spell only seems to affect elephants. The Royal Army has druids who seem to be able to charm all animals, not sure if this is because they have different feats (spell penetration?) or because they use a higher level spell. I’ve also noted that they use bows, so they’re definitely not normal druids… heck, they might be cleric/rangers. To anyone who is keen on trying out a druid, I can recommend you eventually multi/dual class to a wizard so you get access to skullminetrap and agannazar’s flamethrower. Also remember to bring firebomb potions.

  6. Tom De Roeck says:

    Well, and theres the auto-crossbow sidearm.

  7. UnholySmoke says:

    I went bow-only in FC3. Not because of any misguided class allegiance, and not because I had column inches to fill – actually just because it was fantastic fun – particularly when it was modded up. Also, it made it a bit tougher, which was badly needed by about halfway through the game. The Tomb Raider reboot’s archery came close, but the Far Cry 3 bow was a thing of beauty. Here’s hoping they’ve not changed too much.

    • AsianJoyKiller says:

      It’s the same. Actually, not quite. There’s the starter one, which is a very rudimentary thing, The “normal” one, which is the FC3 bow basically. A special one for special sequences (trying to avoid spoilers, so that’s all I’ll say). And lastly there’s the auto-crossbow. Which is basically like a super-silent pistol with recoverable ammo.


      I used the bow throughout all of Blood Dragon because it was pretty.

    • DXN says:

      Bloody journalists, writing articles for me to comment on. GOD they think they’re SO DAMNED COOL.

  8. Lanfranc says:

    You know, gun-users just put themselves at an immediate disadvantage. Using a bow is how you win the respect of the Yardies.

    • blastaz says:

      I mean if they use a gun what have they got? One weapon slot! Whereas you have two explosive arrows two flaming arrows etc.

  9. soulblur says:

    I used the bow for ages. Then I killed most of the animals I needed and, around the same time, got a bunch of guns with silencers. Rarely use the bow now. Pretty much just the sidearm grenade launcher, the Shredder, the signature silenced sniper rifle and a random weapon the the remaining holster. Sometimes it’s the bow, sometimes the RPG.

    Explosions are fun.

  10. AsianJoyKiller says:

    I guess it’s just my preferred playstyle, but the bow was always my weapon of choice.

    It’s sheer versatility has always been a great boon. It’s basically silent, making one of the best stealth weapons in the game, when even the quietest guns still give you away at close range. It’s powerful, so you often can just go for easy bodyshots when in a rush. It’s accurate, so I never get frustrated by missing a critical shot, one that was otherwise perfectly aimed, due to RNG. The fire and explosive arrows mean it can be adopted for heavy duty tasks like taking out vehicles or armored targets. And the ammo is recoverable, so even if you don’t have an upgraded quiver, it’s still one of the most sustainable weapons there is.

    No other weapon can give you as much utility in one weapon slot as the bow.

    Of course, now that I unlocked the auto-crossbow, I’m using that so I can pretend to be a surface-dwelling drow.

  11. Monggerel says:

    The bow in Far Cry 3 and 4 feels fucking awful (and it’s a hilarious neon eyesore in Blood Dragon, which is super appropriate for a stealth weapon).
    No recoil, no draw feedback, nothing. It’s efficient but unpleasant.
    Just bows in general. Games can’t seem to make proper use of them (here’s to you, Bethesda). And the crossbows. FC 4 has it particularly bad with that goddamn automatic abomination.
    I suppose the Helsing in Metro 2033&sequel was alright? Somewhat limited max range, completely silent, brutally powerful. Not really a bow though, being that it was a pneumatic weapon.
    Actually, most weapons in Metro feel far better than just about anything in any other game. The Uboinik (revolver skeleton-shotgun) is a particular standout. Hm.
    Must be all that mud.

  12. sinister agent says:

    You’re all doing it wrong. I mean, crosshairs on a bow, for heaven’s sake. Why not give it a silencer, infra red and heat seeking arrows while you’re at it?

    • kebekske says:

      I am an archer IRL. Bows do have sights, even holographic sights to aid in aiming. Nothing over the top or futuristic about this. Might want to read up on modern archery, my friend.

      • theSeekerr says:

        This is true, although holo sights are rare (I’ve never seen one in competition use – I’m not even sure if the rules would permit them in my association).

        BF4 actually got this right with the new Phantom Bow, which has an entirely typical multi-pin bowhunter sight – link to i.ytimg.com

        The default FC3/FC4 bowsight is awful because for some stupid reason you’re incapable of holding your bow straight. Aiming somewhere vaguely along an invisible diagonal line is infuriating.

        • Cinek says:

          “The default FC3/FC4 bowsight is awful” – that. Basically if I’m in a hurry or I can’t miss a shot I always switch to firearms. Aiming that that thing they implemented in FC is just a pure, stupid guesswork for absolutely no good reason.

      • sinister agent says:

        You can attach a scope to a knife, too, that doesn’t mean you should.

  13. try2bcool69 says:

    Aren’t the animals’ general location shown on the map like in FC3?

  14. SuicideKing says:

    The bow was my primary weapon in FC3 too. Used to carry a silenced pistol, one of those Vector-like SMGs, and I think a sniper rifle.

    Bows with fire and explosive arrows were devastating.

  15. Perkelnik says:

    “I literally got a game over/reload because I walked across a tiny village to look at a door at one point”

    Uhm… care to elaborate? :)

  16. Jakkar says:

    Does this not make anyone unhappy, or worried? ._.