The Bestest Best Co-Op Of 2014: Far Cry 4

When Far Cry 3 came out in 2012, we were as surprised as anyone to see it top our advent calendar. It’s less surprising to discover that Far Cry 4 offers many of the same joys, from the liberation of an exotic land’s outposts and fortresses to the liberation of player movement as you zip about with a grappling hook and wingsuit. There’s one big thing that’s new – or, er, newly good – and that’s co-op.

Graham: Far Cry 4 is the best co-op game not just in 2014, but maybe ever.

Far Cry 3 locked its co-operative mode away within a set of missions separate from the main world or thrust of the rest of the game. I’m sure it took a great deal of effort to produce, but after battling through a too-long, too-shite singleplayer campaign already, I didn’t feel like committing to more scripting in order to play it.

Far Cry 4 does the sensible thing then by letting you and a friend pair up in the open world. All the story missions are turned off, leaving nothing but the good bits: the animal hunting, the random karma events, the systemic outposts, the stealthy assassinations and hostage rescues, all the vehicles and guns and wingsuits and toys.

And there’s not a one of these things which isn’t made more fun by having a friend along for the ride.

I adore the game’s gyrocopter, which gives me both a quick route between destinations and a quick method of skipping parts of the game I don’t enjoy or have grown weary of. Can’t be bothered with the radio towers? Fly to the top. Can’t be bothered with an outpost? Hover above it and lob meat grenades to the helpless guards below and watch as bears do the rest.

It’s a single-seater vehicle, however. How does this work in co-op? You sit down in the pilot’s chair and your friend runs up and presses ‘E’ experimentally. Oh! Your partner can stand on its frame. As the pilot, you’re restricted to only using your sidearm, but that’s not true of your comrade. He or she is free to use other weapons and, importantly, the camera that’s used to tag enemies on the UI.

An idea is formed. Let’s hover alongside the outposts! We’ll keep our distance to remain out of sight, but get a clear view of the outpost we’re attacking so we can tag everyone inside. Brill.

Every toy and tactic is multiplied in fun and possibility by the inclusion of a partner. I like to play from afar, finding the nearest high ridge with some cover and setting up with a silenced sniper rifle and a bow. Most of my friends like to be similarly stealthy, but they prefer getting in close and personal. This works perfectly. I tag everyone and then call out patrols around the next corner, while my buddy moves quietly and slowly, performing takedowns and hiding bodies. They’re about to be seen? I clean up with a quick sniper shot. Someone is running for an alarm? Boom, the alarm is destroyed.

This is more than just dropping two players into an already fun game and letting them have at it, too. Much like the ability to take different roles on the gyrocopter, there’s lovely little details all over. For example, if one player is looking at someone, then a blue eye icon appears above their head so the other player knows. That means that if I’m about to snipe someone, my friend knows they don’t need to sneak over there and risk being caught. It also means that when we’re talking about a particular pair of guards we want to take down simultaneously, we don’t need to struggle to describe identical guards over voice comms. We can just count to three and let our screw-ups be our own fault.

I can go on. The netcode occasionally fails to sync certain things in the environment between players, but it’s good enough that you can, for example, crouch on the back of another player’s truck and not weirdly slide off the back of it like you do in most other games. As well as being able to stand on the gyrocopter, you can also grapple from the bottom of it, lowering yourself down to otherwise inaccessible locations or just pinwheeling about like a giddy loon. The way much of the level design functions – especially the forts, with their multiple entrances and hidden tunnels – also works perfectly for two-pronged assaults.

I wrote in my review that the best thing about Far Cry 4 was that it was a big, systemic sandbox, full of hard rules and predictable outcomes, through which players could pick their own, extremely satisfying path. The best thing about all of those things is that you can now play it with a friend. It is in every way the successor to all the things I enjoyed about the co-op in various Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six games.

Shame about Uplay though.

John: I should like to express my thoughts about Far Cry 4’s co-op in the form of interpretive dance. But sadly I am not allowed. Instead, Graham and I played together for 20 minutes. Then we played Far Cry 4 co-op for twenty minutes. We videoed the latter:

Back to the complete bestest best PC games of 2014.

48 Comments

  1. Holysheep says:

    there was divinity: original sin this year.

    • Big Murray says:

      Yes, but it was a bit rubbish.

      Long live Far Cry 4 co-op!

      • Holysheep says:

        It was absolutely wonderful and the whole game was made with coop in mind.

      • LordCrash says:

        Rubbish? Compared to FC4? Hahahahaha, you’re funny.

        • Apocalypse says:

          Even more funny is RPS for actually giving a semi-functional coop modus an award. Is this in line with the basic satire tone of the Far Cry games? Making fun of awards in general? ;-)

    • Sinatar says:

      Yea and Original Sin didn’t lock out large amounts of content from coop. You could do the whole thing start to finish.

      Far Cry 4’s limited coop is infuriating and a complete waste.

      • derbefrier says:

        Yeah Divinity has awesome coop and while I am sure far cry 4 co op is a lot of fun just running around aimlessly for a while it was dissapointing to find out you could not do the story line.

      • DarkLiberator says:

        Limited? Bullshit. There’s so much stuff to do, outposts and destroy, fortresses to assault, mess around with animals, or ride on elephants, and even do side missions. Seems like the only thing you can’t do is the campaign which could care less about.

        My buddy and I are having such a blast in the co-op. I hope a sequel has like up to 4 to 8 players co-op and make it pure mayhem.

        • Ragnar says:

          People are wired differently. Some people couldn’t care less about a campaign and just want a sandbox to play in. Others couldn’t care less about a sandbox unless there’s a campaign leading you through it or a set goal to strive for.

          Clearly you and your brother are in the former category, but I happen to fall into the latter. Learning that Far Cry 4’s co-op locks out the campaign is a huge disappointment to me.

      • TheSplund says:

        And why would I want to play D:OS?

    • blur says:

      Keep in mind too that it may still be on the list. The RPS crew picked their bestest best games list, then picked categories to suit. Divinity might get something along the lines of “Bestest Best Medieval Fantasy Setting”.

      • Setroc says:

        Best Kickstarter!

        But yes, it seems a shame that FC4 gets top spot for coop when D:OS is really the most fully fledged coop game I’ve seen for a long time, and is awesome. But then again I thought that FC3 was a terrible pick for GOTY, so maybe I’m just a hater!

        Perhaps it’s a weakness of the current advent calendar setup, since I’m guessing they wanted a new game each day and won’t have any that win multiple categories.

    • mohfuu says:

      Divinity: Original Sin wasn’t the only good co-op game this year, and besides that Far Cry 4, especially the co-op side of the game was terribly bugged.

      I’m wondering if the people who picked FC 4 as best co-op even played it on co-op.

  2. Chris D says:

    Don’t forget they picked the games then made up the categories later. And Bestest Best RPG is still to come.

    Edit: That should have been a reply to Holy Sheep. Clearly my internet skillz are rusty.

    • malkav11 says:

      Is still to come and my bet is will be Dragon Age Inquisition. Because I know at least one RPSer is madly in love with it.

      • Dale Winton says:

        Yeah Dragon Age should get the RPG one as it’s a better game than Divinity (which I also enjoyed)

        • malkav11 says:

          I am not sure I agree with that, but I have yet to finish either (Divinity because I am only playing it coop and my coop partner moved across country, got engaged, and has a baby on the way, so things have slowed waaaay down on the coop front; Inquisition because it’s ridiculously long and I’ve also been playing WoW)., so I don’t feel I can be fair judging either.

          They’re both well worth playing, though.

        • Corodix says:

          I’ve finished Dragon age Inquisitions and frankly it’s rubbish. The controls on the PC are horrible, but that aside, most of the side-quests are utterly uninspired and boring trash, and the main quest is really short when you take all the side quests out of the picture. To me it feels like the focus was mainly on quantity over quality. The main quest start of great, the beginning is superb done, but the last third of the main quest felt really rushed. The ending also felt quite anti-climatic and completely out of character for the BBEG. Sure, it was better than dragon age 2, but that says little considering how bad that game was. Taking all the dragon age and mass effect games into account, I’d rate dragon age 2 as the worst of them and dragon age inquisitions as the second worst.

          I’ve also finished Divinity and it certainly had it’s problem too, especially on the combat difficulty (it was a cakewalk after the first/second map) but the side-quests didn’t bore me to death like they did in DA:I , instead they were actually quite enjoyable. It was also a great co-op experience, I played it with 3 friends (thanks to a 4 player mod) over a time-span of 2-3 months.

          Personally I’d rate DA:I below both Divinity and Wasteland 2.

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        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Don’t forget Wasteland 2, but I imagine that will get Bestest Apocolypse or some other obviously geared specifically for it category.

  3. acker says:

    Really?
    I played 16 hours in the campaign online, asked for help a dozen times and NO ONE ever joined my game.
    Yeah. Best co-op ever.

    • lomaxgnome says:

      Not sure if this is a joke post, but co-op is for you and your friends. Not you and random strangers on the internet.

  4. SkittleDiddler says:

    Insurgent’s co-op is a fucking blast.

    • Holysheep says:

      It’s bad TBH.

      Insurgency is one of the best FPSes ever made, and playing it to fight bots is even sorta moronic, especially when it’s extremely great in PVP.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        No way man. The AI seem to follow a predictable pattern, but watch closely and sometimes they’ll surprise you with how ingenious they can be. Regardless of how smart the AI are, it’s the players that make the game, and Insurgency has some fantastic people playing it.

  5. zaphod42 says:

    All the story missions are turned off

    Uh, this is misleading to the point of being false. You should be more careful how you word that.

    You have the freedom to wander the overworld and never do story missions if you want to which is great, but you can also do anything you could do single player in co-op as well. You can do all the missions co-op, which is so much better than AC Unity which after pushing co-op made half the missions single player only. (WHY?)

    So you should really amend your article so as not to confuse people and think they’re not allowed to do missions in co-op. Half the fun of co-op is doing the missions together.

    Did you only play for 20 minutes? Maybe do a bit more

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      Henke says:

      Eh? I’ve played quite a bit of co op and didn’t realize you could do the story missions in it. Is there some special procedure you need to do to access the story missions?

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      Craig Pearson says:

      But it’s not. You can’t do the campaign, nor any of the side-missions.

    • Sinatar says:

      This is patently false. You cannot do any story missions, side missions or shangri-la missions in cooperative play.

  6. SuicideKing says:

    Oh god the Hindi NPC barks are so child like! It’s like middle school students insulting each other. XD

  7. Spider Jerusalem says:

    I struggle to accept Far Cry 4 as the best of anything.

  8. Nethlem says:

    Far Cry 4 might be the “bestest best coop of 2014”, but only until that coop manages to corrupt your savegame and thus kills all the progress you’ve made in the game, forcing you to restart from scratch.

    link to forums.ubi.com

    This issue is present on all platforms, it’s very widespread in it’s occurrence, but does not always result in complete fubarness of the savegame. Sometimes only a couple of skills will be bugged or weapon slots, in other cases it’s prone to bug out the whole inventory management making the game unplayable.

    It’s pretty much game breaking and the only response from Ubisoft so far has been to tell people to “open a support ticket”. And that’s just one of the many issues the game has, especially on PC.

    Lacking support for SLI/CF, multimonitor setups, broken keybinds, crappy shuttering due to texture streaming issues (just like Watchdogs), horrid mouse acceleration and the usual “Let’s blame pirates for our broken game!” approach: link to joystiq.com

    Nothing to see here, only people with problems are PIRATES, move along!

    Oh wait: link to forums.ubi.com

    Those dirty pirates and their multi-monitor setups!

    I have yet to see anybody from the “gaming press” make any of these issues an actual topic, instead it’s kissing Ubisoft ass all around, it’s the perfect game with no problems and bugs at all! Is it a fun game? Yes of course it is, which makes all of this even more aggravating!

    • bp_968 says:

      This! Has anyone actually gotten coop working between friends? I’ve had it since day one and I nor any of my 4 other friends with the game are able to actually connect to each other for coop. Each of us has a different internet provider and are if different parts of the country. The problem seems pretty widespread yet I’ve heard no talk about it in the press and ubi, like usual, ignores it like the problem doesn’t exist. At least I got it “free” with my gpu otherwise I’d be really pissed off.

    • airmikee says:

      “I have yet to see anybody from the “gaming press” make any of these issues an actual topic, instead it’s kissing Ubisoft ass all around, it’s the perfect game with no problems and bugs at all! Is it a fun game? Yes of course it is, which makes all of this even more aggravating!”

      While it certainly sucks when a game is broken with bugs, they are rarely broken for everyone. Civ5 didn’t work for me until six months after release, and every forum that I used to ask for advice/complain was met with, “It works fine for me, must be your computer.” Star Trek Online has tons of complaints about high latency and low fps rates since the latest expansion, but it’s been mostly bug-free for me. The recent expansion to SW:ToR included a massively buggy fight for some, which was met with, “Ur duin it rong” until enough people had reached that point it became common knowledge, and still it worked on the first try for some, exactly the way it was intended.

      It’s only when a game reaches a level that it’s broken for a large majority that the gaming press tends to take note. The recent expansion for WoW, the latest Assassins Creed, last year a lawsuit was filed because EA execs cashed out millions in stock just before the release of Battlefield 4 which was bad enough to make the press.

      So when a game has a bug that only affects a minority of the players, it usually only gets mentioned in the comments section. Only when a game is so buggy that it affects a majority does the problem get more articles in which to pull eyeballs, clicks, and pageviews, oh my!

      And for the record, Kotaku posted an article about FC4’s bugginess 12 hours ago. ;)

      (Just to be clear, I’m not defending companies that release buggy games, it’s why I wait at least six months after release to play anything today.)

  9. Chirez says:

    Gyrocopter… hover?
    I was under the impression that was impossible, the rotors don’t turn on their own.
    That’s the kind of nitpicky detail that’ll bother me the entire time.

    • airmikee says:

      Gyrocopters can hover, but they can not increase altitude while hovering which is why they’re unable to take off vertically like a helicopter. Once they’re airborne a skilled pilot can keep it steady and stable in one spot. Youtube is full of evidence. :)

  10. Ajax746 says:

    Ok, I know that the co-op is fun, but there is nothing special about it. It is the single player, with the story taken out, and you play with a friend. The co-op was probably even a last minute addition. They said “We need to add co-op, just take out the important stuff so it doesn’t mess with the story, and add like 3 features to some vehicles, thats all we need.” There was no thought going into it. I can understant it being fun, but its just the single player with someone else. A single player heavy game with a quickly added, no thought, co-op. How the fuck does it make “Best co-op of 2014”