Let’s Not Play: Far Cry 4

The internet is awfully busy. And it’s not just pictures of butterflies disguised as serial killers – an awful lot of it is made of “let’s play” videos. These are what the young people call “content”, in which you can see someone else playing a game because you’re too busy to do so. But what this half of YouTube distinctly lacks is people not actually playing the games properly. That’s why Rock, Paper, Shotgun is here. Here begins a series in which I don’t get on with playing a game properly, but instead mucking about with all the fun they have to offer outside of their main straight lines. This starts with my obsessive need to remove every ? from Far Cry 4‘s map.


  1. jacobvandy says:

    No, you are playing it properly.

    • gabrielonuris says:

      Exactly what I was thinking; it’s funny and sad at the same time, because we’re already making fun of collectibles and to-do lists in games, although devs are increasingly doing this lazy crap to fill open world games with “content”.

  2. padger says:


    Of course the true “let’s not play” of Far Cry 4 is surely the “wait here” ending?

  3. jthmmdom says:

    I started to watch this but found myself not entertained. I then skipped forward hoping for something interesting and realized that all of these lets plays are about as much fun as when I watched my brother play video games instead of me when I was a child.

    Also, Farcry looks about as exciting as a bag of potatoes.

    • TheApologist says:

      I’m going to smile at you in the hope that it makes you feel happier.


    • John Walker says:

      You seem like fun.

    • Koozer says:

      In his defence, some games are more entertaining to watch than others.

    • fartenewt says:

      I hope you get to the point someday where you realize the world is a lot more fun when you don’t treat it like it exists solely to entertain you. Because the way you are sounds like having a constant hangover.

  4. Klydefrog says:

    Can we all agree to stop using the creativity-sapping abomination that is the word ‘content’ in this context?

    • John Walker says:

      Um, it /was/ a joke!

      • Klydefrog says:

        I know, I should have been clearer. My comment was intended as an aside to my fellow readers in support of your obvious derision of the word.

    • Klydefrog says:

      Having said that, John, I would like you to sell out and join the young people in the pursuit of creating content full-time because I love all the video content you have done for RPS so far.

      Edit: My first use of the word content there was sarcastic, but I said video content without even realising. Youtube has infested my mind.

    • m1k3ol says:

      I don’t know if this comment counts for this matter, but the hundreds of “?” from the game do not count for the 100%…

      They’re basically “cosmetic” content…

      • fish99 says:

        Yes, that’s true, all those question marks on the map are not activities or side quests, they’re just places of interest and some will have minor collectibles. They’re also mostly revealed by just doing the towers.

        I barely visited any of them.

    • Quinnbeast says:

      I am content with this.

  5. thedosbox says:

    1:23 – what exactly were you doing with your hands?

    On second thought, don’t answer that.

  6. fish99 says:

    Finished FC4 yesterday. Without getting into spoiler territory the story kinda redeems itself at the end, depending on which ending you get of course. It’s a little more nuanced than it appears for most of the game.

    I don’t share Johns obsession with clearing the map icons, I was happy enough after 40 hrs to go finish the campaign while leaving plenty of activities undone. I did all the towers, all the outposts, the fortresses, all the fashion week missions, got all the skills and upgrades, but most of the other activities I only did a few times. There’s easily another 20 hrs there if I wanted to keep playing. Overall: fun game, worth playing.

    • teije says:

      I am sadly incapable of feeling finished with any game even when I’ve moved onto another game unless I have “cleared all the map icons” or whatever the equivalent is for that game. Even if the equivalent is clearly insane and not meant to be completed. My OCD natures puts in my to-do pile, there to rot until eternity or a happy mythical retirement where I have 48 hours in each day.

      Probably accounts for why the last game I feel I finished was BG2 (the original). Although I never finished Throne of Bhaal – errrgh.

  7. Melody says:

    Not sure whether no one else mentioned it because I’m the only one having/noticing this problem, but the audio and video are out-of-sync.
    Rather, it’s as if the video was synced with John’s voice (his comments seem appropriately timed with what is going on), but the in-game audio happens perhaps a second before the video.

    • John Walker says:

      I had *so* many problems with successfully rendering this video, so stuff could have gone wrong there. I’ll work hard to try to smooth such things out – apologies if it spoiled things.

    • Cockie says:

      Yes, there’s definitely some A/V desync going on. Ah, the wonders of modern technology.

  8. int says:

    There is a drug that bestows wall hack?

    • Runty McTall says:

      One of the syringes gives you temporary heightened awareness or some such. I believe that there was a similar one in FC3 – there certainly was a hunting one for animals, not sure if it also let you see people.

      Glad to see John found a way to make spending more time with FC4 justifiable by getting an article out of it :)

  9. Gilead says:

    To be honest I’m looking forward to the time, probably a couple of months away, when RPS decide that they never liked Far Cry 4 and it wasn’t worth the hype that other websites gave it. Probably there will be a post about what the writers and developers did wrong.

    Then, Far Cry 5 is released and they give it game of the year, and the cycle continues.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I’m not sure I like your tone, buster.

    • fish99 says:

      To be fair RPS gave FC3 GOTY based on all the random humorous stuff that happens in the open world, and not for the story.

    • John Walker says:

      Fortunately your imaginary version of events doesn’t match reality!

      Far Cry 3 was a game about which our opinions were particularly nuanced from the start. On consecutive days in early December 2012 we ran features about why it was great, and why it was terrible.

      link to rockpapershotgun.com
      link to rockpapershotgun.com

      Come Dec 19th we ran an interview with the writer of the game, in which we challenged some of the game’s more revolting content, and pointed out his extremely peculiar contradictions in response:

      link to rockpapershotgun.com

      On the 24th December – after all this criticism – we gave it our game of the year award, in which we thoroughly discussed our conflict about it, and indeed disagreed amongst ourselves about it:

      link to rockpapershotgun.com

      • Gordon Shock says:

        So, are the “what I loathe about Far Cry 3” items still present in FC4 ?

        • ferdinand says:

          I liked Farcry3 and replayed the entire game 3 times since it came out. I hoped they had fixed most of the problems in Farcry4. Instead every flaw has multiplied. The thing I liked; walking around using strategy to capture outposts, take out patrols and work my way up to controlling the map has gotten no love. The stupid story missions, collectibles, micromanagement and irritating animals like the hawk have increased.
          Apparently Farcry3 was made fun by accident and they swiftly fixed that with 4.

  10. BobsLawnService says:

    So is the new RPS strategy to publish nothing articles like this and regurgitate lame press releases with crappy puns in the hope that they can convince people to pay for proper writing?

    • Nice Save says:

      And yet, here you are.

    • John Walker says:

      Do feel free to find another website to not be able to read.

      • fartenewt says:

        Hey, John, there seems to be an awful lot of awfully sour pusses hanging out in these comments so I wanted to bring some positivity. I’ve been reading RPS nearly daily for years, and I want to say thank you. You guys approach gaming from the perfect angle, in my opinion. (That angle being: We don’t care what the hype/non – hype says about a game as long as it’s fun or makes you think. ) I hate that you guys get crap for being hipsters when you’re one of the few popular sites that actually approaches each game with no preconceptions.

        Anyway, you guys nail the balance of fun and cerebral, and I hope you don’t let these naysayers get to you. I read somewhere that one mean online comment corresponds to one angry/boring idiot but that if you get one nice comment, you can consider that at least 100 people share the sentiment, so I hope this helped. Thanks, y’all!

    • teije says:

      Tsk tsk, so negative. You would feel better if you stopped pissing in your cornflakes before eating them.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I would make a joke about the new BobsLawnService strategy, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion it’s uncannily similar to the old BobsLawnService strategy.

      Instead, I will cheer everyone up with Very Important New Media Content SEO Retention Blogosphere Clickbait wherein an adorable kitten takes a shower!

  11. Siresly says:

    That’s basically how I played Dragon Age for the first 50 hours because “ooooh things!”. Now I kind of don’t want to play it any longer. There’s just so many things that I can touch, I’m torn. I’m all out of faith. This is how I feel. Illusion never changed. Into something real. My inspiration has run dry. The perfect sky is torn.

    I’m slightly disconcerted by how perfectly prophetically Natalie Imbruglia predicted what Dragon Age Inquisition would be like.

    “So I guess the fortune teller’s right.”

    • Blackcompany says:

      Long as you’ve managed to avoid lying cold and naked on the floor in shame I think you’ll pull through.

  12. Alistair says:

    Hmm. I just finished FC4 and my map never had any ?s on it. They must be turn-offable.

  13. basilisk says:

    John, I’m sorry to have to tell you that it’s impossible to clear every single question mark in the game. One is buggy (placed too deep below terrain) and cannot be triggered. It’s a submerged truck in the middle of a river in the northern part of the map.

  14. Laurentius says:

    I thought I would give a shot but I can’t watch it. It’s locked as non-public ? It’s pretty wierd.

    • John Walker says:

      That’s been fixed now. Although you should have been able to watch via the embed above.

      • MaXimillion says:

        If you’re using the HTML5 player, embeds don’t allow fullscreen playback, making them kinda useless for anything except linking to the video.

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    zapatapon says:

    Didn’t Rab do something like this some time ago already?

    link to youtube.com

    (The segment 1:00-3:30 is fantastic)

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Yes! That was brilliant. Unfortunately I think Rab has moved on to other things (although I think he did promise more gaming related things this year).

  16. Sacarathe says:

    This is how I played farcry 2 and Blood dragon – finished exploring all of blood dragon before the third mission, can’t help myself :(

  17. TheSplund says:

    ‘Sleepy-time’!. The great thing is you can keep not playing Far Cry for hours upon hours (though I can’t tell how long like you can a Steam game)

  18. Lachlan1 says:

    I gave up on FC3 after not very long as the game wanted me to kill a specific person in a group of similar looking person with a knife. Any other way of dispatching that person caused the game to reload the section to do it again, FC3’s way. Not exactly open world or fun IMO. It didn’t worry me too much as the game only cost a few bucks. Does FC4 actually let you do what you want to do to a greater extent than FC3?

    • fish99 says:

      It still has those same assassination missions where you have to take someone out with a particular weapon type, but as in FC3 they represent less than 10% of the game. It’s just one mission type. Both games have lots of mission types, and you’re not going to enjoy them all.

      Personally I saw the point of them – making you use a variety of weapons rather than just your favourite gun for the whole game, and giving you a particular challenge rather than just sniping everyone from 500 yards. Also it’s only the marked targets you need to take out with that weapon type. Tag them with the camera and it’ll show who the target is.

      No offense but that’s a weak reason to stop playing the whole game. Just skip those missions, they’re optional.

      • mukuste says:

        And if you get really annoyed with one of them you can simply run up to your target and slash them with the knife. Even if you die in the progress, it will still register the mission as a success and you’re free to go on your merry way after you respawn with an extra wad of cash and XP. Silly, certainly, but hey, it’s FC3.

        • Immobile Piper says:

          The few times I didn’t bother going all Predator about it, I just shot all the non-target goons. Even on hard difficulty without health-ups it was trivially easy to then run up to the target guy and stab his gut.

  19. mukuste says:

    One thing I completely missed in the reporting about this game: is it still attempting to be a Satire ‘Em Up with all the incongruous little stuff and weird tropes, or has it dropped that angle entirely since FC3? Was it still written by that Yohalem dude?

    • ffordesoon says:

      No, it wasn’t written by him, but there are some fun (and far more successful, IMHO) nods to the absurdity of the whole enterprise. The satire angle is toned down a great deal, and made more focused in the process. I don’t think it’s entirely successful, because it lampoons tropes and then presents them unironically, and because it’s ultimately too cautious and unwilling to bite the hand that feeds in the way FC3 sometimes did. That simultaneously makes it less alienating, of course, and if you just want a ridiculous murder-toybox to arse about in, I’d immediately recommend FC4 above FC3.

      I will say that Pagan Min is a more interesting antagonist than Vaas to me, however, because he is essentially the triumphant protagonist of a Far Cry game that never got made, in which the foreign savior trope Far Cry 3 played with is taken to its logical conclusion. It’s hinted at in FC3 that Vaas has a similar backstory, of course, but I feel like Pagan Min’s avuncular nature sells the point better. Giving him a Dr. Phil-quoting American sidekick who’s explicitly there on a mission of murder-tourism also helps, I think. If only the actual story missions were more interesting as a rule than “Hey, you’re trapped in a sealed area without something you would very much like to have, here are some wholly arbitrary barriers which can cause you to fail the mission at any time, and also our checkpointing is bafflingly horrendous and you can’t save manually, and you have to watch an unskippable cutscene at the start of the mission because we spent ages mocapping these faces and by gum you’re seeing them.” It’s a testament to the cast-iron strength of the game’s systems and the generally enjoyable writing that these complaints feel relatively minor.

  20. Rakombo says:

    Jesus Christ John, you’re a retard. How many let’s plays have you seen that you think this is original? All you are doing is taking the worst part of let’s plays, and making it your gimmick.

    I guess RPS is just slow, seeing as many gaming sites started making their own shitty let’s plays a while back, but you had to give it your own shitty RPS hipster spin. Bravo John, you definitely have a winner, if nothing else, it sure fits the image of RPS.

  21. buxcador says:

    I love watching games on Youtube, but Far Cry 4 bore me to no end.

  22. Tei says:

    I don’t like most Ubisoft games, even the sandbox ones only have the apparence of sandbox. Their message “you are about to abandon the zone of the mission” is a abomination, … maybe I want to pick that truck that is 20 m away, you game.

    This instance is pretty, but theres oh so much shared code from any other similar game. You can almost see the parts they copied from Watch Dogs, or maybe Assassin Creed. All of these are the same game with a graphics makeup.

    I watched this video until the player got stuck on a cardboard box. I decided to stop watching it, because is a fun happenstance said without context :D

    • fish99 says:

      Well the towers are clearly lifted from Assassins Creed, but other than that the game has no obvious connections with the other Ubisoft franchises. It’s a good FPS game in it’s own right. The gunplay is excellent and the stealth is well done, and the game is entirely first person. It doesn’t play anything like Assassin’s Creed or Watch Dogs. The logical conclusion to what Crytek started with the first Far Cry and then Crysis is to go full open world, and that’s what the Ubi Far Cry games are.

  23. cthulhie says:

    Protip for anyone starting the game: don’t buy the maps! I got about five hours into it and realized that my obsession with map-clearing was turning it into a chore, so I actually restarted the game with a few rules: don’t buy the maps and don’t buy ammo (if you run out of ammo, switch to a gun you have ammo for–forces you to switch up a little more). I also recommend the “guns aren’t auto-purchased when you clear towers” mod–you have to buy all your guns and suddenly currency is meaningful again.

    The experience has been like night and day. But of the various rules above, the single biggest impact on my enjoyment has simply been not buying maps. Don’t buy the maps! Not even because they’re, like, the only thing to spend money on!

  24. BestInSlot says:

    So I’m, I guess, in that “half of Youtube” you refer to. It’s quite literally my day job, I maintain a fairly small-but-growing channel of 150,000 subscribers, and I don’t do much outside of Let’s Play videos and some multiplayer stuff, tutorials, and hopefully some educational content soon. I take no issue with what you said, I’ve got a great job where all I have to do is entertain the people who watch me – that’s all that matters.

    I take slight issue with you pretending that what you’re doing here is even slightly different than the vast majority of other gamers out there.