Far Cry 3 was an amazing game. Traversing the stunning tropical world of Rook Island, hunting animals and taking down militias…it was quite something. Based on our brief time with Far Cry 4, it’s more of the same: and that’s a very good thing.
Our demo opened at the foot of a Himalayan mountain. Your character, Ajay, stands next to two large elephants. An ominous structure looms a hundred metres away, two imposing large doors sealing it off. Your objective is to take out the people holding this fort. In true Far Cry style, how you do so is up to you.
The first thing I noticed was my surroundings. The landscape is artistically beautiful (although textures weren’t quite up to scratch in this early build). It stretches out for miles in every direction – there are huge mountains in the distance that I itched to explore. They were off limits in the demo, but I really hope that they’re available to climb in the final game. Far Cry 4 gives off a very different feel to its predecessor, opting for a more muted colour palette rather than the bright greens of Rook Island. The decision works, giving a sense of barrenness and altitude, whilst still being visually engaging enough to stop your eyes getting bored.
Once done taking in the Tibetan scenery, I approached the fort head on. I tried the doors – they’re looked. So I snuck round the side, and tried to climb over a wall. Barely succeeding, I used my height advantage to try and pick people off from the roofs of one of the fort’s buildings. This wasn’t the most successful strategy – gunplay seems a little harder in this game, and the weapon you’re provided with isn’t particularly suited to long range combat. I died.
Time to rethink. But as always happens in open world games, I got distracted. The giant elephant I spawned next to was roaming around and giving me a look. So, obviously, time to bring out the machine gun and kill it. Dodging its charges, I actually managed to. It was quite upsetting. Note to self: don’t kill elephants. I stormed the fort once again, failed and respawned.
Then I had the Far Cry style brainwave. Elephants are big. The door is wooden and looks tantalisingly breakable. I can ride the elephant. I can ride the elephant quickly and smash through the front doors. I can then sit on top of it, wielding my giant machine gun and gunning down the stunned enemies. I can ride over to one of the remaining enemies, smashing him out of the way with the elephant’s trunk.
This was one of those amazing moments that only sandbox games can provide. A unique experience that was very memorable indeed. Far Cry 4 seems to be an evolution and development of everything that made Far Cry 3 so good, and that’s very encouraging indeed. Whilst I got no taste of the story, the core gameplay seems excellent. And that’s more than good enough for me.