Pagan Min is a badass. A smarmy, pink suit wearing, charisma laden, psychotic, questionable haircut toting badass.
That was the general feeling I had towards him after I sat through the intro. Marvellously voiced by Troy Baker, his presence in the game is superb, if a little sparse on screen time, he does drop in on your radio and chat from time to time and is rather amusing. He’s not quite as bat shit insane as Vaas from Far Cry 3 but he’s just as loveable.
You play the role of Ajay Ghale, a US citizen who returns home to snowy Kyrat to scatter you mother’s ashes. A simple enough task, but Pagan has other plans for you. He has cleared his calender and wants to “tear shit up” with you. How could you refuse such an offer?
Far Cry 4 is a wonderful looking game, utilising the latest iteration of Ubisoft’s Dunia Engine. Snowy peaks, sun drenched skies, crushing ice cold waterfalls all teeming with wildlife for you to ride or hunt. The audio is also the usual Ubisoft standard, the music is mostly beautiful although the vehicles and weapons feel rather flat.
Most of the first person context sensitive animations appear to have been recycled from Far Cry 3, which isn’t a massive deal as they were already pretty top notch. The crafting system is pretty much the same with a few tweaks and more streamlined, a welcome addition.
The PC version, which is what this review is based on is sadly of the usual Ubisoft standards. Shipped broken with the need for at least 3 or 4 post launch patches to run at a half decent framerate. I’m no PC Elitist, this is just my preferred platform. I won’t even mention Assassin’s Creed Unity.. oops, I did! Either way, a few patches, 1 GPU driver upgrade and config tweaks later, I was running at a playable framerate. I wasn’t expecting a solid 60FPS, this just doesn’t happen with Ubisoft’s PC ports, it never has and it’s a damn shame.
The story won’t win any awards and the enemies are pretty much the same “red guys” that were in Far Cry 3 (I know i’m referencing this game a lot, you’ll see why if you’ve played them both). There are some nice deviations though, such as visiting Reggie and Yogi for some drug induced trippy adventures, visiting Shangri-La for more weird supernatural shenanigans and of course Hurk, the crazy American makes a welcome return, he has lots of monkey statue missions for you to complete as well as the opportunity to unlock the lethal looking harpoon gun. The main storyline is for you to eventually scatter poor old mum’s ashes, pick a side and assist the Golden Path (also referred to as the “Blue Guys” and liberate Kyrat from Pagan’s measly grip).
As well as the usual fast travel, there are now even more ways to get around in Far Cry 4. You can level up and spend skill points to learn elephant riding, much fun! You can also use the one man Buzzer, a mini helicopter that gives you a sense of awe as you’re hovering over the snowy peaks; look down below to witness all sorts of events taking place, it’s quite the spectacle. You can also carjack NPC’s vehicles while in motion, superb! A new addition is the grappling hook, use this to scale mountains, this is a very cool tool and the mechanics work really well.
In Far Cry tradition, once you complete the main campaign, you can go back and complete the many side-quests such as liberating Pagan’s propaganda towers (much like in that other game) as well as a slew of hunting and driving/racing missions. There’s a heck of a lot to do and you can complete things in any order you choose. There’s a lot of freedom and that’s why I like the franchise so much.
The game now sports a more open co-op mode, sadly it’s only 2 players but you can do just about any non campaign mission with a buddy. Taking control of outposts never gets old as you can approach it however you please. I’m all for riding in on my elephant while mowing down the red guys with my driller. Fun times! The game also ships with the obligatory PvP multiplayer which I haven’t had the chance to try yet, however the bonus map editor is tons of fun and can also be played in co-op. Many fun times ahead playing the community’s messed up creations. 🙂
In closing, Far Cry 4 is a keeper. It doesn’t change the formula too much, it just does enough to warrant another play through and the addition of “proper” co-op is a welcome one. If Ubisoft could invest more in to making their PC ports more robust then things will be golden (path). Now I want to jump on the Buzzer with my grenade launcher and tear shit up while my friend pilots. Sounds good to me!