A crisp breeze from the towering peaks of the Himalayas wafts across the wooded grasslands, mixing the sharp chill with fragrant perfumes that remind you of exotic dreams. The sun peaks over the elevated horizon, playing across the tranquil waters of a lake, while in its golden beams an eagle wheels languidly overhead. In the distance, the sounds of conversations mingle with the chatter of birds and the calls of wildlife. It’s a beautiful scene, reminding one that life is a precious thing. But, right now, none of that matters… because you’re being chased by a pissed off rhinoceros.

Far Cry 4 transports the player to the land of Kyrat, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. It is wild, vertiginous country, full of cliffs and forests clinging to the hills and valleys that make up the player’s playground. Myriad wild beasts roam the landscape, from docile deer and mountain goats through to ravenous tigers and bears… even Asian elephants call this digital reality their home. But Kyrat has problem, even if it sounds like a paradise (which, in gaming terms, it is).


It is embroiled in a long civil war, with freedom fighters calling themselves the Golden Path battling desperately to unseat the self-proclaimed, despotic king fog Kyrat, Pagan Min. Into this situation strides the player’s alter ego, Ajay Ghale, returning to Kyrat for the first time since he was three years old. His mother fled for the United States with him on her hip, but her dying wish was to have her ashes returned to the country of her birth.

From the word go, the faeces hits the fan, to quote one of the titles lines of dialogue. Ajay is thrust into the struggle between the government and the Golden Path, the members of whom revere him because his parents were the movement’s founders. And as the action kicks in, the freedom and chaos that is Far Cry 4 swings into full effect.

The true joy of this game stems directly from its massive setting. Kyrat is a big playground, full of rich details and discoverable nooks and crannies. While the underpinning narrative is that of the struggle for freedom, there are numerous sub and side plots doing the rounds, too.

These include the hunt for a mask obsessed serial killer, and Ajay’s quest to help Kyrat’s top (only, probably) fashion designer prepare his collection. Aside from subplots, there are a ton of quests to perform, ranging from hunting related (collecting food or eradicating problematic animals) to hostage rescues and assassinations. More flippant quests, like racing, also abound, and the player will often stumble across chance encounters that will earn him Karma, one of the game’s methods of character progression.

Populating this land are a cast of very memorable characters, and none is more so than Pagan Min. Superbly voiced by Troy Baker, Min is one of the most entertaining aspects of the game. It’s sad that we don’t get to see more of this sociopathic, sadistic despot, because Pagan’s dialogue is one of Far Cry 4’s true gems. Other characters are also beautifully handled, and people like the pirate radio station Rabi “Ray” Rana provide immense amounts of entertainment. By comparison, Ajay seems flat and dull, and there is little reason for the player to truly invest in the character, save for the fact that they are in control of his life altering journey (one of the franchise’s mainstay aspects). Still, it doesn’t really matter. There is so much fun to be had in Kyrat that even a cardboard cut-out would have sufficed.

A massive aspect of Far Cry 4 is, obviously, combat, and there is plenty of it to be found. Whether it’s a chance encounter with Royal Army troops by the roadside, or an assault on a stronghold, Far Cry 4 offers action in spades. There are a host of weapons to choose from, including stealthy options and guns blazing alternatives. Most can be modified, too, if you have the cash.

The combat can get truly chaotic. A firefight is already tricky, thanks to a pretty decent AI, but when, for example, a rhino suddenly shows up and starts tossing bodies left and right in th e middle of a pitched battle, things can get truly crazy.

The game allows the player to take on numerous approaches to combat, but has also ramped up some ideas from Far Cry 3. New enemy types, like the Hunter, will have the player guessing. Using bait to attract wild animals into an enemy encampment works pretty well, but the Hunter can charm those animals, creating new problems for the player. It is all about freedom, once again, and the player is given more than enough rope here.

Speaking of rope, traversing Kyrat is part of the fun. The hilly and mountainous terrain can make getting about challenging, even in a vehicle (which, by the way, now includes driving and shooting at the same time, at last). The player gets access to a grappling hook, though, which makes scaling cliffs easier, as well as a gyrocopter, which gets them about via the air rather nicely. And then there’s
the wing suit, which is handy for getting around and rescuing yourself after big falls that said, most cliffs in Kyrat can be slid down, so there aren’t too many altitude related cheap deaths.

And, in all of that awesomeness, there is character progression. The player earns Karma, as stated before, which gives “goodwill” advantages like discounts. There are experience points, which can be used to acquire new skills. And there is crafting, to increase carrying capacities of weapons and ammo.

There is so very much that could be said about this game, but the truth is that the journey of discovery isn’t just Ajay’s the player has so much to find and accomplish in Far Cry 4 that the experience becomes extremely gratifying. And that’s just single player. It also offers an extremely fun and robust co-op system, as well as extremely competent multiplayer. And it has a map creator, for those that are feeling particularly creative. With all the big name titles that Ubisoft brought out this year, Far Cry 4 is the pinnacle. It is a truly great game, resplendent visually and well balanced in terms of dynamics. The real joy here, though, is the absolute freedom that the player is given to make their Far Cry 4
experience exactly what they want it to be, either solo or with friends. That’s gold.

Far Cry 4 is a game that every FPS fan make that every video game fan should play. It truly is exceptional, and is without a doubt one of the finest games we have seen since the release of the current generation of consoles. It shows hard work and dedication on the part of the developers, and will reward everyone who plays it with a huge amount of quality entertainment.

9/10