Editor’s Note, Nov. 15, 2018: The following review is posted for archival purposes only. It is shown in its original form, and may not meet our current editorial standards. Supplemental images or video cannot be displayed and are not included. Cover image is not from original article.
Far Cry 4’s lively and action-packed open world makes it a fun and enjoyable game, even if it’s lackluster story falls short.
Far Cry 4 is a game that I really like sometimes, and a game I absolutely loathe at other times. Story quests were an absolute bore for the most part, and I often had to force myself through many of the missions, telling myself “if I just beat this mission, I’m one step closer to the end.” Unfortunately, the ending wasn’t really worth the boredom I had to endure during most of the story quests.
Luckily, there are plenty of other things to do in Far Cry 4 than play the story, and luckily these things are much more fun than the story quests. In fact, it’s these extra activities: the side quests, the looting and the upgrading, that make Far Cry 4 a very enjoyable experience overall, even if it’s story misses the mark.
In Far Cry 4, you play as Ajay Ghale, a man returning to his home country, Kyrat, to spread his dead mother’s ashes. Almost immediately, you meet Pagan Min, the tyrannical and oppressive king of the fictional country, who promptly stabs one of his own soldiers to death with a pen right in front of you. Pagan’s reasoning behind the murder was that the soldier “shot” the bus you were in instead of “stopping” it. It’s a very violent and disturbing scene, and it does a great job of introducing you to the deranged and psychotic Pagan Min. Unfortunately, Far Cry 4’s opening scene is the high point of the entire storyline, as the rest of the story centers around you joining a rebel group called “The Golden Path” and choosing to do missions for one of it’s two leaders: Amita or Sabal, both of which are boring and, quite frankly, annoying characters. You don’t even see Pagan Min again until the end; he’s hardly even in the game except for a few lines of dialog over your radio every once in a while.
Depending on who you do story missions for (Amita or Sabal), the game’s story slightly changes, which is a great feature; I’ve always been a fan of branching storylines and giving players more options. But Far Cry 4’s story simply isn’t interesting enough, no matter how many branches of storyline there are. The characters are uninteresting and poorly developed, which makes the game lack a certain dimension, and I simply didn’t care for any of the people of Kyrat. The story missions themselves seemed tedious and felt like a chore since the story was barely worth the trouble. I mean, what’s the point in trying to free hostages or liberate a brick factory if you don’t care what happens to the people you’re fighting for? The ending itself was a disappointment, and by the time I was done with the story I felt that all the missions I had completed were not worth the final scene. Overall, the story disappoints, but that doesn’t mean Far Cry 4 isn’t a good game. In fact, it’s one of the best games I’ve played all year.
While the story may not be the best developed or even slightly interesting, it really doesn’t matter. Far Cry 4 doesn’t need a good story or well developed characters to be a good game, it’s not that type of game. Far Cry 4 is an open world, action-adventure, first person shooter, and it is a damn good open world, action-adventure, first person shooter. It’s not a game where you have to care about the story for it to be interesting, as there’s so much other stuff for you to do in the massive, open world of Kyrat.
Outposts are a good example of this. Outposts are basically enemy camps that you must “liberate” by killing all the enemies inside of them, and once they’re liberated they are in your control. The best thing about outposts (and really Far Cry 4 in general) is that you can choose how to engage them. You can approach them anytime you want, and you can choose whether to go in stealthy or go in guns blazing; you can choose whether or not to take out the alarms that signal for reinforcements, and you can choose who and how you kill your enemies. I had an absolute blast trying to sneak my way through outposts without being detected, slowly killing each enemy one by one and hiding their bodies. Also, on occasion, I had fun going in with a LMG and wrecking havoc among my enemies. No matter which approach you choose, outposts are an absolute blast.
Outposts are just one of the many other activities in the game. You could choose to liberate bell towers and unlock more of the map, or you could go on hunting trips to gather supplies and protect allies. You could explore the map and find secret temples, you can help your allies by delivering supply trucks to outposts, you can do whatever you want. Then on top of that there’s stuff to upgrade, skills to unlock, fortresses (these are basically bigger and harder outposts) to capture and multiplayer to play (which is actually pretty fun, though the asymmetrical teaming was frustrating at times). Far Cry 4 has a huge selection of activities that you can do whenever and however you want, and that’s what makes it a great game, even if it’s story doesn’t deliver.