Giant Bomb Review

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Far Cry 4 Review

4
  • PS4
  • XONE
  • PC

Far Cry 4's open-world provides ludicrous moments and enough chaotic fun to make it worth your while.

Here's one of the people you can back as leader of the Golden Path.
Here's one of the people you can back as leader of the Golden Path.

Far Cry 4 is one of those open-world games where consequences are few, side tasks are many, and you can mostly just blaze your way through the environment, one headshot at a time. Though the story and some of the various activities can certainly be grim in tone, the game is mostly an easy-going trek through the wilderness. You'll meet a fresh cast of weirdos along the way, kill some of them, and come out the other end with... well, probably with even more side activities left to complete, if you feel like it. The developers have made a few changes around the edges, but it's all very similar to Far Cry 3. If you liked that game and want more of it... this is more of it.

I, as it turns out, really enjoyed Far Cry 3. It sanded off the rough edges of its predecessors and might as well have been some kind of freeform stealth amusement park full of angry guards and douchebag protagonists. For me, the key piece of gameplay in a Far Cry game has always been the outpost takeover. Specifically, the moments before you strike, when you slowly circle the camp, looking for high ground so you can tag enemies and easily track their movements. From there, I either sneak into the camp to disable some alarms and cut some throats, or just sit back with a sniper rifle and take silenced shots while everyone below panics. It's stealth with no stakes--you get a relatively meaningless experience point boost if you can get everyone before they set off an alarm, but if you're spotted, it's just as easy to "go loud" and mow down everyone in your path. Or maybe you're the type to just rush in, guns blazing, right out of the gate. The options are yours. Far Cry 4 has more of these outposts. In fact, it has a level editor that lets you make your own outposts or download them from a server and just take them over, again and again. It's a good time.

Of course, there's more to Far Cry 4 than simply taking over outposts. The story opens with you, as Ajay Ghale, heading to your mother's homeland to deliver her ashes in accordance with her dying wish. What you discover is a war-torn Himalayan nation called Kyrat, ostensibly run by the charismatic and oppressive King Pagan Min but a group of rebels known as the Golden Path hopes to say otherwise. You are inserted into this mix as the son of a freedom fighter, immediately made the face of the rebellion and, despite sounding like you grew up soft in America, you're quite handy with an AK-47. And zip lines. And flying bike-sized helicopters. And hang gliding. And taking out bases full of trained soldiers without them ever seeing you. And using grappling hooks to swing and rappel around some cliffs. And digging bullets out of your left arm to heal. If you're the sort of person who gets hung up on a player character seemingly knowing everything bout the art of war despite having no visible background that would make that likely, you will find plenty to get hung up on in Far Cry 4. At some point you get the impression that the last thing this game's developers want you to do is actually think about what's happening. Because most of it is pretty ridiculous once you do.

There isn't a ton of snow in Far Cry 4, but there's enough to keep things looking fresh.
There isn't a ton of snow in Far Cry 4, but there's enough to keep things looking fresh.

There's a set of campaign missions, and you're mostly free to blaze through those in order, if you like. You'll see some decision points in the story that come from the two co-leaders of the Golden Path. At various points you'll have to back one of them over the other, altering the missions you're going on (you'll decide whether you want to burn down poppy fields to stop Min's heroin production or capture them for the Golden Path's benefit, for example), but the differences are actually pretty minimal, and the decisions you make along the way simply build up to a very clear "OK, THIS TIME THE PERSON YOU BACK WILL BECOME THE LEADER FOR THE REST OF THE STORY" roadblock, anyway. Of course, you'll have an easier time with some of that campaign stuff if you perform some side tasks.

What sort of side tasks? Well, taking over the aforementioned outposts gives you more fast travel points around the island. Climbing bell towers to turn off Min's state-run radio broadcasts reveals more of the map. Hunting animals gets you skins that you'll use to craft bigger wallets, ammo bags, holsters that let you carry up to four weapons, and so on. You'll also earn experience points along the way, which turn into ability points, which you spend on things like the ability to reload while running, reduced damage from fire, the ability to takedown heavy enemies with stealth kills, the ability to ride elephants, and so on. In short, it's the same sort of thing you saw in Far Cry 3 with the same sorts of hooks for upgrades and abilities. It took me around 15 hours to get through it, and I left behind plenty of fun side stuff along the way.

Autodrive lets you get to a waypoint and focus on the shooting instead of the driving. Cool idea.
Autodrive lets you get to a waypoint and focus on the shooting instead of the driving. Cool idea.

There's a five-on-five multiplayer side to Far Cry 4 that feels precisely like the sort of thing that shouldn't be in Far Cry 4. Limiting the scope of the world and boring it down to some simple point control and other objective-type matches isn't why you're here. If you want that kind of shooter, go play Call of Duty. The co-op, however, is a different story. You can bring your character-based progress into someone else's world and take over outposts together. It's a little clunky and undercooked in spots, but it's fun enough to be worth a shot, especially if you have friends who like to communicate. Taking over fortresses and outposts from opposing sides of the camp is quite cool, even if it does make an easy game even easier. Maybe play on hard if you're looking to really dig into the co-op.

All of this is wrapped in the same sort of nice-looking visuals that you saw in the previous game. It's a well-rendered world with a good draw distance and foliage that is as fun to hide in as it is to burn. It runs well on both PS4 and Xbox One. It also runs great on PC, where the higher potential resolution and better image quality really stands out. That's the version to play, if you have a PC that's capable of running it properly.

On one hand, it's tempting to say that you'd be served just as well by going back and playing Far Cry 3 again. Most of what's great about Far Cry 4 is emergent in a way that doesn't need to be attached to a story or locale, so in most of the ways that matter, Far Cry 4 is more of Far Cry 3. But the little additions and co-op play do make meaningful differences, and on its own terms, Far Cry 4 is a great time.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+

88 Comments

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leejunfan83

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Edited By leejunfan83 • 

yay I have to get it for the pc

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slowhanded

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chilibean_3

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Fobwashed

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Fobwashed • 

"it's all very similar to Far Cry 3. If you liked that game and want more of it... this is more of it."

I really loved my time with FC3 but it sounds like this isn't really adding much to the formula. Especially since I'm not going to be messing around with any of the co-op stuff. Sounds like something I may tinker with down the line and not something I need to play right away. Thanks for the easy read review =]

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conmulligan

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Hmm, I was hoping for more than just than Far Cry 3-2. I'll probably hold off on this until next year.

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Redbullet685

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Redbullet685  Online • 

More Far Cry 3 is fine by me, but I'm gonna wait on this for a little bit cause I just dropped a bunch of money on Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed and NBA 2k15.

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hassun

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Edited By hassun • 

Iterative sequels can be fine if there haven't been too many iterations.

Sadly this game (like other big budget Ubisoft games) just doesn't offer any meaningful challenge or reasons for me to actually play them. Like an amusement park without thrills.

The -now very tired- Ubisoft gameplay system of going somewhere, climbing some tower to reveal the map, (temporarily) taking out some outpost and gathering a plethora of useless collectibles resulting in upgrades you don't need because the game is already too easy without them really needs to stop being a thing.

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psylah

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J23

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J23 • 

Good to see Ubisoft can get at least one game out the door this year that's not totally broken. Seems like a great Holiday sale buy, especially once I upgrade my PC...

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MattyFTM

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MattyFTM  Moderator • 

I prefered the in-progress review:

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TheManWithNoPlan

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kasaioni

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Edited By kasaioni • 

As someone who has not played Far Cry 3, I'll be picking this up. This will be my Christmas break game.

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Brendan

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Edited By Brendan • 

I really enjoyed silenced-sniping entire bases full of dudes from 500m away in Far Cry 3. I will be willing to play what is basically Far cry 3 one more time to give me that experience. Here's hoping for more from Far Cry 5!

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TheVGamer

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TheVGamer • 

I enjoy this game's color palate more so even if it's another Far Cry 3 with the same kind of dumb story, I already prefer this one. I can already see it becoming my go-to podcast game, just like 3 was for the longest time.

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kubqo

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kubqo • 

I was super excited to play this game got everything ready on launch day and of course its busted...

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JusticeJanitor

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Looks like a "wait for it to be on sale on Steam and for the PC version to be patched" game.

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GaspoweR

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GaspoweR • 

@mattyftm said:

I prefered the in-progress review:

Can we like make this the real review and then just put Jeff's current review on the user reviews section?

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bacongames

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Edited By bacongames • 

As long as the protagonists and story are less frustrating and ruinous, then I'm down with Far Cry 4. In fact, more of Far Cry 3 gives me a good excuse to skip that one and jump straight into this one.

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Alek

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Alek • 

@chilibean_3: Really? I mean, I'm not surprised and I don't pre-order or anything, but I'm getting so sick of having to wait a month or two to play a game I really want to play because everything's always broken.

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me3639

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me3639 • 

"It runs well on both PS4 and Xbox One. It also runs great on PC, where the higher potential resolution and better image quality really stands out. That's the version to play, if you have a PC that's capable of running it properly."

This was pretty much the statement the last 2 years of the old gen cycle, and its already become the statement at the beginning of next gen.

As for the game, not really interested especially after watching the QL and hearing it is still as easy as hell. I grew so bored in FC3 because you are so overpowered from the start it was ridiculous even on the hardest difficulty. As for the co op on the other hand, loved it and when this is $7 on steam me and my friends will pick it up and have a good time.

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Bill_P

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Bill_P • 

Sounds good, but the fact that I'm still butt-hut about Ubisoft's PS4 version of Assassins Creed means that FC4 is a game I'll get during a drought next year. That's fine. For me, it's always nice to have games on store shelves that I still want to play. I also find the treatment of wildlife in this game to be offensive, so there's also that.

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PlaydohCutter

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Edited By PlaydohCutter • 

Is it broken on PC? I heard about the day 1 patch.....I have a GTX 680 with i7, so I am hoping this runs good....about to play it tonight!

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Bholla71085

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Good review Jeff, I think I could be into more Far Cry. Not sure how many more times I will want to revisit the same formula without some meaningful changes though.

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vhold

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vhold • 

I'm guessing the rereleased GTA:V will be the first game to a 5/5 out of Jeff since GTA:V.

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Anobix

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Anobix • 

Excited to play through this game, but with a huge backlog of other games to play, I can hold off until this one goes on sale at some point. I really enjoyed FC3, one of the best games of that year in my opinion [played on PC], but don't really feel that $60 is justified for a FC3-2 type of game right now.

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bybeach

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bybeach • 

For the PC. 'm debating that waiting a few weeks might get 5 or so bucks off if I catch it's sale period. But considering everything I wonder if on Steam will even be allowed. Some bad blood, and a spanking new game to boot. To be honest Far Cry 3 pissed me off. But I can stand the silliness if it's without the embarrassment.

It looks good, and it sounds fun. Gawd I hope another Blood Dragon happens!

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nick_verissimo

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BradSF

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BradSF • 

Great review Jeff G!! Like you, I thought Far Cry 3 was easily in the running for GOTY 2012. I'm not sure if this will directly follow suit but from your Quick Look and just playing through the Prologue, I can tell than I am eager to once again romp around in a lush environment, hunt some animals (and people) and explore what Kyrat has to offer. I can't imagine Ubisoft adding this to their annual release schedule. Hopefully they know this franchise would no benefit from that approach.

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Y2Ken

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Edited By Y2Ken • 

I am 100% down for more Far Cry 3 in a new world with different characters.

Elephants too. Though those birds... maybe less so.

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AMyggen

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AMyggen • 

Is it broken on PC? I heard about the day 1 patch.....I have a GTX 680 with i7, so I am hoping this runs good....about to play it tonight!

Jeff says it runs great on PC in the review, so you're probably safe!

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PrivodOtmenit

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Edited By PrivodOtmenit • 

@me3639 said:

This was pretty much the statement the last 2 years of the old gen cycle, and its already become the statement at the beginning of next gen.

More accurately it was the entire generation, PC was better even in 2005. It's to be expected.

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IggNight

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IggNight • 

If you have SLI Nvidia cards there are major graphical issues. I have 2 970s and the shadows are super dark and there is a burn in effect after moving your head. I have to disable SLI for it to work properly.

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Splodge

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Splodge • 

It's not broken on PC? Some people might be having problems, but it runs fantastically well for me.

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chilibean_3

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@chilibean_3: Really? I mean, I'm not surprised and I don't pre-order or anything, but I'm getting so sick of having to wait a month or two to play a game I really want to play because everything's always broken.

Imagine my annoyance when I can't even start the game I bought. The only reason I picked it up so early is because I got $10 off and figured why not. Some people have been able to work around it to get it to work. There have also been people saying that the mouse controls are...unfortunate. I wouldn't know. :(

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chilibean_3

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@splodge said:

It's not broken on PC? Some people might be having problems, but it runs fantastically well for me.

Nice! But like any other situation with PC there are so many different ways to build a PC that it's hard for there not to be issues for some. For a good bunch of us we're left sitting and waiting for Ubi to patch the game to work for us.

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SloppyDetective

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COD and GTA are taking up all my time right now, so this will have to wait--which is fine since I decided I'm buying all Ubisoft games used for the foreseeable future.

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blacklab

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blacklab • 

Played about 3 hours today. Best current gen console game available.

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ocelotfox

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ocelotfox • 

Really loved Far Cry 3 (except for its abysmal story), so I was pretty pleased to hear that Far Cry 4 has held up its end of the bargain. After about 2 and half hours with it, it's definitely everything I hoped for (fought a rhino as it charged me into a firefight between the two factions of the game), and the only big negatives to stick out so far are (1) the lackluster difficulty, even on hard mode, and (2) the center control gimmick on the PS4 (the touchpad can be used like a hotkey menu of sorts, but it also is used as the pause menu...it's pretty ugly in execution).

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morose

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IndridCipher

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@hassun: i'm fine with all that if the setting is always different. The French Revolution in Paris, Rome, the Caribbean, Constantinople, the Himalayas, Chicago, gameplay might all be very similar but if the setting is different and fleshed out and theres a new world to explore i am in.

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dr_mantas

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dr_mantas • 

Phew. Was worried after Unity.

Can't wait to play it in... oh... I don't know... Dragon Age is a pretty long game :)

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carlos707

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carlos707 • 

I was a huge fan of FarCry 3. A few hours into FarCry 4 and im loving it. I really like how colorful the game is, even in the slick menus.

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larmer

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larmer • 

definitely picking this up. This year's been pretty disappointing and lackluster. I could do with some more Far Cry 3, which was actually a good game.

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slyspider

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Edited By slyspider • 

Hurrah for meeting my meager expectations! It seems to launch on most PCs! People aren't growing out of the ground! You don't fall through the geometry! Ubi is making slow strides towards function video games again. (This game looks alright if I wasn't busy with Valkyria Chronicles and GTA5 already)

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me3639

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me3639 • 

@privodotmenit:

Oh, i totally agree and right now its not even close which platform is the best. I owned(always PC) both an Xbox and PS last gen, but nothing imo beats the unknowns, early access and mods in this day of over marketing and tired franchises from everyone from Nintendo to Activision. Im not saying their games are not good, its just tired and guess what? We will get to hear, and read about all of them again next year.

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Guru53

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Guru53 • 

Great review. I was waiting to see your final thoughts before I picked it up, even though I loved Far Cry 3. Definitely going to pick this one up tomorrow. I'm really excited to play this game; it will give me some shit to do while 343 gets their shit together and patches Halo: MCC.

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Jackel2072

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Edited By Jackel2072 • 

The most damning thing you could say about this game is that it's more of the same. However if that doesn't bother you (doesnt bother me) then it's worth the price of admission. It's good fun and the story ain't bad either.

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LarryDavis

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THEBIGZED

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THEBIGZED • 

Seems like I'm going to play this one on hard, just like Far Cry 3. I really recommend it if you want more of a survivalist experience. Especially in the beginning of the game when you don't have all the powers it can be really tense and it makes the progression feel more rewarding.