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Far Cry 4 Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Ubisoft Montreal
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
November 18, 2014

One could argue that objectionable characters are perhaps the most frightening. One could also argue that in an open-world sandbox structure, story is nowhere near as critical as it is within a linear adventure. Your enjoyment of Far Cry 4 may hinge on where you stand on each of these questions. If you put aside the clichéd and even occasionally disgusting storyline and focus on the diverse and enjoyable gameplay, you’ll have a great time. If, on the other hand, you have an issue with stereotypical characters with no redeeming qualities, you might be downright annoyed.

From a visual standpoint, the developers have produced a deep, engaging environment that can be wildly immersive. The slopes of the Himalayas are rife with uncertainty and peril but you won’t spend the entire time on snowy slopes. I was surprised at the environmental variety on display and I appreciated the attention to detail in each exotic locale. Character detail is good, too, and the effects can be utterly mind-boggling, especially when you decide to go big (elephants, big weapons, and absolutely no subtlety whatsoever). However, as it did have to fit on older platforms as well, one can sense that FC4 couldn’t take full advantage of the PS4 and Xbox One.

The voice performances are excellent, even if you can’t stand the radio personality who tends to dominate portions of the game. This personality dreams of becoming a serial killer whose calling card is smearing human feces over his victims. …yeah, it’s like that. But anyway, with top-notch talent like Troy Baker leading the way, the voice acting is a definite highlight. I liked the music selections as well because they emphasized the wildness of the backdrop and the urgency of the chaotic situations. The effects are solid but not exactly memorable so in the end, you get a relatively impressive technical presentation that benefits from a big budget and industry-leading talent.

Much has been made of the game’s new villain, Pagan Min. He’s prominently featured on the box art and he makes his presence felt early. He’s the cocky, twisted authoritarian ruler of Kyrat and he’s completely broken. It’s obvious that we’re not even supposed to regard this guy as human; he pursues suffering and laughs at the tortured cries of his fellow man. Now, on the surface, this could be a truly terrifying character. The problem is that he has no real dimension and as we have to assume that insanity is the only cause of his dysfunction, he’s almost immediately boring. Yes, nutjob that kills for fun. Got it. It’s actually a relief that Min disappears for most of the campaign.

As protagonist Ajay Ghale, you’re on a melancholy quest to scatter the ashes of your dear departed mother, as per her wishes. Of course, doing so in the land of Kyrat means you’re embroiled in a ridiculous mess of villainy and chaos, so Ghale has to adapt or die. It’s a tumultuous world of constant freakishness, betrayal and animal instinct, but the story doesn’t go beyond this admittedly surface traits. There’s just nothing underneath this sordid craziness besides more craziness. There are a few political statements and puns that fall flat but aside from that, it’s just insanity from start to finish.