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Far Cry 4 review: The most thrilling deja vu experience you'll ever play

Hayden Dingman | Nov. 24, 2014
"An eagle!" my soldier yells. "Look out! Help me!" My men, who I've seen stand fast in the face of overwhelming machine gun fire, are scattering because of a dive-bombing bird. The eagle circles overhead, taunting me before swooping down and raking its claws across my arm.

I want to give Ubisoft Montreal credit though — while the writing in Far Cry 4 on a macro level is terrible, the team is phenomenal at writing characters. Far Cry 4's Pagan Min and Far Cry 3's Vaas are different characters, but they capture the same frenetic, charismatic absurdity. There's something so logical about everything they say, even though it's a twisted and demented logic. Far Cry 4 sweetens the deal by adding three second-in-command characters that are every bit as crazy as Min himself.

The strong writing extends to your side of the conflict too. Longinus, for instance, is a weapons salesman who believes when Jesus returns to the world he'll need guns to set things right, while Far Cry 3's Hurk returns to try and appease the monkey gods.

It's all very silly and entertaining on a moment-to-moment level, even if the broader story strokes don't make a lick of sense.


And the story doesn't really matter. It's a flimsy framework for an adrenaline-pumping survivor story.

Far Cry 4, like its predecessors, is a weapons showcase. It's that cold feeling as you circle an outpost, tagging enemies with surgical precision before whipping out a silenced sniper rifle and taking them out one head-shot at a time. Or it's the clenching of your stomach as you silently crawl through an enemy village, disabling alarms and leaving slit throats in your wake.

Or it's the utter stupidity of crashing through a gate on the back of an elephant, a grenade launcher in hand to deal with any enemies that haven't already been snagged by your ride's grasping trunk.

That feeling of systems-driven chaos is still here, playing Far Cry 4, and it's enough to carry the game through one more go-round. There are some other small changes. You get a wingsuit early in the game that functions as a go-anywhere hang-glider, there's a janky Mad Max-esque gyrocopter to fly around in, and you can (as mentioned) ride elephants.

There's also an overwhelming amount of side content: assassination missions, hunting missions, armed convoy escorts, and more. Most are pretty rote, with "go here and shoot this" describing the extent of almost every mission. Where you're going is different and the method of execution is different, but the side content is still the weakest part of the game. Some of your leveling perks are locked behind completing a certain number of these missions, so you'll have to do some in order to (for instance) unlock unlimited sprinting. Otherwise, they're there to complete — or not — at your leisure.

Honestly, though, the game is 95 percent the same as Far Cry 3. That's not a bad thing yet. I had fun taking down another 24 outposts, climbing another 17 bell towers, taking out another murderous dictator, and blowing up anything that moves. There's a feeling that anything can happen in Far Cry 4, as long as it's anything that involves the use of a gun.


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