It would be easy to think of Far Cry 4 as little more than a shiny clone of the last game. It does after all, stick rather closely to the foundation Ubisoft cemented in Far Cry 3, with much of the same framework transplanted to a new locale. It would be easy to dismiss it as a new skin, draped over a worn and weathered skeleton – and you’d very probably be right. You would, however, miss out on one of the year’s best games.

The archipelago of the Rook Islands is displaced by a fictional world in the  Himalayas; a vast expanse of rocky savannahs and snowy mountaintops called Kyrat. Our new Hero, Ajay Ghale, has returned to his homeland to return his mother’s ashes to her place of birth, unaware of his family’s local legacy. It’s a country at war with itself.  The local despot, Pagan Min, not only knows who you are and who your family is, but also that you’ve returned to Kyrat. It thrusts Ghale into a conflict between his father’s resistance movement, the Golden Path and Min’s red army.

Yes, it’s another tale of down-trodden revolutionaries trying to overthrow a tyrannical dictatorship, but it wouldn’t quite be Far Cry without it.  Pagan Min, the fabulously-dressed flamboyant bad guy from the cover, is a charismatic, erudite and eloquent villain who rules – as dictators do – with a supremely blood and sociopathic iron fist. He’s not quite as psychotic as Far Cry 3’s Vaas, but he’s most certainly certifiable – and played to absolute, more measured, perfection by Troy Baker (though he’s really only in the game for a few minutes).

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Beyond the conflict, there’s not very much to the narrative. There are a few moral choices and branching paths – but mostly everything happens as a reason to get you shooting at things or exploring the great vertiginous expanses.  Even the protagonist is a little more reserved, with Ghale uttering just a handful of words in the whole game. It’s a deliberate choice on Ubisoft’s part for Ajay to function much like a cipher, a nearly silent protagonist.

That, as far as I’m concerned, is a good thing. The very best thing about Ghale is that he’s not Jason Brody. It’s nice to have a hero who’s not a SoCal bro, with no friends to save and who hardly has to put up with some of the more puerile nonsense we saw in Far Cry 3. Some of that sort of twaddle remains; there are two unbearably annoying travelling stoners whose stereotypical “whoa, dude” jokes are about as endearing as a kick to the face.

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You’re essentially a murderer for hire, helping the natives free themselves from tyranny and oppression. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, really. For whatever reason, the two leaders within the revolution have opposite viewpoints, and regularly  squabble over the correct course of action – turning to you, a relative outsider, to determine the fate of the entire nation.

There’s also no explanation of why Ghale is so adept at shooting things, or how he’s able to  ramp a vehicle over a ledge, fly a wingsuit from that to a plane  and toss a grenade into its passenger seat and parachute to safety like some 80’s action hero. And honestly, that’s okay, because no matter what your actual mission is you’ll inevitably become distracted and go off hunting badgers instead.

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That’s what Far Cry is, or at least what it has become – and it excels at that. It’s a great big sandbox that’s made for you to explore things, kill things, collect things and skin things. The fun comes from the emergent stories you create.  It’s not mechanically very different from the last one at all, but it’s been refined and polished to a perfect shine. You’ll still run around, scaling and then hijacking radio towers, which unlock even more things for you to do. You’ll still take down every living thing within an outpost using a wealth of guns and other weapons and have a good time doing it.

New here is that the outposts you’ve claimed can be attacked and reclaimed by the enemy. You’ll have to take out one of the game’s Fortresses  – essentially larger, tougher outposts – in each region to stop the attacks from happening. They’re considerable challenges, and it’s incredibly rewarding when you take one down. You’re able to approach each outpost and fortress as you see fit. My favoured approach is almost always the stealthy one; sneaking in, using a whisper silent recurve bow to take out each guard, one by one – but that all changed when I played it co-operatively.

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Emboldened by the addition of a partner, I was positively liberated by having somebody there to have my back, and there are few greater thrills than utilising the tank-like powers of a weaponised elephant.  Everything barring the actual campaign can be experienced in co-op, and its sandbox just screams for co-operative shenanigans. I kept throwing bits of bait at my partner’s feet, revelling in the joy of watching him being mauled by a great big Bengal tiger.

There’s a constant sense of progression, of levelling up – even when you’re not really doing anything to move the main story along. Ajay’s got two uninspired skill trees he can exploit to gain new abilities (though half the skills seem like a waste of time), but it’s the levelling up he can do with the locals through a new karma system that keeps things fresh. In return for helping villagers out, he’ll get better deals on items and weapons as well as better assistance from the the local peasantry.

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I am the planet’s worst digital driver, and it’s a challenge that’s made all the worse in games where driving and shooting have to happen in tandem , but Far Cry 4 fixes that for me with the inclusion of an autodrive function that does the hard part for you so you can focus on putting bullets in to skulls. It’s wholly optional, so those who do like piloting Far Cry’s vehicles can continue to do so, while I continue to not drive off mountain roads.

Getting around on foot is made a little easier in the mountains of Kyrat thanks to the combination of the grappling hook and the wingsuit. Beyond the clear division of grassy bits, and the snowy bits, Kyrat’s regions all seem to blend into each other, lacking the charm and variety of the rook Islands – but the game feels a little more realistic as a result. Nothing really feels out of place, with every bit of spiritual or historical landmark seeming like it belongs.

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Those who like the spiritual mumbo-jumbo can enter Shangri-La, a paradise corrupted by evil demons.  By finding bits of an ancient painting, you’ll relive the life of mythical Hindu warrior Kalinag. Aided by an ethereal, spectral white tiger, it’ll be your job to rid the crimson-hued world of the evil that’s plaguing it. It’s a worthwhile sidequest, and just one of the innumerable things to do in Kyrat.

When you’re done dicking about in Kyrat proper, there’s a 5v5 multiplayer that pits the Golden Path against Pagin Min’s Rhakshasa in a set of objective-based modes. The rebels have access to powerful guns and weapons, while the Rhakshasa rely on bows and their control of animals as their instruments of murder. The multiplayer’s take-it-or-leave-it stuff for me, though it’s made up for by the inclusion of co-op.

It doesn’t stray from the template set by Far Cry 3, but improves upon it. I’ve spent over 20 hours in Kyrat, and I plan on spending at least 20 more.  And that, I think, is what’s important. It may not blow your mind by reinventing the franchise, but it’s fun.

Last Updated: November 17, 2014

Far Cry 4
Far Cry 4 takes everything that made its predecessor one of 2012's best games and improves upon it. A true sandbox, most of its fun comes from the stories you create as opposed to its lacklustre narrative. If you loved Far Cry 3, you'll love what its sequel has to offer.
Far Cry 4 was reviewed on PlayStation 4
85 / 100


  1. Cadis Etrama Di Umar

    November 17, 2014 at 19:20

    Hype. Nice review. I was really hoping for a stronger narrative though as Pagan seemed like a great character, but thats the nature of thr beast that is open-world. Its hard to have a focused narrative when you can easily spend hours not even reaching the next story segment. Sounds fun. Might pick it up after Dragon Age


  2. RinceThis

    November 17, 2014 at 19:26

    Will be getting this when I get my PS4! Great review man.


    • Viking Of Divinity

      November 17, 2014 at 19:28

      but it only runs at 30 fps… that’s just not good enough! 😛


      • Cadis Etrama Di Umar

        November 17, 2014 at 19:31

        Dumbo doesn’t give a shizz about frames yo. Elephants be stomping a fools faces at death frames per second


        • Hammersteyn

          November 18, 2014 at 08:17



        • clucker99

          February 22, 2015 at 05:42

          Well said


      • clucker99

        February 22, 2015 at 05:40

        Play with it and then say that it is not a good time


      • clucker99

        February 22, 2015 at 05:41

        Science? ??? Lmfao idiot


    • Cadis Etrama Di Umar

      November 17, 2014 at 19:28

      Whe you getting it?? Soon soon?


      • Weanerdog

        November 18, 2014 at 11:44

        I believe he gets OVGs if the Witcher 3 has a day 1 patch, so March then.


    • Rock789

      November 18, 2014 at 07:55

      And we shall co-op then too!!


    • Hammersteyn

      November 18, 2014 at 08:37

      Add me as a friend, Ive got skills that pays said bills


      • Sir GIF Sexy

        November 18, 2014 at 08:51

        … You’re a Hooker, Hamm? o.O


        • Hammersteyn

          November 18, 2014 at 08:55

          Ive been called a slut a few times.


          • clucker99

            February 22, 2015 at 05:43

            Your a bloody fool if you ask me

  3. HvR

    November 17, 2014 at 20:32

    Look like that monkey just heard someone make an Asian driving skill joke


  4. Sir GIF Sexy

    November 17, 2014 at 21:56

    Wait, what happens if you are a dick to the people? I NEED TO KNOW!


  5. Skyblue

    November 18, 2014 at 06:46

    I finished and enjoyed Far Cry 3 and Blood Dragon and thought they were pretty good value. Will be looking at this but not soon as there are just too many great games being released atm.


    • Rock789

      November 18, 2014 at 07:57

      Man, I hear ya! Too many great games and simply too little time… I’m really trying to stop myself from simply buying it now, “just because I can”… I need to finish my current crop of games before I move onto the next ones. And then, of course, there’s DA:I coming on Friday… **drool**


    • R1ker

      November 18, 2014 at 09:16

      Now hopefully we can start looking forward to Blood Dragon 2 🙂


  6. Xcalibersa

    November 18, 2014 at 06:47

    Looks like a blast


  7. Rock789

    November 18, 2014 at 08:07

    Will definitely be picking up this game in the near future – perhaps for Christmas vacay. But till then, DA:I it shall be!


  8. warbutt the butt butt

    November 18, 2014 at 12:37

    I’m Glad Ubi didn’t mess this one up minus having to unplug every controller on my PC so it didn’t have to crash on start up. I have to say every aspect of the game is well polished and very lovable even the psychotic Min you have to love him in all the twisted ways.

    Plus it looks so purddie in 1440p on Max Settings


  9. string_slinger

    November 18, 2014 at 15:53

    3gb day 1 patch for PC. Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow. Guess I’ll be playing tomorrow then…:)


  10. MrMosley

    November 18, 2014 at 15:54

    I’d love an invite to play if anyone has any extra guest passes my PS4 name is …..MrHayven”….I’d appreciate anyone’s help.thanx.


    • clucker99

      February 22, 2015 at 05:46

      Help you mean free fun for you ya cheap slut u jew .cheap fuck


      • clucker99

        February 22, 2015 at 05:47

        I’d love a new car .


      • MrMosley

        March 18, 2015 at 14:17

        LOL Somebodys looking for attention,not getting enough in Moms basement Huh, I’m sorry little boy,here let me give you a hug.


  11. Sebasriver

    November 18, 2014 at 18:16

    Unboxing Far cry 4 limit edition


  12. AKenerly

    November 19, 2014 at 23:20

    “It would be easy to dismiss it as a new skin, draped over a worn and weathered skeleton – and you’d very probably be right. You would, however, miss out on one of the year’s best games.”

    What a joke. If THIS — new paint over a dead skeleton — is one of the year’s best games, then this year must have been full of terrible games.


  13. Gol D Bogart

    November 22, 2014 at 06:29

    FPS games are good on PC, cos it’s easy to aim


  14. Jeremy Ecker

    November 23, 2014 at 04:03

    How can I vote on this game and where did the 8.5 come from? So far I’ve been playing for four days and all I’ve seen is a black screen. I would say that it should be rated at ZERO.


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