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Monday, November 24, 2014

[Review] Far Cry 4 (PS4) (Single Player campaign only)

(I will not be discussing multiplayer and the map editor in this review. This review only discusses the single player campaign of the game.)

A little background before I begin this review, I have played Far Cry 1 and 2 on Xbox 360 and Far Cry 3 on Xbox 360 and PC. I want to get that out there so you guys can understand a little bit more about how I will go about reviewing this. I will be reviewing it based a lot on how it steps up the game on its previous installments more so than how it plays as a game in general.

Also, before I begin, I would love to thank Sony for allowing use PlayStation 4 users to be able to upload gameplay videos and pictures very easily without additional, expensive software/hardware! This is, the first?, console game review that I'll be able to do including pictures and videos from the actual game thanks to software within the PS4 that allows gamers to do so.

Lately, it's sad but game developers and publishers release one solid game and then release a bunch of sequels to that game that should really be released as $30 DLCs, not full length games that they charge users $60 for. When Ubisoft began to unleash trailers and teasers for the newest installment in their Far Cry series, I assumed this would be just another one of those cheap releases to get some extra cash out of gamers hungry for new action. I was wrong and right. Allow me to explain.

In the beginning of the game, I felt like this game was just an expensive DLC for Far Cry 3. There didn't seem to be too many new additions nor anything else except a new map and a few new ways to play in the FC universe. But me, enjoying FC3, continued playing to see what else was in store. My initial perception was absolutely wrong.

Graphics wise, the game does not meet expectations many of us had expected of the title. Being the first title in the Far Cry series on a next gen system, we'd assume it would take advantage of this new hardware; however, sadly, it doesn't seem to be much better than Far Cry 3. Take a look for yourself below.

Now, of course, do keep in mind that there will be a difference depending on the screen that you are viewing this picture on versus how it appears within the game. Also, keep in mind that I am using the PS4 version and that the Xbox One and PC versions may have differences too.

I took this picture in the way that it is to show you how human NPCs (non-playable character), the scenery, and shadows all play together. Unfortunately, it appears that the screenshot did not capture what I had seen on the screen in terms of shadows. As I had seen on the television, the gun had a shadow over half of it and light over the other half to show how detailed the shadows would be. But it seems that the PlayStation 4 was not able to capture this in a screenshot for me. The same is true of the videos I will show you as well. Playing them on the PlayStation 4 as a video versus actually playing the game shows that the quality has been degraded most likely to keep the file size small and allow for as long of a time as it can. I have not found a way to change the quality as I wouldn't mind to take up some space just for the best quality for reviews so please forgive me.

Far Cry 3 did set the record for me, personally, in terms of water texture. In many games, it seems so difficult for developers to capture the true beauty of water. Even in superb games like the Grand Theft Auto series, it seems that they can get everything to look amazing except when it comes to water. Far Cry 3 was the only game to convince me the most that there was actual water in front of me. Far Cry 4 does an even better job at creating lovely water effects.

The quality of the sound with the water also has been done exceptionally well. I noticed the sounds of footprints as I walked from forest into a swampy areas into water. The sounds are extremely accurate when you pay attention to the detail. The squish sounds different with each step taken. One true difference from many other games I've witnessed. The gun physics play nicely as well as did in FC3.

Driving behind the wheel of vehicles feels much better than in FC3. Here are some screenshots and a video detailing two of the vehicles, a truck and dune buggy, and fighting with some of the local scumbags of the Royal Army.

The game's mechanics have been improved when it comes to combat. Players are given many new options to use in addition to the many others that Far Cry has been known for and what Far Cry 3 had introduced to gamers two years ago.

I'd be wrong to not highlight that this game finally allows players to deal damage to enemies from behind the wheel. In the video below, you can see a bit of the action as I fight off some enemies while driving and flying. It was one of the things that I wanted most of FC3 because it just seemed so odd to have never been introduced into the game in the first place.

In the first video, we see the newly introduced vehicle, the helicopter and how it's used.

The helicopter was in all of the previous Far Cry games; however, players were never given the option to fly one until this game showed up. The helicopter seen in Far Cry 3 is seen in this one; however, a smaller helicopter, piloted by one person, seems to be the only available one to players looking to fly across Kyrat. Perhaps we'll see new ones in DLCs? ;)

In addition to using a helicopter, I also demonstrate how a player can fight ground units and also die from the helicopter.

I guess you could call them vehicles, but they're back from Far Cry 3. The parachute and wingsuit make appearances in this game as well.

What I love most about these is that they are available to the player from the start of the game. My, how it was annoying to wait so long to be able to "fly" through the map. Ubisoft finally got it and made it available to players from the start of the game...for a fee, of course. In the game's digital currency. It's not a DLC either, thank God.

Far Cry 4 has your standard vehicles too, of course, as I had mentioned earlier but with two twists. I showed you guys the combat from a helicopter earlier, but now here's a video demonstrating the combat from car to car.

As you guys already saw, the game also uses a new system that allows for "auto-pilot" which is, you guessed right, allowing the player to move from one point on the map to another without having to actually drive themselves. This is good for many reasons. One such is that the map is sometimes so huge that it can literally take you hours to go from one end to another especially if you need to get a vehicle from one point to another. There is fast travel, but it doesn't work if you need to take a vehicle with you. Another reason is that it makes vehicular combat much more easier because now you don't have to be focused on the road. Instead, you can focus your entire attention on the person you're trying to kill! While unrealistic, I have found the auto-pilot function to be quite helpful.

As can be seen in the video, the downside is that auto-pilot, while safe, is slower than what you're used to driving if you drive yourself. It is safer because you can go around corners knowing you won't fly off the road and that it will get you somewhere, but it's not so great for catching up to people, trying to get away from something, or trying to get somewhere in a hurry.

I honestly don't know what to classify this under, but the game has elephants that you can ride (after upgrading one of your skills).

The poor guy was killed shortly after this video was taken :/ Although, fear not! I avenged his death :)

In addition to the combat between humans, there is also combat between humans and animals and animals and animals.

A good game will allow players the opportunity to not only engage in the world before them but to also sometimes take a minute to sit back and watch things unfold on their own. This is why Grand Theft Auto and Watch_Dogs are so entertaining for some players. They enjoy the thrill of exploring a world and seeing what's going on around them. Far Cry 4 has that for gamers.

It's not uncommon to be strolling through the trees and to suddenly hear gunfire in a particular direction. If you have enabled surround sound, your ears will be blown away and you'll know exactly where to go to catch the action that's unfolding on the other side of the map. Often times, you may be called upon to help the rebels fight off guards or some sort of animal or even the cries of a civilian who's being attacked by a wild animal. Helping these people will yield you some points towards the Karma system within the game which I'll dig into in a minute. But first, I wanted to highlight some of the action between humans and animals.

As was the case in Far Cry 3, players are encouraged to hunt prey. However, in FC3, it was more so for the thrill, prize, and to craft usable items for the character. In Far Cry 4, players now hunt for more such as getting bait to hunt other animals. Any animal that is killed and skinned (I believe Demon Fish and other fish are excluded from this) leaves behind skin as well as bait for the player to use.

Unfortunately, if you want to hunt non-carnivorous animals like pigs, it doesn't look like there's any sort of bait to lure them in. Instead, you just have to rely on your old fashioned ways to catch them. I am really puzzled by what I captured in this next video.

In the video below, I have a little bit of fun and use a Light Machine Gun to hunt two of the toughest animals in the game. In the video, you can also see how the world affects the player in attacking him at will and without much notice.

Honestly, there is so much to do in this game and I haven't even covered half of what's going on! I've barely done any of the story but I've taken over much of the map and still have a long way to go. I covered the most important parts that I found most interesting, but there is a lot more that I have yet to do and a lot more that may be more interesting to you.

I'd like to leave you guys with one last video that I'm proud of myself for and that's of me taking down Varshakot without being detected. Along with regular outposts, FC4 introduced players to fortresses which are a bit more complicated to conquer. The game recommends that players only attempt the fortress if they've gone through the campaign, but I wasn't ready for that so I went ahead and tried my luck and did it. I guess it may be helpful to some who are having difficulties not completing it.

Overall, I love the game. I would definitely recommend it to others. In the 13+ hours of playing the game, I've come to see it as more than what I originally thought of it. It's got a lot of new features and new things that make it a much different game than Far Cry 3. I have a difficult time justifying the $60 price because it honestly does feel a bit like a more complicated DLC for Far Cry 3. I suppose that's because this is the same engine with some new additions. The game is good, definitely a favorite for me and one that I'll invest lots of time into.

I apologize for not being able to discuss multiplayer. I don't have any friends that own a PS4 and Far Cry 4 yet so it's kinda difficult to do. I also was unable to discuss the other multiplayer parts and the map editor because I've been focusing all of my time on the single player. The map editor was fun and was something that is a nice edition for console players much like the one included for my Far Cry 1 & 2 disc for the Xbox 360.

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