As the sun set over Rook Island, I looked upon my works with joyful fatigue as the once-beleaguered native inhabitants celebrated their newfound freedom from the clutches of drug-fuelled madmen. I sniped soldiers, set C4 traps for the unaware enemy, and blew up Galapagos turtles for funsies. I wore my magical tattoos with pride as I vengefully tore through the jungles with naught but my knife and my almost pathological thirst for virtual blood.
Naturally, when Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4 was announced I was already, in my mind, sharpening my knife in anticipation for a whole new collective experience of savage violence, gorgeously rendered landscapes, and the unnecessary culling of endangered species in increasingly creative ways.
On November 18, I will finally have that hunger sated. The game is to be built on the same basic mechanics of Far Cry 3 (because why would you tool around with something that worked so well?) with just a couple of tweaks. Aside from the locale, they’ve built upon the map concept a fair bit – we have been promised the same map size, but with a bit more density - so there will hopefully be fewer long stretches of travelling between locales with more action in between.
Not that the long stretches tended to bother me much, there were always valuable animal parts and pelts to collect to bolster my arsenal.
There’s also been talk of a possible ‘hardcore’ mode, meaning that if you decide to climb to the top of a snowy mountain in short-shorts and a sleeveless shirt, you’re probably going to die of pneumonia like a real person. Some might find the concept annoying, but this is a gameplay style I enjoyed greatly in other games who dared to actually challenge you to play something a little more realistically. As a whole, as long as they stick with the basics that made Far Cry 3 the massive sleeper hit it was, I will be dedicating a solid several months to exploring every way in which they have fleshed out the concepts.
In Far Cry 4, you are a Nepalese native (a nice contrast against the ‘outsider’ nametag they stuck on you in the last game) fighting a civil war against a despotic regime headed by professional crazy white guy Pagan Min.
Funny name aside, Far Cry 3’s Vaas proves that the team can write a crazy bad guy so mesmerizing and perfectly crafted, it’s a genuine shame he has to die. Their particular brand of profane, graphical violence and the very dark themes peppered with oddball bits of humour will be making a very welcome comeback which, if you read through the animal descriptions in the menu in Far Cry 3, you already got a taste of and is part of what I really loved about that game.
I can see how in concept it’s going to be quite similar to what Far Cry 3 presented. It looks as though it will have you rally the native residents to fight against oppression and all that and you will be presented with one of multiple endings based on your actions throughout the game (which I am always a sucker for). If they’re going for re-playability on this sequel, that’s how they’re going to get it done.
I would dare say the only portion of this game that I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic on is the co-op mode they’re hoping to introduce. Ubisoft’s concept is that you can invite players from your friends list to join in the game, but they don’t actually have to own it. Instead, when you send an invite, the recipient is prompted to download a sort of trial version of the game wherein they can join in on your game.
It’s a really cool concept, but something I’ll hold my breath on. I’m simply interested to see what they’ll end up doing with the basic multiplayer; that was one of the few points in which I felt Far Cry 3 was lacking and I wanted to have fun with my friends online, I really did. The online that they’d built was basically a sort of PvP combat scenario in which the only other thing really to do was attack outposts with someone else, and I got bored of that within about 45 minutes (curiously enough, attacking outposts solo? So much fun).
Far Cry 4 is, for me, going to be my big November release. Coming in at just the right time as the weather starts to get nasty outside, I’m going to bundle up, climb some mountains, and shoot some flaming arrows at unsuspecting fauna with great joy.