This article was originally posted by me on Hittin Crits, which has since been taken offline. The content in this article was either taken from a web archive of the original, or from the most recent copy on my hard drive. As archives do not always contain images it’s probably that the images contained within the original article are not present here.
My mission is to take over an enemy fortress. I sneak up to the front entrance without alerting any of the lookouts, but the door is barred shut. Breaking through would be noisy, so I look for another way in. I sneak around the back, and notice the back door is slightly ajar. I wedge myself inside and scout out the area, marking out a few enemies. I start dispatching them with my silent bow, but I miss a shot, and the noise makes them suspicious, so I retreat. I notice an area on the outer wall that I can climb, and so I head up there for a better vantage point to take out the enemies who were now looking for me down below. I switch between this position and the door, taking out enemies as I go, hoping for an opportunity to sneak in and disable the alarms so that they can’t call for reinforcements. I’m spotted, and that opportunity doesn’t arrive.
The enemy calls in reinforcements, and some jeeps speed in. I’m hidden from them at the moment, but as soon as they spot me all hell will break loose. I look down from my hiding spot and see one of the jeeps. I realise I have some C4 on me, and chuck some down on the jeep. BOOM! A heap of enemies get caught in the explosions, but then I find myself under heavy fire… from the sky!? An enemy helicopter was coming to defend the fortress. I pull out my sniper rifle and look down the scope. I fire a single shot, and by some miracle I manage to take out the pilot. I let out a cheer as the chopper came crashing down. I sneak back to the doors of the fortress, behind the enemies who were walking around looking for me. One of them remains on the mounted gun of a second jeep, but not for long as I take him out with an arrow from my bow. I take over the gun and start mowing down my opposition. Things are looking good, and I think I might succeed my mission, but then the second wave of reinforcements comes after me. More jeeps, and another helicopter! I defend myself alright for a short while, but before too long I collapse, my mission a failure.
The Far Cry series has been popularised by its emergent gameplay within its open worlds, encouraging experimentation with different weapons, tools and strategies. As you can probably tell from the above two paragraphs, this trend is being continued in Far Cry 4. The EBX demo presented you with three choices at the beginning, which would dictate what options you had available to you when attacking the fortress: Sneak, Ride, and Fly. Sneak was the one I tried first, which gives you silenced weapons to take a stealthy approach through the fortress. Ride was the other one I tried, which has you riding an elephant to barge through the front entrance, taking a loud approach. And finally, there was a Fly option I saw other people take but didn’t get time to try myself, which gives you a gyrocopter to fly into the fortress, and take out enemies from the sky. Each option played radically differently, which is a good sign of how open the full game will be in regards to gameplay choices.
The demo was enjoyable, but the game really does feel like Far Cry 3 with more stuff. The graphics are nicer as you’d expect from the improved hardware, but presentation wise you could’ve fooled me if you said it was Far Cry 3. UI is the same, weapons are the same, controls are the same… It feels like the work has been put into adding things more than reworking the base. Although, the fortress did feel more varied than most outposts from FC3, with its use of buildings, alleyways and multiple entrances. I could see more variation occuring in playthroughs than there would be in a single FC3 outpost. In addition to this, the reinforcement system has changed so that you can’t disable all alarms at once, each disabled alarm prevents a wave of reinforcements from being called, with reinforcements not being able to be called at all if all the alarms are taken out.
That’s not to say the additions aren’t cool though- the enemy helicopters are a tough challenge to overcome, and the gyrocopter looked like a lot of fun to pilot. And of course, charging in on an elephant as your steed is great. Splinters of the fortress doors fly as the elephant bashes its way through, and you feel invincible rampaging around ontop of a giant beast wielding a shotgun. Annoyingly though, the button to get off the elephant is the same button used to reload, so if you hold down the button a fraction too long your character will hop off the elephant in the middle of a firefight, incredibly vulnerable.
So while Far Cry 4 appears to be a game that most will enjoy, I’m just not sure if it’s different enough from FC3 and Blood Dragon. If you loved those games then chances are you’ll love this one, but I’m just not convinced I should pay full price for more of what I’ve already played through.
Far Cry 4 charges into stores November 18th 2014 on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.