Video game review: Far Cry 4, by Ubisoft

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 December, 2014, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 December, 2014, 10:49pm

Far Cry 4

As video games advance and budgets swell, ambitious developers start comparing their visions for extended cut scenes to Hollywood blockbusters. But games must always put the player first: the key is finding a balance and Far Cry 4 is an ideal example of how the gaming world should be moving forward.

Far Cry 4's story of a country in turmoil is involving but never overwhelming: its vast virtual world offers endless exploration and almost limitless opportunities for carrying out adrenaline-filled mayhem and carnage.

The player is sent to the fictitious Kyrat, as an American adventurer who is thrown into a civil war between the Himalayan nation's dictators and revolutionaries.

It's a fascinating set-up, with your character starting off as lost as you, and surrounded by a series of well-rounded supporting players, each memorably voiced and made almost real through the game's lifelike visuals. As you advance, you can choose your side of the conflict and the story's progression, affecting the fate of the country around you.

Far Cry 4 is technically a first-person shooter, but not as you know it. The limitations of the follow-the-route genre have been removed and the main story is merely one path to follow. There's an incredible open world to explore: you can hunt wild animals, for example, or harvest fields for cash. Or escort rebels. Or cross mountains on a hang glider.

But for all the recreation on offer, the real thrills are in the kill: the myriad ways gamers can cause mayhem on an incredibly absurd scale. Machine guns and grenades are a given from the get-go, but as you progress, so too does your weaponry, eventually attaining the volatile ranks of flamethrowers, rocket-propelled grenades, bazookas and explosives. Combine that firepower with those missions above and you can imagine the possibilities. The action is amped up even further in the exhilarating co-op and multiplayer modes. Each takes full advantage of the freedom and scale of the main campaign, but with the addition of extra players often alternating missions between the chaotic and comedic.

The idea of an American tearing through a largely unspoiled country has drawn criticism but for those unconcerned with politics, Far Cry 4 provides a solid package of great storytelling and thrilling gameplay, alongside the requisite open world.