“Good day reader. How has your day been? What’s that? You’re thinking of taking your next adventure in my part of the world? I’m glad you chose Kyrat for your next outing. The tropical paradise and African adventure setting was great, but it’s time to test yourself in a new terrain. Before you head off it’s probably a good idea that we take a quick selfie. There you go. Now, how about you sit down, listen to what I have to say… and then we’ll decide if you live or die.” – Pagan Min.
Pagan Min, the charming, yet relentless self-proclaimed king, is not your everyday guy. Unlike Vaas in Far Cry 3 he’s exceptionally intelligent and has brainwashed all of Kyrat under his rule. He’s the kind of guy that will invite you to dinner, have you pay for everything and make you believe that you should sacrifice yourself for his beliefs. His charisma combined with his lust for power makes him a very confrontational villain and the setting in Kyrat suits him down to the T, and you can’t spell Tyrant without it. You’ll play as Ajay Ghale who’s on a mission to scatter his moms ashes. Knowing that she has a history with the fictional region, based in the Himalayas, he heads off to honour her wishes. Early on you bump into Pagan Min’s forces and not long thereafter you’re escaping from his fortress, only find yourself siding with The Golden Path. They’re rebels standing up against Pagan who brought the country into a civil war to fight for what’s theirs… and it so happens that Ajay’s parents started the militia. After you get the lowdown of what needs to be done you’re left to explore the massive world of Kyrat.
Kyrat is divided into two sections, namely ‘North Kyrat’ and ‘South Kyrat’. For most part of the game you’ll find yourself causing chaos in the southern parts. It’s green and luscious, but, at first, has many areas that’s in Pagan’s control. Your aim is to overrun these outposts and to declare it as the Golden Path’s. You can either be tactical, by pulling out your binoculars, marking off the patrolling guards (as you would in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes) and taking them out one by one. Or, you can go all out guns blazing. The choice is yours. The latter is not advisable as, early on, your healthbar is made up of only two slots (with six slots being the most you can upgrade to) and depletes very quickly. (By securing XP you’ll gain more skill points, which you can spend on various new attributes). Press and hold the Y button and Ajay will heal one slot at a time, which can get a bit frantic in mid-action. That’s where syringes come into play.
Take care of yourself
As with Far Cry 3 you can collect various coloured plants scattered about the map. Collect two green plants and you will automatically receive a healing syringe (which can be reduced to one plant with a skill upgrade later on). Pressing and holding Y now completely replenishes your health. You can also mix up the plants for different results. Mixing the yellow and red plants, for example, will increase your physical damage, while the red and blue mix will help you spot foes in the lush vegetation by highlighting them. You’re also on the lookout for treasure chests that will award you money to buy weapons and the upgrades for it.
There are 18 items (such as a Wingsuit, Sticky Grenades and Body Armor) 13 sidearms, 30 weapons and 17 signature weapons to choose from, though I only ever bought 4 weapons. Why? Well, early on you’ll do a mission whereby, once completed, you’ll receive free weapons every time you liberate a bell tower. If you enjoy puzzle-based platforming you’ll have lots of fun finishing off the bell towers and automatically unlock weapons. Once you’ve bought or claimed your weapon you’ll have the option to add a scope, increase the magazine size, add a silencer and paint your weapon. They’re very basic upgrades, but when you have so much to choose from and so much to do this is the last of your worries. Once you’re out there using your weapons you really are facing off with everything that nature can throw at you. No matter how big your gun is, if you don’t have razor-sharp reflexes you’ll be in your grave in no time.
Did someone say ‘Elephants’?
Animals. Oh, there are plenty animals and you’ll be hunting them to craft yourself a weapon holster, bigger wallet, bigger loot bag and several other useful extras, but they will also be hunting you. Having a Bengal Tiger or Bear after you is no joke. If they catch you unaware they’ll make short work of you in no time. Rhino’s will barge into unsuspecting victims (including yourself) when you least expect it. In fact, there was a moment I had a mini heart attack when I turned around, after hearing a fast thumping sound, and had a Rhino flatten me. It’s these moments that make Far Cry 4 so unique. Everything is just so random. A threat might come from the air in the form on an Eagle attacking you. You’re constantly on the lookout for danger. Thankfully Elephants are your friend. The fun you have when jumping on the back of one of these giant mammals, and going on a rampage mission to destroy everything and anything, is unequalled by any other game. Pressing and holding in the left analogue stick will have him charging at any incoming threat, while pressing in on the right stick will have him bashing and throwing enemies into the air, or attract other nearby Elephants to help out. If you think it might be possible in Far Cry 4 then it likely is.
The developers have undeniably put their heart and soul into this game and it shows. You’ll glide, fly in a buzzer (the chopper-like aircraft), grapple up and down cliffs, throw meat towards soldiers to attract predators, call guns for hire (rebels that aid you when things are too tough), drive various cars and boats, find numerous collectibles and hidden items, enter the fantasy world of Shangri-La (when Ajay is drugged), play 5 vs. 5 multiplayer modes, online co-op and much, much more. If you want adventure, you’ll find it in Far Cry 4. If not, the adventure will find you.