I hold many fond memories of the original Far Cry. After getting a copy free with my parent’s PC, I struggled to load the game on its lowest setting, but fell in love with its open-ended structure and great sense of freedom, getting to play how I wanted to without being penalised. Jump forward a decade and you can still feel the original’s spirit, even in its fourth outing.
With Far Cry 4 being unveiled during the madness of E3, I was happy to see such an open-ended demo provided at the Sony conference – with killer elephants, no less! Showcasing, once again, such a vibrant, expansive island to explore, it seems as though the developers have learnt what works best. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad the drab, dusty vistas of Africa are long gone. Now with Kyrat, a small region of the Himalayas, players are once again given a huge island to explore and plenty of freedom on how to pursue mission objectives.
Getting hands-on and down to action, I was given three options when approaching an outpost. I could either go in guns blazing and ride through on an elephant, fly in with the use of a gyrocopter, or could simply sneak in and eliminate all threats as quietly as possible. During my time in the demo I tried all three options, but as a die-hard fan of stealth, preferred the latter much more.
Let’s start with going guns blazing. Getting setup outside my tasked outpost, I didn’t have to look too far for the best way of getting through its gate. With an elephant directly in front of me, I jumped on its back and headed straight for the main door. Crashing through in the most elegant of ways (ok, perhaps tusks first can only be so elegant), my hasty approach soon turned from peachy, to one without hope.
Maybe it was my over confidence, or perhaps the thought that any enemy would be stupid to confront a man riding a elephant, but to my dismay, once the bullets started to fly, so did I – straight into the ground. Obviously going guns blazing wasn’t the option for me, so instead I decided to take a more subtle approach. Armed with a silenced sniper rifle and a handful of throwing knives, I took the back route of the complex and slowly picked off my targets one at a time. My guide on the demo pod was keen to point out that if I disabled the alarm, if I did get caught, it would limit the amount of enemies I’d have to encounter. I swiftly took his advice, but in doing so caught the attention of a guard.
After a well-aimed knife to the head, I was in the clear. My victory was short-lived however, because my reflexes weren’t as sharp upon my next slip up. With the base now on full alert, I was quickly alerted to the location of a grenade launcher just steps away from my position. Grabbing the explosive device, I continued by obliterating anything, and anyone, in my path. I successfully captured the outpost, but it didn’t go exactly as I had planned.
With only one playthrough left to take, it was soon time for me to head up in the air. Given how my first approach turned out, I wasn’t overly optimistic toward the thought of flying AND shooting. Shortly into setting off and I already knew the outcome. Jumping out of the craft just before it reached its life expectancy, I was in the air, but failed to utilise the one thing that could save me; my parachute. Hitting the ground, it was all over for me, but at the end of my demo I was eager to jump back into the game and experiment more, unfortunately for me, E3 held much more in its wings.
I feel lucky to have experienced Far Cry 4 first-hand, but have a niggling feeling that alongside its arrival on last-gen consoles, it may have its ambition cut short. Without sounding too negative, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my playthrough, even if I did spend most of it in the dirt. Come fall 2014, you can bet that I’ll be spending much more time in the dirt, but in the meantime I’ll just have to plot my next moves carefully to avoid such a fate.