Maybe not what you’re expecting, but in a good way.
Everyone seems to love Far Cry 3 a lot more than I do. It’s a fine game, to be sure, but it has just one too many moving parts to be a genuinely compelling sandbox experience. I would not count myself amongst the Far Cry faithful, but I’ve got a modicum of hope for this sequel…despite having actually played some of it.
Yes, from the folks who brought you Far Cry 3 comes Far Cry 3: Except Now With Elephants. Based on the stuff we’ve seen from the Ubisoft conference, it appears that all the iteration for this sequel comes in the storytelling department. The simple act of playing Far Cry 4 feels almost egregiously familiar, right down to the stealth that doesn’t quite work and illusion of choice that doesn’t quite work either.
The demo I was shown was an outpost assault with three different options: a stealthy approach and two bombastic assaults (one where you ride an elephant and the other with a helicopter). My game was set to the elephant, which actually worked out all right for a little bit. I smashed through the door and immediately started whacking my foes with the elephant’s trunk. I got a decent chuckle out of the whole thing, which quickly came to an end when I got off the elephant to better assault my enemies. Not entirely sure how many upgrades the player character had, but I did not manage to last very long either way.
After that crushing defeat, I took the stealthy route, and promptly died almost immediately. The enemies had a tendency to blend into the environment, lacking the brighter reds matched against the green jungles from the previous game, so I didn’t spot a bad guy before he sounded the alarm. The following reinforcements consequently riddled my body full of holes. It has all the promise of Far Cry 3‘s encounter system, but without any real control over my character, I feel like I didn’t quite get the full experience.
The stealth approach also made use of the new grapple feature. It’s a contextual button press that allows you to scale certain walls. I had a spot of trouble getting it to work, only finding the right spot after some help from my Ubisoft rep.
According to said Ubisoft rep, the game was running on a PlayStation 4. He may have been telling the truth, since I think I saw a PS4’s now-trademark glowing white stripe in that dark protective case. Plus, the visuals weren’t exactly spectacular. It ran just fine, but the textures looked a tad grungy. Think somewhere between the Xbox 360 and PC release of Far Cry 3. The game is supposedly early in development, but with a November release, you would think any visuals they’re showing now will be close to the final release.
Look, the most exciting part of Far Cry 4 for me was that trailer with Pagan Min. He looks like one hell of a villain, and it’s always nice to see a non-white protagonist in games. If you dug Far Cry 3’s style of open world, you might also really dig Far Cry 4. We’ll have to see on November 18th.