Review Price to be confirmed
What is Far Cry 4?Available on PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC
Far Cry 4 release date November 21
Far Cry 4 had one of the strongest presences at the E3 2014 press conferences and was impressive from the off, whether that was the visually stunning 5-minute opening section during Ubisoft’s own conference or the revelation that the game would offer a co-operative single-player campaign during Sony’s.
Ubisoft’s focus is on the game’s strong single-player campaign, where the player must explore the fictional Himalayan location of Kyrat, which is currently under the rule of the despotic self-appointed king seen in his pink suit.
Sadly, the hands-on time with the game we had during E3 didn’t even touch on Far Cry 4’s single-player campaign, instead focusing on the changes being made to the gameplay. Ubisoft is no doubt wanting to keep the storyline under wraps until closer to the Far Cry 4 release date on November 21.
Instead, we were given three options by which to infiltrate an enemy command post, which was a bit of a shame. This is something that we’re already familiar with attacking strongholds in this way from previous games, but at least we got to experience a few new features.
We’re used to exploring hot, humid, tropical climes in Far Cry, but Ubisoft has decided that we need a little snow in our lives. That’s not to say Kyrat is a barren, snow-blasted wilderness though. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
From the gameplay we played at E3, the lower landscape, although rocky, is lush with grass and water pools where the elephants frolic. In the distance, the skyline is pierced by mountain peaks that no rout we’ll get to appreciate later in the game at full height.
For now, we had to experience the mountainous landscape in fragments, but it immediately introduced a new gameplay element to Far Cry 4 and that’s Grapple Hooks. If you spot a hook-up you can quickly rope up and traverse the rocky outcrops quickly and easily.
It wasn’t clear whether you’ll always need to find this metal hook-up in order to use the grapple hook, but it will certainly make climbing up the mountainous landscape of Kyrat a little easier.
Also helping your ascent of the peaks will be the new vehicle in Far Cry 4, the gyrocopter. This single-seater, joystick controlled plane is a great addition to the Far Cry series and very fitting for the game’s locale.
Not only is it useful for transportation, but it’s also an additional tool for combat. We used the gyrocopter to quickly take a birds eye view of the command post and then began taking out the enemies from the air as well.
While flying you can use your single-handed weapons or grenade launchers on the goons, but they will start using their helicopters to fire down on you after they realise you’re airborne.
We found controlling the gyrocopter while shooting near impossible, as the little plane is ridiculously sensitive and wheels around with the slightest touch of the analogue stick. This makes aiming and taking out moving objects a little troublesome to say the least. We can’t see ourselves regularly using the gyrocopter regularly as a combat tool, if the control system remains as sensitive as it is at present.
Ubisoft has added another way to sneak into enemy bases, if you’re not liking the sound of the airborne approach. Far Cry 4 has added a crossbow to the arsenal for the first time in the series, letting you sneak up on enemies from above. We took to this stealth approach very quickly, using the grapple hook to scale up the side of a rock face to get some height on the enemy, and then taking a few stragglers out with the crossbow.
Enemies catching sight of any unexplained dead body are obviously suspicious and will go looking for you. If you’re quiet though and keep behind cover, it’s fairly easy to follow the stealth approach. You can always whip out your hard core weapons if they spot you too.
Our personal highlight of the E3 hands-on was Ubisoft’s fantastic animal addition, the elephants. In Far Cry 4 not only will you see elephants roaming around Kyrat, but you’ll also be able to ride them.
These creatures are beautifully animated and insanely detailed, even down to the bristly hair on their heads. More importantly, though, is their ability to help you in combat. When you’re riding them directly into enemy territory, if anyone hostile comes near them they grab them by the legs with their trunk and slam them into the ground with a devastating blow.
If you choose to dismount them when in combat, they’ll fight by your side, taking out enemies by trampling them or overturning approaching enemy vehicles. A word of warning, though, if you happen to shoot them while taking out enemies, they will turn on you. They’ll take you out in a few blows and are pretty difficult to outrun too.
Even in the small section of Far Cry 4 that we got to experience, the difference between this and Far Cry 3 is evident. Don’t get us wrong, Far Cry 3 was already a stunning game that pushed the processing prowess of the last-gen consoles, but Far Cry 4 just takes it that step farther.
Facial detailing, skin shading and landscapes have been visibly enhanced, with the mountainous Kyrat backdrop filling the screen as far as the eye can see.
First ImpressionsFrom the looks of the gameplay we’ve seen so far, Far Cry 4 has introduced a few new tactics to help you assault command posts to mix up the gameplay a bit. We feel a little bit saddened that Ubisoft is continuing to rely on these command post mechanics, but hopefully the elephants and other new tricks are just part of the new features to come.
From the looks of it, Far Cry 4’s storyline will be so compelling that all the other niggles and repeat appearances will fall by the wayside in the full game.
Read more: Best games 2014
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