Ubisoft’s big tagline for Far Cry 4, “every second is a story,” promises that around every corner of the Himalayan adventures, you’ll find some big moment, explosive action, or “HOLY SH*T” moment to keep you going in its upcoming sequel – and already, it seems like the game is posed to do so.
After a brief demo played from the show floor of E3 2014, with the section of the game shown running for about 10-15 minutes of gameplay (depending on your play style/patience), Ubisoft demonstrates once again through its open-world FPS/RPG hybrid that Far Cry 4 is primed to deliver on the epic action the series is known for, even if there are some familiar shades from the franchise’s previous entry, Far Cry 3.
Oh, and also: elephants. There are lots of elephants, and you don’t want to mess with them.
Putting players into the vast and mountainous Kyrat, a fictional portion of the Himalayas, Far Cry 4 plays like previous entries in the series as a mix of first-person shooter gameplay with RPG elements added, with players using a combination of gunplay, stealth takedowns, and new skills and abilities that make traversing Kyrat more strategic, brutal, and most of all, fun.
Taking on the role of the game’s protagonist, Ajay Ghale, the E3 demo gave a brief glimpse into the detailed open-world environments that the series is so well known (and praised) for. Even from just the short taste of Kyrat on offer, it already makes a great impression, and a different one from the more tropical locales seen in the previous Far Cry titles: the vast mountains and scale of Kyrat gives Far Cry 4 plenty of new locations to visit, as well as lots of new wildlife (Elephants! Mountain goats! Oh my!) to encounter, and new ways to traverse the environment, such as a grappling hook to latch onto high ledges.
From the sounds of rushing wind and ice to the soft flapping of marker flags in the distant mountains, Far Cry 4 already demonstrates plenty of visual polish, and an appealing new landscape for Far Cry veterans to explore. Gameplay-wise though, the demo shown played much like what we’ve come to expect following Far Cry 3, with the controls, movement, and abilities demonstrated being exactly like the previous game, an aspect both to look forward to and slightly be wary of heading into the game’s release this coming fall.
The demo presented players with the mission of liberating one of the many enemy outposts that will litter the game’s map and provide a number of resources to the player after successfully emptying it of enemies, such as a new fast travel location, and access to ammunition, vehicles, and other items. Much like Far Cry 3, the Far Cry 4 demo presented the task of liberating the outpost with nearly any option imaginable for players to move forward. Once inside the gates of the vastly guarded outpost, players can move stealthily and take out enemies one-by-one (especially with the fun, and powerful new auto-crossbow), or go in all-guns-blazing but draw the attention of enemy reinforcements. Even better though are the opportunities to use the environment and your surroundings to maximize the damage, such as using nearby explosives, or even better, calling in a wild elephant to trash pretty much any enemy (or truck) that stands in your way. Trust me: seeing an elephant go one-on-one with a truck will always be a sight worth seeing, whether it’s the first or one-hundredth time.
Following my playthrough of the demo and successfully liberating the enemy outpost, the words “Every second is a story” came across the screen as my brief play session with Far Cry 4 came to a close. It’s an accurate statement for the Far Cry series, as in previous titles I have always had those moments that just had to be discussed with friends, and the latest title in the series looks to be no different. Certainly with the game’s focus on a new location and new enemies, wildlife, and weapons to use (and elephants!), it will be a whole new story to see and explore through: whether it becomes a story though that seems a bit too familiar to its predecessor though is something that we will have to wait and see unfold.
Far Cry 4 releases for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC on November 18th, 2014.