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What is Far Cry 4 about? I found myself constantly asking this same question as I continued to play through the game and have come to the realization that it is about many things. As with most of the Far Cry games, there seems to be one clear goal in mind, but then you somehow get caught up in so much more.
It’s About A Civil War
Right at the very beginning of the game, a few minutes in, you are given one goal, and that is to fulfill your mother’s last wish: to bring her ashes to Lakshmana.
As usual with the Far Cry series so far, that main goal has been pushed aside and you are then thrown into the center of it all, becoming the sole contributor to a civil war that you have no business in. So far, in my experience with the series, this seems to be a recurring theme in all the games up to this point and is one of the defining traits of the franchise.
There is no good or bad side here, between the current King of Kyrat and the rebels who follow what they call the “Golden Path,” you’d think that it’s pretty clear who is on what side, but no, there is only the lesser evil and you’re not it.
In true Far Cry fashion, you as the main character, go along with it all, no questions asked, just hand the guy a gun and you’re all set, fighting on the side of whoever gave you the weapon first.
This is also another defining trait of the Far Cry games, it seems that each “hero” you play is pretty easy going. To sum it up in the perspective of the protagonist; “Hey, I just came here to do this one thing, but I’m okay with being forced to fight a war that has nothing to do with me, it’ll be a blast,” said every main character of each game up to this point, not out loud, but that’s what was clearly going through their heads.
It also helps that they do what their told by complete strangers with no questions asked, “go kill this person, go take down the enemy fortress all by yourself so my troops can take over and proceed to do nothing to defend it in the event it gets attacked again, you’ll have to shoot them all yourself to keep it from them.” Yeah, okay great, will do boss! Talk about the ideal soldier through and through.
All that said, I was fine with it though, as long as I didn’t think about it too much and got to shoot things, then I’m all for it.
Being a One Man Army
What’s better than feeling all powerful and like you can do anything? Not much to be honest. Well, Far Cry 4 seems to be continuing that trend. Taking down enemy outposts and fortresses all by myself made me feel untouchable, for the most part anyway.
Charging in for a full-frontal assault, using stealth skills or simply just hanging out on a cliff with an extremely powerful sniper rifle picking off enemies one by one without getting caught or setting off any alarms really fed my ego to the point of obesity.
Sure it can be frustrating sometimes, especially when your “allies” just hide behind cover and conserve their ammo by not shooting anything and letting me do all the work, but hey, that’s fine, all good, no biggie, more psychotic points for me.
It’s things like these that makes me question the mental state of the character I’m playing as well as my own, maybe it’s time for a nice long session of self discovery, go to a quiet, secluded mountaintop with a little hut and just do some deep diving into our own minds.
Seriously though, it’s pretty darn fun and impressive to single-handedly bring down a massive organization all by yourself.
Exploring a Beautiful Open World
Here’s another thing that Far Cry 4 is about, the open world exploration. As with many of Ubisoft’s games, a major component and core gameplay mechanic is discovering and unveiling these huge game worlds and Far Cry 4 is no exception.
When I got my first look at the virtual environment that I was going to be running around in, I was a bit impressed. Huge mountain ranges, very isolated and felt like its own little world, if I were there in person, it would have been breathtaking.
Of course, the civil war kind of puts a dent in the landscape, but at least they’re fighting in style. Even with this mess going on, the map encourages exploration and provides plenty of downtime in between missions. Just like its previous installment of Far Cry 3, you have to go out and hunt animals to get the crafting materials you need to make better bags and holsters so you can carry everything you’re going to need.
The map of Kyrat is stunning, but deadly from its wildlife both on the ground and in the air. It was kind of annoying to have even the eagles attacking you on top of everything else, like really? Don’t need that in my life, we’ve already got an insurgency going on, not to mention the aggressive rhinos, crocodiles, devil fish and leopards, why do eagles have to be attacking us too?
Anyway, still wasn’t too bad, especially when I could just fly above it all in a mini helicopter, now that was fun, my most favorite way to traverse the map.
It’s Also About Discovering the Truth of Kyrat
Remember that last wish that we were originally supposed to fulfill? Well, mother dearest had a hidden motive for us by sending us back to our homeland to scatter her ashes. I think she knew that a civil war was still going on and wanted us to take part in it in order to discover the dark past of her homeland and the reason why she left.
I found it all to be quite interesting really and, it added a bit of depth to the game that its predecessors lacked, it was a nice breath of fresh air, though it’s still the usual story of being a mindless puppet used to wage a war we were just thrown into haphazardly. This one made a little more sense at least, or maybe I’ve just gotten used to how the games work and have been brainwashed into believing that.
Anyway, thanks mom, for sending us into danger and having us risk our lives just so we’d discover something that you could have told us before you died which would have saved us from a lot of running around, not to mention also saving us from descending into madness and becoming a psychotic killer. Great parenting skills.
Choosing to sit at the dining table and eating the luxurious food like a good boy for the first 15 minutes of the game was the best decision I made. Sure I didn’t get to shoot stuff, but at least my character got to keep his sanity and integrity as a person, avoiding that convoluted, hopped up mess of a civil war.
Also, just as a little side note, I think the devs knew that the story was quite questionable and had a huge hole in it, which is why they put in the option of finishing the game 15 minutes in, rendering the entire rest of the game pointless.
Far Cry 4 In a Nutshell
So, in short, Far Cry 4 is about many things, from a heart touching story about fulfilling your mother’s last wish only to be thrust into a civil war you had no business taking part in to finding out the truth and circumstances surrounding the state of Kyrat as well as your family.
One piece of advice for if you decide to play through the game yourself is, don’t think about the story or anything, just go with it, it’ll save you some brain power and you’ll enjoy it a bit more. Saved me the feeling of frustration and disappointment when it comes to the storytelling.
When it’s all said and done, there is a giant, gaping hole in the story and it just upsets me to be playing a poorly written game, so I learned to lower my expectations and ignore it.
Have you played it? What are your thoughts and opinions about the game? Let me know down below in the comments, maybe some of you had a slightly more positive experience with it than I did.
I also did a review on Far Cry 3 if you’re wondering about that or you can check out my other thoughts and reviews here. Until next time, at least the games of the franchise are getting better, I think.