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Dec. 11 2014
Far Cry 4 - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
18/11/2014UbisoftUbisoftUbisoft Montreal12-?
Version HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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Pagan Min is definately an intersing character.
Ubisoft's Far Cry franchise has been a hit for the company and both critics and gamers alike have praised the games now only for their technical prowess, but also the storytelling, open-world structure and tight gameplay. Far Cry 4 continues this tradition, including that of a new location with the game now set in the fictional lands of Kyrat which is based in the Himalayas.

In Far Cry 4 you play Ajay Ghale who has returned to Kyrat to scatter his late mother's ashes. While travelling to his homeland his bus is ambushed and the self-appointed King Pagan Min takes Ajay away to join his cause. It't not long however before Ajay joins the Golden Path - essentially rebel fighters - trying to free the lands from Pagan's opressive rule.

So we'll start with the bad news - and it's probably the biggest issue with this game - the storyline isn't much chop with the main characters rarely seen and the game seemingly more just a series of loosly connected missions in progressively more fortified areas. But don't dispair as that's the main campaign, and beyond that everything else here is pretty spectacular...

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Looking down on the enemy fortress.
As with other games in the franchise Far Cry 4 is a shooter, but rather then being a pretty linear shooter like Call of Duty or Battlefield where you move through corridor based levels, this game provides a massive open-world setting where you can go anywhere, or do anything at any point in time. The game contains 32 main campaign missions focused on the Golden Path, but there are also many side-missions from other influential characters you'll meet along the way including arms dealer Longinus and stoner "friends" Yogi and Reggie. While North Kyrat remains beyond your reach until some Golden Path missions are complete, it offers more of the same with more missions opening up, and enemies becoming tougher and more numerous.

Upon starting the game your skillset and weapons are fairly limited but as you progess you can earn skill points which can go towards unlocking 48 new skills such as improved health bar, enemy takedowns, improved shooting accuracy or crafting injections to boost Ajay's attributes for a few moments. Speaking of crafting you will need to hunt animals in order to craft items such as Weapon Holster, Wallet, Loot Bag, Syringe Kit, Bait Bag, Ammo Bag, Throwables Bag, Explosives Bag, Heavy Ammo Bag and Quiver for arrows (which come in standard, explosive or fire varieties).

Focusing on the weapons there are a massive 64 available which include a variety of sidearms (pistols, small machine guns and our favourite a crossbow), weapons (from LMG's, Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, Bow and Arrow) and Signature Weapons (which remain locked until certain tasks are complete in the game). Of course you also have molotovs and grenades and can even collect bait to attract predators (of the wildlife variety). Other items are also available including Heath Syringe which refills all your health bars, a bullet proof vest, tokens to call in extra support.

Beyond the main missions there are plenty of side tasks to complete. Scattered throughout the map are 17 tall Bell Towers to scale and disable propaganda beacons. Twenty-four Outposts need to be captured and will create points for Fast travelling - but do you go in all guns blazing, do you throw a bait or release a captured animal from a cage to take out some enemies, or use more stealthy methods and take out the alarms to stop reinforcements flooding in. The choice is yours.

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The game has a few, but not a lot of snow based missions and locations.
As you open up more of the map other tasks appear including Eye for an Eye which sees you getting revenge for an unjust doing by Pagan's troops, Assassination sees you hunting down a high ranking official to kill, there are various hunting missions for exotic or packs of wild animals, Propaganda Centers need to be destroyed to stop Pagan's propaganda from spreading, Hostage Rescue and Cargo Hijacking are just as they sound and the game even allows you to enter races.

Wildlife has always featured in this franchise and Far Cry 4 introduces leopards, rhinos, black eagles and honey badgers (who are surprisingly visious) but its the elephants which look set to provide plenty of fun. These giant animals can be used to attack enemy outposts - shoot one and he will go rampaging causing massive damage while it's also possible to hop on top of an elephant and use your own weapons to take out enemies while the elephant takes out everything in his path.

As one would expect from an open-world game there is a lot of travelling to do (although when you capture the outposts these become fast travel points), but as expected the game features a series of vehicles from civilian vans and cars, to enemy utes which may include a mounted machine gun. Hangliders and wingsuits are great for travelling great disances from a mountain top while the gyrocopter allows a easy way to traverse up the mountains at pace.

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Preparing to attack the enemy convoy.
The only disappointments with the vehicles is that, as far as we can tell, there is no way to capture or commandeer a helicopter gunship, nor does the game offer any motorbikes which could have been tremendous fun on the mountainous terrain.

Not a vehicles but another way to assist your travel in the mountains is a grappling hook which allows you to move up or down cliff faces in safety. It's a great inclusion however there are a very limited number of locations where you can use it which frustrates.

PS4 owners will also be keen to hear that it's possible to get your friends to play the game with you, even if they don't own it. Those that purchase the game will receive 10 keys which allows your PSN friends to join the co-op game for up to two hours. Players should note however that while the person receiving the invite doesn't need to own the game, they will have a pretty hefty download of all the game files before they get started.

Unfortunately we haven't spent nearly enough time with the online component of this game - that's not from a lack of want but rather from our lack of internet connectivity following storms on December 9 (with Telstra saying repairs won't be undertaken before December 22 at the earliest!). So our online experiences are limited, however the few moments we did play online were tremendous fun, lag free and certainly provided plenty of co-op thrills which we'll be keen to get back to in the coming weeks.

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Visuals in Far Cry 4 are stunning.
In our preview of this game we queried if the Season Pass, for $AU29.95, was filled with content excised from the main game (it includes a single player and Co-Op mission called "The Syringe" and another called "Escape from Durgesh Prison" post launch, a campaign called "Valley of the Yetis", a PvP mode called "Overrun" and a pack called "Hurk" which includes 5 additional missions including Yak Farm, Blood Ruby, and Hurk’s Redemption, plus 5 more weapons). We're very glad to say that this game is absolutely choc full of content without this - it's taken us about 28 hours to reach 60% completion (we've finished the main game but have plenty of side missions to go). So this Season Pass truly is additional content and worth the money.

Powered by a heavily modified version of Ubisoft's own Dunia 2 Engine which has been optimised for current-gen consoles this really is a stunning looking game with some of the most realistic looking environments we have ever seen. Trees, scrub, rivers, wildlife, change of time of day, fires from explosions or molotovs, different people and enemies all inhabit the land and bring with it a natural look. All of this happens at a silky smooth 30fps frame rate at 1920 x 1080p resolution (which makes Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed: Unity struggles even more baffling).

As expected cut-scenes in this game are second to none - they truly are gorgeous. Sure, they're pre-rendered so from a technical level not pushing the system, but it's the way in which Ubisoft manage to bring the characters to life that shines not least of which is the key villain Pagan Min. Unfortunately while the game has quite a few cut-scenes they are spread around several characters, so you never really get enough time with any of them, not even Pagan Min who goes missing for many hours at a time.

There really aren't too many issues with the visuals - downed enemies sometimes take some amusing and unrealistic postures after collapsing to the ground, searching bodies has your character physically moving to check the bodies on most occasions, but sometimes nothing happens and you just receive the loot. We would have loved to have seen variable weather conditions - sure we suspect that would have put a massive strain on the engine but it would have been great to see some stealthy based missions in torrential downpours.

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Badgers are surprisingly hard to kill!
Audio too is very solid and while some of the scripting could have been a little better - and contributes to our indifferent thoughts about the storyline - the delivery is pretty good across the board. As expected the audio effects are solid including the gunfire, explosions and friend and foes shouting out during battles. What elevates this game above most is the ambient effects. Traversing the lands is exactly what you would expect in real life with animals making noises, the rushing of creekwater, vehicles moving through the lands and people calling out for help on occasion. All this is aided by fantastic use of surround sound channels which not only provides more immersion, but also a way to pinpoint things by the audio only.

There is so much to like about Far Cry 4 - from the gorgeous visuals, to tight FPS action, the massive open world to the menacing wildlife. In fact, the only minor letdown is the story which lacks focus while Pagan Min goes missing for too long at times. Still, if you're a FPS fan there is no reason to ignore this fantastic release.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSFar Cry 4 is a technical showcase for video games with stunning visuals across the board.
SOUNDAs with the visuals the audio in this game is superb. Sure music and effects are superb, but it's the incidental conversations and sounds that bring this game to life.
GAMEPLAYThis franchise has always been a solid FPS experience and this is no exception with everything you would expect. Out only gripe is that despite the cracking opening scene the story is lacking but there's more then enough gameplay here to keep you hooked.
VALUEIt's such a massive world to explore and discover with dozens of missions and side missions to complete. You will be playing for weeks.
OVERALLFar Cry 4 is another great game in what has become one of the best FPS franchises on the market. While the story could have been better, in every other regard this game is a winner.

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