Waiting a couple of months for a game’s release doesn’t seem that bad — but after playing the Far Cry 4 demo at PAX Prime, that wait has now become unbearable. Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4 demo focuses on the different approaches the player can choose from when liberating fortresses from enemy militia. There are a plethora of ways the player can choose from when liberating fortresses — but the demo only offers three different ways: stealth, frontal assault, and air assault.
When proceeding with the stealth approach, Ajay Ghale (the player) comes equipped with two primary weapons: a sniper rifle, and a crossbow. My choices were either find a high vantage point pick each soldier of the militia off until my ammo runs dry, or I could’ve taken a more intimate approach by using my crossbow to silently picking off the soldiers one by one. I chose to the the more intimate approach. Now, I’m not the most graceful when executing missions stealthily, which made liberating the fortress incredibly much harder than it needed to be. If I missed one arrow bolt, the enemy AI would immediately recognize where I was shooting the arrow from — so everything I did, needed to be done with the utmost precision, or I would have the whole force of the militia bearing down on me all at once.
The frontal assault approach is easily the most fun of the methods to enact, and it also allowed me to get a taste of how the various animals in the game will be utilized for combat. This section of the demo dropped me directly in front of the fortress, right next to a couple of elephants showering and frolicing in a pool of water. Obviously the developers wanted me to utilize the enormous beast as a bio-tank. As soon as I mounted the elephant I rammed the front gates of the fortress — equipped with a double barrel shotgun, and a light machine gun. As soon as the gate fell, the soldiers fled from the sight of my behemoth of a companion. The controls for the elephant were exceptionally intuitive; the mountainous beast is mostly controlled with the left analog stick. Most of the soldiers are easily dispatched by the elephants rampage; attacking automatically and relentlessly to any enemy that would dare come near us, I easily dispatched the rest of the soldiers with my trusty light machine gun.
Air assault is undoubtedly the most difficult of the approaches. A gyrocopter awaited me as soon as the level started. Controlling the miniature helicopter was easy enough, with circle and triangle being the buttons for ascending and descending (the demo was showcased on a PS4). There’s something that’s exhilarating and satisfying at the same time to see the soldiers scatter like ants, as soon as I fired my first grenade from my launcher from the sky. My fun soon turned into frustration from the difficulty I was having, trying to balance aiming and shooting with piloting without crashing is not an easy feat. I was easily overwhelmed when a full-sized helicopter appeared onto the scene, and started raining bullets into my copter’s hull. With the remaining soldiers on the ground and the helicopter both focusing fire on my miniature copter, I had to jump off it mid-air so I could survive. To my amazement, I was able to employ a wingsuit, and was able to safely guide down to ground level to relaunch my assault on foot. AFter landing on the ground I easily dispatched the rest of the militia.
Generally, Far Cry 4 looks absolutely beautiful running off of the power of the PS4, it even looks more beautiful than its predecessor –yes, even more beautiful than Far Cry 3. The CryEngine breathes life into the indigenous wildlife the game contains, so much so, that I felt horrible when I saw my elephant compatriot being shot down and also seeing its body lying lifelessly on the ground. Ubisoft Montreal has outdone themselves from what I can tell from the demo I have played. Everything will seem familiar if you have played Far Cry 3 before — the controls remain the same, and the game is aesthetically the same as Far Cry 3 was, but with some noticeable improvements within the details. Far Cry 4 being similar to its predecessor is not a bad thing , in fact, it’s superb. If it’s not broken, then why fix it? I can’t wait to explore all of the land that the fictional country, Kyrat has to offer.
Playing this demo has made me even more excited to experience the full game, when it releases this November 18th in North America and Europe.