Far Cry 4: Five things to expect from your visit to Kyrat

A Game Quite Similar To Far Cry 3
When a Far Cry sequel gets announced, you never entirely know what to expect. The first game featured a remote island that served as the secret location for dastardly genetic experiments that produced mutant soldiers. The punishing second act abandoned the sci-fi theme for a dark look at the mercenary culture in Africa. The most well rounded of the entries,Far Cry 3, once again shifted gears to tell the story of a group of one percenters who mistakenly end up on a South Pacific island and ultimately free the natives from the control of the deadly pirates that took up residency in the area. Of all the varied approaches Ubisoft has taken with the series, Far Cry 4 adheres most closely to its direct predecessor.

If you were to replace the Himalayan setting with another Southern Pacific island, you could be forgiven for mistaking this game for Far Cry 3 that’s how closely it sticks to the gameplay loop. The majority of your time is spent taking command of radio towers, liberating outposts, hunting animals to craft improved gear, and recovering loot from the many crates littered across the land. The major distinguishing factors between the games are the new online co-op, which lets a friend jump into the open world to help with non-story missions, the ability to ride elephants into combat, and the new fortresses, which operate as outposts on steroids to provide a more serious challenge. sticking this closely to Far Cry 3 template isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

A Struggle For The Soul Of A Revolution
As a newcomer to his home country, protagonist Ajay Ghale is thrust into the center of a struggle for the soul of a revolution that intends to dethrone the current despot, Pagan Min. The two contenders, Amita and Sabal, recommend taking drastically different steps to elevate the Golden Path to power. Ultimately, it’s often up to Ajay to choose the course of action.

The first such mission I encounter involves a Catch-22. A rebel outpost recently overrun by the Royal Army may still contain vital intelligence on Pagan Min’s plans, but if we go retrieve the data then another rebel stronghold is in jeopardy of being overrun. Amita and Sabal leave the choice to the player, and I opt for the intelligence. Upon returning with the information, Sabal informs me the outpost was overrun, costing nine soldiers their lives. The intelligence proves to be invaluable, however, as we discover Min plans to attack an ancient monastery carved into the side of a mountain. We arrive in time to save several innocent lives and protect the ancient statues.

The next move for the Golden Path is equally contentious. Amita wants to seize the heroin operation being run by Pagan Min and use its spoils for the rebel cause. Sabal vehemently disagrees, saying that Ajay’s late father (who started the revolution) would never have supported getting into the drug trade. I side with Sabal and happily torch the poppy fields with a flamethrower. Upon returning, Amita scolds me for throwing away a precious “medical” resource. She also warns me against taking everything Sabal says at face value.

Only time will tell if these choices impact the plot in any meaningful way, but expect to play a pivotal role in this rivalry throughout your time in Kyrat.

Colorful Characters
With the ruthless Vaas, seductive Citra, and depraved Buck Hughes, Rook Island had no shortage of intriguing characters in Far Cry 3. Though we’ve only spent a brief time in Kyrat, this small country tucked into a mountain valley looks to have just as many quirky personalities living within its borders.

The early candidates for biggest buffoons are Reggie and Yogi, two backpackers who Ajay finds squatting in his parents’ abandoned home. Prone to ingesting copious amounts of mind-altering drugs, the two are never bashful about offering a hit of their “Oculus Spliff” or sharing stories of their misadventures around the world.

Another character of questionable repute is Longinus, a former African warlord who now runs guns and other contraband for the rebels in an act of spiritual cleansing for his past transgressions. In reality, he seems more like an opportunist capitalizing on an emerging market for his wares.

A World Of Wonders
Bordered by the looming Himalayas, you could be forgiven for thinking the majority of Kyrat is inhospitable. After journeying across the mountain valley country, I’m happy to report it holds more variety than I expected. Featuring gorgeous waterfalls, steep mountainsides displaying ancient carvings, and a serene riverfront, Kyrat is just as beautiful as Rook Island. It’s about the same size as well, but feels more populated than its oceanside counterpart. The roads are often crowded with activity, and the territory has enough wandering wildlife to serve as a National Geographic Channel set year round (if they could afford the insurance costs of repeatedly putting its talent in harm’s way). With more animals inhabiting any given corner of Kyrat, the chances of you aggravating a predator are greater than ever. In one sequence, I was attacked by a pit viper, black eagle, and rhino in a matter of minutes. If you need to get somewhere quickly I suggest you stick to the roads.

When you do veer off the beaten path, you have more options for traversal. To alleviate the tedium of having to circumnavigate the many mountainsides in the region (something that Skyrim players should be intimately familiar with), Far Cry 4 equips players with a grappling hook that can be used to scale cliff faces at certain places on the mountain. This can drastically cut down your travel time.

You also have the opportunity to visit the Himalayas with the help of a Sherpa on some missions. This harsh climate isn’t very accommodating to Ajay, who must wear an oxygen mask while in exploring the high elevation.

Side Activities Galore
It wouldn't be an open world game without a host of optional activities to perform. Far Cry 4 includes all the basics found in the last game (the aforementioned towers, outposts, hunting challenges, and collectibles) plus some new random encounters and psychedelic trips to Shangri-La.

Occasionally while moving through Kyrat, you may encounter a hostile situation between two factions. If you intervene you can gain more karma points. These points are also accumulated by spinning the many Mani wheels found throughout the country. When you level up karma, you are rewarded with dogooder discounts at trading posts and the ability to upgrade your A.I.-controlled guns for hire.

Taking a page from Assassin’s Creed, you can also spend money on upgrading your homestead by improving its condition or adding new features like a mini-copter, trading post, or garden.

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