Ubsioft and Sony combined forces last night at GAME Colchester to run a “Lock-In” event featuring Far Cry 4. I was lucky enough to be in attendance and grab a first look at the new title being released on 21st November in UK Stores. The version I got to grips with was a PS4 demo that had been brought directly from EuroGamer in Germany. This meant that it was in German (not that it made any real difference) and featured the same area of the game with three different approaches available.
The aim was to “Liberate” an encampment from enemy forces (very similar to the same game mechanic seen in Far Cry 3. The three options available were Sneak, Assault and Aerial Assault. To cover the miscellaneous items first, the gameplay was much more of the same from the other games in the Far Cry Series. The frame played well, the weapons felt very weighty and seemed to be a good balance for their power and their drawbacks. For example, the crossbow was pretty much a one-hit-one-kill weapon, but when you added in factors such as wind and distance, it became a difficult weapon to wield effectively. Basically, more of the same and really what I’d expect from Ubisoft, a quality experience in this department. The graphics although very good and very sharp (even for a gameplay demo) were nothing groundbreaking. Now that’s not to say they weren’t great (the mountain ranges in the background had me staring down my iron sights and drooling…) but I’m not sure if I expected more. Previous Far Cry games have pushed the limits on what is expected of game design and it has paid dividends (I remember the fire in Far Cry 2…wow….) Again, some of the game design looked splendid, but it didn’t always hold up to ground breaking levels. All three demos took place on the same level so there’s not a great deal I can make comment on when it comes to level design. What I can say is that it felt large and the tactical area was ever changing around me. The enemy AI responded well to the change of my tactics and I found myself caught out more than once by a sneaky AI character hiding down an alley way. I imagine that once is is ported to an open world and has context, will feel more real and the world will feel more in synch and active. Sneak Now for the nitty gritty. I love being a stealth machine. Nothing feels better to me than a crossbow and a f**k off sniper rifle on my back. And that’s what I was given. The sneak elements were fun, albeit a little bit basic. The indicators to show that an enemy is aware of you, or is imminently aware of you, are the same as in Far Cry 3. I have always found these to be a tad simplistic in their approach and could be backed up with more subtle hints. That said, watching a guys head take a .50 bullet from my rifle from halfway across the map did feel pretty satisfying. So did watching him fall down off the top of the wall he was guarding… And then the weirdest thing happened. Completely by accident I jumped off a flat roof, landed on top of an enemy and drove a massive knife right through his breast bone. Now as cool as that sounds (and was…)it left me thinking ‘How exactly did I do that?‘ It felt a little random and broke the illusion of involvement in the game. Assault Now this was insert expletive here crazy! What’s that, an elephant, and I can ride it, and use it to bash down the door while firing a machine gun from on high? Yes, yes please. This felt like an ultimate power trip. Armed with non array of automatic weapons and my own grey behemoth, I took them down one by one. That was when the Sony representative whispered in my ear, ‘If you walk the elephant up to them, watch what happens… The result of this? Watching some poor AI having his head repeatedly smashed into the ground by a rampaging elephant. The result of that? Me doing that At ,east 10 more times… I think the only negative I can find here was that it felt a tad gimmicky with the elephant and it also seems a bit overpowered. It was taking bullets like Spongebob takes Crabby Patties and then running absolute riot. Maybe this is an area that will be more balanced in the final game version, who knows… Aerial Assault Ah, Aerial Assault. Gyrocopter, check. Grenade launcher, check. AI trapped in a fort like fish in a barrel, check. All of the above make for an absolute out of this world experience. You imagine ACDC playing you in as you take off and a massive cigar hanging out of your mouth as you take ’em all down… The actual result was a little more different. The controls were very basic. x button to go up, analogue sticks to pitch and steer. Now although that makes it sound accessible, it really wasn’t. The controls felt heavy and cumbersome and by the time I had alerted the whole base to my presence, I was pretty much filled with holes anyway. Then came the landing. Press L3 to deploy wing suit the game told me (in German…). So I did. Hit the ground -dead. This happened no less than 6 times. The first few times I thought it was me until I realised that actually the game was still thinking I was having a hard landing and killing me. Might need to do a bit more ironing out there… All in All Overall, what a game this is gonna be. It’s got elephants, wing suits, grenade launchers, crossbows and much much more. I still think there’s some polishing required, but I tell ya, I can’t wait to get my Far Cry back on in November. Comments, questions, let me know – Jesus