In Kyrat, you are free to do as you wish. You can further the cause of the Golden Path by liberating enemy outposts, or you can take a sky tour of the land on a buzzer. You can help your fellow countrymen fight against Pagan Min’s minions (ha) on the road, or you can go on a hunt for exotic animals and take their skins to craft better equipment for yourself. You can silence your enemies with a knife takedown and the handy recurve bow, or you can, in the words of Pagan Min himself, “tear shit up” with sticky explosives and grenade launchers. Far Cry 4 turns Kyrat into your playground and its results are more than impressive.
I’ll cut to the chase: if you loved Far Cry 3’s gameplay, you are going to feel right at home with Far Cry 4. The weapon wheel, crafting and hunting system, and enemy detection mechanics are all back in this latest installment of the series. In fact, the game wastes no time in throwing the player right into the middle of the action. Barely 15 minutes into the game, after a hasty introduction to Hong Kong triad leader Pagan Min and protagonist Ajay Ghale, you take control of Ajay and are free to start exploring the beautiful Himalayas.
Exploration in Kyrat proves to be both tranquil and exhilarating at the same time. Flying over the tall snowy peaks in a buzzer gives you a breathtaking view of the chaotic, war-torn land and you can’t help but feel at peace despite knowing there’s probably a lot of shooting and killing going on back at ground level. On the other hand, trekking up the roads of Kyrat means that death could come for you at any time, from any direction. An eagle could decide to claw at you mercilessly, or an enemy convoy could drive by and catch you off-guard as you get distracted by a honey badger running off into the greenery. Or, though this is much less likely to happen, you could run into a herd of angry Asian rhinos that would love nothing more than to stomp Ajay into the ground.
Far Cry 4 brings a few new things to the table including Ajay’s grappling hook and the ability to use animals as a form of transportation as well as offense. Kyrat is a vastly different environment from the Rook Islands in that it is split into high and low sections. As such, players will have to climb mountains and overcome various vertical challenges to get to their destinations. All around Kyrat are these orange flags stuck to the sides of mountains and cliffs, indicating a grappling point for Ajay to hook onto. The grapple proves to be an invaluable tool as it allows you to quickly climb up the side of a cliff and swing from one edge to the other. This makes traversing the terrain just that little bit more diverse and it’s rather enjoyable trying to figure out how best to utilize the grappling points and figure out the most efficient way of reaching your destination.
You are also given the ability to ride an elephant around Kyrat. Once you unlock the ‘elephant rider’ skill on your skill tree, you’ll get to hop onto one of these giant beasts and wreak havoc on your enemies. By clicking the L3 button, you can get the elephant to charge towards the enemy soldiers while the R3 button allows the elephant to launch an enemy into the air with its trunk. Ajay also gets to shoot at his enemies with his trusty AK47 while seated atop the powerful elephant. Elephants are almost invincible in Far Cry 4 and getting one of them on your side while taking over an outpost will surely tip the scales in your favor.
Even without a mighty elephant, you still have plenty of options to choose from when attacking an outpost. You might shoot the cage door that houses an angry snow leopard, allowing it to run loose in the enemy camp and take most of them out for you. There could be a horde of angry honey badgers next to you but you can direct their wrath at the outpost by throwing bait in that general direction. If you don’t want to take advantage of Kyrat’s vicious wildlife, you could always fall back on the old-school tactics of either running and gunning, or being stealthy and taking out the security alarms first. Regardless of which approach you choose, liberating outposts in Far Cry 4 is just as fun as it was in Far Cry 3 because of the variety in offensive methods you get to employ.
A new feature introduced in Far Cry 4 is the vulnerability of your outposts even after you’ve liberated them from enemy control. Pagan Min’s soldiers can still attack your outposts and you’ll have to make a rush back to your base if you want to keep it under your command. To put a permanent stop to enemy invasions on your outposts, you’ll have to take over the fortresses in that particular region. There are four fortresses in Kyrat ruled by Pagan Min, Doctor Noore, Yuma, and Paul Harmon. Fortresses are essentially bigger and tougher versions of enemy outposts that you’ll probably have a hard time taking over unless you play with a friend or weaken its defenses by progressing in the campaign.