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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Far Cry 4.

Transcript Edit

Welcome back to the second act of Ubisoft's ongoing production of The Gaming of the Shrew, but the question still remains as to whether we are watching a comedy or a tragedy. We've had our first act cliffhanger from Assassin's Creed Unity stabbing itself in the heart after a protracted monologue over whether 'twas nobler to log into Uplay first. So now we get to see if Far Cry 4 will kiss the poisoned spunk from Unity's lips or disguise itself as a big-titted bar wench and get molested by a sailor.

Well first of all, it too introduces coop gameplay, but the crucial difference is that at the title menu, you can choose the 'play offline' option and never have to think about it again. See, that's all I wanted. "Oh, and maybe you'd like to consider maybe logging into Uplay?" Skip! "Okay, I'll go away again, then." If you ask me, drop-in coop in the single player only makes sense when the game is incredibly difficult and we want to teach the world about the power of friendship, but who needs online coop in Far Cry 4, when offline had all the coop I needed? The four-player tag team of me, Colonel Tusky, Stripy McBig Teeth and Florence, the fully upgraded sniper rifle. 

Now, while Assassin's Creed at least makes some token effort to innovate each game for better or worse, Far Cry has found a comfort zone to snuggle into and we won't be unsnuggling them with anything short of a JCB. Inexperienced American doofus gets dropped into an exotic war zone and finds he has to liberate it from a charismatic villain with a weird personal interest in him. Yes, it's Far Cry 3++, although Far Cry 4 has learned that it's smarter to not kill off the charismatic villain half-way through and have us fight a substitute teacher for the rest of the game. 

In this case, our exotic setting is a kingdom in the Himalayas and the villain is the result of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-il kidnapping Benedict Cumberbatch together and taking turns spunking into his hairdo: a kooky, loveable rogue, who is all smiles and level tones until sudden, frenzied stabbing motions. Keh, what antics will he get up to next? Well, since you asked, disappearing for most of the game and leaving us with a six-foot polystyrene cuboid alleging to be a protagonist. See, I know Vaas got all the attention out of Far Cry 3, but I could take or leave his chubby cheeks. It was the player character Jason Brody that interested me, 'cause he had an arc. We witnessed his whole transformation from harmless trust-fund twerp to mercenary legend, hopped up on as much drugs as he could stuff into his homemade gorilla-scrotum fannypack. He was trapped where he was by the need to rescue his douche friends, but his devotion to them was gradually eclipsed by his devotion to murder and scrotum tailoring. 

Meanwhile, Far Cry 4's Ajay Ghale's motive going in is the need to scatter his mum's ashes. There's a war on, Ghale; just dump the bitch in the nearest ash tray and catch the next yak home. Oh no, sorry, he's totally invested now in fighting to liberate a country he's never been to from a guy he doesn't know. As far as we can tell from his occasional line of dialogue, mumbled in the same embarrassed tone I use to address overly enthusiastic wait staff. Where Brody became a killing machine out of desperate survival need and enough drugs to occupy Amy Winehouse for one lazy Sunday afternoon, Ghale only does it essentially because somebody told him to and he didn't want to make a fuss. He's just a dope who does nothing but agree with the last thing he heard and everyone around him seems to realize it, you can tell from the way characters give him mission briefings. Every single time they make some token instructing noises, give him a little encouraging smack on the bum, then close the door in his face and go back to the TV. Ajay's story eventually leads to his parent's dark secret that explains why the villain has an interest in him. But since Ajay reacts the revelation like a St. Bernard being told he can't have another biscuit, my first thought was "Any chance we could play as your parents instead? They sound more interesting than you."

But let's talk gameplay, and the quickest approach would probably be to list everything that wasn't copypasted from Far Cry 3. You still have to liberate the sandbox, one stronghold at a time, and again, the instant you find a sniper rifle that can fit a silencer, the strongholds might as well line up, bend over, and timidly ask for it gentle. Until you start to memorize the locations of the free gyrocopters and acquire a grenade launcher that can be fired from a vehicle, at which point they don't even have to line up, you can bring tactical carpet bombings conveniently to their doorstep. And after a while I grew bored, like a was going down a to-do-list. Next mission! "Okay, we need you to tail a smuggler to his hideout. Get on this quad bike and make sure you maintain a safe distance...oh, well I suppose you could use a gyrocopter if you wanted." Tailed him! Next mission please! "Oh no! Don't go to next mission yet, one of your strongholds is under attack." Oh no, what will happen if I don't help out? "Oh no, fuck all." Oh no, probably leave it then. 

And it wouldn't be Far Cry without some dangerous wildlife with very roomy scrotums. But while tigers attacked enemy strongholds in the last game as the accidental result of the enemy having the enormous poor judgment to be sharing the same planet as Mister Angry Whiskers, you can now encourage the process by flinging bait around. But this is a double-edged tiger, and animals seem like more of a hassle than before. The number of times I was scoping out a stronghold from a vantage point and be just about ready to start silently picking of targets when I'd hear a growl and look down to see my leg disappearing into a wolf. Then I panicked and pulled an LMG out and the soldiers heard the shots and it all went to wolf buggery. 

And furthermore, eagles. Maybe Ghale looks as much to them like an unwitting sparrow as he does to me, because those fucking birds don't give one predatory shit. You never see them coming, and so they are essentially the game's way of saying "Hey, we rolled a dice, and now we're just gonna take some of your health away. Which of your eyeballs would you say was least necessary?"

But it's not just BDSM mother nature's into. Riding elephants is one of those things I didn't realize I wanted until I had it. It's just fun to stampede into a ring of soldiers or, indeed, wolves and go "What's up motherfuckers? The elephant in the room is that you're all fucking dead." 

Looking back over Far Cry 4, I remember it thusly: it starts with one half of a cutscene, it ends with the second half of the same cutscene, and in between is a whole bunch of flapping about where nothing much happens and no one grows or changes or learns anything. Secondary villains are talked up, introduced and dropped from the plot after about fourteen seconds of screen time each. The main plot thread concerns the resistance being torn between two leaders, one old-fashioned and moralistic, and the other extreme but pragmatic, and you have to decide which one to support. They both have good points, it was a somewhat interesting dilemma and I put quite a bit of thought into my decisions. But what I wanted was some sodding payoff. And at the end of it all, you install you preferred dictator and they go "Cheers, for that", smack on the bum, close door in face. This must be what it's like to be the American Secretary of State. And then you trudge up to the main villain's house and they're all like, "Don't look at me, my ending's completely anticlimactic as well." 

So in summary, Far Cry 4 was like sitting on a flaccid cock: in the end, kinda pointless. 

Addenda Edit

  • Never stops crying
  • Smack on the bum and close door in the face is a proven method for keeping Jehovah's witnesses away
  • Petition to rename 'honey badger' to 'wasabi mongoose'.  

Screenshots Edit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017

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