Rampaging animals and high-powered machine guns. Don’t fight it, let Far Cry 4 amplify your inner asshole, says Matt Martin.
“The elephant was dead. I jumped in a nearby jeep and drove at it full pelt, launching the vehicle off its carcass and crashing into a guard.”
Far Cry 4 gave me three options for infiltrating an enemy base during my hands-on time with it at E3 2014. I can use stealth to sneak in and take the place using cunning and misdirection – but the weapon of choice is a crossbow, and what kind of person uses a crossbow? People who tortured pets when they were kids, that’s who.
Another option was to approach the place by air using the gyrocopter but I didn’t really feel that confident in what is basically a scooter with rotor blades. One lucky shot from the enemies on the ground and I’d be plummeting to earth for a reality check with dirt.
So I took advantage of what Ubisoft likes to call “weaponised animals”, a phrase that reminds me of that military programme where they strap bombs to dogs and send them under an enemy tank. This is Far Cry 4, let’s take advantage of something we don’t see in other first-person shooters.
So from the paddy field I can see that the settlement I need to liberate has high walls and a solid, locked front gate. I mounted the nearest elephant – a phrase I’ve never before written in my journalistic career – and trotted towards the base. With a click of the analogue stick I got my hairy-headed friend to charge right towards the wooden gates for a grand entrance. Surprise, motherfuckers!
It felt liberating, I felt powerful. I charged ahead towards the nearest guard and his assault rifle spat lead, but it was no effective defence against a tonne of meat. I saw him scream as the elephant stomped him to a pulp. Using the elephant to breech the building was more fun than those explosives you use in Call of Duty, but after riding his back and using a heavy machine gun to take down a few snipers on the rooftops, I realised I was a massive target. I dropped off the elephant and decided to use buildings and ample cover to tackle the rest of the level.
Stand around in Far Cry 4 and you’ll quickly become swamped by guards. Using cover and the verticality of buildings I managed to pop a few more guards in some tense fire-fights. These guys were using cover pretty effectively despite my onslaught and the situation got a little tougher when jeeps with mounted machine guns turned up applying more pressure.
Shit was getting chaotic, which is one of the defining features of the Far Cry games. Hurling grenades can set off a chain of explosions where your own hair-trigger thinking can backfire. I kept moving but my elephant friend was also on a rampage, crushing enemies with gay abandon. I was in just as much danger from him, so he had to go down. I kind of felt a little guilty but I filled the elephant full of lead and he went down like, well, an elephant that’s had 20-odd 50 calibre bullets pumped in to it.
The elephant was brown bread, but he still had his uses. I jumped in a nearby jeep and drove at it full pelt, launching the vehicle off its carcass and crashing into a guard and a brick wall. It wasn’t refined but it sure-as-hell was effective.
“People complained about Far Cry 3’s lead character being a stereotypical bro but I don‘t care because in real-life I’m a bit of an asshole too.”
The chaos continues with a helicopter flying into my own little fantasy warzone and I struggled to take it down. I hadn’t found anything bigger than the heavy machine gun so it took a lot of moving, sheltering under the overhang of buildings and plenty of luck. As it crashed to the ground the base was liberated and the exhilaration subsided.
I played Far Cry 3 last year to the point where I liberated all the bases on the second island in one long session. After about seven hours of solid play I thought I was going to have a seizure. My eye twitched, I had motion sickness and my bladder had gone numb. Picking up Far Cry 4 today I was back in that same place and loving it. Is Far Cry 4 just Far Cry 3 reskinned with snow and more mountains? Probably, hopefully.
I can’t think of a shooter that offers such madness in its quest for freedom. You can call me a dick for killing an elephant deliberately and then using its body as a launch ramp but these are the options. The developers have put this in the game and you use it as you like.
People complained about Far Cry 3’s lead character being a stereotypical bro but I don‘t care because in real-life I’m a bit of an asshole too. Far Cry 4 amplified that and it felt like freedom to me.