Far Cry 4 was announced just before E3 2014, so it is understandable that when I visited Ubisoft’s booth at Gamescom 2014 I went straight to get some hands-on time with the game.
The hands-on demo was split into two parts. The first one was very similar to the Wanted Dead side-missions from Far Cry 3 – I was tasked with scouting an enemy encampment and assassinate their leader with my knife. The only problem was, the encampment was on the edge of a cliff, just opposite of the mountain top I was standing on. Luckily for me, the main character came prepared, and as I jumped down to the abyss I could quickly deploy a wingsuit with the press of a button.
After soaring across the chasm with easy, I started my stealthy advancement into the camp. The camera make a return in Far Cry 4, and serves the same functions it did in the previous game: tagging enemies. Naturally, this makes sneaking around the camp much easier, and I quickly cleared the way to the target with the new silent crossbow. The target itself went down with a knife to the back, and I was ready to make my escape – using the wingsuit again.
Since Far Cry 4 takes place in the Himalayas, the environments are very vertical, so there’s always some place to jump off of if you need to make a quick exit (as long as you remember to pack a parachute). As I was flying through the ever-narrowing chasm, with rockets and choppers flying around, I couldn’t help but feel exhilarated while moving from side to side in m seat, trying desperately to avoid crashing into anything, The demo then ended rather abruptly, just as I cleared the last obstacle and came across a beautiful vista of snowy mountains.
The second part of the demo was in Shangri-la, the mythical Tibetan valley. When you wander the world, you can come across ancient tapestries telling the story of a warrior fighting to liberate Shangri-la from the hold of demons. When reading these tapestries, you are transported back in time to play the warrior. Armed with nothing but a bow and the ability to slow time, the warrior and his pet tiger need to find and liberate giant magic bells that spread good across the land. When you get right down to it, the gameplay isn’t all that different from the main story – you can either approach each area with stealth or with arrows blazing. You can also spend you tiger to attack, kill or distract enemies.
I, of course, chose to be stealthy but soon blew my cover. Fighting the demons is a little trickier then fighting humans; they blink in and out of existence and can teleport across short distance. Using the bow’s ability to slow down time proved invaluable as I picked them off one by one at a distance while my tiger thins out the herd. I also encounter a tougher class of demon called a Scorcher. This tough enemy wields a flamethrower and can soak up massive of damage. To overpower him, I sent my tiger to distract him while I sneaked behind him for a glorious duo takedown.
This part of the demo ended when I finally reached the temple and unchained the bell to toll freely.
Fry Cry 4 might be very similar to Far Cry 3, but the new narrative, environments and activities manage to breathe new life into the formula. The new Shangri-la missions offer a new kind of challenge and new tools to overcome it. Hopefully they will also add another layer of story to the overall game, setting it further apart form previous entries in the series.
Far Cry 4 will be released on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC on November 18.