Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is an open world first-person shooter set on the fictional Rook archipelago in the Pacific. Even though the tropical setting resembles the original Far Cry, the gameplay itself is closer to Far Cry 2 as the open world exploration is supplemented by role-playing elements with experience points, crafting, trading, hunting and three skills trees.
The protagonist is Jason Brody, a daredevil who is on a holiday in the Pacific with his two brothers and some friends. When they take a skydiving trip, they land on an island that is controlled by pirates. They are all taken prisoner by the pirate warlord Vaas and his older brother Grant is killed when they attempt to escape. Vaas sarcastically gives Jason an opportunity of 30 seconds to escape before he hunts him down. Against all odds, Jason succeeds by jumping into the water. He is rescued by Dennis Rogers who introduces him to the Rakyat, the native tribe that hopes to rid the island off the pirates. During the search for the remaining survivors Jason will be initiated into the mysticism of the tribe, discover the environment and hunt down Vaas. After the introduction the player is however largely free to leave the main quest along and discover the islands at his own pace and leisure, as all of the playable area is available right away.
The rook archipelago is a dangerous environment filled with pirate settlements and local animals such as tigers, bears, sharks, komodo dragons, boars, goat, snakes, rabid dogs etc. It is split up into different sections that are revealed gradually as soon as a radio tower in the sector has been taken over. These reveal the entire environment and open up quests, but areas can also be traversed without a detailed map. There are various safe houses to travel around and exchange loot at all-purpose vending machines. Players can kill pirates, complete quests, but also collect plants and hunt down animals for their skin. Money is exchanged for weapons, modifications and items such as syringes, but crafting also plays an important role. By discovering recipes, plants can be turned into fluids that are injected to enhance abilities. In addition animals skins are used to craft items that extend Jason’s weapon belt up to four slots, provide a larger wallet to store money, increase his ammo belt and a lot more. Completing quests and killing pirates is rewarded with skill points that are used on one of the three available skill trees. These determine the playing style, as Heron deals with mobility and long-range attacks, Spider with stealth and survival, and Shark with assault and healing. For each new skill acquired, Jason receives a tattoo on his arm.
Even though it is a shooter with machine guns, assault rifles, hand guns, bows, flamethrowers, mines, RPGs and grenades, almost all of the game can be played with a stealth approach. Jason can crouch and hide in the foliage to remain hidden. A meter shows how visible he is to opponents. By sneaking up on them stealth takedowns with a knife can be performed and bodies can be dragged away. He can also throw rocks or use sounds to isolate pirates. His camera is used to zoom in and mark opponents. Once they are marked they remain visible through an outline even when there are walls or objects in the way, helping to track movement. The same can be done with animals. Moving around is done by foot, but there are also different vehicles such as cars, jeeps, quads, boats, jet skis and paragliders along with zip lines and swimming to move more quickly.
If Jason chooses to help the natives, he can infiltrate and take over more than 30 outposts. Once these settlements are cleared, they become property of the natives and a safe house for fast travel and shopping is offered. Every animal and character has dynamic behavior, acting regardless of Jason’s actions. That way he can observe animals attacking each other or use it to his advantage to clear a group of enemies, and villagers will move out and conquer more territory independently once Jason clears an outpost. Enemies patrol around the island on foot or in cars with non-scripted behavior. Once Jason is discovered, they will often call in reinforcements from another location and chase him down. Additional ammo and weapons can be picked up from fallen enemies, and money and items are also collected that way, along with many hidden loot chests and additional collectibles such as letters from fallen soldiers during World War II and relics. Weapons that are bought can be re-acquired at any time without an additional cost from the vending machine even when they were lost or exchanged during a quests. Weapons can further be customized through various modifications such as scopes, laser pointers, silencers and more room for ammo.
Multiplayer consists of a separate cooperative campaign for up to four players that takes place six months before the events of the main game. It is set on a separate island of the Rook archipelago and features four characters: a thug called Callum, the crooked cop Leonard, the Russian hitman Mikhail and ex-soldier Tisha. They were redeeming their past actions by working on a cruise ship when they are scammed out of their money by the pirates. By pursuing them, they end up on the island. The campaign is split up into six missions that take about an hour each, interspersed with cut-scenes. The missions typically have the characters working together to travel to a location, killing all enemies and then completing objectives such as protecting equipment, finding a specific type of ammo or guarding another player. Experience is also gained here and there are multiplayer unlockables and custom loadouts. Competitive elements between players are also encouraged, such as getting the most sniping kills for instance, with an additional experience bonus. Two additional elements are battle cry and booster systems. Battle cries are temporary buffs that affect team mates in the vicinity and boosters are stronger buffs provided through syringes.
The competitive multiplayer modes include team deathmatch, domination, transmission and firestorm. Transmission and firestorm are similar to domination. Transmission is about radio transmitters as control points but they sometimes change locations. Firestorm has each team set fire simultaneously to two fuel dumps held by the other team, while defending their own. Once a successful fire has been achieved, almost the entire environment becomes ablaze and the teams then need to fight over a radio control point. Additional multiplayer bonuses and perks are gathered by unlocking encrypted data with a time limit. In these modes players can also level up through a permanent system and use battles cries, booster systems, revive team mates or call in support. After matches there are interactive cut-scenes where players can choose to show mercy or punish (kill) opponents.
Far Cry 4
Far Cry 4 is the fourth main game in the open world action series. It has no narrative ties to Far Cry 3, but carries over many gameplay elements. The game is set in Kyrat, a fictional region based on the Himalayan regions of Nepal. It is governed by the depostic king Pagan Min. The player controls Ajay Ghale, an American with Kyrati roots who returns to the region to disperse his deceased mother’s ashes. As soon as he arrives he is dragged into the conflict and is rescued by the rebel organization The Golden Path started by his parents. During the game the Ajay can eventually choose which force to side with, with different endings. Inside The Golden Path there is a power struggle, and Ajay can choose between missions for Amita or Sabal, with different objectives based on the choices.
The mountainous region has both lush environments and snowy mountains. Vertical heights can be scaled using a grappling hook, and a glider or a zipline is used to move down. The player can follow the story missions or explore freely. Various vehicles are available to cross the distances and there is a fast travel option for important locations. There is an auto drive option where vehicles follow the roads to the next waypoint while the player can concentrate on shooting. Typical game elements that return are hunting animals (rhinos, pigs, bears, eagles, wolves, elephants …) to craft upgrades, collecting plants for syringes, exploring locations for loot that can be sold at shops, trading points and sherpas, and a large amount of weapons including a bow, both melee weapons and long-ranged guns, grenades, mines, and explosives. It is possible to ride elephants as well. Next to the main quest there are various side quests and random karma events for separate karma points. Next to money and experience gained to level up, skills points are provided. These can be spent in The Tiger (aggressive) or The Elephant (defensive) skill tree. There are also a large amount of collectibles such as propaganda posters, masks, lost letters and pages of Mohan Ghale’s journal.
Bell towers can be climbed to remove the fog from sections of the map. There are 24 outposts to infiltrate and four large fortresses. It is possible to reset outposts to take them over using another tactic. Guns for hire tokens can be used to call in back-up for tough missions. Just like the previous game a stealth approach is always possible. Ajay can shoot open cages or throw bait to use wild animals to cause havoc. Stones can be thrown as a distraction. Both animals and enemies can be tagged with the camera to track movement. An indicator shows if Ajay has been discovered and guards have different alert states. Enemies can be taken out silently using a takedown, a throwing knife, weapons with a suppressor or the bow. The hunter is a new type of enemy that moves silently and can only be tagged for a short time. They quickly disappear, attempt to take you out and can charm animals to attack you. The game has a day and night cycle and Ajay can now sleep in a bed for a certain amount of time to skip the night for instance.
The single-player campaign can be played cooperatively (except for the main story missions). When playing alone and in a difficult situation, you can send a request for help for someone to join you, and vice versa. Online multiplayer is also supported through Battles of Kyrat, with different types of game modes such as Outpost, Demon Mask or Propaganda. Players who do not own the game can be invited to play along using a limited amount of keys. A level editor is included as well.