by Lauren McLean
Both games have very similar bases but their content differs greatly. The question is: how much can change in a couple of years and a change in scenery?
I was late to the Far Cry series. I began in mid 2013 after much ‘um’ing and ‘ah’ing about whether or not I’d actually enjoy it. Once I got into Far Cry 3 (Xbox 360), however, it quickly became one of my favourite games and I was keen to complete it 100% and search within every nook and cranny to find all its secrets and content. When Far Cry 4 (Xbox One) was announced in May 2014, I was super excited to try out and with further information at E3, my excitement grew to an astonishing high. So, after finishing both installments, I had something to say. What did I like better? What could have been improved? Well, here’s my take on Far Cry 3 and its not-so sequel Far Cry 4.
Just a warning (though, I feel most of you reading would have played through these games), SPOILERS AHEAD! I’ll warn you again later.
JASON BRODY (Far cry 3)
Jason Brody is the American hero kicking ass, taking names and screaming ‘Fuck Yeah!’ in a way that sounds like he’s finally reached climax. His role in this game as protagonist is to run through the Rook Islands, murdering the antagonist Vaas’ pirate army, skinning the stripes off of tigers and finding his friends, like, when he’s got the time.
The 25-year-old, native Angeleno (despite his voice actor being Canadian, which can be quite obvious when he’s talking aboot stuff… sorry Canada) is developed straight away as a badass extreme sports lover as well as an all-round fun guy. You know, kicking trees, drinking in nightclubs, showing the ‘rock on’ sign; all that good stuff. Quite soon into the game, it is also revealed that Jason is quite the athletic dude, making him extremely able to run a fair way and swim until his heart’s content.
So, now you know. Hang gliders? No problem. Running from leopards? No problemo. Wingsuit? Absolutely no problem! Immersion intact!
Through cut scenes and flashbacks toward the beginning of the gameplay, it is declared that his girlfriend Liza Snow, before their capture on the Rook Islands, deems Jason immature; not caring too much about other people and only wanting to have fun. Disclaimer: ‘fun’ must involve being extreme. However, his psyche changes rapidly as he finds his friends one by one. He gains a sense of responsibility, not only to his friends but to the Rakyat people who depend on him to bring Vaas and his pirates down.
His character is definitely defined by the opening few campaign missions (with cut scenes, maybe 30-45 minutes). He teaches himself how to hunt and craft and his reluctance to kill or even hold a gun in the beginning just adds to the growth of his character throughout the game. In the end, his goal is simple: find his friends and get the hell out of dodge. You know who he is; you know what he’s about; you know why he’s about it.
AJAY GHALE (far cry 4)
Ajay Ghale (Ah-jay Gah-lay?) is the 27 year-old American-Kyrati (another Canadian voice actor but no where near as noticeable. Points for that) who returns to the homeland he never knew to take his late mother’s ashes, per her dying request, to Lakshmana.
What you find out about him is drip-fed to you through a tiny straw and then slapped in your face like a wet fish by every character you talk to. A stupid, smelly, wet fish. The antagonist and King of Kyrat, Pagan Min, shares with you that he and Ajay’s mother used to be close, perhaps too close, and when things got a bit more rough, she fled with little Ajay to the States.
Once you escape Pagan’s sight (don’t worry, this is the first bit of gameplay), the Golden Path – your rescuers – tell you that your father, Mohan, was once their leader before his death and that Ajay should help them defeat the psychotic Pagan Min… This is honestly where Ajay’s character development stops. He just shrugs his shoulders, picks up a gun and says, “Why the fuck not?” because … reasons. Every character he meets seems to know who he is from the get go, despite him leaving Kyrat when he was 3 and never hearing about his homeland from his mother. They each mention the same things: Pagan is evil, Mohan was wonderful.
This may not annoy most people but I, for one, love seeing a character be developed from the ground up and – despite if the gameplay itself is horrible – this makes or breaks the game for me. After around an hour of doing campaign missions for the Golden Path just because they told me my father was great, I stopped and realised that, unlike Jason, I had no clue who Ajay was. So, I had to look him up. I learned that he got into a lot of trouble as a child, fell into the wrong crowd and was involved in an armed robbery before trying to turn his life around. While this is a good enough back story for why he is who he is, why they couldn’t add even a bit of it into the beginning of the story is a mystery to me.
This one for me, fairly obviously, goes to Mr. Jason Brody. His character was developed and explained from the beginning, which made his dialogue interesting and understandable throughout his journey in Far Cry 3. Although Ajay Ghale was a somewhat likable character, if they hadn’t done such a good job of developing Jason’s character in Far Cry 3 two years earlier, the lack of Ajay’s development probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much.
VAAS MONTENEGRO (far cry 3)
This guy? Freakin’ lunatic. He is the definition of insanity… Get it? The first time you see him, he instills in your mind that he is unpredictable, unstable, and undeniably a fucking scary dude and he keeps this character up throughout.
Whenever he catches up to wherever Jason is hiding, he speaks to him calmly, trying to teach him something new or give a lesson about family. He seems, in a way, genuine. But then he goes 0-100 real quick and screams profanities and threats, which leave you wanting to reverse the cut scene and watch it again and again in awe of how great the voice acting really is.
His ‘insanity’ speech, influenced by the quote “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” by Anonymous (jury is still out on that one) is his most famous quote, as it was shown at E3 2011 as the Gameplay Reveal Trailer. Beginning and ending with “Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?”, his speeches and his manic, bipolar-esque personality fits perfectly with the Alice in Wonderland quotes seen at the beginning of the new acts and you play through.
His character was also brought to life by Vaas’ inspiration and voice actor Michael Mando in the web series The Far Cry Experience, where Vaas finds actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin) on the Rook Islands and decides to torture him just because.
Vaas as a character is simply terrifying, erratic, deranged and, in my experience, the only villain I’ve been frightened to see on screen. He is definitely worthy of his antagonist title.
PAGAN MIN (far cry 4)
Pagan Min reminds me of some sort of colourful uncle. He’s funny, he’s passionate, he meets you at the bus stop, and calls you from time to time. I mean, he’s downright psychotic as well but who isn’t? From the beginning, you get a sort of Severus Snape – Harry Potter deal; he loved your mother and thought your father was an asshole.
Ajay doesn’t get to see him much throughout the meat of the game but he’s always there and always watching. After certain missions, he’ll talk to Ajay over the radio, making remarks about Kanye West and snorting cocaine. Pagan sees Ajay as an equal and throughout the game, you get the idea that maybe he even sees him as his successor. He likes him and wants to bond with him. I mean, he kills his own soldier who almost ended Ajay on a bus in the opening cut scene, then takes a selfie with his main man. However, the Golden Path has taken Ajay from what Pagan wanted. He wanted to be a mentor to Ajay, a father figure in his life and now Ajay’s on the path to overthrow Pagan, just like his father.
Pagan’s personality is, well, I’m not really sure how to describe it. Like Vaas, he is unpredictable. You don’t know whether he’ll shoot the person standing next to him out of the blue or offer him a cup of tea. And isn’t that the first step in creating a psycho?
You know what? I’m going to let them both win. Vaas is downright insane and he really shakes you up as you watch him on screen. He’s jealous and spiteful and even scares his own pirates (who are meant to be scary to begin with). His voice actor, Michael Mando, really embodies the quirks of a complete psychopath in his role as Vaas such as the sudden changes of voice from sadness to anger and so on. Vaas is truly one of the greatest antagonists of the last gen of gaming.
Pagan, as well, is extremely enjoyable to have on screen but for different reasons. Every time I heard to radio turn on, I hoped it was him so he could say his piece and make me giggle. He actually, in parts, made good points about the state of a third-world country like Kyrat.
But an antagonist do just that… they antagonize. And both Vaas and Pagan are so entirely brilliant in their own villainous ways that saying that one is better at being a maniac is too hard to do.
ROOK ISLANDS (far cry 3)
This sensational, sultry, assemblage of archipelagos located a skydiving plane trip from Bangkok is home to many exotic and extravagant creatures as well as the clusterfuck of Vaas’ pirates. The dense, uninhabited rainforest throughout is hectic fun to explore (except for the odd tiger or bear den. Whoops) with an ample amount of plants to pick and sample and animals to skin. Also, along the way, you’ll no doubt find random caverns for ancient artefacts and bunkers for the lost letters and remains of Japanese soldiers who used the Rook Islands for a small army/navel base during World War II. You’ll become lost throughout the darkness (C’mon, it couldn’t have just been me) all the while finding multiple loot chests, ammo and the random, cave-dwelling, demon-spawn, hell snake that strikes your wrist from the pits of misery themselves. But, to make up for it, you may find yourself on the other side from where you entered, half way up the cliff, looking out on the vast ocean landscape with an intense pink/orange sunset surging down on the SoCal skin of one Jason Brody.
The wildlife throughout the Rook Islands is broad, with 53 different creatures scattered throughout (including the DLC) for you to righteously slaughter and turn into your wallet. The rulers of the land are the Sumatran Tiger and Asian Black Bear. They will catch you unawares whilst you are stalking your own prey, either making you shoot and run, thus drawing attention to yourself, or you’ll just die a grisly death filled with blood and guts. One of the best parts of the animals is that they can help you take out the enemies nearby. Sometimes they’ll just show up and decide to feast on bad dude’s face but other times, they’ll be locked up at an enemy outpost, just waiting for you to shoot the cage open.
There are many easy ways to get around the islands from the boats that sit idle at the sand of the beaches or the hang gliders that are strategically placed on top of high place so you can get down quickly and without much danger. This game is one of the firsts that I actually liked running from location to location without the need for a car or fast travel, making discovering secret hideouts and upgrading my equipment much more speedy and enjoyable. The sparkly, realistic looking oceans over the dense green rainforest weren’t bad either.
KYRAT (far cry 4)
The land of Kyrat is very much an opposite part of the world to the Rook Islands. The borders are the huge mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the ground is covered in snow. Everything is at a higher altitude which makes the wingsuit, available at the beginning of the game, a very valuable item to have as all you have to do is have a bit of a sprint on a downward slope and you can glide a few hundred metres without any problems. Just watch out for trees. They also give you a little helicopter that you can use to soar above the cliffs, which makes up for the awful steering they put into the cars so you could shoot and drive at the same time.
Throughout Kyrat, there are plenty of places to explore including undiscovered locations, such as sunken ships and trucks and also, like Far Cry 3, you can find hidden caverns atop of cliffs which you can use the convenient grappling hook to climb up. There’s also the hugely colourful and holy place called Shangri-La where Ajay seems to only find when drugged up on something. There, you play as a Kyrati warrior with a white tiger that you can send to attack far away enemies. This place is truly a beautiful work of art.
The wildlife in Kyrat is much the same as the Rook Islands, just different sub-species, such as the dhole instead of hyenas and sambar instead of deer. However, there are a few extra creatures that are simply just a wonderful inclusion. As seen in the previews for Far Cry 4 and also on the cover art for the game, they’ve introduced elephants to the game… THAT YOU CAN RIDE! You can find them just around the place and once you unlock a certain trait somewhat early in the game, you can mount and use them for travel and murder throughout the lands. They are a one-hit kill to enemies as them trample them of throw them with their trunks. They’ll also flip an oncoming car and kill those inside pretty easily, however, if you do this to an ally’s car, you risk the Golden Path attacking you if they’re nearby and witness the betrayal. So, find an elephant, head to an enemy outpost and have some fun. I certainly found myself giggling like a little school girl when I first did this… Don’t know what this really says about me though…
They’ve also introduced rhinos into the game. These beasts are powerful and angry and, like the elephants, will destroy vehicles in sight and trample you without any real warning. They’re fun to watch go to town on your enemies though, or allies, or just people in general. But, do you know what I really hate in Far Cry 4? The fucking eagles. I cannot get rid of these things! I just can’t shoot them out of the sky and they scare me. I hate them.
As much as I loved the Rook Islands, I just have to go with Kyrat on this one. Obviously, since I am playing it on Xbox One over the Xbox 360, the graphics are a lot better than what they were when playing Far Cry 3. Not only that though; they have added so much more to the game including ways to get around (not that I had a problem with it all before) and despite the car driving being horrid, they add an autodrive feature that makes it a hell of a lot easier. There is simply just so much more to see and to do throughout Kyrat and for that, it comes out on top.
Okay, so you’ve been warned. Discussion of the story and the ending of each game is coming up! SPOILER ALERT!
STORY + Ending
FAR CRY 3
Jason is on a simple mission: find friends, go home. Throughout the game, he is succeeding, however, once a friend reveals some devastating news, Jason decides he’s got to get revenge before he leaves. He seeks help from the Rakyat and realises that there is nothing left for him back in Santa Monica. He has nothing there. He is no one there. However, on the Rook Islands, he is important. His whole purpose shifts away from his friends – he’s done all he can for them. The Rakyat people have considered him their warrior. His character is completely devoted to this change. He gains maturity. He gains self-worth. His transition from dude to unstoppable man-warrior is complete. He leaves his friends behind and goes on a mission with the Rakyat people and seeks ultimate revenge to become a super Rakyat… or something. Throughout his dialogue, Jason transitions smoothly from terrified guy on an island to insane and raving lover of the murder he’s committing. That’s his life now. It’s who he has become. And he’s just fine with that.
The story really moves along without any real bumps along the way and I was even surprised by the way the story turned out. with As in, what you’d expect to be the end is actually in the middle and the beginning of a huge turning point. The only thing that jolted me (and I ABSOLUTELY hated this) was the dialogue and reactions from his friends. They’re robotic and don’t fit the situation at all. AND THE FACT THEIR ACCESSORIES NEVER FELL OFF! Who the hell goes skydiving in a scarf and hat?!
Like, you know, you’ve been poked and prodded and handcuffed and kicked and spat on and starved and held at gunpoint and all that stuff and the first thing you say to Jason once he rescues you is a cheery: “Hey, nice tats man!” But it’s not only that guy. Jason and Liza, while escaping a barrage of gunfire in a Jeep have a kind of stereotypical lover’s spat about driving.
“Don’t jerk the wheel!”
“You’re not helping.”
“Hands at ten and two! Ten and two!”
“Do you want to drive?”
Now, overall, Liza is the worst at this. You’d think being in a relationship with Jason, she’d care a bit more and at least show some emotion and/or love towards him. She acts like they’re not deserted on an island with one friend – her boyfriend’s brother – dead and others missing. All she cares about is their failing relationship. She’s happy he’s taking control of his life and becoming mature, something she’s been waiting for, but she just wishes they had more time to spoon and talk about their feelings whilst their friends could possibly be getting skinned alive. When Jason tells her some horrible news, she asks him to sit and talk, mull it over a bit. The worst bit though was when he tells them he’s not leaving with them. Liza has a selfish tantrum about how all she’s ever wanted from Jason is for him to grow up and stop being so immature and now, since killing everyone in sight, he’s finally the man she wants and he’s leaving her.
I had so much hope for the friends and their relationship with Jason and each other but the writing for them was just so out of place. You see so much chemistry between characters on television and movies that you’d expect the writers could at least capture… something! Anything! However, the rest of the story was awesome. Vaas’ dialogue was the best I’ve ever heard from a video game voice actor and Jason, though whiney sometimes, really captured the emotion he was going through. Also, hearing Wagner’s ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ along with a helicopter made one of the coolest boss fights I’ve playing in a first person shooter.
Really and truly enjoyable.
After the main game, you’ve got two choices. Save your friends or kill your friends. Throughout the story, Jason begins needing to save his friends then he flips it and tells them to fend for themselves. Right at the end, he finds Riley and heads back to meet up with his friends to go back to California, however, Citra has taken them hostage and wants you to slit their throats and make a warrior baby with her.
Now, you choose. You’ve become a warrior of the Rakyat people, but did you become a warrior for Citra or a warrior for your friends? When the choices were presented, I was dumbfounded that anyone would choose to kill their friends as you’d just spent the entire game risking your life to save them all. I chose my friends straight away and Citra’s accidental death at the hands of Dennis was satisfying. Then, the knife stuck in the sand with the boat sailing away in the background was relief. They were finally done. Jason’s monologue seemed to fit in so well with his character. He went all out. A full on, maniacal champion who didn’t care what he had to do to get revenge. Then, he found his little brother, his last thread of humanity, a small piece of himself. Like he says, he is a monster but he is more than that, better than that. He has to be. For his friends.
The second ending is an interesting one. As said above, full on, maniacal champion decides to remain a warrior for his exotic princess and offs his friends to be with her for all eternity. Whilst doing the horizontal tango, she mutters some stuff about them creating the new Rakyat people (whilst he sounds like he’s in a lot of pain down there. He should probably check that out) and once finished, announces her extremely new pregnancy and slams the knife into Jason’s chest, killing him in a matter of seconds. She will raise the new leader by her side and all you were was the giver of seeds. You are not needed. I kind of feel like this was the ‘you had a choice but it was the wrong one’ kind of ending and while I think it makes sense, especially after your change in heart mid game, once you find Riley, Jason seems hell-bent on getting off the island again.
I really thought the first ending was great and it tied up all strings and left you wondering how Jason and his friends will live once back in a lawful society. I, for one, have written out my own epilogue from after the credits role and really enjoyed playing with the characters in my head but that’s something for another time.
FAR CRY 4
Your sweet, gentle mother is dying of breast cancer. It’s sudden and horrible and she’s slipping away quicker that you ever thought she would. She has one, last dying wish: take her back to Lakshmana. You don’t know where that is or what it is but you know this means going back to your homeland, your mother’s homeland to fulfil her wish… but as soon as you get there, you let the King dip his finger in her ashes, then put her in your bag and hardly ever speak of her again.
The focus on becoming a great addition to the Golden Path since your father, whom you never knew, was once their leader takes full force as soon as Ajay meets up with the Golden Path. He just follows along with whatever the two opposite-view leaders, Sabal and Amita, have to say. Sabal wants Kyrat to stay traditional and focus on religious values. Amita wants to move forward and give Kyrat a new future where children don’t have to marry at 12-years-old.
You get to choose whose proposal you prefer, which I liked, but Sabal and Amita did this annoying thing where they don’t tell you the best reasons why or why not to do something. For example, in a certain mission, Sabal wants you to burn Pagan’s opium poppy fields because leaving them to grow will make him just as bad as Pagan. However, Amita doesn’t want them burned because Kyrat doesn’t have any natural resources and opium could bring them wealth. Neither of them really brought a great point across so I sided with Sabal because, hey, I loved the mission of burning the weed fields in Far Cry 3. Once I burned them, then Amita told me, enraged, that the opium I destroyed could have been used for medicine and books and clothing and could have been used for to help the people of Kyrat… Well, why didn’t you tell me that earlier?! I would have sided with you then! Though, I assume they were written like that to make you feel that exact way afterwards so you think harder about your decision next time.
The thing is, you, not just Ajay also forget you began playing with the mission of taking your dear mother to her resting place. Within an hour or so, all you want to do it hunt Pagan down because Sabal and Amita don’t like him. I for one didn’t particularly like either of their story lines and some of the side quests weren’t interesting or that fulfilling.
I just wasn’t invested. Ajay didn’t have a goal after the first little while and he never seemed to have a mind of his own until certain choices you had, such as shooting people or leaving them be. You were just playing for Sabal and Amita and they weren’t interesting enough to hold my attention.
I’m going to be very honest. I didn’t like Sabal. I didn’t like Amita. I didn’t want Sabal to live. I didn’t want Amita to live. They weren’t interesting characters to me and annoyed me with their bullshit and it annoyed me extra that Ajay seemed to just go along with anything they told him to do like he was their boring, monotone drone. Pagan was awesome but he’s the antagonist; you can’t just let him get away with everything. The killing of Amita left Sabal in charge of the Golden Path. Sabal was a religious looney and his ending left me feeling… just… eh. Like, okay, you just… have fun there. There was nothing.
The killing of Sabal left Amita in charge of the Golden Path. She seemed to turn into an anarchist, conscripting children into the Golden Path straight away and simply not giving two shits about her people past that point. Didn’t like that; shot her in the head.
Now, Pagan, I wanted to hear him out. He told me about Lakshmana and about my parents and what really went down and took me to where I needed to go. I’m thankful for that. Then, I became king because… ? Nothing really happened. I enjoyed his speech and he genuinely seemed to care about Ajay but it was lacklustre. I then went back and watched the ending where you shoot Pagan dead at the table and afterwards, when asked about what or where Lakshmana was, Ajay just states: “I guess it’s not important.” At that point, Ajay became extremely unlikable (I know, probably too late). His mother’s dying wish and he can’t care enough to fulfil it. Worst son ever.
The secret ending however was fantastic. Just sit back, enjoy the crab Rangoon and wait for your host to finish his phone call, I mean, do you really have to be that rude? Pagan takes you where you need to go, he tells you what you need to hear and then you get to shoot some guns to The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’. Genius, pure genius.
Can you guess? Far Cry 3 was just super fun and enjoyable to play through, story wise. I mean, I still finished Far Cry 4 and it wasn’t a chore but the writing, the extra characters and their motivations couldn’t overtake the thorough enjoyment I got from rescuing my friends from the hands of the pirates.
As for the endings, once again, I believe I’ve already brought my point across. Jason’s ‘save your friends’ ending just suited his character so well and, of course, why wouldn’t you save your friends? You’re little brother is there for God’s sake! Also, apart from the secret, awesome Pagan ending in the first 15 minutes of Far Cry 4, the other endings I just had no interest to give. I just didn’t care. I was done. Xbox, turn off.
Okay, okay, I think I may have a bit of favoritism going on, but hey, I can’t help what I love in a game. I know it sounds bad but I actually really enjoyed playing Far Cry 4. The graphics and landscape were absolutely amazing and the first 5 or so hours that I played the game was spent hunting and foraging, liberating outposts, climbing towers, flying. Actually flying. It is an outrageously fantastic game. However, in what I have picked to be the main points of the games, Far Cry 3 just had to come out on top. I loved so much about the game: the characters, the dialogue (well, most), the adventure within. Both these games are truly fantastic and if you haven’t completed them or even started them, THEN WHY ARE YOU READI-… I recommend greatly that you finish them in your own time.
So, why not comment below and tell me what you think? I’d love to start a discussion!
Games developed by: Ubisoft Montreal
Games made for: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC