Act like tiger at home and a jackal at the woods

If there is something common to the people of South Asia, it is their collectivistic or family-oriented traditions. Parents and elders among other relatives are expected to be treated with utmost respect in our society. And we really love our parents. This is also true for Far Cry 4’s protagonist Ajay Ghale who returns from America to the fictional Nation of Kyrat to spread his dead mothers ashes.

Excited, Desi gamers? You should be, because this game has lots of references and takeaways from North Indian culture, particularly from the lands neighboring Nepal or even Nepal itself. Now Kyrat is a fictional country but FC4 has lots of Hindi dialogue, certain mentions of Indian ways and the village culture almost surely resembles that of India. Far Cry even earned a name for itself in an article in the publication, Indiatoday, as a game that gave Indians pride.

It’s also Diwali today so I was searching for a game to review that would give tribute to the Hindu community for an marvelous and delightful festival of lights. Now by linking Diwali to an India-set game I do not claim that all Hindus are Indian, though I acknowledge most are, and the very land holds significance for all Hindus. There are Hindus from beloved Pakistan and Nepal too whom I wish the very best for this joyous occasion.

Speaking of Diwali, Far Cry 2 is known to have one the best lighting among many games. The shades were really impressive and rays of light could be seen filtering through tree branches and twigs. Far Cry 4 isn’t known for lighting even though the game does not look anything even remotely ugly. The developers acknowledge that FC4 was based of Nepal’s civil war and it’s nice that they take inspiration from a country in the region to develop a super-amazing game.

It’s certainly a beautiful world brimming with wildlife, forests, mountains, villages, lakes and things to do. There are all sorts of climes barring deserts. There’s one problem though. The land is ruled by a maniacal despot and tyrant known as Pagan Min who uses his Royal army to run the region. Your goal is to stop him and you are allied to the Golden Path, a movement fighting Pagan’s rule. However the two rebel commanders of the Golden path are divided and have different ideas over how the Golden Path should be run. You choose which one of these you side with and the decisions you make will set the future of Kyrat.

Far Cry 4 gives you the freedom to explore a large open-world map and you can find new hamlets or landmarks as you explore. This is astonishingly fun and there are lots of collectibles to be found too in these places-if you are willing to spend extra time to explore every nook and cranny. There are masks of Yalung, lost letters and your father, Mohan Ghale’s journal entries among more. These locations are also usually full of loot-containers which you can use or sell.

There are also towers and each tower reveals a unique climbing challenge that is, partly, a puzzle. However climbing them is advisable because they reveal more of the map, even marking locations nearby. The guns and other weapons available to you are also really great too, though I had hoped for an INSAS rifle which the Indian army makes use of.

You can kill animals and craft items out of their hides. You use these animal skins to create bags and pouches for more ammo, guns, explosives and loot. This remains the same in all Far Cry games and I haven’t played a single Far Cry game where you do not hunt wildlife. It is a crucial aspect of Far Cry and has been enjoyed to the very limit. This is such a signature of Far Cry that the game would be empty without it. The wildlife is extremely aggressive though and in real life these animals usually stay away from humans.

In Far Cry 4 a new beast arrives. This is the elephant, and you can even ride one of these magnificent animals. They are like a tank and can wreck your opponents by charging straight into them. I did use them to take down a few outposts but I enjoyed the covert approach better where a knife to the back of a Royal Army soldier and destroying the alarm kept things under control. I have never enjoyed stealth so much as I do in Far Cry games. In fact when I liberate outposts in any other way than stealth I feel I haven’t liberated that outpost in the proper manner despite my lack of qualms about cheating. The game leaves the choice of how and when you approach your missions totally up to you though.

But liberating outposts also give a sense of immense accomplishment and I enjoyed as Pagan Min’s mountain nation slipped from his grasp and fell into the hands of the once beleaguered rebels. It’s great to make a difference and each Far Cry game does that by giving you the power to totally reduce your enemy to ash. Sure you start off with no influence in how things will turn out but Far Cry always ends you up where you are the alpha and omega, the one who changes things completely.

You can also use your environment in FC4. You can free dangerous predators from cages and set them loose upon unsuspecting Royal Army soldiers. Though it’s a good idea to stay back while the animals do their job (and weaken your enemies) because these beasts will attack the character nearest to them.

Another Indian-ness of Far Cry 4 is its skill tree, which is used to upgrade your character. It is divided into an elephant section and a tiger section. If anyone knows about Indian culture and thinks about it, both these animals are revered in Indian texts and lore. They are animals that make them feel proudly Indian. In fact the majority of animals available to hunt in Far Cry 5 are present in India.

However I was left wondering towards the end that after having killed one of the two rebel leaders, how far would the rebels go to cement their rule and what future would Kyrat hold next? Particularly for dissidents and political opponents? This is a fine thing to ponder before knee-jerk invasions, because when certain rulers were forcibly removed in countries like Libya and Iraq, the immediate result was chaos.

Though there is no mention of Diwali in Far Cry 4, it’s North Indian setting makes it a game any person interested in the northern, mountainous parts of India should at least try. And hey, what would we guys be if we didn’t include a review of a Desi themed game on our review list?

Far Cry 4 dominated the gaming charts as an intensely fun game where you can hunt wildlife to craft,  use the environment, and climb up an elephant to mow down enemies. The most solid feature was the stealth system used to methodically to take down opponents. The missions and the villain design is also up to snuff as is common in all Far Cry games. It is a game you should try as an Indian and when you do, you can also proudly say my culture is finally making a mark in the gaming industry. True, no major India-based games (and Far Cry does not acknowledge being from a real nation at all) have come after this but at least Far Cry 4 is a start. You can also think of the game in the traditional Diwali sense, a victory of light (Ajay Ghale) over darkness (Pagan Min). Happy Diwali and Happy Gaming.

Review Platform: PC

Rating: 9.5

Pros

  • Pagan Min and his collaborating villains have been ingeniously designed.
  • You feel like you are in control of Kyrat’s future, particularly at the end.
  • Impressive skill tree.
  • Several allusions to North Indian culture and Hindu lore.
  • You are responsible for the future of Kyrat.
  • Great aesthetics.
  • Stealth at its best.
  • Can ride elephants.
  • Exploration is rewarding.
  • Climbing towers and liberating outposts is amazing.
  • Great crafting system.
  • Lots of wildlife where hunting is really enjoyable.
  • Skill tree helps you unlock your full potential.
  • Makes you feel you are making a difference.

Cons

  • Wildlife is exceptionally aggressive.

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