LTTP: Far Cry 4 (PS4)

LTTP: Far Cry 4 (PS4)

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LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

I bought Far Cry 4 because of Giant Bomb’s praise. I am all too familiar with Ubisoft’s open world games including their Far Cry franchise — in fact it was Far Cry 2 that forever changed my perception of the French publisher’s open world games. I expected to climb towers to open up new areas. I expected countless collectibles and enough interlocking systems to occupy me for hours. But despite all that baggage (and for less than $15), I was willing to see what all the fuss was about.

I didn’t expect to be so enamoured with the protagonist, Pagan Min. He was charismatic, ruthless and well mannered dictator who served as my primary adversary during my time in the fictious nation of Kyrat. Since the player, Ajay Ghale, had no discernible personality to speak of, it was easy to find Pagan likeable. He reminded me of Joker which I’m sure was no accident by the clever people over at Ubisoft.

I wasn’t taken by any of the other featured characters in the game. They were all shitty people who did nothing but use Ajay Ghale for their own gains. Some were more transparent than others but they all wanted Ajay to do their errands and get his hands dirty. I was surprised Ajay didn’t end up winning over the Golden Path and ruling Kyrat for himself. Pagan Min was the only person who didn’t ask Ajay to do anything — in fact, all he did was ask Ajay to wait in a room and eat.

I didn’t listen to Pagan and the result was 30 hours of skinning animals, riding elephants, gliding through the air in wing suits and murdering hundreds of Pagan’s royal guard. The tools available to me was extensive. They went out of their way to include nearly every popular firearm found in a modern era Call of Duty title. Despite all the choices, I settled with a silenced Skorpion SMG, an M4 assault rifle, a handheld RPG like the one Arnold used in T2 and a bow and arrow.

I extended my stay in Kyrat by several hours by sticking with bow and arrow and challenging myself with long range silenced kills. I was fixated by the Rambo-like approach to liberating outposts. If I screwed up, I went in guns blazing but I tried to tackle stealthy situations with an arrow in the back.

I was most engaged with Far Cry 4 during the first dozen hours of the game when I was still hunting animals for their pelts. When I needed a specific pelt, I checked the map for their stomping ground, went there and scoped out the place in silence because if I stormed in, I could scare them off. I used my bow whenever it made sense to get clean kills and double the number of pelts I could recover. I felt challenged and immersed in these situations. Chasing down a wounded tiger that can quickly do a 180 and chase me down instead was more thrilling than dismantling the biggest fortress or outpost filled with armed guards.

The wildlife in Far Cry 4 were more terrifying than any human because they can strike from anywhere. I still looked up in the sky for an eagle any time I hear one shrieking in my vicinity. A pack of wolves, a wild boar or a tiger attacked me while I was lurking on the fringes of an outpost picking off unsuspecting guards. I lured them away from me by hurling a chunk of meat towards the outpost but sometimes it was just easier to take it out the pesky thing with my knife or bow.

I’ve been wondering why I enjoyed the interactions with the wildlife so much in Far Cry 4 and the answer is quite simple: it was short an sweet. It didn’t overstay its welcome and unlike the human NPCs in the world, there was a convincing believability to them. I was desensitized to the thrill of liberating outposts by the sixth one. The satisfaction of solving the radio tower became wore down to nothing more than a routine checkmark on the long list of things I could do in this world.

By the twentieth hour, Far Cry 4 had become a form of digital whittling for me. I played it for something to do to pass the time and occupy my hands. I had a long road ahead of me and I may have kept going with it if I didn’t double check the Trophy list. Turns out I didn’t need to collect every single thing and then I weened myself off in-game checklist and worked towards wrapping up my time with Far Cry 4 with a Platinum Trophy. I still haven’t gotten it yet because of the co-op requirements but I did check out the multiplayer offerings because of it.

There were interesting ideas hidden away in the multiplayer. I enjoyed how it was essentially two eras clashing with one another. The mighty assault rifle vs the bow & arrow and his trusty tiger. I may have actually enjoyed it if it wasn’t a lag filled mess with frequent host migrations.

Far Cry 4 was just as I imagined it would be. It didn’t really offend me in any way but it didn’t actually set my world on fire either. It was just there as a thing to fiddle with.

Verdict:
It was okay

Ratings Guide

Checkpoint: Man U vs Arsenal 2015-16 Edition

Checkpoint: Man U vs Arsenal 2015-16 Edition

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

Manchester United are mediocre this season and Arsenal are title contenders. Manchester United’s current lineup consists of six players 21 or younger while Arsenal are almost at full strength.

I don’t have a horse in this race but I would like to see Manchester United play spoiler just to see the drama unfold. The media keep piling on Louis Van Gaal and if he pulls out a win and give Leicester City a bigger cushion of points, I wonder what they would say. We North Americans don’t get to witness the full brunt of the media scrutiny that these Premier League teams face but what we do bare witness to seem to be just as annoying as the press in North American sports. I would go as far to say that most of the sports headlines are cheesy and lame.

I don’t know what the reaction is from the British media but some of the EPSN FC have stated that this year’s EPL season is rubbish because there’s no consistent team but I cannot help but say that they’re wrong. The lack of a runaway leader means anything can happen and that’s exciting. Even if Leicester City win it all this year and bottom out next year, it would still be a fun season for neutral onlookers like myself.

I’m nearly done with Far Cry 4. I felt like I was “done” with it 20 hours ago but I’ve just been in “mop up” mode for the rest of it. I only have one co-op Trophy remaining. I reserve Platinums for easy games and/or for games that I really enjoy. Far Cry 4’s Platinum is because of the former. It’s an okay game which I’ll elaborate more on later.

I started Fire Emblem Fates Birthright and I’m questioning why I’m playing with permadeath on if I’m save scumming every time I lose.

Checkpoint: Volt Delivered Edition

Checkpoint: Volt Delivered Edition

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

After 94 days of waiting, I finally got my hands on my 2016 Chevrolet Volt. Delivery was painless and everything is running as expected thus far. Electric range suffers in cold weather conditions and I already had to see how much of a toll -25 C takes. But let’s wind it back a bit and take a look at the timeline leading up to the delivery date.

Timeline

  1. Monday, Nov 9, 2015 – Ordered
  2. Friday, Nov 20, 2015 – No Target Production Week.
  3. Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 – No Target Production Week
  4. Thursday, Dec 3, 2015 – Tentative Build Week of Jan 18, 2016
  5. Wednesday, Dec 16, 2015 – Tentative Build Week of Jan 18, 2016
  6. Wednesday, Jan 6, 2016 – Tentative Build Week of Jan 18, 2016
  7. Tuesday, Jan 19, 2016 – Tentative Build Week of Jan 18, 2016
  8. Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016 – Vehicle built but not released to carrier. Still in Michigan.
  9. Tuesday, Feb 2, 2016 – Will arrive in Montreal yard in 2 days. The vehicle has to go quality control before shipped to the dealership.
  10. Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016 – Volt delivered.

Only 1 and 2 involved my local dealership; the other status updates were acquired by me. I got my order code from my salesman and used Chevy.ca’s live chat to check in their systems. Surprisingly, there were no delays and everything went according to my internal estimations. I would have gotten it sooner if the Christmas holidays didn’t shutdown the manufacturing plant. I was impressed that the car was built and delivered within a couple of weeks.

On Star

Registering for On Star was a simple process but it’s clearly a move to have someone try to sell their expensive coverage and data packages. I was given a 3 month 3GB data trial and I don’t intend to renew it despite the fact that I don’t have a sizeable data plan on my smartphone.

I was also given a 3 year trial of their Guidance package. There are a lot of niceties on the package but the two features that I can see myself missing when the trial ends are the diagnostic and Remote Link capabilities, Being able to remotely start my car on my iPhone could be very useful during the colder winter months and those diagnostic reports could be very useful.

Handling The Cold

The Volt handled the -25 C weather admirably. I lost approximately 10 KM in range but it was still more than enough to not have to rely on the internal combustion engine (ICE) during my errands. The engine ran due to to temperature (ERDTT) after every cold start but not for long. Once I finally found the setting to differ the ERDTT from 2 C to -10 C and disable the “Engine Assist Heat Plugged In”, I should hear the ICE unless it’s really cold or I run out of battery.

The added benefit of disabling “Engine Assist Heat Plugged In” is the ability to remote start the car without having to open the garage door.

The Little Engine

When the 1.5 L ICE decides to kick it into high gear, the Volt sounds like a scooter and creates a tiny bit of noticeable vibration and noise in the cabin. It’s tolerable but, at the same time, it’s enough to deter me to drive inefficient.

A Big Gadget

There’s a lot to tweak and tinker with in the Volt — I still haven’t given the parking assist a genuine try. I’ve tried it once but I failed in spectacular fashion. (I tried to use parallel park when I wanted perpendicular park). Playing with the Volt is like playing with a new gadget but the key difference is that I have to sit in the garage to tinker and that’s not undesirable in this cold weather.

I haven’t tried Apple’s Car Play yet because I don’t have a spare Lightning cable. I haven’t tried Sirius XM radio yet because I know it’s only a trial and I have no idea what’s an entertaining channel. I did play with the Navigation option and I’m impressed with it coming from someone who used a Garmin for years. It reminds me of Google Maps and Apple Maps a bit.

Sport Mode

While it was easy to stay efficient in Normal mode, shifting the car into Sport gave a noticeable improvement in throttle and braking response. It wasn’t an earth shattering difference but I can see myself using it when I know I’m not travelling very far.

So Far So Good

There’s a lot more to try and explore with my Volt and I doubt that’s something I can claim if I had purchased a Camry Hybrid or any other regular gasoline car. I don’t seek out complexity but I enjoy depth. It’s very easy to just treat it like a normal car but at the same time, it’s very easy to get into the nitty gritty.

Started playing Helldivers with my brother. It’s fun so far but I can see why it didn’t exactly garner the highest reviews. I don’t want to make any bold claims yet because it’s still early but I hope they mix it up a bit.

I like Far Cry 4. I recognize that the formula is extremely similar to the Ubisoft’s other open world titles but there’s something about it that works.

Checkpoint: Super Bowl L Edition

Checkpoint: Super Bowl L Edition

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I’m picking the Carolina Panthers to take the 50th Superbowl in a 31 – 17 win over the Denver Broncos. The Panthers have a potent offence AND defence which I believe will give them more chances to score over the Broncos. The only way I could see the Broncos winning this is if Cam Newton has a Carson Palmer. It’s the Panthers’ game to lose.

For the sake of Peyton’s fairy tale ending, I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think I am.

I have a little combo review of Puzzles & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition and Pokemon Picross coming. I’ve stopped playing one and I’m continuing another. I’ll let you guess which.

I finally started playing Far Cry 4. It’s about what I expected (first person shooter mixed with elements from Red Dead Redemption) but first person swinging and crazy bird attacks are surprises.

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