Worst. Vacation. Ever.
Ajay Ghale just wants to scatter his mother's ashes. She may have moved to America, but her heart stayed behind in her homeland of Kyrat, and her last dying wish was to have her remains taken to her birthplace. Unfortunately, when Ajay arrives, he finds that the entire country has been taken over by his uncle, Pagan Min. Uh oh.
A normal person would throw their hands up, hand off their mom's ashes to a native and try to get the hell out of there, but this journey is personal. It's not all bad, though. When you're not storming outposts or avoiding the deadly wildlife, you'll get to take in the gorgeous sights and sounds of this lush mountain region. After getting a chance to spend a few hours in this beautiful far-off land, I wrote down a list of some of the things you just have to do when you make your own journey to Kyrat in November. Things like...
Join the Golden Path
Uncle Min's vision of Kyrat involves radio propaganda, an abundance of AK-47s, and the subjugation of an innocent population of mountain-dwellers. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is happy with the direction he's taken the country, so a splinter group known as the Golden Path has risen up to combat his regime. The problem is that there are two interpretations of the Path, and Ajay finds himself caught smack in the middle.
Amita and Sabal form the leadership of the Golden Path, and of course, every organization runs better with two bosses, right? They fight, bicker, and argue over the true vision of the Path, and Ajay must decide before each story mission which person to side with. Their decisions will not only affect the objectives for the next mission, but will ultimately affect the fate of Kyrat. No pressure.
Witness the local wildlife
Kyrat is a dangerous place. Not only are the soldiers armed to the teeth, but the wildlife is just as likely to kill you as a bullet is. And although the deadly ecosystem wants to eat your face, you can use its lethal force to your advantage.
An errant gunshot into a hornets' nest will send the flesh-hungry insects swarming into your (or your opponent's) face. A well placed slab of raw meat will summon a horde of hungry beasts into a group of unsuspecting foes. Elephants can be ridden like living battle tanks. And don't try to take down a rhinoceros without the proper gear, or you will die. The various fauna that inhabit Kyrat will keep you on your toes. Stay alert.
Fly and climb your way around the gorgeous mountainscape
Sure, you can drive around Kyrat's various unpaved roads, but you'll still have to contend with roving bands of soldiers, ready to gun you down at a moment's notice. But cars are for suckers, and everyone knows flying is the way to go. Mini-helicopters are strewn about the country, and make traversing the vast distances to your next objective that much easier.
But if you decide to hoof it, make sure you pack your climbing gear, because you'll need it. If you want to avoid a long detour, look for the telltale anchor points dotting many of the cliffs around Kyrat. A quick tap of a button and a few seconds of climbing later, and you've made it to the top. Sure beats taking the long way around.
Expect the unexpected
Everyone's got their own agenda in Kyrat. Soldiers on both sides mill about, shooting one another when they have the chance. Traders wander around, selling wares to needy travellers. Animals get hungry and anything moving looks like a meal. And here you are, caught in the middle of it all, and chaos theory is doing everything it can to make your life as difficult as possible.
Like the time I pursued one of the many Karma missions that randomly pop up. These missions grant you Karma that increases your ability to call on companions in tough situations, and this particular one required that I rescue a bunch of hostages. No big deal, right? So I'm sneaking up to the encampment, about to shoot an arrow into some poor, unsuspecting soldier's face, when suddenly a wild pack of dhole descend on the camp. Before I even have a chance to blink, they've not only killed off the guys I was supposed to kill, but they've also taken out the hostages I was supposed to save. Welp, so much for that plan.
Watch out for hunters
And because killer family, warring factions, and heavily armed soldiers aren't enough to keep you on your toes, look out for the hunters. Wait, the what? Yes, there are hunters and we're not talking about the ones in orange safety vests with duck calls. No, these hunters are out for human prey and their weapons are freakin' alive.
These punks are quiet and deadly, able sneak around the jungle brush just as well as you can. And rather than attacking you directly, they send highly trained beasts out to gnaw on your fragile bits. They tried to send a dhole and some wolves after me, and I thought I'd seen everything. Then a goddamned hawk came out of nowhere and tried to peck my eyes out. It hurts. A lot.
Hunt and forage for supplies
The Kyrat wilderness isn't all bad, though. And while many of the animals that inhabit the country are trying to eat you, if you're able to hunt them first you'll be rewarded with some fancy new skins. These can then be crafted into dozens of different upgrades that let you carry way more stuff. Plus, Pagan Min's ex-fashion designer is on the lookout for the most exotic and rare animals so he can develop his "combat couture" line of clothes. There might be something in it for you, too.
Keep an eye out for various flora growing around the landscape as well, as different colored herbs can be combined to create healing and other stat-boosting syringes. Even better than before, healing syringes will be auto-crafted once you've found two green leaves, making the whole process just a little bit easier especially when you've got half of Kyrat's army breathing down your neck.
Liberate an outpost or twenty
While most of Far Cry 4 revels in this stew of unpredictable systems, the outposts appear to be where everything comes together. Taking these over will provide you with fast travel points and open up a whole bunch of different missions, so clearing them out is advantageous. The best part? You can do it your way.
The first time I got to clear out one of these outposts, I found a cage holding an elephant near the back. After setting Mr. Tibbles free (of course I named him), he went on a Jeep-flipping rampage, knocking over everything in his rage-fueled sight. Even in this angered state, he was calm enough to let me ride him and ride him I did, charging him into enemy soldiers while I mopped up the rest with my pistol. I cleared other outposts with simple stealth, a bow, and some arrows. There was also the occasional meat "Hail Mary," where I threw some raw steak and hoped for the best. No one way is right, but they're all awesome.
Scale some bell towers and take over the radio waves
As you drive around Kyrat, you'll notice that the pirate radio station (run by the unique radio personality Rabi Ray Rana) gets interrupted by stodgy propaganda messages and patriotic music. Well, this just won't do, and you'll need to scale some bell towers (and ignore the NO TRESSPASSING signs) to shut down these broadcasts.
Like the radio towers found in Far Cry 3, the bell towers in Far Cry 4 are mini-platforming puzzles that require you to scale increasingly precarious ledges and balance beams to make it to the top. Unlike Far Cry 3, these are much, much trickier, as they're filled with numerous dead ends and hidden alcoves, making climbing them a far more cerebral process than simply trying not to fall down.
Get a little help from your friends
Kyrat can be a bit lonely to wander around by yourself, so why not call on a few buddies to help you out? If you're caught between an armed militia and a hard place, you can spend Call for Help tokens to summon a few members of the Golden Path to swing by and offer some assistance. You won't have a whole lot of tokens to start with, but completing Karma missions and buying upgrades will give you more opportunities to summon some much needed aid.
Or perhaps you want more of a human touch? Then you can call upon your actual friends (or Internet strangers) to take on the role of Hurk, a crazy Southern dude, who can only be played through online co-op. Working together can be a real boon, as the added firepower will go a long way to keep you alive. Or, it can be a real problem, as your stealthy plan can be ruined by a partner who doesn't understand the value of keeping silent. Either way, it's another layer of explosive unpredictability on top of a game filled with equally unpredictable systems.
Fight in arena battles?
Up until this point, Far Cry 4 has felt fairly subdued... OK, it may not sound like it, but my time playing wasn't all non-stop super-explosions and mega-carnage. There were moments of quiet reflection too, as I wondered whether I made the right choice between Amita or Sabal's mission objectives. But things started to get a little weird when I ran into Yogi and Reggie, two British druggies that took it upon themselves to stick me with a potent tranquilizer.
When I came to, I found myself inside a massive battle arena. Soldiers spilled in from all sides, and I had to use the obstacles in the room to sneak from behind and stab my closest foe. Once he was out, I picked up his gun, and started taking aim at the explosive barrels strewn around the building to take out the hapless groups of militia standing around them. Then the animals started to pour in. Five tense rounds of mayhem later, I stood victorious, and additional arena missions became available to me. I'll come back later, but that was enough excitement for one day.
The food alone is worth the trip
After spending a couple hours in Kyrat, I'm dying to explore the lush jungles, the frigid mountain tops, and ancient buildings of this beautiful country. I want to meet the people, observe the customs, and open my eyes to a world I've never seen before hopefully, I can do it without getting mauled by those damned dhole. The best part? Not a bro in sight. What are you looking forward to most when you get a chance to run wild through Kyrat? Let me know in the comments below!
Looking for all things Far Cry 4? Be sure to take a look at this list of 13 badass, destructive, and hilarious things we did in Far Cry 4, as well as our Road to the Review.