Pub­lisher/de­vel­oper Ubisoft (Mon­treal) For­mat 360, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One Re­lease Novem­ber 18

What you saw of Far

Cry 4 at Ubisoft’s E3 press con­fer­ence was its open­ing cin­e­matic, which says a lot when you re­alise who’s in charge. As cre­ative di­rec­tor on

As­sas­sin’s Creed III, it was Alex Hutchin­son’s job to keep the ter­ri­ble se­cret that you didn’t get to play as the as­sas­sin on the box for six long hours.

Far Cry 4’ s open­ing seems to be a re­sponse to that. Within the space of a few min­utes, play­ers are in­formed that they’re a for­eigner in an un­known land, one where bor­der guards are there to kill or be bribed, and one ruled by a mur­der­ous, pink-suited, per­ox­ide-coiffed head­case. The scene has been ef­fec­tively set. Far Cry 3’ s mar­ket­ing ef­fort fo­cused on the def­i­ni­tion of in­san­ity. This takes that con­cept to a more ex­treme, blackly comic level.

Your toolset has ex­panded ac­cord­ingly. The E3 demo fo­cused on an as­sault on an out­post, which could be car­ried out by stealth, from the air, by gy­ro­copter and wing­suit, or by smash­ing through the front gates on the back of an ele­phant. Nat­u­rally, we found the fi­nal op­tion in that list ir­re­sistible. Your mount is a sur­pris­ingly nim­ble thing, too: a slow mover, ad­mit­tedly, but with a rea­son­able turn­ing cir­cle, and a de­cent amount of health. And de­spite the fact we spent a fair chunk of

Far Cry 3 skin­ning all man­ner of trop­i­cal wildlife for the sake of a brand new wal­let or weapon hol­ster – a me­chanic Hutchin­son con­firms will re­turn – we feel a sting­ing pang of guilt when our com­pan­ion fi­nally suc­cumbs to the en­emy threat and keels over.

A se­ries-first co-op mode will of­fer fur­ther flex­i­bil­ity in ap­proach, and hope­fully save some ele­phants in the process, with one player cov­er­ing from the sky while the other trum­pets in through the out­post gate, per­haps. On PS3 and PS4, those with a PlayS­ta­tion Plus sub­scrip­tion will be given ten in­vites which will al­low friends who don’t own the game to down­load it and join in.

It’s the tone, not its ap­proach to mul­ti­player, that will de­fine

Far Cry 4, though. Far Cry 3 was at its best when it wasn’t tak­ing it­self too se­ri­ously, and while play­ers shouldn’t ex­pect a dub­step-sound­tacked se­quel full of burn­ing weed fields, it’s clear that Hutchin­son is relishing be­ing let off As­sas­sin’s Creed’s his­tor­i­cal leash. “Maybe it’s the fact I was com­ing from this very se­ri­ous fran­chise and I just wanted to blow shit up,” he says. “It was very lib­er­at­ing to say, ‘Let’s roll with this funny tone.’ We still want it to be se­ri­ous, but it’s OK to laugh. Hope­fully, it’s an un­com­fort­able one.”

Kyrat is a spec­tac­u­lar piece of world-build­ing, made more re­mark­able by the num­ber of for­mats it will have to sup­port, and the brief time in which it’s been cre­ated

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