Far Cry 4
Publisher/developer Ubisoft (Montreal) Format 360, PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One
Be honest: you were expecting Far Cry 3.5, right? An expansion pack to Jason Brody’s adventures with a new protagonist and the Pacific setting swapped for a Himalayan one. Sure, Far Cry 4 hits the same beats as its predecessor – conquering outposts, hunting wildlife and butting heads with local psychopaths – but Ubisoft Montreal stitches it all together with a coherence that Far Cry 3 lacked.
What is most remarkable about it is that it’s the product of a company whose typical approach to open worlds is to fill them to bursting with busywork. Far Cry 4 doesn’t lack for distractions, but they are placed to tantalise: there’s always something worth doing nearby, but it’s never overwhelming. The studio celebrates the player, too, with a varied, satisfying weapon-set, plenty of traversal options, and missions made to be flexible. It’s an intoxicating blend that few were expecting to deliver so much.