Fortress Sieging with an Elephant in Far Cry 4

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From one psychopath to another, the Far Cry universe has gotten a lot more eclectic over the past few years. Now, self-proclaimed king Pagan Min (who is named after a real-life Burmese king, who reigned in the mid 1800’s) is primed to make Vaas look like chopped liver by comparison. Kyrat is his domain, and though it may be dangerous and teeming with trigger-happy Nepali warriors, the player – as native and protagonist Ajay Ghale – will have some allies at his side. One of those is the intelligent and destructive elephant…

Elephants seem more than happy to allow you on their backs and fight for your cause, aggressively and without reprieve. What’d the locals put in their water hole?! Case-in-point, the demo we played at the EB Games Expo 2014, which only lasted maybe five minutes, tasking us with clearing out a ‘Fortress’. The player is given three options for how they want to approach the task: “Sneak”, “Elephant” and “Air”. The first is easily understandable, while the latter would provide a helicopter for the attack. But I chose to ride in, guns-blazing, on the back of my good ol’ grey giant, hoping the foes inside the fortress walls didn’t have a mouse in their back pocket. Fortresses work the same as ‘Outposts’ in Far Cry 3; there are alarms placed at different locations in the compounds that, when triggered, will call reinforcements. The problem with jumping on an elephant as it bathes itself with water, taking charge, and barging into the place, the animal violently head-butting the wooden gate to create an entry point, is that stealth is impossible and reinforcements will get called immediately! And you may feel invincible brandishing a machine gun on an elephant’s back, but you’d be mistaken.

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In my first attempt to clear the enemy camp, I threw caution to the wind, which failed. On my second try, I tried to take advantage of the elephant’s abilities, flinging enemies into the air with his trunk and running roughshod throughout the ground, bowling over anyone who stood in our was as the elephant stampeded, achieved by clicking in L3 as you would to sprint on foot. But, it wasn’t long before a helicopter was called in to do major damage and killed me. My final endeavour was more methodical; I busted inside, killed the foes in my immediate vicinity quite efficiently, and then hopped off to get around on foot. Wielding my secondary weapon – the sawn-off shotgun – I sought out the alarms with an aim to disable them. I was unsure how the elephant would react once I had done so, but like a loyal companion, he continued to support my siege without any explicit orders, taking out any and all guards/Nepali fighters in his sight. I proceeded to shoot down the enemy attack chopper, but not without taking serious damage in the battle. Thankfully, whether on-elephant or on-foot, you can still heal yourself by snapping fingers into place, removing bullets, etc., by holding “Triangle” for a short period. Unfortunately, before I claimed redemption for my previously abysmal efforts, our time with the demo was over.

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All things considered, this demo is an extremely minuscule slice of the total experience that is Far Cry 4. The game plays and feels like Far Cry 3, as expected, which is a good thing. In terms of other new features, given the brevity of what was on offer, I did not have a chance to sample them. The good thing is that we won’t have to wait much longer to play the finished product ourselves, as Far Cry 4 releases for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC on November 20 in Australia and November 18 in the rest of the world. If you enjoyed the last instalment, there’s no doubt you’ll love Far Cry 4.

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I am a graduate of the Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment (w/ major in Games Design) course at Qantm College, Sydney.

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