I had been curious about Far Cry 4 since the reviews for it began rolling in back in November 2014. Rest assured, most critics were pretty damned fond of it. And yet, I was skeptical based on the lack of overwhelming praise, especially for a series that had received some serious adoration over the years. Most critics were primarily turned off by the fact it’s not as good as its predecessor, which led me to believe that, yeah, I could get down with FC4 (eventually, of course, as I had just bought a PS4 at the time and was playing through Grand Theft Auto V).
Fast forward to this past weekend when I spotted FC4 on sale for $19.99 at Best Buy. Because I was trading in my copies of GTAV and Arkham Knight—sorry, guys, but neither had much replay value for me—I thought it was a no-brainer for me to finally pick up this widely praised first-person shooter. Again, the reviews and the series’ pedigree spoke for themselves, and I needed something new to play before the rush of killer titles got here this fall (Star Wars: Battlefront, Fallout 4, etc.). I picked up a copy of Dishonored: Definitive Edition, too, because it was only $39.99 and that was another one of those “Damn, everyone seems to dig this so why not?” type of games. More on Dishonored at another time.
So there I was, this past Sunday morning, sitting through the non-skippable (and rather “meh”) cutscenes at the outset of FC4. I was ready, willing, and able to do whatever I had to do to stop this crazy, blonde-haired, pink suit-wearing maniac from ruining the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat. I mean, the dude tasted the ashes of the protagonist’s mother—how fucked up is that?
And then the game actually started and… well… WTF, Ubisoft?
As you can see in the above image, FC4 is absolutely stunning. For real, I’m yet to see that many games on my PS4 that look this damn good. Not only that, but the controls were pretty great, making it easy for me to evade the anxiety-inducing danger that you’re thrown into at the outset. However, there I was, eager to keep playing, when I had to destroy a wolf den. Yeah, not drive them away, trap them and release them elsewhere, or anything like that, but literally blow up the den with a Molotov cocktail.
Look, wolves can be aggressive when they’re challenged and/or rabid, and yeah, I’m sure they’re a pain for some farmers. But good luck finding one that isn’t endangered—turns out the Himalayan wolf is critically endangered and humans are their main threat.
I justified by destruction of the den, however, by telling myself I was helping out some old woman whose farm had gone to shit because the wolves were killing her livestock. Fine, that’s a real issue for some folks and I get. Then I looked at the crafting options and saw that I could get some upgrades if I got the skin of an Asian rhino. Yeah, let’s go and kill not only a super-gentle creature but one that’s pretty much extinct.
Again, look, I understand the need to hunt for certain groups of people, but the endangered animals you’re forced to kill in FC4 are all going to extinct largely for horrendous reasons. The rhino? Look at the reasons and try not to shake your head. The same goes for Asian elephant, which are depicted as aggressive, crazy, and reckless animals.
Let me just close with this: It’s your choice to play this game, and I’m not out here trying to persuade you to do otherwise. I just personally think it’s bullshit that you’d be forced to hunt peaceful, intelligent creatures when they’re actively being killed by people who want to trade ivory or believe tusks can cure cancer.
Oh, and shout out to one of the Gears of War dudes for this one: