Nowhere in video games is the phrase “evolution, not revolution” more apt than in first-person shooters. As proof, I submit for your consideration the latest trailer for Far Cry 4. It’s seductively pretty, and wilfully obscene. In other words: it looks exactly like Far Cry 3. Only, ya know, snazzier.
Far Cry 3 is one of the best shooters I’ve ever played, so I don’t really have a problem with Far Cry 4’s resemblance necessarily. But it is pretty uncanny when you think about it. Weighty knife kills? Check. Mealy-looking animal flesh? Check. A snappy assortment of small arms and heavy weaponry that look so incredibly realistic you can practically feel them rattling in your hands? Check. A fast-talking and borderline offensive character who provides you with all these violent tools and promises he’ll show you how to use them for maximum effect? Check, check, check. Well, I guess you can ride elephants this time around.
As I suggested earlier this week in my Shadow of Mordor review, though, I think originality is often overrated when it comes to video games — especially big-budget ones like that or Far Cry. Plus, Far Cry 3 was a fascinating game for me because it was ambitious and deeply flawed in so many ways. The thought of the developers at Ubisoft taking another crack at a similar concept is promising — especially when its following up on a game that was so infectiously fun. And if it still feels good, shooting at things in a virtual paradise all over again is never a bad thing in my book.