The creatures of Far Cry 4 make up a rich and varied ecology, largely split into two groups — things that run towards you, and things that run away. And elephants, which are amazing. In fact, the only problem with elephants is that once you start riding one, you have to stop eventually.
There's a specific subset of the 'animals that run towards you' group, however, that specialise in making your life a painful misery. And we're not talking about the bears, tigers or wolves here. Those things are obvious dangers. Fire pointy metal sticks in a rhino's face and he (she?) is going to take deep personal offence.
The larger predators do at least have the decency to be big and easy to shoot. Not the greatest comfort when a tiger comes barrelling out of the forest, but at least everyone's clear on the issues you're about to face. No, the real problems are the little creatures that surprise you with unexpected aggression, a high resistance to dying, or, mainly, just being such a pain in the arse.
Here are the three main offenders.
This is how every honey badger introduction goes: "ha, look at that little guy bouncing around. You're almost too cute to kill, and what possible harm could a tiny... OH JESUS WHY WON'T IT DIE! GETITOFFME." Even after those first few savagings, that little comedy bounce and bark makes it hard to take seriously as a threat.
Eventually, though, you learn.
The first stage of this education is an instant panic that sets in whenever you hear that barking - spinning around to point your largest gun at all the bushes that might be hiding the source. Then, it's a slow process of experimentation to find out what it actually takes to kill the thing.
Bullets? Poor choice.
Fire? It doesn't care.
Send that thing to God in a fine mist.
Very nearly the worst living thing in the game. Not because it's dangerous. Not because it should be feared. But simply because of its surprise attacks. One minute, it's all happy mountains and 'look at my elephant', next, this thing rushes up to your face with an expression that says "you weren't doing anything were you?".
Sneaking up on a base? EAGLE! Carefully tracking the last skin you need for a bigger bag? EAGLE! About to fight a honey badger? EAGLE! Then HONEY BADGER !
There's a reason the locals shout its name whenever they see one — it's so you know when to empty every single weapon you have into the sky.
Kicking eagles in the face? Hugely satisfying.
Aholes, ammirite? Because they attack in packs, these little fox things are just a chore to face. They're not hard to kill and don't really pose a threat but, because they come at you in groups, they're just a nuisance. Like small furry children that won't stop badgering you for attention. They're one of the more common animals as well, so often trot up while you're in the middle of something else.
That little whooping cry doesn't fill me with dread, just the sinking realisation that I'm about to spend a few tedious minutes shooting at my feet while running backwards. Truly, these are the dicks of the dog world.
This Precise Wolf
I was trying to help.
This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour with a U from the British isles.