Newcomers to Far Cry 4: greetings! I hope you're enjoying your time in Kyrat so far. It's a pretty dangerous place though, isn't it? Here are some of the things I've discovered that help me stay alive.
Before I get into the nitty gritty details (and there are a lot of those in a game like this), I should make something clear: I'm currently focusing on beginner-level tips for players who are just starting out their journey. Since Far Cry 4 is a gigantic, open-ended, and multifaceted game, there's a ton of stuff that I'm not going to go into too much detail about yet. Part of the reason I don't want to do that is because Far Cry has always been one of those games that becomes more and more interesting as adventurous and inventive players figure out new ways to do stuff and share those techniques with one another. If you are one of those Far Cry 4 players, I'd love to hear how you've been messing with the game. But first, let's make sure we've all got the basics covered.
Cool? Cool. Let's do this.
Before Anything Else, Capture The Radio Towers
Kyrat is in the Himalayas, which makes Far Cry 4's open world an incredibly hilly one. In turn, this makes it tricky to navigate — especially at the beginning of the game, when most of the world map is covered in a thick layer of fog. You can clear the fog from a portion of the map by finding a radio tower, climbing to the top, and flipping the switch that you find there. Doing so doesn't just increase the overall level of visibility on the world map, it also fills in the region with essential details — landmarks, where loot is located, where particular animals like to hang out, etc. Start capturing the radio towers the moment you complete Far Cry 4's prologue missions — it shouldn't even wait until the end of Act 1.
You can't capture all of the radio towers at the very beginning of the game — a small chunk of them are sealed off in the northern section of Kyrat, which is effectively the second "world" in Far Cry 4. But the real point here is that basically any time that you can capture new radio towers, you should stop whatever it is you're killing and do so. It's like turning the lights on before you walk into a room.
Use The Awesome Tiny Helicopters To Get Around Kyrat Faster
Like Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4 has a couple nifty gliding devices such as the wingsuit, parachute, and hang glider. A major addition to the new game is a device that actually lets you fly. The super teeny tiny one-person helicopter is an incredibly useful tool for exploring Kyrat simply because it's the one thing in the game that lifts you high enough up in the air that your path isn't constantly blocked by cliffs. I recommend finding one at the start of the game and taking it around Southern Kyrat to take all the radio towers — this combo is an effective way to clear out the whole first map in as little as 15-30 minutes.
Also: don't freak out if you're flying in the helicopter and it starts making scary beeping noises and shaking. This has happened to me a bunch of times, but the thing has never actually stalled or crashed.
Oh, and one more thing: despite its diminutive size and the laws of physics, you can board the copter with a partner when you're playing in co-op.
After The Radio Towers, Go Hunting
Coming in at a close second on the list of Things You Need To Do Before Far Cry 4 Becomes A Fun Game To Play is: craft better gear for Ajay. The only way to do this is by hunting animals and harvesting their skin. Creepy, I know — you're basically a serial killer in this game, but one that has a particularly strong appetite for honey badgers.
One of the reasons why it's useful to seize radio towers first and then hunt is because any given animal's stomping grounds are highlighted on the map with illustrations of the critter in question. Just zoom in to the icon you're looking for and set a waypoint. But don't expect a macaque monkey to just be sitting there at the exact location you've pinpointed, waiting for you to show up — they're usually somewhere in the general area.
Use The Bow And Syringes When You're Hunting
As I noted in my review yesterday, the animals in Kyrat are some of the toughest ones I've ever met in a Far Cry game. Since there are so many different animals with unique characteristics, they all pose different challenges. But there are two general things to keep in mind across the board.
First, if you're hunting with a particular goal in mind (say, getting animal skins to craft a certain item), you should use the bow. Killing animals with arrows awards a "clean kill," which gives you twice as many skins, so it makes the process much more efficient than attacking them with an uzi or assault rifle — fun as that may be. Second, if you're having trouble just finding the animals you're trying to hunt in the first place, use some hunting syringes. Doing so temporarily highlights animal tracks in your vision, making them easier to find. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to stock up on these since they're not even available to purchase at weapon vendors. Instead, you have to craft them by collecting and then combining red and blue-leaved plants.
Alternatively, Even The Hunting Odds With Some Heavy Firepower
The bow and arrow is useful for killing many of Kyrat's dangerous critters. But not all of them.
You should think of the rhinos and elephants in the game as tanks, for example. Imagine what would happen if you tried to take out a tank with a bow and arrow. You're better off giving beasts like these everything you've got, explosives-wise. Other animals like tigers and dogs are more vulnerable to arrows. But they're also so aggressive, and they move so quickly, that you put yourself at a serious risk of being eaten if you miss a shot.
Be Very, Very Careful When Pissing Off Bees
I don't know what it is, but there's something in Kyrat that has turned its bees into terrifying, bloodthirsty monsters. If you're anywhere near a beehive, shooting it is essentially suicide.
That said, you should shoot a beehive if you see one near a group of enemies, because then the bees will kill them instead. Just make sure to keep a safe distance.
Max Out Your Weapon Holster As Soon As You Can
Fully upgrading the holster is the single most important thing you can do in this game gear-wise, because doing so allows you to carry four weapons at any given time. That, in turn, saves you a lot of trips back and forth to the store. Unlike Far Cry 3, getting all the upgrades for your weapon holster is very easy this time around. It's actually the only piece of gear that only has three upgrades, as opposed to four.
Then, Focus On These Upgrades
This is just to begin with, but these are the best items to start upgrading as soon as you can:
- Ammo Bag
- Syringe Kit
- Loot Bag
Other pieces of gear like the explosives bag or throwables bags are handy as well, but they all focus on abilities or weapons that are a tad more specialised. I'm just talking about getting the fundamentals of Far Cry 4 in place. And since this is already the fourth chore I've told you to do before you should actually start, you know, playing the game, I think it's safe to take a break and enjoy yourself before resuming the grind.
Play The Campaign Up To "A Key To The North"
As the name implies, this is the mission that unlocks the northern-most chunk of Kyrat's map. Northern Kyrat also has two of the game's four fortresses, and the two that are up there are a lot more fun than the first two since they're the two largest and most complicated ones in the game.
Do All Of Longinus' Missions
Longinus is, among other things, a weapons dealer. He's also one of the people in the game that has a number of specific quests attached to his character. Far Cry 4 is a first-person shooter. You do the maths.
Ok, fine, I'll just say it: complete the Longinus missions because they get you the best guns. I'm not going to spoil it, but you get something particularly exciting at the very end of his story arc.
Finish Act One To Unlock Co-Op
Co-op is one of the best parts of Far Cry 4, so you should totally give it a shot. But don't start the game expecting to be able to dive into multiplayer immediately. You have to get through the entire first act before it becomes available. "First act" might make this sound daunting, but it really doesn't take that long to get through — probably 30 minutes to an hour at most. It's basically just a small series of story-driven missions that set up the premise of the game.
Get These Challenges And Missions Out Of The Way
One of the (many) ways that Far Cry 4 pressures you to engage with its story and scripted missions is by requiring you to do so if you want to unlock some of Ajay's coolest high-level abilities. Regardless of what your preferences are, Far Cry-wise, you should just get these out of the way:
- At least one bomb defusing quest for grenade takedown.
- Do two hostage rescue quests to unlock "Deep Breath," which increases the amount of time you can hold your breath. This helps with swimming underwater. But, far more importantly, snagging Deep Breath means that you can keep your sniper rifle's aim perfectly still for longer, which is essential for pulling off good headshots.
- Liberate two outposts without being detected for the "Soft Landing" ability, which helps you not die quite as much when you fall from high places. And you do that a lot, in my experience.
- Complete one escort mission for "Improvised Surgery," which makes healing without syringes heal two health slots instead of just one.
- Buy one signature weapon for better survival syringes.
- Reach rank 2 in the arena to unlock an upgrade that makes survival syringes last longer.
- Complete one "Kyrat Fashion Week" (i.e., hunting) quest to unlock two different syringe-related skills that boost Ajay's combat and movement abilities.
The Camera Is Your Most Powerful Weapon
If you're going into a particular area of Kyrat where you know you'll be killing bad guys (say, an outpost or fortress), make sure to scope out the situation from a number of different vantage points with your camera.
The gadget is useful for two main reasons. First, the camera lens has a much better zoom-in feature than any of the sniper rifle scopes in the game. And secondly, surveying something through the camera lens automatically tags all the enemies that are caught in its field of vision. When an enemy is tagged, you can still see where he is even if he's not in your direct line of sight, so it's a great way to keep track of bad guy.
Try Locating Collectibles, Because They're A Good Way To Get Experience Quickly
In addition to its many loot chests, Kyrat has a few special types of items scattered around the map. The four main ones are: masks, propaganda posters, mani wheels, and undiscovered locations (the little orange questions marks). Checking these things off is never essential, but doing so is an effective and very easy way to accrue experience points — the currency that's required to unlock more of Ajay's skills.
Also, trying to find them all is actually really fun. The game hides a lot of its collectibles in nooks and crannies that are hard to find. And since Kyrat is such a beautiful open world, hunting for them gives you a good excuse to take in more of the scenery.
Save Some Of The Grinding For Co-Op
Whether or not you're the one hosting a co-op session, you'll still retain all of the experience, weapons, and items you acquire when playing. Because of this, I recommend taking care of some of the chore-like parts of Far Cry 4 with a friend. It makes them a lot more fun.
Switch Between Your And Your Friend's Game
For whatever reason, other kinds of progress do NOT work in co-op the way that loot and experience do. This means that if you're the one joining a game, you won't hold onto the radio towers, outposts, or fortresses that you've helped capture in your friend's game. Co-op is still a lot of fun, though, and raiding outposts and fortresses is one of the best parts of it, so that doesn't mean you should avoid them when playing with a friend.
I recommend taking turns with your Far Cry 4 friends in terms of who gets to host a particular co-op session. That way, everybody wins.
If You're Playing On PS4, Turn Off The Touchpad
The PS4 version of Far Cry 4 defaults to using the DualShock 4's touchpad as a sort of quick-menu option. Instead of holding down R1 to toggle your full weapon loadout, then, you can slide a finger along the touchpad to toggle between your different guns. It's a neat idea. The problem with it is that, in my experience, it's far too sensitive.
I accidentally brushed against the touchpad countless times when using the controller in the completely normal way that I would when playing any shooter, which meant that my vision of the game kept getting interrupted by the weapons menu. Save yourself some trouble and turn the darn thing off in the control options menu.
As I mentioned up top, I'm hoping to continue adjusting and adding to this list as all us Far Cry 4 players dig ever deeper into the game. So please let me know in a comment or email (address below) about some of the tricks you've picked up during your journey through Kyrat so far. And remember: don't shoot the bees.