One minute you’re on a bus to return your mother’s ashes to her homeland, and the next you’re thrust into a civil war. Not exactly a dream vacation, but such is your plight in Far Cry 4, the latest installment in Ubisoft’s open-world first-person shooter series.
But it’s not all bad! The wilds of Kyrat are brimming with activities (and honey badgers) to keep you occupied. It can actually be a bit overwhelming, so let us guide you through some of the thornier bits. We promise you’ll come out on the other end way more equipped to deal with the situation. With rockets.
Fresh off the bus
You may be pretty anxious to take down the evil Pagan Min, but hold those horses! Rather than dive deep into the story missions of Far Cry 4, just take a little toe-dip. There are three short missions you’re presented with at the start of the game (the last of these involves taking over an Outpost). Complete those first but then take a break from the campaign a little while. Why? It’s time to do some hunting!
As was the case in Far Cry 3, animals are all over the place in Far Cry 4. And they’re not just there to tear your face off. You can craft animal pelts to upgrade your various “capacities,” increasing how many pieces of loot, how much ammo, and how many weapons you can carry at a single time.
Thankfully the starting upgrades come really quickly, utilizing pelts from animals scattered around your first home base. Pull up the map and you’ll see where these animals hang out; just set a waypoint and get to hunting.
Protip: Use a bow instead of blowing up poor boars with C4. Killing animals with non-explosive arrows counts as a “clean kill,” netting you double the pelts, thus speeding up the upgrade process considerably. Of the starting-area animals, only the rhino will prove tough to take down with just arrows, so if you get fed up, yeah, you have my permission to blow that armored hide to kingdom come.
Once you have the second level upgrade for each of your bags, you can feel satisfied knowing that you’ve hunted your limit.
For whom the bell tolls
After you’re done washing the rhino blood off your pants, it’s time to take on your next challenge. Bell towers are the equivalent of Radio Towers from Far Cry 3. They’re extremely useful, as they remove the fog of war from the map, clueing you in on hidden locations and regional animals. And they’re generally pretty easy to infiltrate, even early in the game.
Each Bell Tower has its own cadre of guards to take out, but once you’ve dealt with them, it’s just a matter of making it to the top to shut down some nasty propaganda. If you’re struggling to figure out how to make it to the next level of a tower, keep an eye out for dangling ropes. These guide you to climbable ledges that you can leap toward and hoist yourself onto. Also make sure you’re looking in all directions. Towers often have switchbacks and tricky jumps to slow you up.
But if you stick with it, the rewards are great. Apart from the increased map visibility, climbing towers nets you free guns from a crazy guy named Longinus. If you climb them all, you get two of the best weapons in the game: a sidearm crossbow known as the Auto-Cross and an insane machine gun, The Buzzsaw.
Post up on outposts
Now you could mainline all of those bell towers at once, but I’d strongly recommend clearing a few outposts along the way. Clearing an outpost nets you a fast travel point, as well as a place to buy ammo. If you happen to take a nasty spill from the top of a bell tower, it’s always nice to be able to fast travel back there as quickly as possible.
Clearing outposts can prove tricky, though. Especially as you get deeper into Far Cry 4‘s map, and you start to see more complex outposts with armored guards and multiple alarms.
The game heavily encourages you to remain stealthy as you clear these out, and I’d echo that sentiment. In addition to earning more XP, you expend way less ammo using takedowns with your knife and silent weapons, and you won’t have to deal with reinforcements.
The key to making each outpost a breeze is the alarm. Getting close to an alarm box lets you shut down all alarms in the outpost, thus preventing the guards from calling in help. Unfortunately getting close to an alarm can be tricky. You can always try shooting them with a silenced sniper rifle, but keep in mind that the guards notice when a box is shot and go running for any other alarms in the base. If you can find an angle where you can take out all alarms with carefully placed shots without moving, that’s a perfect place to post up.
But stealth isn’t the only way to take out an outpost. Many of them have wild animals in cages that you can free, resulting in a chaotic bout of elephant stompin’. If you can’t spot any animals nearby, toss some bait into the base and watch the carnage unfold.
Last but not least, if you’ve got plenty of explosives, don’t worry if the guards call in reinforcements. Instead, just wait for them to drive up and them proceed to blow them all up before they get out of their vehicle. Fun!
Skills for kills
As you’re making your way around Kyrat, you earn experience. Leveling up nets you a skill point to spend on a variety of different upgrades.
There are two skill trees in this game. Tiger is focused on silent kills and takedowns, while Elephant is focused on increasing your durability and your ability to craft syringes. Even if you think you’re a stealthy player, dipping into the Elephant tree (or vice versa, for those that like to go loud) is not a bad idea. For example, one of the early Elephant perks lets you double-harvest plants, so that every green plant you find instantly becomes a health syringe.
On the Tiger side, being able to use takedowns on Heavy guards is also tremendously useful and saves you a lot of heartache in the endgame. Just keep an eye on the requirements for each of the skills, since you need to purchase some lower-level skills to access the top tier ones.
Help, they need somebody
While hunting and climbing and being super cool, do yourself a favor and keep an eye on the map. You occasionally stumble upon Karma events, indicated with a blue icon. These are random events where a bunch of your friends are fighting off a squad of guards.
If you help them out, you’re rewarded with some cash, as well as an increase to your Karma meter. Karma pays you back in spades, letting you call in your own reinforcements if you have trouble taking out an outpost on your own. It also unlocks some high-end gear if you get it extremely high.
Just watch where you’re shooting. If you accidentally kill one of your best buds, your Karma decreases. As it should be!
Driving is for suckers
Arguably my favorite feature in Far Cry 4 is how smart the cars are! If you’re in a vehicle and you set a waypoint, you can click in the left stick and the car will drive to that waypoint on its own. You can still control the speed of the car, but all the steering is taken care of.
Now this is great if you’re going from one side of the map to the other and want to take a lunch break, but it’s also extremely useful in missions that involve driving and shooting at the same time. In previous Far Cry games, this often ended with you accidentally driving off the side of the cliff. Now you can aim from the seat of your car in 360 degrees without having to worry that you’re about to drive into a mountain.
Just a small caveat: If you’re in the bush, auto-driving won’t work. You need to be on a main road. It’ll also only take you so far, so if you place a waypoint into the heart of Pagan Min’s fortress, you’ll probably get blown up along the way by his outlandishly well-equipped army. Fair warning.
Don’t forget to have fun
There’s a staggering number of activities to keep you busy in Far Cry 4, and we’d be here all day if we listed them all. But hopefully these starter tips will keep you alive and kicking long enough to really make a difference. And by make a difference, I mean have a scoped rocket launcher with tiger print camo.
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