MCM London Comic Con – October 2014 – Hands-On Game Impressions

Evolve - Big Alpha
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You’ve seen my daft pictures in the last post, now it’s time for some daft game impressions to go with them. Like a strong odorous cheese to complement a fine wine, here’s the savoury and slightly nutty fromage to go with all those pictures.

Abandoning that clumsy metaphor right there, MCM’s London October 2014 Comic Con  brought with it an impressive variety of games, catering for mobile and handheld gamers right up to those with top of the line spec’d out PCs. I spent most of my time this last weekend – in between snapping pics of creative cosplayers – getting stuck into whatever gaming based nuggets I could get my hands on.

What was really great was that a lot of the games on offer here were ones that I didn’t get chance to play at last month’s EGX event at Earls Court, so this gave me the chance to effectively plug a few of the gaps in my gaming knowledge so to speak. So without further ado, let’s read on…or perhaps that should be “Fight on!” in the case of the first game I got to try, Mortal Combat X.

Mortal Combat X

CC14 - MK Booth

The first game I was able to have a go at during Comic Con was Mortal Combat X, the latest in the infamously bloody fighting game series from developer Midway Games, due to come out in April next year.

After a relatively short queue, I found myself towards the front of the Mortal Combat area, eager to play. It just so happened that upon getting this far in the queue, I spied that the PS4 game booths set up all had two controllers attached. This was also when I felt a deep churn of fear in my gut. Anxious that I’d potentially made a huge mistake, I nervously asked the guy in front of me (who’d boasted of having queued up three times today for the game already) “We’re fighting against the CPU…right? RIGHT?” Almost perfectly timed with my question, one of the booth attendants yelled out to see who wasn’t already matched up with a partner – thereby confirming that the demo was a fight to the death with another human player. Exactly (and very naively in retrospect) what I didn’t want.

As you can imagine, when I realised that I was going to be paired up with this guy pictured below, I almost lost control of my bladder, Otacon style. I’m sure you can understand.

CC14 - Ninja

Thankfully, I managed to retain control of my bodily functions, and not scuttle out in fear or shame, and instead allowed myself to be ushered to my virtual guillotine of sorts. Actually, despite my opponent’s intimidating attire, he was actually quite the gentlemanly fighter. I picked my favourite character Sub-Zero, he picked Scorpion; in other words, we could almost perfectly recreate the game’s teaser cinematic:

In other words, I lost, but I had an awful lot of fun losing – exactly what I look for in a fighting game.

Enough of my whinging, let’s talk about the game itself. The gameplay in Mortal Combat X is fast, brutal and gorgeous looking…even when you’re getting your virtual head kicked in. The game feels very satisfying and very fun to play, even though the 60fps framerate can feel eyeball-meltingly fast; for example, there were times, particularly when my opponent was using Scorpion’s teleport moves, that my mind couldn’t process what was happening onscreen fast enough for me to respond. It felt deliciously exciting, similar to how my brain functions felt too slow to comprehend what was going on when I first started playing Killer Instinct back in November 2013.

I couldn’t really get the hang of the controls in the short five to ten-minute session we had, but that’s probably largely because, as you might remember from my thoughts on Killer Instinct, I’m a real fighting games noob. I did play Mortal Combat: Deadly Alliance for the Gamecube, but it was only ever in a button-mashing capacity against very easy CPU opponents, but I never really got to a stage where I could pull off strings of elegant combos. As a result, I struggled to pull off any decent combo chains; I found that Killer Instinct muscle memory led me to keep trying to pull off quarter-circle moves, rather than the two-directional inputs (usually down-left/right and one of the PS4 face buttons) Mortal Combat seems to go for.

Nevertheless I managed to turn the tide of my beatdown somewhat towards the end of the match; once I’d managed to get a few moves under my rudimentary belt, I was able to dish out a few tasty ice sword anti-airs here and there and occasionally punish my opponent’s over-reliance on mix-up teleport moves, but it was too little too late. I still got pulped. However, it didn’t really matter, as just watching my newfound ninja friend’s Scorpion batter my stoic and ever-suffering Sub-Zero senseless was, nonetheless, very entertaining.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

CC14 - Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Next up was Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The hands-on here was pretty generous, allowing me and a fellow gamer to blast our way through several small missions on Pandora’s moon. I got to play as Athena, the badass shield-wielding NPC from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx DLC of the original Borderlands, whilst my queue partner got to play as everyone’s favourite robot and the Borderlands series mascot, Claptrap.

I don’t really have an awful lot to say on this one – it’s essentially just more Borderlands for the last-generation consoles. Don’t get me wrong though, despite the fact that it’s solely last-gen for now, it’s still very good fun . It’s that familiar lootin’ tootin’ shootin’ Borderlands gameplay that you know and love, only with a few lunar-based tweaks to freshen up the gameplay.

The oxygen mechanic in this game is an interesting gameplay resource to play around with, allowing you to pull off some damaging ground stomp moves because…REASONS! Mr. Torgue jokes aside, jumping, running or doing the new ground stomp move uses up some of your oxygen meter; it’s essentially another gameplay element that you need to keep an eye on, alongside your usual health and shields. However, the oxygen meter does bring with it some concerns that I feel could potentially have some slightly counter-productive side effects on the usual Borderlands shenanigans that I love.

As a great deal of the fun I had with Borderlands and Borderlands 2 was being able to just go wandering off into the lovely cel-shaded environments of Pandora in search of hidden treasure, I could see that, in my case, having a rapidly decreasing oxygen meter to watch could somewhat hamper and curb that desire to explore.

I think a large part of the reason I’m so sensitive to the whole running out of oxygen thing is that it’s something that I’ve had drilled into me as a primal fear from my youth – namely playing the Sonic the Hedgehog games back on the Mega Drive in the ’90s. Hearing that increasingly louder and faster drowning music pumping through the speakers whilst you were desperately trying to navigate your spiny blue protagonist through an underwater labyrinth was the stressful stuff of nightmares back then, and as a result, any game that features the possibility of running out of oxygen can often still get me right on edge. There’s points in the Dead Space series where I’m  worried about the very unlikely possibility of asphyxiating due to lack of oxygen, rather than the very likely and much more gruesome death of being torn apart by the bloodthirsty Necromorphs scuttling after me.

Even just playing a short section of gameplay at an event like this, it triggered off in me a mini panic, complete with sweaty palms (lovely). Having said that, you do pick up blue oxygen canisters from killing enemies, and I’m sure that as you level up, you’ll be able to carry larger and larger oxygen reserves for your character. Me and my co-op buddy were playing with level 4/5 characters, so I suppose it’s reasonable that I couldn’t go for all that long without air at such an early point in the game. Having said that, if you’re as anxious about oxygen supplies as me, then Claptrap, everyone’s favourite annoying little robot, might be the ideal character to play as, because he doesn’t need to watch his 02 levels as…well, he doesn’t have lungs.

From a character perspective, Athena felt like a fun character to use; she has an awesome Captain America style shield that she can use to soak up enemy damage and projectiles before being able to fling the shield as a deadly whizzing disc. Everything else, from the guns, action and, of course, the gags, is still intact, and still very much Borderlands. Wub Wub indeed.

Evolve

CC14 - Evolve

Okay, here we go, the big kahuna. It was over a two hour-long queue I had to wait just to be able to play this game, but it was worth every minute of queueing. Evolve felt absolutely fantastic. I got to play a full match, lasting a generous twenty five minutes or so, and really dig into the game’s mechanics from the perspective of Val, the team Medic.

Even with just a single match under my belt, the game feels like everything I was hoping for; it’s tense, tactical, exciting and, at times, there’s an electrifying jolt of horror to the proceedings as well. It’s pretty much everything I hoped the game would be; a mix between Turtle Rock Studio’s previous Left 4 Dead games mixed with Godzilla, Predator, Aliens and a big smattering of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos to top things off.

Upon entering the booth, we were shown a quick tutorial video – the same video that had been playing constantly outside the booth for the last two hours in the queue, but hey, nevermind – before being split into two teams of five; four hunters, one monster per game. Our human team quickly picked our roles – I volunteered for Medic out of choice, contrary to what you might think, as I like to play the support characters in class-based multiplayer games. I’ll get into the details in a minute, but Val absolutely did not disappoint, and I’ll likely be spending a lot of time as the Medic class in the final game.

Once our team had picked our classes, there was a nervous pause at our booth as we waited for our monster player to pick his desired Kaiju of choice. Obviously, both the Goliath and the Kraken look horribly formidable in their own unique ways – The Goliath being your muscle-bound meleé based, fire-breathing Godzilla-esuqe brute, whilst the Kraken is essentially a giant flying tentacled Cthulhu monster with long-range lightning powers. For me personally, despite the immediacy and earth-shattering bulk of the Goliath, I find that the Kraken (probably entirely due to its Cthulhu appearance) looks far more frightening a creature to face off against, so I was slightly relieved when our monster went with the Goliath. I say only slightly, as the Goliath is still an overwhelmingly unpleasant thing to have to face off against.

Once all the players were ready, the match loaded up. The opening pre-game moments of a match are suitably moody and tense. As one of the human players, the starting scene shows our intrepid team of monster hunters loading up inside a dropship of sorts, before waiting poised and alert to drop into the dark and dense jungle canopy below.

Dropping into the level from the ship feels suitably cinematic. Imagine the start of the film Predator, only with no ’80s boombox blaring loud music and fewer sexual tyrannosaurus references, and with much more grim tension and ominous atmosphere in their place. There’s a keen sense of dread at all times when playing Evolve as a human hunter, and that mood starts right from your dropship entry onto the map.

The dark jungle level environment that we got to play in was absolutely stunning. I’m pretty certain that the game was running at 60fps, but even if it’s less than this holy grail of a figure, everything feels very smooth and elegant; even when the action all kicks off and it’s all guns-a-blazing from the humans and the Goliath is flambéing players and other animals left right and centre. Everything is consistently fast and snappy.

One of the first things you learn pretty early on is that teamwork between the hunters is absolutely essential – if you’re playing as a human character, then using your mic to communicate effectively is of utmost importance. It’s hard to imagine playing this game passively when it launches in February of next year; there’s no room for chit chat here, it’s all hands on deck. You need to be calling out updates to your teammates and constantly scanning the sky, the jungle canopy and the ground for your big scaly friend, and noting anything that you catch out of the corner of your eye  from the moment you hit the ground. The player using the Tracker class is of utmost importance here, as they are the best equipped to find the monster’s footprints and spot where it’s most likely to have gone faster than the other team members. Thankfully, we had a good Tracker, so we were usually hot on the monster’s heels for the majority of the game.

Good clear voice communication between our team members had the additional benefit of making the onscreen action feel that much more exciting and cool. Whether the people you’re playing with in the final game speak in as productive and concise a manner come release, we’ll have to see, but from this session, our team was quickly calling out targets, rallying around each other in combat, and barking out updates to specific team members when necessary.

You’ll also learn that it’s very easy as a human player to get distracted with the other native wildlife that’s trying to eat you in the area. This can give the monster some precious moments with which to evade capture and briefly put a bit of distance between themselves and the hunters. This happened to us early on and cost us dearly, when one of our team sighted and started shooting at a large beast which, to be fair, looked an awful lot like the Goliath from afar. Naturally, we all came to help out our free-firing compadre, only to discover what we were shooting at wasn’t the Goliath. Whoops. Back to the hunt.

By this point, the monster had managed to evolve to stage 2, so we really needed to find him and cause some damage fast, or we’d be in trouble. Sure enough, after finding some burning animal corpses, we had our first encounter with our monstrous Moby Dick. A brief scuffle ensued, but unfortunately, despite the best efforts of our Tracker to trap the Goliath in a temporary arena forcefield, the beast escaped – a little worse for wear thanks to our combined sharpshooting, but still very much a deadly threat.

Playing as Val, the Medic, was incredibly good fun. I found myself filling out the role as a good mix of traditional healer/support character, plus a long-range sniper/specialist class. What’s great is that they’ve made the Medic class a serious part of the team’s firepower output, and you’re not just relegated to some passive healer role in the background. Your participation is very much needed to help bring the monster down as well as patching up your stronger teammates.

When your team finds the monster, one of the first things you’ll want to do as the Medic (providing that your team hasn’t been brutally ambushed and are now lying motionless and bleeding out in a pool of their own entrails) is to hit the monster with your tranquilliser gun. A successful hit slows the monster’s movement speed, making it much easier for the Trapper to get a solid harpoon shot off and hopefully trap your gargantuan opponent for a small window of time.

Additionally, when taking a more offensive approach to proceedings, I believe that when I scored a direct hit with my sniper rifle on the Goliath, it subsequently highlighted targets on the rest of its body for my teammates to shoot at and temporarily cause more damage than normal. That’s what’s great about the Medic; one minute you might be desperately trying to heal a battered teammate with your medgun, the next you might be laying down some long-range punishment with your brutally satisfying sniper rifle – your immediate responsibilities can change in a flash, perhaps making the Medic one of the more flexible classes to play as, depending on the current scenario and pace of the match.

A series of brief battles followed, where we managed to slowly whittle down the beast’s health a tad. However, despite our efforts and some diligent work from our Tracker and her cute pet alien dog/thing, Daisy, the monster ultimately managed to evade us long enough to evolve to it’s final stage 3 form. At this point, the Goliath is an absolute powerhouse – it’s essentially a fully-armoured Godzilla at this point, exactly what you don’t want. The balance of power shifts dramatically into the monster’s favour as a result, and instead of hunting the beast, our team now needs to fall back and defend a power generator. As a human player, this is what you dread, and this is where a great deal of the horror aspect of the game gets laid on thick.

Taking up positions round the generator inside a remote warehouse deep in the alien jungle, we nervously wait it out and plan our next move. The rain is chucking it down, it’s dark, and we can just hear the loud thudding footsteps of the Goliath as it stalks us inside the building. This felt absolutely terrifying, and all we could do was risk the occasional very brief peep outside to try and catch a glimpse of it. Hearing the Goliath rumbling and stomping around in the environment and not being able to see it was agonisingly tense and scary, calling to mind the T-Rex scenes from Jurassic Park.

Suddenly, Daisy started clambering the walls. Daisy will automatically move towards the monster to give you a sense of it’s direction, so with dread, we collectively look up, only to see our giant nemesis grinning down at us from one of the upper walkways. It slams down , scattering our team, and we enter a last desperate fight for survival.

Unfortunately, our monster player was pretty smart at singling out me as it’s favourite plaything. As the name implies, the Medic is the only character that has the ability to heal the other players – meaning that once I’d been wiped out, the Goliath could then just rip apart everyone else without having to worry about them being healed up and continuing to blast him.

As a result, in the final minutes of the match, I spent a great deal of it just waiting to respawn back in, and then once finally back in the action, I was promptly pummelled back to an early death by the astute Goliath to prevent me from healing my battered, bruised and broken teammates.

The match was a very close-run thing. Although we had a really good Support player on our team, who managed to buy us precious time in the last desperate minutes by stealthing around the rampaging Goliath, and generally being the star of the show, but ultimately, victory went to the monster in the end. However, our merry band of hunters put up a valiant effort, and I believe we lasted longer than the other groups in our session. Not bad for our first go I think.

The one niggle that I picked up on whilst playing Evolve was that I found it to be very easy as a human player to quickly run out of jetpack juice. When navigating the environment as a team to track your massive quarry, you’ll be constantly firing up your jetpack to boost up cliffsides and to cross gaping chasms. The frequency with which I needed to jump, glide and zip about the large, vertically-layered environments meant that I would often find myself sat at the bottom of a tall cliff, backed up into a corner and nervously scanning the surrounding dark jungle foliage for the slightest movement. Whilst these moments were satisfyingly tense, the frequency with which I basically found myself at the base of an unclimbable wall just waiting around for my jetpack meter to refill with nothing else to do felt a bit tedious after the first few times this happened.

Overall, the Evolve demo was incredibly enjoyable and has reinforced in my mind exactly why I was originally interested in the game in the first place. If the other creatures prove to be as entertaining to fight as the Goliath, and the other unrevealed team members bring more unique traits to the table, then I can potentially see myself playing this game for a long, long time once it’s finally released into the wild.

In fact, at the time of writing, the Evolve Big Alpha should be live on Xbox Live, and will be rolling out for PS4 and PC over the Halloween weekend, so if you’re a lucky Alpha code owner, I highly recommend you get online and get playing. Hunter or hunted, predator or prey,  if you’re a fan of asymetrical team-based co-op with a big helping of horror, then I’m almost certain you’ll have as much fun as I did.

 Assassin’s Creed Unity

CC14 - Assassins Guillotine

I kicked off day 2 of Comic Con by trying out Assassin’s Creed Unity. Whilst waiting in line and talking to the Ubisoft booth staff and fellow gamers, it was great to just watch the game in motion in the hands of other players. Graphically, the game looks great – I know there’s been a lot of controversy (and I think rightly so in this case given the ‘excuse’) about the PS4/Xbox One graphics comparison – it’s running at 900p on both consoles – but the game looks particularly beautiful, however many ps are rattling around in there. The lighting effects in particular come across really well, and gives the game a painting-like aesthetic. There’s the strange decision to give all the characters English accents, which feels slightly weird, but not unusual I suppose for period drama (plus I’d be struggling without decent subtitling otherwise, being an ignorant monolinguist), but it definitely feels a bit jarring when you first hear it. It’s a small thing however, and watching the opening little cinematic to the mission I’m about to do has got me suitably fired up and ready to go.

Arno is shown on a rooftop, scanning out over a crowd of Parisians, and talking to a serious-looking head assassin guy. Using his eagle vision (essentially detective mode from the Batman Arkham Asylum series) to scan various people and the environment, we learn that my mission is to sneak into Notre Dame cathedral, like a limber and hoody-clad Quasimodo and take out a rather nasty and gruff looking bearded chap who’s no doubt been causing a bit of a ruckus on France’s streets. No problemo, consider it done. Unlike Quasimodo however, I’ve got all my usual Assassin’s accoutrements to help me bump off my mark, along with any other swashbuckling guards who care to get in my way. Excited and eager to get stalking my victim, I place my hands on the Xbox One controller.

I’ve not played any of the Assassin’s Creed series to date, so I’m not in a position to compare or contrast how Unity holds up to previous entries with regard to mission structure I’m afraid. However, I also can’t really give you a decent impression on the controls either, but that’s due to an entirely different reason – there was no invert look setting.

I’ve had this problem before with a Ubisoft game actually – namely Beyond Good and Evil – and it’s without a doubt one of the most annoying things that can influence your time with a game. It was so annoying in fact, that like a painful repressed memory, it leapt straight to mind when I saw that there was no invert look control in Assassin’s Creed Unity‘s options screen.

When the remastered HD version of Beyond Good and Evil was on sale earlier this year on the Xbox 360, I eagerly slapped my virtual money down for it the first chance I got. I’d heard so many good things about this quirky game with a photographer and her anthropomorphic pig friend that I thought it was right up my street, and well worth a try at a bargain price.

However, my feeling of excitement quickly turned to one of extreme horror when I realised that the camera controls were beyond sense and reason (ba-dum-tish!). You could only either have entirely normal or inverted camera controls; unlike most games, which treat vertical camera control independently from horizontal camera control, Beyond Good and Evil‘s camera system was designed in such a way that it meant that you either had to suffer with a camera you could control horizontally, but not vertically, or likewise vertically, but not horizontally. In short, it was a fucking nightmare, something so horrific and unplayable that I’ve never come across before or (thankfully) since. After about twenty minutes of trying to navigate out of the basic tutorial mission, I just gave up and haven’t gone back to the game since. Which is a real shame, as it’s supposed to be an incredibly underrated gem.

Anyway, frustrated rant about Beyond Good and Evil over, like I say, I couldn’t help but be reminded of that prior frustration within seconds of getting my hands on the controller here. Whilst my current predicament with the lack of an invert look in Unity was no way near as bad as that experience I’d had with Beyond Good and Evil‘s unintuitive control scheme, it still managed to really prevent me from getting into the gameplay, especially as a total newcomer to the softly-softly-stabby-monkey series.

I’m guessing that this is just a feature cut from this particular demo for time/money reasons, and I’m also guessing that the ability to invert your look controls will SURELY be in the final game. Having to fight the camera controls every laboured step of the way actually made the experience rather amusing. Instead of feeling like the master assassin that Arno Dorian is clearly meant to be, my hooded protagonist stumbled about the beautiful Parisian streets like a drunken fool. Instead of slipping through dense crowds like a stealthy serpentine revolutionary, my Arno careened and shambled about like a clumsy spinning top, bashing into bystanders, wooden carts, doorways, scenery and enemy guards with alarming frequency; I like to imagine each collision was complete with a dopey Frank Spencer-like smile of embarrassment from my character as way of an apology.

I was told whilst in line that enemies (presumably ones that you attack and manage to escape from you in more or less one piece) will remember you in future. Well, they might not remember me for being a lethal assassin, but the guards in my playthrough will undoubtedly remember me for the buffeting fool I was whilst banging into them time and time again in my desperate struggle to fight the camera controls.

Annoyingly, just when I was getting up to the juicy assassination, I’d unfortunately reached the end of my allotted time, and it was time to move on. From what I did get to play, the game does feel fun and smooth once you get into the motion of it. Sneaking around and clambering up the ancient Parisian buildings felt very satisfying and cool once I’d learnt to fight my muscle memory, and small graphical touches like powdery clouds of dust rising into the air as you adjust your handholds on buildings lend intricate and nicely detailed touches to the overall beautifully lit atmosphere.

The demo did a good job of highlighting the various different ways of tackling the overall mission objective. I ultimately proceeded to infiltrate the cathedral through a wide open window high up in between the flying buttresses and ornate stained glass windows, but various other ways were presented to me via the opening cinematic. Watching others playing the demo, I saw that one such method was to steal an already stolen set of Priest’s keys (two wrongs making a right perhaps?) from a room full of enemy soldiers, allowing you to enter a secret underground passageway underneath Notre Damme which probably might have been a better and sneakier option to have gone for in retrospect.

Ideally, I would have liked to have been able to have sampled the multiplayer element in some capacity in the demo, as to me, that’s the hook I could see pulling me into the franchise, but nonetheless, the game looks set to be another great pleasure for fans of the series.

Far Cry 4

CC14 - Elephant Head

I didn’t have to go far to get to the next game from Assassin’s Creed Unity, as Far Cry 4 was handily just next door to it’s Ubisoft brother in arms so to speak. The latest game in the series takes the much loved outdoor survival first person shooter experience to the fictional Himalayan region of Kryat. Expect plenty of gunfights, rampaging elephants and buzzing gyrocopters, but sadly no sharks this time, unless there’s some kind of freak mountainous sharknado that magically happens in these alpine mountains (well, we live in hope).

Upon getting my hands on the controller, you’re given an option to pick from three different variations on storming one of the game’s enemy forts . These operations were a stealth approach, an aerial attack from above using the nifty gyrocopter I believe, and an all out assault with atop an Elephant. Guess which one I picked – don’t worry I’ll wait (pauses). Correct – an all out guns blazing bareback Dumbo assault it was.

Climbing aboard my loyal pachyderm, I rammed through the fort’s gates, wielding what looked to be a .50 calibre heavy machine gun in my lap. Needless to say, this was an incredibly fun combination of tools to have at your disposal. The elephant could be manually ‘driven’ into footsoldiers, picking them up and hilariously bashing them about with its trunk when they got within range, and likewise, you can dismount your elephant and it will automatically charge at enemies for you, creating a useful distraction for you to attack from another angle. Naturally, your big grey friend can’t take too many bullets, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for it in the heat of battle, or risk it being felled, and then presumably turned into piano keys. Sad face.

Disappointingly, there were no headphones provided at the Far Cry 4 booth, so instead I had to provide all the gunshots, explosions and the loud trumpeting sounds I imagined my elephantine companion was making myself. This drew plenty of what I’m certain were very approving looks from the other players.

Looking around at others playing the game around me, it looked like the three different approaches to capturing the fort were all significantly different, which is great. The stealthy approach requires some patient sniping for example, and far more patience, cunning and self-restraint than I currently was feeling.

There looks to be some interesting vehicle interactions you could perform as well – approaching a vehicle from different angles will give you different options; you can get in the drivers side to get behind the wheel, climb onto the mounted gun position to attack, or alternatively, you can (when approaching directly from the front I believe) cut the brake cables to send the vehicle slowly rolling back down a hill. In a game that’s set in a fictional region in the Himalayas, the ability to send enemy cars hurtling uncontrollably down hills and slopes will only give you more freeform and hideously creative ways of entertainingly dispatching your enemies.

Personally, I find it hard to get excited for a new Far Cry game these days – I burnt myself out playing the original PC game and the early original Xbox ports over and over again.  Although these early entries in the series were very fun games to play, I’ve not really had the desire to go back and try that brand of action/adventure FPS since those early Xbox days, and as a result I’ve subsequently bailed on playing Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3, which I hear are supposed to be particular highlights of the series and very strong games in their own right.

Having said that, Far Cry 4 was a great deal of fun from what I’ve played so far, and I can only imagine that  if the rest of the game is as open and flexible to a variety of approaches and playstyles as this demo was, then it will surely be a delight for fans of the series. Again, like with Assassin’s Creed Unity, it would have been nice to sample the co-op mode, as that’s a first for the series, and the sort of thing that might prove to be a tempting way back into the series for me. However, if the singleplayer is anything to go by, I’m sure that when the final game and the multiplayer modes are available, it’ll be extremely good fun to go stomping around the mountainous landscape of Kryat with a buddy and their own personal pachyderm in tow.

As a finishing note, I don’t want to jump the gun here, but I absolutely loved the non-canonical and nonsensical standalone DLC/game Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. The second a follow-up to that game starring Rex Colt gets announced as part of Far Cry 4, then you can be sure that I’ll be totally onboard to cause some cybernetic Michael Biehn-flavoured havoc in the Himalayas.

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