Far Cry 4’s Arena Went Out Of Its Way To Suck

Far Cry 4 has an arena that you reach about a third of the way through the game. It’s thorough but standard arena gameplay: You fight in a small enclosed space against a bunch of enemies who are split up into different teams, some wild animals get mixed in, you have to be the last one standing, you start with a pre-defined weapon but can loot more from defeated enemies. You start out at rank 1 and each rank has a different arena battle associated with it, including your starting weapon. My first issue is that your starting weapon doesn’t have a clear trajectory. You start with a revolver, then get a glock that seems to mostly be a lateral move, and then you get a machine pistol which sounds better but is actually much worse because individual bullets deal way less damage and it’s way harder to line up headshots. I wonder if you’re supposed to get worse and worse starting weapons as you rank up, to increase the challenge? But if that were the case you’d think they’d start you with an AK-47 to make the downward progression more obvious.

But that’s mostly a nitpick, regardless of the details you start with a weapon that sucks and have to make do with that until you’re able to loot something better. No, the way Far Cry 4’s arena goes out of its way to suck is that instead of having you complete each rank’s battle once, you instead have to fill in a progression bar. But there’s next to no variation in the arena battles at any given rank whatsoever, so the higher ranks don’t have you fighting three or four randomly selected arena battles until you rank up. You fight the exact same arena battle three or four times until you rank up. There’s some connection to one of Ubisoft’s tie-in apps that they tried to push in the mid-2010s, and it looks like the app still exists, but Far Cry 4’s multiplayer doesn’t exist anymore so whatever impact the arena app had on the experience is gone now, and was ill-conceived to begin with.

If you want to do a tie-in app you have to go whole-hog with it, connect the two games to each other at such a fundamental level that they are two different modes of the same game, like, maybe the mobile app is a realtime game of managing a business or country or whatever and the PC/console game allowing you to rampage through the map to cause and/or solve problems for the mobile users. If you balance it right, it could probably be fun, and if it’s a major premise of your game, the people who play that game will be the people who want that. Admittedly, that would be a weird as Hell entry into the Far Cry series so probably don’t call it that.

But regardless, Far Cry 4’s tie-in app, like the tie-in app for Assassin’s Creed Unity, is an afterthought that the core game is better off without and which is almost certainly no fun to play on its own.

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