Far Cry 4 fans looking for fresh campaign content finally get their wish, although the season pass might have looked a little touch and go there. The Escape from Durgesh Prison expansion basically compressed all of Far Cry 4's gameplay into a small area, dropped players into it with hardly a clue as to what's going on, and gave them a time limit to sort it all out. Some might have found it fun, but I found the frantic run for weapons and experience quite exhausting. Valley of the Yetis makes of for all that and more by offering an original mini-campaign with a story and experience that almost rivals the main game.
Gearing for the Attack
Similar to Escape from Durgesh Prison, players are thrown into a situation without weapons or ablities. You'll have to work quickly to build up your arsenal, upgrades, and skills from scratch. Fortunately, this time around, players are given a bit more of a clue about what to do. New weapons and animal skins for gear upgrades are found in crates, which show with corresponding icons on the mini-map. You might not always get the gun you want, but a with a little perseverance, you'll be able to unlock enough weapons to make-do. The progression system is very swift, and I was able to max out most of my gear, find a bunch of heavy weapons, and upgrade a lot of skills in relatively short time. Your mission is to become strong enough to retrieve a mysterious item called The Relic.
Thankfully, there aren't any time limits this time around. Instead, you clear out an outpost, and it becomes your main base of operations, complete with a trading post. You'll be given a main quest, and you'll find a number of side quests scattered across the valley. These side quests unlock upgrades, like traps, gun emplacements, and fortifications, to help defend your base. They can also be completed at your own pace, so you could completely fortify your base before you start your second mission.
There's a good reason for the defensive upgrades. You'll be attacked every night by crazed cultists shortly after you complete a story mission. Like the village defense missions in the main story, players are expected to meet approaching forces and repel them using superior firepower. Minefields do a decent job of slowing down invading forces, but you'll have to activate the other traps directly. Invading forces get increasingly tougher with each night, so it's important to strengthen yourself as much as you can.
In essence, Valley of the Yetis is an open world exploration game during the day, and a base defense game at night. I imagine that having a second human player would help take away some of the stress of running from one end of the outpost to the other to meet the oncoming invasion.
The map may be small by Far Cry 4 standards, but there's plenty to explore. One area that I found disappointing is how the expansion offers a new gameplay mechanic, where you can shoot ice and have it tumble down on unsuspecting foes, but offers very few opportunities to use it. Even though the game takes place in a snowy mountaintop somewhere, there aren't a lot of locations where soldiers or animals wander beneath four foot icicles.
However, there are yetis, and they're rough. Killing a six-foot man eating yeti is about as hard as you would expect it to be. You need to load up on explosives and heavy weaponry to take one down. Shooting one in the head with a heavy machine gun will stun it. I also like to hit them with liberal amounts of fire.
I would have loved for the developers to have taken an extra step by removing the elephant riding ability from the skill tree (there are no elephants in the Valley of the Yetis) and replaced it with something that is specific to this campaign. Riding a yeti might be too ridiculous, but something related to yeti killing would have been nice. All players get is a description text switch indicating that the elephant riding skill is useless here.
Still, the Valley of the Yetis campaign is a thrilling experience that almost matches that of the main game. If only all the DLC were this deep. It makes a fantastic finale to an already engrossing game. Even if you have no interest in the season pass, the Valley of the Yetis campaign by itself is well worth checking out.
Steven Wong posted a new article, Far Cry 4 Valley of the Yetis Review: Monsters Wander Here
Sounds like something I want to pick up if I ever get Farcry 4.
So much content in this DLC.