A fascinating journey into deep America
In a year absolutely packed with huge blockbuster games, Far Cry 5 has easily been one of my most anticipated. Ubisoft’s long-running open world franchise is consistently great, and they tend to offer incredible stories. This time the franchise comes the closest to home yet – Hope County, Montana – the first ever US setting. So, let’s dive in and explore what this latest adventure has to offer!
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One
A very immersive game world
Those who have played the previous Far Cry games will know the basic formula: explore a huge open world taking on a variety of missions. Far Cry 5 doesn’t deviate from this model, but what is different this time around is just how rich and authentic the story is. Hope County is home to a doomsday cult, led by the ruthless yet surprisingly relatable Father figure.
Graphically, Far Cry 5 is the most beautiful entry yet. While it might not be the best visuals of this gen (Horizon still holds that place for me), it’s certainly very impressive to look at. In a huge technical feat as well, once in the game load times are virtually non-existent. Another highlight was the music: several popular tunes play over the radio, as well as during key set pieces in the game.
One of the reasons why Ubisoft chose Montana is wonderful range of environments. From wide open plains, to lush forests, to vast lakes, it really drives home the feeling of being out in the wild. Montana, if you know, also doesn’t have a lot of civilization in the area. The remote nature gives few small towns and trailer a secretive, isolated feeling. In short, I love the game setting and feel it’s perfect for this series.
Your arrival in Hope County
In the game, you play as a rookie US Marshall is sent to capture Joseph Seed, the proclaimed leader of this evil cult. Without spoiling the story, let me just say your goal of liberating the region is not going as planned. Given the real-world events going on in the US right now, the theme is apropos, despite development beginning before the unrest started. I really enjoyed the many twists and turns the story took, and in particular thought the Father was the most compelling Far Cry villain yet.
For the first time in franchise history, you have the option of playing a man or a woman. I did find the character selection to be a limited, but the feature is still welcome. Don’t worry though, your customizations are hardly relevant as your character remains silent throughout the game. It’s just for aesthetic purposes only.
As soon as your choice is made, you immediately get launched into the game world. Fans should feel right at home with the setup and controls, however, new players may initially be overwhelmed. If you fall into the latter category just remember Far Cry isn’t a first-person shooter, it’s an open world game filled with things to do. The choice between completing main missions that drive the story forward, or taking on optional side missions, is always up to you.
A doomsday cult
Since the brilliant Far Cry 3, Ubisoft has relished in giving us colorful and violent antagonists. Vaas remains one of the best villains in all of video games, and Pagan Min was quite memorable too. This time, they’ve scored another home run with Joseph Seed, who comes off as extremely dangerous, yet down-to-earth at the same time. Some scenes I detested Joseph, while others I could understand where he’s coming, both signs of a well thought out antagonist.
For better or for worse, much of your time is spent taking on Joseph’s three lieutenants, all members of his “family”. Each of them brings a special touch to their regions that make each distinct both visually and in play style. Only after you take out the three family members do you get the chance to go after the leader himself.
Several missions are available to you in each region. Sometimes you may need to infiltrate a heavily protected building, other times you may need to rescue local civilians. Some missions get a lot crazier than that. What’s neat is that some secondary characters you rescue then become “Guns for Hire” who will then can help you in future missions. Many of them are pretty funny too, adding a lot of humour to otherwise tense situations.
Every action you take to reduce the cult’s influence will earn you skill points and money to make life easier. Like in previous games, you can improve skills to hold more weapons, ammo, breathe longer underwater, and more. One significant change this time around though is the reduced reliance on collecting medicinal plants and hunting. You can still do both activities, but their importance is less than in the past.
Much needed help
As touched upon, during the game you can meet NPCs who can aid you in missions. Each of them have their own unique loadouts, offensives, or ways to help you out. My two favourite are a returning favourite character who shoots highly explosive RPGs, and a loyal dog that attacks opponents and can revive you. Don’t worry about the health of your teammate during gunfight – even if they die they’re return sometime later.
Better yet, why not ask a friend to join you online for co-operative multiplayer fun? Twice the players generally means twice the carnage, and subsequently twice the fun. The only downside is your progress isn’t save while playing co-op, which isn’t very surprising.
Hit up the Arcade
In the past, Far Cry games offered huge single-player worlds, but the online modes were quite limited. To rectify this, Ubisoft has introduced a brand new Arcade mode into Far Cry 5. This mode lets you play small scenarios that been designed by Ubisoft staff or other players.
And yes, you have the option to create your very own levels! You have a full suite of building and editing tools at your disposals. Arcade levels are naturally more limited than missions in the game, but I found them extremely fun. There’s literally unlimited replay value thanks to the Arcade.
Once again, Far Cry 5 hits hard. With its interesting characters, beautiful new setting, huge number of missions, and range of air, land and sea vehicles, this game is just pure fun. Joseph Seed also stands out as the best villain the series has ever seen. Far Cry 5 does little to shake up the established formula, but if enjoy this series you’ll find everything you love, with some great additions.
+ Packed with content
+ Gorgeous graphics
+ A wide open sandbox
+ So much player choice
– The odd bug
– Plays it very safe
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.25/5 (85%)
Get Far Cry 5 on PlayStation 4
Get Far Cry 5 on Xbox One