The sprawling forests and valleys of Hope County, Montana lay before the player. In these streams, peaks and fields lay the dark secrets of Eden’s Gate and their insane leader Joseph Seed. The theological and fascistic reign of Eden’s Gate is terrorizing the county and you, the player, must liberate all three regions from Joseph’s “Family.” Far Cry 5 is a beautiful blend of the formula established by Far Cry 3 mixed with new concepts and environments.
We ain’t in Nepal No More
Far Cry 3 established the modern Far Cry formula. Open world, sandbox, and action all lined up nicely through an interesting story based on the titular villain Vaas. Vaas was one of the main attractions of Far Cry, with a great personality and a defined method to his madness. Far Cry 4 tried to replicate this style of story, creating another interesting villain in a less compelling manner, as Ubisoft tried replicating not only the story but the mechanical successes of Far Cry 3. This leaves Far Cry 5 in the same territory but with both interesting mechanics and a very decent story to drive the activities of the player.
Set in the fictional Hope County, Montana, the player, is a deputy sheriff tasked with bringing Joseph Seed, the leader of the fanatic Eden’s Gate, to justice. The opening of Far Cry 5 has been one of the best I have played in awhile. The initial 30 minutes to an hour of the game introduces the player not only to the main antagonists but the sheer scope of what the player will have to take down (including a massive statue of Joseph a la Brazilian Jesus).
Speaking of main antagonists, there are three regions tied to Josephs three family members. Jacob, John and Faith have split Hope County into three pieces and it’s up to the player to liberate each while exploring the characters and nuances of each.
John Seed’s region, Holland Valley is by far the best in the entire game. Slated as the starting zone for the player after being nudged by the prepper Dutch, Holland Valley introduces the player to all the core mechanics in a digestible and easily traversable manner. John himself is also the best of the three siblings in terms of his interaction and “special chapters” that the player has to complete to progress the story. It also has the best companions in both the utility sense and story sense.
As the player completes missions and side objectives to raise the Resistance Bar, special missions will automatically teleport the player to the compound of that regions villain. Giving the player ample time to learn about the motives of Eden’s Gate and its apocalyptic prophecy. These interactions drive the player forward and build a reason why you just saved a civilian for the hundredth time.
Eden’s Gate is fascistic and theological order bent on subjugating or in a sense “saving” the people of Hope County from the supposed impending apocalypse. Whether Jacob’s eugenic style culling, Faith’s drug zombies, and John’s indoctrination all meant to lead Hope county into Eden’s Gate. The player, on the other hand, represents the freedom of choice and the freedom to flex the good ole’ American muscle.
Far Cry 5 is brimming with American patriotism and a very healthy amount of satire. Ubisoft completely avoided the toxic political landscape and instead opted to make a compelling narrative built around progress rather than CONgress. Whether it’s Hurk Sr. complaining about “Obama Loving Libtards” or the religious hippies toting heavy machine guns, Far Cry 5 leaves no one out of the mix. It’s a game that reflects the American spirit and I dare say the American culture but in a very expressive manner. From a semi with two 50 caliber machine guns with an American flag strapped on top to a grizzly bear who got diabetes from eating too many cheeseburgers, Far Cry 5 keeps the player entertained and chanting “USA USA USA” underneath their breath the entire time.
The end game of Far Cry 5 throws the player into a tailspin and for some may leave them unsatisfied. Its meaning and set up is extremely spotty while deeper context could be found by just reading 10 pages of Revelations. There is an abundance of theories out there that will make some say, “no way” and others “oh come on” but ultimately I was left satisfied by the build-up and completely bombastic twist at the end.
Far Cry 5 Story: 8/10
FLEX THAT SECOND AMENDMENT BABY!
Far Cry 5 is as wide as a lake and as deep as let us say a 64 0z soda when it comes to its fundamental mechanics. Open world games are gigantic undertakings when it comes to world detail and meshing all of the mechanics into one. Far Cry 5 in many ways abandons Far Cry 4’s reliance on 3 to give the player a more meshed and cohesive experience.
Radio towers no longer exist to reveal chunks of the map and the player must explore the map to reveal all of its locations and objectives. As soon as the player is given flying vehicles, however; the incentive drive is completely lost. The versatility and speed of both the helicopters and planes let players reach most of their unexplored objectives in both style and effective positioning. Exploring the open world is fun but during the mid-game, the incentive to really go off the beaten path provides only small respite and some cash from hunting bears with an m60. During the small section of the late game, the incentive falls off and the only reason is to hunt for supplies and get cash to prep for the final stages of the game.
I played on Hard for the entirety of the game, the only real difference is damage output and enemy health increase, which both of these problems are solved by either a silenced 50 caliber sniper rifle or silenced m60. The gunplay is extremely weak in Far Cry 5. Buying new weapons is all a matter of preference, and the grunts are still one shot to the head for almost every weapon. So if you take your time, almost every weapon save maybe the rocket launcher and bow are useful. Variety is another problem, the player has a choice between the Ak-47 and the AKM, the only difference being one is more modern. The inclusion of the bow is a mystery, what it can do is easily replaced by a marksman rifle or the previously mentioned 50 Cal, which one takes normal ammo off looted bodies. Many of the rifles feel the same and moving from one to another is simply playstyle preference rather than a necessary switch in tools.
The perk system in Far Cry is extremely generic and instead of a level system relies on challenges and milestones to award the player with spendable attributes. From a wingsuit to more ammo capacity for a certain weapon type, the system fails to impress and add significant incentive to seek out these challenges and get all the perks.
All of the death-dealing options given to the player outclass the 3 or 4 main enemy types one will face during the game. That’s why instead of a few powerful enemies, the game will send hordes of enemies to hunt you down and take your head. The strategy still exists but instead of trying to effectively take out a special outpost, you can just find a nice sniper post, take out the alarms and have a plane bomb and strafe until you pick off the rest. Your companions, especially Grace, pick off cultists like flies and make your job that much the easier.
Now I’m not saying the game has to be extremely hard to the point where only the hardcore audiences would take a liking, Far Cry 5 needs a variety in gunplay and amount of enemy types one can encounter. Enemy types go from grunt to bow grunt, flamer, or heavy machine gun or “elite”. All of which are handled with a couple well-placed shots or explosive spam. Vehicle enemies also pose a threat, until you shoot out the driver and escape. Airborne enemies can be dealt the same way, the enemy planes can simply be dealt with by just shooting the cockpit on their attack run and choppers are easily silenced with an image. The gunplay of Far Cry 5 is a low point during the game, serving as a way to progress the plot rather than pose a useful set of tools that can be mixed and matched.
The world of Far Cry is even more integrated than ever, Quests are integrated into the story and every activity serves a purpose rather than just one-off missions or off track collect-a-thons. Story quests don’t need extra loading scenes and checkpoints are actively integrated to make the experience feel seamless. After reaching each resistance point, the amount and difficulty of enemies will increase. Giving the player a sense of escalation and the feeling of paramount impact in the game world.
The gameplay of Far Cry 5 is fun and should keep the consumer coming back to explore the vivid open world and to take down Eden’s Gate one area at a time. Though the gunplay and progression could have been expanded upon to give a more comprehensive experience, the game is cohesive and never fails to impress.
Far Cry 5 Gameplay: 7/10
Anything that moves is a cultist, anything that stands still is a smart cultist
Far Cry 5 has a bright future ahead of it. Its season pass includes three new one-shot stories taking place in Vietnam, Mars, and a Zombie Movie respectively. With each looking to be extremely promising in their own right.
The sustainable platform of Far Cry Arcade is off to a rough start, but hopefully with some patches and focus on user-created content Ubisoft will keep the multiplayer component alive and well. The multiplayer component is not fleshed out enough for its own section in this review, as it is not integral to enjoying the main Far Cry 5 experience.
Overall, Far Cry 5 is a gosh darn good game and will satisfy a 30-40 hour total completion. It will keep you coming back each play session to progress the story and save Hope County. The multiplayer is lackluster and provides some entertainment, the gunplay is generic, to say the least, but serviceable. All in all Far Cry 5 is worth your time and will provide at least an interesting open world game to sink your teeth into.
Far Cry 5 Total Score 15/20
Percent Score: 75%