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Far Cry 5 Review

The fifth installment into the popular Far Cry series sees us move away from the exotic locations of the Rook Islands and Himalayan Mountains of previous games, and places us into the countryside of USA.

In Hope County, Montana, a cult known as The Project at Eden’s Gate and grown in size and power, and ultimately has taken control of the region. Here they force people to join their cult, or be killed if they refuse.

In true Far Cry fashion, the cult is led by charismatic leader Joseph Seed, another memorable villain for the series. His siblings are also memorable in their own right, and hold positions of power within the cult.

Introduction

At the beginning of the Far Cry 5, the US Marshals (including yourself) arrive at the cult’s HQ to arrest Joseph Seed. Surprisingly there is little resistance and everything seems to be going well, until you take off in your helicopter, and Joseph’s followers do what they can to bring the helicopter down.

Once you all crash, Joseph is freed, your comrades go missing, and you are stranded in this dangerous region. Luckily there is a resistance you meet up with, and together, you must work your way through each region to gain control back from the cultists.

Far Cry 5
Joseph Seed, known as The Father, is the main villain of Far Cry 5.

The intro to Far Cry 5 was obviously very cinematic and a real tense experience. It really was amazing and one of the highlights of the game for me. You really feel the weight of the situation immediately, and realise it’s going to be quite the task of liberating the entire county.

Once you’ve met your first resistance member, you basically go through a tutorial stage where you must complete a few missions that give you a run-down on what types of activities you can expect. It wasn’t the most exciting way to start the game, but it was useful.

Mission Structure

Afterwards the game opens right up, and this is where the game differentiates itself from the other Far Cry games. You’re able to choose which region you want focus on, as each region is run by one of Joseph’s seeds siblings.

Rather than following a linear mission structure, doing one main mission at a time, the game gives you multiple tasks that need to be done. This can be in the form of story missions, side missions, liberating outposts, etc.

Far Cry 5
List of activities you’ll need to undertake to build your resistance.

Completing each of these missions, or even small tasks like saving a random hostage, gives you Resistance Points for that particular region. The mission structure revolves around this mechanic, and you must continue to build up your resistance meter to progress.

Once the meter is full, you’re then able to take on the final story mission for that region and take down the Seed cultist in charge, hence liberating the region.

So that’s pretty much how all of Far Cry 5 is played out, and is very different from previous Far Cry games. Yes there is more freedom in how you go about things, but does that make it better? In my opinion- no.

The whole system just feels so incredibly ‘game-y’. Whenever points or a score are involved like this, it feels too much like an arcade game. The main story missions themselves are nothing more than slightly bigger side missions. There’s barely any narrative behind them, and I never felt engaged in the game because there was nothing pulling me along besides my collection of points.

At least with the previous games’ more linear structure, it allowed for a buildup to happen with its story, but here I felt no buildup whatsoever. There was just a real lack of story-telling, which is a real shame because the game started off so well in that regard. This is probably why I started losing interest fairly early.

To make things worse, the vast majority of the missions just involve clearing out cultists, and that’s it. I mostly felt like I was doing the same thing over and over again.

There really needed to be more missions that directly involved the Seed sibling in charge to make it feel more relevant. Yes, there already were a few missions like that, but I felt there needed to be a lot more to build a stronger narrative.

To have each region tell a stronger and more distinct story involving John, Faith, or Jacob would have done this game the world of good.

Far Cry 5
The cultists have left many people dead in their wake.

The best types of missions to me were the Prepper stashes. These were like treasure hunts, starting with clues, and you must figure out how to solve the problem. The rewards were really nice as well, just to top off these fun missions.

But there is an advantage to having such an open mission structure- it allows this game to become very spontaneous experience! No matter where you go, there is something random happening, and you (at times) feel compelled to join in.

These random events could be a shootout between the cultists and the resistance, a cultist helicopter suddenly appearing and chasing you down, or an NPC in needed of some help.

I felt that the spontaneous nature was probably the game’s biggest strength, but also its biggest weakness.

Sometimes just too much can happen at a time, making for a more frustrating experience. You might be facing a couple of cultists, then another car full of them might appear, then a helicopter joins in, then maybe even a bear! All that chaos can get frustrating because you die very easily in this game.

The Combat of Far Cry 5

While Far Cry 5’s missions and story are underwhelming, the combat has remained solid. If you’ve played previous Far Cry games, you’ll be familiar with the combat here.

The action is still exhilarating and intense. The combat really does a great job of making you feel like you’re in the middle of a shootout. While hiding behind cover, you’ll be waiting anxiously for your health to recharge while enemies are shooting at you.

They do a good job of hiding, and also making their way around to shoot you in cover. Actually, sometimes they don’t do a good job of hiding, as occasionally they’ll stand out in the open for an easy head-shot.

The combat is also very challenging! I found myself switching down to easy difficulty and still managed to die plenty of times. You’ll need to find cover, stay there, and wait for your chance to strike.

Far Cry 5
The death animations are bloody and realistic.

Like in previous games you can also use a med-kit to heal yourself, but I swear it takes a little bit longer than previous games and those extra seconds can cost you your virtual life.

The sound in this game really heightens the experience of the action. The gun shots sound so clear and crisp. The shouts and screams of the other people in the fight bring so much realism to it.

Occasionally when you think you’ve killed an enemy, they go into a downed state, where they can be revived by another enemy. In other games, this usually happens to yourself or other team mates, but never the enemy.

It was an interesting inclusion to combat, meaning you’ll need that one extra bullet to take them out, or simply wait for them to bleed out and hope no one comes to their rescue.

As expected, you’ll be treated to a large variety of weapons. You have your staple weapons like handguns, shotguns, sub machine guns, rifles and sniper rifles. These are acquired either by taking them off your enemies’ corpses or buying them from the shop.

Far Cry 5
There are also perks to choose from to give you advantages.

Of course, not all weapons are available to purchase from the start as you’ll need to met certain conditions to unlock them. Once you’ve earned enough Resistance points, or defeated certain people, you’ll then have access to the locked weapons.

There’s also a nice variety with melee weapons too. You’ll have fun swinging around shovels, pipes and bats, with different variations of each to use.

Accessing weapons is performed in a weapon wheel, and is fairly flexible too. At the top of the wheel, you’ll have your main weapons, and more weapons can be added once you’ve unlocked those features.

Around the rest of the wheel, you can access your thrown explosives (like grenades and dynamite), sidearm, and melee weapons. Within each of those categories, you can scroll through 3 different weapons, making for a very useful and convenient system.

Every weapon will have their own stats- Damage, Fire Rate,  Accuracy, Range and Handling. This makes it a difficult choice when deciding what to purchase, but it does add depth and variety to the game.

An extra layer of depth is added in the way of mods for your weapons. These need to be purchased but add extra functionality to your weapons such as scopes, extra ammo, and suppressors.

There’s a handy new feature in the form of ‘Specialists’, people (or animals) you unlock for helping them in a mission and can be called upon for certain services.

Far Cry 5
Specialists all have their own unique abilities to help you in battle.

For example, a woman named Grace can be called to take on some sniper work for you, to pick off enemies from afar and thin down the numbers while you take on the rest of them.

Boomer, a loyal dog can be summoned to tag all the enemies in the area, which is great for those who want to take an outpost down stealthily. Then there’s Nick Rye, who can fly over your area in his helicopter and bomb the enemies.

Clearly that option is for those who want to go in all guns (and bombs) blazing. Choosing the right specialists for the right situation will be key to victory, and a great incentive to go seek them out.

Stealth is also handled well in the game. Enemies are generally spread out well and have predictable walking patterns for you to learn and take advantage of.

Outposts can get a bit overwhelming at times, so sometimes it’s best to take the stealth approach either all the way, or at least until you’re spotted.

There’s the usual detection meter that shows how visible you are to enemies, and in what direction they’re in. This information is extremely useful when taking this approach, if that’s how you want to approach the situation.

Characters

The characters in Far Cry 5 were another highlight. As always, the villains steal the show. The main villain, Joseph Seed, is charismatic but very dangerous, which you can really sense when you first meet him.

His siblings- John, Faith and Jacob, are all memorable and do a good job of sharing the spotlight. Usually there only one memorable character with each Far Cry game, so it was great to see multiple.

Even your allies are interesting, especially some of the specialists you acquire have some kind of back story, allowing you to relate to them somewhat. Then there’s the outright crazy ones which will give you a laugh.

Far Cry 5
This mission in particular was one of the more humorous ones.

The biggest problem I have with the characters is the one you control. They have no name, no voice, and no dialogue. Because of this, I felt absolutely no attachment to the main character and their motivations.

If anything, it felt like there was no motivation other than you were just doing your job. Yes, there were the other Marshals that you need to go rescue, but they just felt like more of an end reward for clearing a region rather than saving a friend.

Maybe that lack of emotional attachment was another reason the game failed to engage me.

Far Cry 5 Review Summary

Does Far Cry 5 take the series to new level? Has it evolved the series and genre enough to excited us? Not quite. I’m not really sure what Ubisoft tried to achieve with this game, other than give us what we’ve already experienced before.

The mission structure is the biggest change, and I commend the developers for making some kind of change. In some ways it made the game better, and in other ways it didn’t.

Because of the lack of engagement I had with Far Cry 5, it did feel like a bit of a hollow experience. As I said before, the spontaneous nature does help elevate the game and makes it memorable. But at the same time, it can really get in the way, especially went you want to focus on doing specific tasks.

Far Cry 5
The helicopters are fun to fly and easy to use. The gun attachments make it even better.

The choice of location for Far Cry 5 is a little questionable too. To go from such memorable locations in previous games, to a fairly generic area, is a strange decision. At least the atmosphere helps pull you in, especially the joyful religious music you hear around the place which adds a certain eeriness to the game.

If you’re all into chaotic action and a huge amount of (mostly repetitive) activities, then you’ll have many hours of fun with Far Cry 5. For those who want just a little more substance with their gaming, maybe give Far Cry 5 a miss.

Score: 7.5/10

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