Over the past few installements, Far Cry has carved out a unique identity for itself (Let’s forget Primal for a second). The series has tried, and mostly succeeded to push an evocative narrative by introducing us to some of the most psychopathic villains in games. All the while sending players out in a massive open world to explore, giving them the freedom of choice to play the game the way that they want to. In these regards, Far Cry 5 isn’t going to be a huge surprise as it continues to iterate on this formula. Once again, players are thrust into a beautiful, broad open world. Once again, players will be fighting against a strong central villain this time around they lead a doomsday cult.
The narrative of the game is helped along this time around by player exploration
Far Cry 5 is somewhat more grounded that the third or fourth installments in the series. The narrative, more player-driven, is focused around a rookie police officer who goes with a U.S. Marshall to arrest Joseph Seed. The leader of the Eden’s Gate cult, Seed and his siblings are controlling the Hope, Montana region through force, through drugs, and through indoctrination of the locals. Like any good Far Cry villain, Joseph Seed is eccentric and maniacal. He preaches from the Book of Revelations that the end of the world is coming, and that the arrival of your character is the opening of the First of Seven Seals that will bring about the end of times. After the arrest attempt is botched, you meet with a local resistance that puts you on the path to taking down the Seed clan.
Far Cry 5 Video Review
Broken into three distinct regions, Far Cry 5 is once again another massive game to explore. Though there have been some key differences made to the way that the game is played. Each region is headed by one of the Seeds. Jacob, a soldier, controls the Northern Whitetail Region. Faith, a Siren who deals in a deadly concoction known as Bliss, controls the East. While John, controls the West. Taking down each of these region leaders is the only way to reach Joseph and to free Hope from the cult’s clutches. After completing the opening sequences that sets these events in motion and doing some tutorial type content at the start of the game, players can basically go anywhere and do anything in Far Cry 5. They can choose to tackle any region they choose, and do it in any order they want. Whether that be trying to complete all objectives in one region at once or bouncing back and forth. While there are some differences to the gameplay in each region and the objectives that must be completed, they are largely the same. How they differ is in the people that you’ll encounter along the way in Story and Side Missions.
Missions types are exactly what you’ve come to expect from Far Cry games
There’s a number of things to do though. You can tackle Cult Outpost challenges which are similar to previous Far Cry games. You can rescue residents of Hope that are being held hostage by the cult. There are cult transports that can be destroyed or looted. There are cult VIPs that can be hunted down and killed. There are the aforementioned story missions and side missions that can be completed in each region as well, which do naturally breathe life into the world. For the most part, it all funnels back into a Resistance Meter. The more activities that you complete, the more Resistance Points that you’ll earn and once you’ve maxed out the Resistance Points for each region you’ll be able to enter into a confrontation with the boss. The Resistance Meter is tiered though, and as you progress through the meter the region becomes more and more chaotic as the cult leader tries to strike back at your efforts.
You’re free to tackle challenges within a region in any way you see fit, and there are plenty of rewards for exploring and doing all of the quests you can get your hands on. You can recruit specialist team members to your cause. These include six human characters that have unique abilities and traits and three animal companions that each have unique abilities as well. While the game starts out with just one AI partner, you can bump that up to two through the game’s perk system. If they die in combat, you’ll need to wait a little while for them to be able to respawn. As far as open world games go, Far Cry 5 has a lot of variety. You’ve got a lot of carry over with gameplay ideas from previous games like hunting for animals and outpost liberation, with gunplay and combat being largely familiar. The way that the story and map expands through exploration and not just climbing towers is somewhat of a breath of fresh air. There is plenty of character and variety to the cast that you’ll meet in Hope, Montana. If there’s a character archetype that you can think of, you’ll probably meet them if you explore long enough. That said, Ubisoft seems to be going for shock value in Far Cry 5. From scenes of suicide, to missions that require you to beat animals with a baseball bat, there’s some stuff in here that is ONLY suitable for adults.
There’s some really mature content that isn’t suitable for everyone
Ubisoft has made some great strides on making the single player side of Far Cry 5 better. The world that’s been built here is outstanding, and most of the character comes from the residents of Hope. They’ve also pushed other aspects of the series further here as well. The entire game is playable via online co-op. Instead of the side-mission only structure of Far Cry 4, two-player online co-op allows a second player to join a game, much in the same way you would call on one of the AI Specialists characters to help you. It’s worth noting that progression in co-op play is only for the host player, so missions that are accomplished by a group of players are only saved for the host of the game.
While Multiplayer in Far Cry 4 was ambitious, and quite fun when you could find a full game of players to play with, Ubisoft has really bolstered their online offering in Far Cry 5. Through a system called the Far Cry Arcade, players can not only play standard multiplayer type games and tackle new solo or cooperative missions, but they can again create maps and game variants of their own. The Far Cry Arcade features map building tools that are incredibly complex which feature assets from many different Ubisoft games. You could compare it to something like LittleBigPlanet, but for first person shooters. In the pre-launch environment there was already a ton of variety here in terms of multiplayer maps and content that could be played by yourself in solo “hero” missions or cooperative missions that were built with the assets of Far Cry Arcade. While it’s certainly not the first time Far Cry has flirted with map editor options, it’s definitely the most robust. The editing tools are somewhat complex and this aspect of Far Cry Arcade is only for those that are willing to put in the time to learn the tools that are available to make something that is truly worth playing. Tinkering around with the building tools, there are so many different options to play with that you could spend many, many hours in making the most simplistic of maps. The downfall here is that I’m still not 100% sold on Far Cry multiplayer as something that has the gameplay chops to keep players coming back for more. For those that do like it though, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
Beautiful and bursting with content
Far Cry 5 is bursting at the seams with content. You could easily sink 30 – 40 hours in the campaign and still not have seen everything before the credits roll. While it’s not an exotic destination, the likes of which we saw in the last two Far Cry games — Hope, Montana has it’s own sense of beauty. The settings feel varied, from fog rolling through the tree lined hills, to waves rippling on crystal blue lakes, or dark nights where you can see every star in the sky — Far Cry 5 can be visually stunning at times. Cutscenes are equally impressive on the presentation front. The only thing that truly throws off the presentation aspect of Far Cry 5 is in the erratic behavior of NPC and enemy character models. This aspect of the game still isn’t nailed down in my opinion. From enemies just running around like chickens with their heads cut off to NPC characters not moving and getting stuck on terrain — there’s some “jank” to the game in this regard. We didn’t experience anything game-breaking, but wouldn’t be surprised if others did.
Ubisoft has done exactly what should be done in sequels. They took what works in these games and built upon it while getting rid of the stuff that didn’t fit. Instead of just throwing a ton of missions and content at the player, in Far Cry 5 you never really feel overwhelmed. You’re naturally uncovering new missions, characters, and items. Alongside this, they’ve topped their previous efforts in terms of world building and storytelling, all the while retaining the distinct feel of a Far Cry game. While the last game felt like more of the same, with very few new ideas pushed to the forefront, Far Cry 5 feels a little more ambitious in the freedom it gives players. In both the single player story mode and online modes, it’s clear Ubisoft wants you to play what you want, the way you want.
We didn’t get it with the last two numbered entries in the series, but Far Cry 5 feels like the generation leap that fans have been waiting for. Innovations in gameplay and a provocative story will keep you engaged for the entirety of this lengthy campaign. The ability to do and see it all with a friend makes it even better, and for those that really dig in there’s a ton of online content to consume or create. Far Cry 5 certainly feels like the biggest game in terms of content and it just might be the best Far Cry game to date.
Far Cry 5
- Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
- Published By: Ubisoft
- Developed By: Ubisoft Montreal
- Genre: Open World Action
- US Release Date: March 26th, 2018
- Reviewed On: Xbox One
- Quote: "We didn’t get it with the last two entries in the series, but Far Cry 5 feels like the generational leap that fans have been waiting for. This installment certainly feels like the biggest in terms of content and it just might be the best Far Cry game to date."