+Extremely well-designed gameplay that balances free roam and story-based exploration rather well.
+Gunplay is the best it’s ever been causing shots to feel as if they have meaning.
+Characters are well rounded and developed, easily making them relatable to someone you may know in real life.
+Companions are actually enjoyable to obtain and even more entertaining to have around.
-Money earned is problematic as it does emphasize upon players taking time to fish and hunt or playing the Far Cry Arcade.
Since Far Cry released on PC, I’ve taken to the wild adventures Ubisoft has put before me, often lying traps where my enemies can’t see them, shooting large groups of hostile forces, commandeering a vehicle when completely necessary and even taking the time to enjoy the splendors of the worlds put before me. It’s the go-to engine that has always worked for the franchise and continues to do so even now.
But this time, I’m not in some Himalayan village seeking refuge from time to time as I take on the twisted warlord Pagan Min or the embodiment of what insanity really is with the oversight of tyrannical leader Vaas Montenegro in the tropical setting of the fictional, but believable, Rook Islands. Instead, this time, my time out adventuring is something a bit closer to home than some far off fantasy land I may never see. This time, my adventure takes me to Hope County, Montana. That’s where the charm of Far Cry 5 and its nihilist mindset comes into play.This time, my adventure isn’t nearly as hindered by troubled mechanical flaws or design elements that have held it back. This time, it seems that much of the franchises familiar formulas have undergone some radical, but positive refinements across the board. The core hook of exploring is more engaging. Exploration is even more rewarding than in previous games, allowing players to play and traverse the game however they please. There are very few restrictions outside of enemy forces or fearsome wildlife that may impede upon your adventures unexpectedly.
Just like the lands of Skyrim, Skellige (The Witcher 3), and Dragon’s Dogma, the world is yours for the taking with a few minor risks here and there. You can easily hunt your way through the game, earning cash for your endeavors, or even take the time to find hidden quests that present themselves with collectibles that are scattered about the entirety of Hope County itself. For those looking to play the game region by region, it may seem like an intimidating task due to just how large Hope County actually is. But this does come at a minor cost, the games brief orientation, that lets you see the power of John, Jacob, Joseph, and Faith Seed actually have over their cult following.
As expected, Far Cry 5 doesn’t limit you on where you go, what missions you complete or what order you complete them in. This time around, it’s not like Far Cry Primal or Far Cry 4 where your hand is almost held, forcing you to complete certain tasks and regions before moving on. This time, it’s simpler, it’s open, it’s for you to decide, just like in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. The only problem you might have? The fact you may feel overwhelmed at first due to all the options put before you, but luckily for you, it’s a good thing this time around.This free-form approach allows those who decide to take on Far Cry 5 to handle its story progression how they please. Don’t want to clear a certain zone completely, but wish to see all the bosses burn at once? That’s completely plausible as Far Cry 5 isn’t shy about the story that will unfold before you. The only goal they have? Take on side quests, destroy hidden objectives and even take on the main story missions in order to earn enough resistance points to cause each of the Eden’s Gate cult’s leaders to present themselves to you as you progress.
Once having completed every task and earned enough points, each boss becomes a quest objective, directing you towards one of the Seed siblings before taking on the ultimate bad guy himself – Joseph Seed, “The Father”. But as expected, each of them operates on a different level. Each of them is manipulative in their own right and run a different facet of the group itself. For example, Faith, as you can imagine, is manipulative, cunning, and plays with our natural instincts, luring those weak enough into her “bliss” induced web, forcing them to do as she bids without any hesitation.Ultimately, she’s the one that nurtures, grows, and seduces those into following the cult, and entices the weak-willed to say “yes” to Joseph Seed so he can lead them forth into the world he has imagined for them. But what’s even more admirable about Far Cry 5 is the potential controversy it keeps tucked away within its pockets, rummaging forth with the idea of an armed militia standing off against the government, ultimately facing them down through their manipulative use of politics and religious manipulation.
Oddly enough, the approach works rather well and isn’t just a shallow look at a nihilistic interpretation of our modern society. Rather, it’s a game that isn’t scared to show what our world could be, what the power of a single and extremely manipulative group of people can do if they have drawn the right believers into the proper places. Mechanically, it’s great, the story itself is riveting, convincing even as you begin to learn about the freedom fighters that work beside you.Outside of its rather intriguing story elements (we won’t put any spoilers here) we need to talk about several things more than we do the campaign, which to some, may come as expected while others will feel their hearts pound until the very last second, staring at their TV in shock at the way the ending plays out. Let’s just put it this way. No matter where you stand, left or right, this doesn’t matter. The entire game is commenting on our fracturing society, one that’s splitting in two as left versus right ignites a fiery war and in this game, Joseph Seed is just the guy in the middle with a can of gasoline and the match to set the world ablaze.
Mechanically speaking, as stated before, Far Cry 5 is a major step in the right direction for the adventure-focused title. This time around, players are tasked with one goal in mind: Stop Eden’s Gate no matter the cost. This means taking missions on at your behest is the only option available. Some of this is only possible by wondering about, watching for those with a mission for them to task you with. Some are easy, requiring to simply venture out, eliminate a few members of Eden’s Gate and be on your merry way when having completed the task put before you.
Some include main story missions that will unlock special features including new weapons, clothing options, and even companions for you to take on your adventures with; something reminiscent to that of Far Cry Primal. Much like our previous entry, players do get a wide array of cast members to tag along with them, some include characters such as Nick who takes to the skies, taking out enemies with various strafing runs, or Jess Black and her stealthy kills with a bow. Others include more primal companions such as Boomer, a blue heeler that spots enemies for you, attacking them by biting and chewing on them. Then there’s the bear, Cheeseburger who will maul through almost any enemy around without little to no hesitation.Each of them even come with their own unique passive abilities such as Boomer who, as stated, will spot enemies nearby in order to help you weed them out one by one. Just like previous titles, however (well classic Far Cry), don’t expect points of interest to show up on your map in any specific order. You’ll need to find them and hunt them down. Enemy hub locations aren’t indicated by any means outside of being a well-fortified location that’s crawling with enemies who patrol their grounds and the, at times, obnoxious preachings of one of the leaders that echo through a speaker system.
Even random hunting grounds or fishing holes are hidden throughout the map alongside prepper stashes that reward players handsomely for discovering their locations on the map. However, this does bring up another point of discussion. The HUD. This time around, the hud has gone minimalist only providing players with a glimpse of their health bar, ammo, and what weapon they have equipped alongside a navigation compass that helps us get from point A to B.The absence of the minimap is a welcomed change as it allows for players to focus on the world about them without being distracted by red arrows indicating where enemies are on a tiny map in the corner or even where specified locations are marked by green little indicators. Instead, it’s been traded in for a cleaner, sleeker HUD, that quite honestly, works rather well and does a just job at presenting players with a less overwhelming experience from beginning to end.
This sense of absentmindedness does well, it allows us to explore the trees within the forests, the Douglas Firs that populate the games rolling hills and mountainous peeks, or the serene fields that serve as a home to farms, and the lively rivers that come to life with the subtle splashes of fish as they swim further downstream. If you were to pay full attention to your surroundings, whether it’s walking into a home or business, each of them is distinct, brought to life with a lived-in personality of their own.Far Cry 5 – PC, PlayStation 4 [Reviewed] and Xbox One
Developer(s): Ubisoft Reflections, Ubisoft Ukraine, Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Toronto
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $59.99 | $69.99 | $89.99
In truth, this is the first Far Cry title that feels organic. It doesn’t feel forced or in your face. Rather, its a play at your own place. A take your time and enjoy the sights kind of affair. While the story itself could be considered something other than not-so-subtle, it’s still there, the game still offers an experience unlike any other and actually compels you to take your time with it, not rush through every instance of combat, hunting or even fishing possible.
Even with everything said, I still have quite a bit left out of my 32 hours already invested into the game. There’s still a lot left to enjoy and a lot left to experience since I still have side quests left to complete and a few hidden items lying about that have yet to be liberated by my hands. With all this said and done, Far Cry 5 has set the pace for its successors and doesn’t seem the franchise will be holding back its punches anymore, which we are more than grateful for.
Our review is based on a retail version that the reviewer purchased. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 9.5 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPGs, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.