Far Cry 5 is fun, just don’t think about the story too much.
Far Cry 5 is Ubisoft’s newest installment in their critically acclaimed Far Cry video game series. Ever since reaching their peak in Far Cry 3, Ubisoft has since then utilized what was great about the game at that time in their next titles (save for Far Cry Primal). But did the same formula hold true for Far Cry 5?
In Far Cry 5, you play as a character only referred to as the “Rookie” or the “Deputy” as you try to capture the infamous Joseph Seed, leader of a militaristic cult named Eden’s Gate. Hell-bent on leading his members to salvation or razing the fictional town of Hope County, Montana to the ground, it’s your job to help liberate the local folk from the iron grip of Eden’s Gate, all while trying to unlock whatever mysterious reason or force as to how the cult grew out of control, while also shooting the lot of them in the face.
Since you’re handling a nameless, possibly very generic protagonist, Ubisoft obviously did not pay much attention to how you think your character should look like. Character design is simple, you can only choose your face, complexion and a plethora of clothes and that’s it.
Despite having limitations in character customization, which reception is very, very subjective, Far Cry 5 makes it up for its overall world design which just haunts you with its haunting atmosphere. You’re trapped in a valley full of extremists, in a town bordered by dense woods and high mountains, where not only crazy men with guns to try and take you out but also the wildlife. Graphics are what you expect from something that tries to live up to being an AAA game title, although what’s interesting is that how the whole game manages to stay below the 40GB mark despite the size of its world. The story is being brought to life by some above par voice acting that makes you feel the character’s motivations when it comes to what they do and what they want to do, and one interesting, and perhaps a bit annoying, part is that how moving away from NPCs actually disrupts them, and have them complain that you should first stay put and hear what they have to say because, you know, you pressed E.
Far Cry 5 uses a rather simple approach to how things work and progress. You get your usual dose of First Person Shooter cliches with a dash of cover shooter elements such as leaning and making good use of covers. Other elements such as environmental damage and a pseudo-fatigue system are also present although by “fatigue” we mostly mean slowing down and panting after sprinting for a few seconds.
Putting a bit more emphasis on playing with companions, Far Cry 5 also employs a companion system, which can either be characters that you meet as the story progresses or mercenaries that you can hire from Outposts or saved from captors. While a companion system can offer a lot of possibilities, Far Cry 5’s is quite limited as you can only issue a couple of commands to most companions such as Attack, Move and/or Follow although they do get to revive you once you’re down, if they’re still alive that is.
Aside from all the weapon and bullet looting and the shooting, Far Cry 5 also incorporates RPG elements such as crafting and perks into the gameplay which lets you create additional weapons and as well as fortify your character and companions. Sadly though, the crafting is only mostly limited to side weapons and throwables such as Molotovs and Grenades and does not offer improvements to your weapons arsenal. This decision in design probably still makes some sense though as you do get to loot most of the weapons from enemies and hidden stashes so there’s little sense in crafting special attachments to your pistol or rifle. Doing quests does not only help progress the story but also rewards you with loot and points which help unlock perks that you can use to upgrade your character attributes.
Story and Progression 2/5
In contrast to its predecessors, Far Cry 5’s Story proved to be weak and its Progression trivial and can easily confuse players as to what is currently happening in the game as they push forward. For instance, with how the Reputation system works, you don’t actually need to follow through the “required” character story missions in order to progress as completing side quests and other objectives such as liberating civilians and blowing up silos can earn you Reputation points, not just to gain perks but also trigger the main story quests. While it is a welcome touch, it also relegates the storylines of supposedly important characters non-relevant and can easily confuse players as to what is happening once the main storyline quests actually trigger.
All this after the game tries to throw you into the middle of the story, with the intro sequence introducing you to the main antagonist right away, in a chain-reaction-like setup that puts you right in the heart of the conflict.
Remember when we said that Far Cry 5 uses a simple approach to mechanics? Well, the same can be said about how the content works when going for the Solo-Play/Story route. Despite having a vast, open world, there really isn’t that much to do in Far Cry 5 save for the repetitive “Liberate civilians and shoot cultists in the face” cycle that goes on and on and one with every step that you take. However, the game still holds great possibilities when it comes to the variety of gameplay approach that you prefer, on whether you want to go full Rambo and go in guns blazing, try to sneak your way around opponents in melee takedowns or go Tomb Raider and shoot arrows from afar. Challenges such as Wingsuit diving and Parachuting your way down to hostile territory are also present to keep things interesting and you can always trust that there is someone that will give you vital information as to where secret stashes or other important characters are located. Of course, Far Cry 5 will not be a Far Cry game without your usual dose of crazy and the game does have its own share of seemingly ridiculous tasks such as punching cows, or vaporizing an Alien conspiracist.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Far Cry 5 is a fun experience that kicks you right into the heart of its conflict with nothing but your wits and a couple of guns. While its vast world and premise leaves you with a sense of dread, and its imagery invokes disturbing thoughts, it still leaves you curious to uncover the true mystery behind what’s happening in Hope County. While the voice acting and the character elements help breathe air into its story though, the mechanics employed to help progress the plot can be disappointing, especially for story driven players, although the game does make up for it by putting up challenges through the form of side quests and other crazy missions. It’s a good buy for Far Cry fans, and at the same time a good entry point for new, and future fans of Ubisoft’s beloved franchise.