Tyrannical dictators, a land filled with war and strife and plenty of guns and explosions, Far Cry 5 is back and it is back with an explosive bang. A great someone once described Far Cry 3 as “Skyrim but with guns” and funnily enough 2 Far Cry games later this statement still holds true. Just change it to “Skyrim with Guns in America” and you’ve described this game perfectly. Far Cry 5 is the series’ return to it’s first person shooter focused modern day game after the previous installment in the series, Far Cry Primal. After Far Cry 3 and 4 I was a little burned out on the same formula and after a break in setting and gameplay, its back to its looting, shooting bombastic ways. So, does the new Far Cry actually change things up or is it still the same old, same old?
Far Cry 5 has you go to Hope County, a place that isn’t as blissful as it sounds. A county in America that has basically been overrun by religious fanatics known as Eden’s Gate who are headed by Joseph Seed who prefers to go by the name The Father. You’re a sheriff’s deputy who is sent to arrest The Father and stop him from living out his screwed up fantasy but as all Far Cry games before, things don’t always go as planned and you end up as the chosen one. Should you just to be the saviour that is. You can choose to not be the saviour and get the “secret” ending in the first hour or so of the game just like in Far Cry 4 but to actually experience the game, you have to be a saviour.
The story is actually gripping and the various “factions” and bosses that you deal with have their own approach which helps keep the story fresh and keeps you playing so you can find out why these people are so loony in the head. The side stories are also a great addition in this game which help flesh out the world of Hope County while giving lore and backstory of characters and the place itself. The way substories are tied in to characters you know and to the main plot of the game is really well done in this game.
Let’s talk about the gunplay and the overall gameplay. It is a lot of fun. No more radio towers to climb so there’s that change finally coming in but outposts are still there and are as fun as ever, especially with the addition of a partner NPC that you can get to tag along with you, each with their own skill. These characters have their own stories, skills and even perks which are unique and varied enough that you can experiment with a lot of play styles. You can even take animals as your partner to wreak havoc on some baddies. It’s really fun to watch a bear just charge at people and then ask for belly rubs once it is done killing everything in sight or a more hardcore version of fetch with your dog who brings back weapons for you. The gunplay is fun with the same core mechanics with the addition of a slight bullet drop and impact system.
The annoyances of the gameplay come in the form of bugs with the AI. The AI will randomly just flip out and not know what to do. I was talking to a character and they entered combat state mid conversation because of an animal and I couldn’t talk to them until I killed the animal. It was quite annoying when it happen more than once. Another bug is when they aimlessly wander around or get stuck somewhere unable to figure out what to do. Like climbing stairs and stopping midway or running around in circles. Another annoyance which is not a bug is the presence of enemies. They are everywhere, you cannot go 10 minutes while driving without running into an enemy convoy which is frustrating and although it does help when you clear out the boss of the area, their presence is still quite pronounced which does get annoying when you’re trying to traverse the land and explore.
The graphics are fantastic and has a lot of breathtaking vistas and scenery. It’s really gorgeous and unlike Assassin’s Creed Origins, it didn’t absolutely tank my Ryzen 1600 CPU. It ran quite well on a Ryzen 1600 and GTX 970 on high at 60fps which is also the recommended hardware for that specific setting. The audio is great with weapons sounding like they actually should, besides the silencers which sounded too silenced to me but then again, no game that I can think of right now did silencers properly. The dialogue and voice direction is fantastic and interaction between characters is not forced. The one issue I found with the audio was that sometimes it would get really echo-ey and weird, as if I was in a tunnel or they were speaking through a pipe. This would happen completely randomly and I hope that they can fix this bug.
Now, microtransactions are present in the game. It can be used to buy outfits and weapon skins and even some weapons. You use your real money to buy Silver Bars which can then be used to purchase these weapon skins and outfits. Silver Bars can be gotten in-game too by completing outposts and other objectives but I don’t think you’ll be able to unlock all those special skins that way and will have to resort to using your own money to buy these items which is something I’m not a big fan of since the older Far Cry games rewarded you with various unique and cool weapons based on your actions in-game but then again, most of these paid weapons seem to be re-skinned versions of guns in the game with the same stats.
The game does include character customization which is a first in the series, but was also a way to add in microtransaction into a single player game that has co-op. The customization only really matters for someone else in co-op who is looking at you since you can’t see yourself.
The game does have co-op multiplayer and you can play the whole game in co-op mode which is really great but sadly, only the host makes any progress in the story, while the co-op partner only retains the perks and money they get during the play session. There’s also the map editor which has assets from various older Ubisoft titles and allows players to create their own maps which is great. This comes as part of the Far Cry Arcade, and is a ton of fun. The creation tools are great, and most of the existing maps and games modes in there were fun to play around in. I am excited to see how much better this can get as more maps and modes get made once more people get their hands on the game.
Far Cry 5 feels like a successor to the series with a lot of action and explosions that would make Michael Bay seek medical assistance due to a medical condition which lasted for more than 4 hours. It has a good story and does a great job of blending the side stories into the main story to build the world of Hope County. But it has its shortcomings which includes the buggy AI and the overbearing presence of the enemy which really hindered my experience with the game. Regardless of any issues, Far Cry 5 is a ton of fun, be it solo or in multiplayer. There is a lot here to explore, discover, and, most importantly, shoot at.
Far Cry 5 is now out for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows Platforms.