When Ubisoft officially released the worldwide reveal trailer for Far Cry 5 back on May 26th, 2017, many formed preconceived notions about what to expect from this Dan Hay and Patrik Methe directed series entry. With antagonists in the form of a sadistic family turned militaristic doomsday cult, a narrative about invading a fictional setting in Hope County, Montana and subtle messages eerily similar to whats going on in our current political landscape, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Toronto were aiming to make a highly controversial game about religion, extremism, and violence in America.
While the story might not be as over-the-top as some expected, Ubisoft has still succeeded in making Far Cry 5 a fun, immersive open world experience ripe with satisfying gameplay mechanics, great co-op campaign options and more than enough content to keep you busy for a very long time. Here are more of my in-depth thoughts on why this title may be worth your time and money.
Far Cry 5 starts out with a bang as the player takes on the role of a sheriff’s deputy (optional choice of male or female) while assisting a task force in the arrest of radical preacher Joseph Seed after an evening church service ends in the heart of Hope County, Montana. Things go awry very quickly and shortly thereafter Seed and his congregation known as the Project at Eden’s Gate turn the tables on the unit, torturing and holding each individual member captive in different regions throughout the county.
Local survivalist Richard Dutch Roosevelt manages to find you during a botched escape and encourages you to start a resistance force while also agreeing to feed you intel during your crusade. From this point onward, the player is led down a path where he or she is called upon to become a beacon of hope by saving the people of Hope County from the Seed family’s doomsday cult and restoring peace and tranquility to the land.
While the overall story might not be perfect, the brilliant portrayal of all four family members keeps everything intact from start to finish. Jacob Seed is the oldest brother in charge of training militia members. As the youngest, John Seed seems the most disturbing with the task of recruiting people to the cult. Faith Seed is responsible for converting people over to their twisted ideology and keeping them in a drug-induced state of bliss. Joseph “The Father” Seed is the leader of the Project at Eden’s Gate and feels that it is his God-given responsibility to save souls before the words end. Jacob, John, and Faith control three different regions and you have to take them down before setting your sights on The Father. As a collective whole, the antagonists are truly horrifying and very reminiscent of Vaas from Far Cry 3 but with a few more sympathetic layers to their personalities.
When it comes to the visual graphics and fictional representation of the northwest region of the United States, Far Cry 5 is an absolute marvel to behold. The painstaking detail of rivers, mountainous regions, and wildlife populated forests are incredibly stunning and a living testament to the development teams ongoing dedication to the source material. The game looks fantastic if you have a standard PS4 and Xbox One but it’s worth noting that the game does run at a native 4K on the Xbox One X.
If you’ve ever played a Far Cry game, then you have a good idea of what to expect in terms of liberating regions, driving vehicles, flying planes, examining items, fishing, looting dead bodies and accessing your weapon wheel to use various types of weaponry against your adversaries. Completing challenges will allow you to earn perks that can be used to unlock gadgets and abilities. The four types of challenges are Assault, Hunting, Guns for Hire and World. The five different categories of perks are Survivalist, Renegade, Assassin, Prepper, and Leader. There’s a total of 50 perk points that can be earned based on your completion of these challenges.
The feature that I enjoy most in Far Cry 5 is the Guns For Hire system that allows you to recruit specialists in certain fields to join your team. Boomer, Nick Rye, and Grace Armstrong were three of the specialists highlighted in all of the last few trailers and you usually have to rescue them before they can join your team. You can select which specialist you want to accompany you on certain missions and there’s a perk that you can acquire later on that will allow you to bring up to two specialists with you at a time. There are a total of 9 specialists to choose from and players are encouraged to try everyone out. They are helpful in certain situations but there are some occasional drawbacks to them that I will address in a little while.
The soundtrack perfectly captures the essence of life in Hope County and provides a strong balance between good and evil. The combination of religious music intertwined with lead composer Dan Romer’s theme illustrates the trials and tribulations that the citizen’s of Hope County endure and offers optimism of forthcoming changes. The voice acting is also spot on for all of the characters and does a fantastic job of evoking emotion all throughout.
The campaign will take anywhere from 25-30 hours for you to complete depending on if you decide to do every side missions. There is a staggering amount of content and in some instances, you can start multiple side missions and revisit them later after completing a main story objective mission. In between finishing the campaign, you also have the option of exploring Far Cry Arcade.
Far Cry Arcade is an additional feature that allows you to play solo, co-op and multiplayer matches over several maps created by the Far Cry community. You’re also able to create maps of your own using the Far Cry Arcade Editor. Character progression is shared between Far Cry Arcade and the main game and money and perk points can still be earned. Some of the game modes include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Assault, Bounty Hunt and Outpost and gameplay modifiers as well as specific loadout options can be added to make each match extra competitive. Far Cry Arcade is an awesome feature and is designed to keep you playing long after you’ve finished the story mode.
With so many positives mentioned above, there are a few negatives about Far Cry 5 that are worth pointing out. As I mentioned before, the AI controlled resistance fighters and specialists that you can recruit are often inconsistent in how effective they can be in certain combat scenarios. As you start to liberate more parts of every region and face more challenging waves of enemies, these partners can be taken out far quicker leaving you to fend for yourself unless they are revived. This is one problem that co-op play with a friend can resolve but it’s important to state that story and mission progress only counts for the host and doesn’t carry over to the other player.
Another issue worth mentioning is that some missions and side missions can feel a little repetitive in nature as you progress through the game. Many fetch quests can be fun at first but it does become evident fairly quickly that a lot of stuff was added to extend your stay in Hope County. There are of course new rewards to be gained from everything that you do so it’s not all bad but it is important to address this for those who don’t like committing repetitive acts in their games.
The final gripe that I have with Far Cry 5 stems from a few technical glitches that I encountered in my playthrough. Admittedly so, this wasn’t too surprising as the Dunia engine has caused issues in other Far Cry games before and a lot of those same issues do pop up here from time to time. Luckily, most of the issues I encountered worked themselves out and didn’t hinder the rest of my experience. Once Ubisoft does start to release patch updates, all existing known issues will be resolved.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, Far Cry 5‘s narrative deals with topics that aren’t fully pushed to the limit but in no way shape or form does this detract from a very enjoyable and engaging experience. In a world filled with so many real-life everyday problems, there is nothing quite like playing a fun video game that can allow you to temporarily escape from the norm. Ubisoft has succeeded in making Far Cry 5 a noteworthy sequel right on par with Far Cry 3 and you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you miss out on this one.
This review was based on a digital review copy of Far Cry 5 for the PlayStation 4 provided by Ubisoft.