If you have ever played a Far Cry game then you will know what Far Cry 5 is all about. There is you, a lone warrior doing battle with countless hoards of enemy agents be they fanaticists, early man or religious zealots as in Far Cry 5 lead by the charismatic but mostly batshit crazy Joseph Seed.
Joseph is known by his mozette as The Father which seems odd as he appears to willingly send these deranged fools to their certain death as they battle you, the aforementioned one-man army of death and destruction.
As you travel around the map, which by the way is beautiful and full of interesting distractions, you will find it hard to travel anywhere without getting into an open conflict with a passing truck or roadblock, initially this was fun but I started to tire of this after an hour or two so decided to stick mainly to the backwoods which, given how pretty the world of Far Cry 5 is, was a visual joy.
To complete previous Far Cry games you had to complete a region to be ready to move on to the next and there was a far more linear progression to the final battle. Not so in Far Cry 5.
There are three regions run by The Fathers siblings, Faith, his adopted sister, Jacob and John. These “Heralds” as Joseph calls them, can be fought in any order, you simply have to cause enough fuss in each of their regions to draw them out. You do this via three milestones which in turn leads to the main showdown with each and you can choose to tack this in any way at any time. I like this new mechanic and I felt like I was in a choose your own adventure novel picking what would happen next.
Again there are similar Far Cry missions such as liberation (my favourite) which sees you taking out a facility, usually by a stealthy approach, using binoculars to scout the camp, taking out the alarms, releasing a wild animal into the camp and then sniping the PEGGIE (Project at Edens Gate) gunmen while no one is aware you are there and convoy attacks but the variety of missions available seems to have tripled since Far Cry 4. I didn’t find myself feeling like I was repeating the same tasks over and over in a formulaic way as has been the case in previous offerings.
As I played these missions and slowly built my opposing guerrilla fighting force I took stock of the story that was unfolding. I do not like to put spoilers into my reviews but I have to talk about the story of Far Cry 5 and I am going to spoil that for you if you haven’t played yet. Please stop now if you want to find out the plot of Far Cry 5 for yourself.
Far Cry 3 was my introduction to the Far Cry series. It is, in my opinion, the best Far Cry barre none. The story was believable and Vaas Montengro is probably the best villain of any game ever made. He had the perfect amount of crazy to be lucid and still dangerous. Joseph Seed did not scare me at all, I had no fear about battling him and the plot of Far Cry 5 is just terrible.
To believe that a region of the USA could be taken over, that you would not be able to escape, that no one would be able to escape or get word to the outside world is madness. It gets worse, Joseph and his bible bashing crew are also capable of creating nuclear weapons?
Of the three possible endings, resist or walk away (at two different points) there are no winning scenarios. I chose to resist at the end of the game, I could have walked away at the start of the game or at the end to have seen other outcomes.
Resisting meant I had to battle my friends who to my amazement had inexplicably appeared with Joseph and were under the effects of the Bliss. I had to shoot them so that I could revive them which meant they then fought with me. I wish I had an explanation for their treacherous nature but none was given so I carried on. Eventually, I defeated Joseph, this meant that I was treated to more absurdity in the shape of 3 nuclear explosions from weapons I had no idea existed or were intimated to in the story. After the first explosion fills the sky we stand and watch until the blast is upon, it’s at this point everyone decides we need to rush, so bundle into the car, I drive as fast as I can listening to my compadres crying that “Joseph was right”. This is odd, he has clearly set off nuclear weapons so I did not know what he was right about, had he said he would set off a nuclear bomb or was he right that he would stay oddly calm once he had. Suffice to say I hit a tree and everyone is killed, except me and Joseph, who is not only alive but unharmed. He then drags me into the bunker where I assume we will spend the next 40 years playing cards and being buds.
It was the very worst ending to a Far Cry game and I felt that the writing team had just got bored and said: “let’s just say that he done a bomb and then went to live in a bunker, then we can go home for the weekend and have pizza”.
Far Cry 5s’ story is bad, I mean really bad, I don’t believe in the characters, I didn’t like the plot from the off and there is nothing in the story that stands out as anything other than a bit silly.
However, Far Cry 5 is still a great game, if you can forgive the plot points. Compared to all other Far Cry games Far Cry 5 has so much more to do and so many ways to do them. You can choose where you want to be, who you want to attack and how you are going to do it. Stealthy slow, steady or you could go mad with an LMG and some rocket launchers.
There are so many different weapons, weapon skins and vehicles to collect you could spend hours on that alone but then you have base jumping, a wingsuit, animal hides to collect as well as collectables dotted around the map and for the first time in a Far Cry game, character customisation.
With the new story progression, the way the entirety of Hope County is available from the start of the game and the variety of missions within it you would be right to feel overwhelmed, this is made worse each time you speak to a new character as if feels like almost everyone has a mission or knows of a prepper stash for you to find. Pretty soon your map is full of places to go and things to do and its testament to the extra development that these jobs don’t feel like the same mission in a different location each time. Its also feels a more natural way to discover areas to liberate.
My first real gameplay gripe is the inclusion of Bliss. I had mentioned it before but I wanted to talk about it separately. In every Far Cry game, I have played there has been some sort of drug-induced series of missions. I personally find these boring. They pull you out of what you were doing, add some weird vision element and often have you only able to walk when really I want it over as soon as possible.
Bliss is a flower that Edens Gate Cult use to control others. The issue is, if you walk through these white flowers you start to get the visual effects. There are three milestones in each region and when you gain enough Resistance Points to hit a milestone you trigger a Bliss event. In Jacobs region, for example, you complete the same level over and over gradually getting further and further until you kill a faceless person at the end of the level. It’s all too obvious that at some point you will be shooting an actual ally so you would have to be a fool not to spot this a mile off. Its boring, repetitive and I really wish this element would be dropped from Far Cry games. Maybe not the sex with Citra part of Far Cry 3, that was good.
Filling my map with things to do was fun, discovering a new point of interest can be achieved in many different ways, physically stumbling on a compound or stronghold for example will add it to your map but its not just the battles, road signs tell you what animals are in the region or if there is a dock nearby. You may find a base jump point or find a note or magazine. Talking to a character in the world could lead to the same or prepper stashes maybe even a story mission giver. Exploration is key and I found that the Bliss element was not needed, especially when I would shoot a deer only for it to turn into a bear or to have Faith following me laughing and talking nonsense. Bliss was not needed, there was so much to do, so much to explore that this element could have been left out of the game entirely and it would have made no significant difference.
Exploration is key to the fun in Far Cry 5. There are no hot spots on the map, there is no mini map, you have a compass at the top of the screen and can set a waypoint but after that, you are on your own to see what you can find. I found a lot of missions by rescuing civilians after you rescue someone from a few cult members they often have details of prepper stashes or the location of a Cult compound. It made a massive difference to how I played the game, I found I could enjoy the scenery more and was actively looking for clues or things to do as opposed to heading in a straight line for the nearest mission.
Something that Far Cry has always done well is the crafting system, kill X animal get the hides and craft a larger bag or weapon holder. I really liked this way of progressing my character and I am afraid to say this is a huge omission from Far Cry 5.
Instead, you have a freeform Perk system that allows you to unlock whichever perk you want with only a few needing to be purchased in a certain order. As mentioned I like to play stealthy so that gave me an advantage from the start. Normally silent walking and chain kills are higher up the perk list. However, if you want to gain perk points quickly you will need to switch up your playstyles frequently to take advantage of the achievements which give you plenty of Perk Points. I like this system but I would have preferred a combination of the two.
Making money in the game is as easy as shooting everything that moves. I used entire arsenals to decimate the wildlife, I wanted to unlock everything, all the skins, all the weapons and vehicles. You can do this with cash or with silver bars. You can find silver bars in most liberated outposts and prepper stashes OR you could buy them with real money. If a game must have microtransactions, this is the way to do it. It was unobtrusive, I was never pestered to spend money and it wasn’t that difficult to get the in-game cash to buy the items I wanted. This was not a paywall in any way however, I do wish we could have games without this mechanic at all as I am sure people with slower internet connections would have to wait some time for the store to load.
Revived from Far Cry 2 (which I played after Far Cry 3) are Specialist guns for hire. These are the aforementioned guerrilla army I was putting together and they include pilots, snipers, animals and idiots and each can assist you if you get downed or help take out a compound. I primarily used Jess, an archer who was perfect for taking out foes quietly and quickly and Peaches, a cougar who did pretty much the same. I had to stop using Boomer, a hound who appeared to only be able to revive me by licking my crotch. Sure, it was awkward at first but after a while, I was getting shot just so I could be revived!
The Guns for Hire aren’t perfect though and you are often reminded that they are AI when they run in front of the sharp bit of my LMG on full auto. They can also ruin a stealth approach if you have the wrong character with you.
I was attacking a compound and forgot that I had Hurk Drubman Jr. with me. I took out one alarm from range and gave an instruction to take out the sniper on the roof, there was a massive explosion and the other two alarms began to ring, I shot Hurk on the spot for insubordination and continued the mission alone.
These specialist characters will talk amongst themselves quite often if you are travelling together but this can become a tad annoying when they repeat themselves or won’t finish a sentence. They are far more interesting than the main antagonists which is a blessing. I found myself skipping most of the prolonged nonsensical babble when I was forced to deal with each of them. This is the only part of the game that seems formulaic. You cause a problem, you gain Resistance points for a region, you get to a milestone and you are captured, taken to whichever “Heralds” lair you have bothered and are subjected to a dull speech. You escape by killing and then its back to business. Whilst it’s not the end of the world it does become tiresome.
Something I haven’t mentioned yet is the ability to fish. It has a good mechanic, isn’t too difficult to understand and is actually quite a nice thing to do in a game. I also like the fact that when you shot an animal, it may run on for a while but would eventually stop and collapse. I wouldn’t like to do this to a real animal but for the purposes of review, it was a really nice touch.
The editor, which you are told is great and an amazing game every time you are near the arcade cabinet is a very solid experience. I am not creative at all but got to grips with it fairly quickly. There will be some great user-created content to choose from in the future I am sure, as all the tools needed are here for the right people to play with.
I was unable to test the multiplayer in Far Cry 5 co-op so may include that in a later revision to this review.
Despite some flaws, Far Cry 5 is a fabulous game and one I will play again and again. This Far Cry is far more fluid feeling, the missions flow into one another and despite the plotline being so full of holes, it could sink a ship the game is great value.
At 29 hours in I have completed the main single-player story but there is so much more to do that I would be surprised if there aren’t another 30 hours in the campaign alone.
I will rate this game very highly despite its obvious flaws. I had a blast playing it and look forward to many more hours of fun in this fabulous, beautiful and engaging world.