Far Cry 5 is an Action-Adventure open world game, developed by Ubisoft Montreal, and is the fifth main installment of the critically acclaimed Far Cry franchise. Far Cry 5 released on March 27th 2018 worldwide and is available on PC, XBOX ONE and Playstation 4.
Far Cry 5 takes place in Hope County, a fictional county in Montana (United States of America). It's the first Far Cry game that takes place in the (modern) western world. While the story is entirely fictional and not officially based on past events, the characters, atmosphere and nature of Hope County in Far Cry 5 are inspired by the actual 21st century Montana.
Far Cry games are known for their remarkable antagonists. Far Cry 5 is no different, although it delivers more of an inspired villain than its priors. Instead of being merely a psychopath, Joseph Seed, as the main antagonist of Far Cry 5, has an actual goal. He foresees the coming of a disaster and wishes to save people before it were to happen. His Project At Eden's Gate attempts to rescue civilians ere the tragedy were to hit Hope County. Even though The Project 'rescues' people by force, most of Seed's followers care for him as he is the 'Father', and they're his 'Children'. The Project is essentially a christian cult of extremists willing to sacrifice their life in the name of their Father. As they've taken over Hope County, all sorts of resistance are to be eliminated and those resisting must atone for their sins. In order to claim the entirety of Hope County, all civilians are to be following the Father. The Project's followers are so dedicated to their cause, they're even engaging guerrilla warfare to reach their objectives.
The main character's background is practically non-existant. You're a local deputy, called a 'rookie' by your superiors, but as your squad fails to arrest Joseph Seed, your colleagues become the cult's prisoners and are to 'atone' for their 'sins'. Since you have no way to flee the county (The Project has blocked all tunnels and roads to the outside world), you suddenly decide to build up a local resistance, though the transition from fleeing the cult to starting a local resistance isn't made very convincingly.
There are multiple customizations available to your character, but your name remains 'Deputy' for the entirety of the game. Even people you haven't met ever, who've only heard about your offensive, don't bother asking for your name and just call you 'Deputy' instead. I found this very disturbing, as it made experiencing the narrative very distant.
In between confrontations with the cult, you'll meet characters with their own backstories, problems and mostly hilarious lines. I could feel the presence of real people while interacting with side characters and allies, but since the main character never speaks, a real dialogue is off-limits. Despite that, learning about the history of Hope County and its people made up for the lack of credibility the main story had.
The progression of the narrative has both positive and negative aspects. Since Far Cry 5 has an order of events that the player can decide for himself, there's a lot of freedom and realism in exploring Hope County. However, the natural problem is that events don't line up well. Furthermore, taking out every single family member of the Seed family (the second-in-command of the Project At Eden's Gate) feels unique, but at the same time, the procedure to get to them is very similar.
Overall, Far Cry 5 has a broadened narrative with no particular order of events and loads of interesting back- and sidestories to explore. While most of the main story isn't very credible, interacting with all sorts of pleasing characters and their great lines was still a joy to experience.
Far Cry games are all about freedom of approach, multiple gameplay styles, solid gunplay and straight up weird gameplay components. Far Cry 5 expands on the gameplay segments Far Cry fans are accustomed to and increases the ways to play considerably.
Like most open world games, Far Cry 5 relies heavily on exploration. The fun factor is, which way you're headed is always up to you. Far Cry 5 features three main regions, each with their own slightly different backgrounds, but in which region you start off is a decision rather than a program. It felt enjoyable to walk around and plan out where I would go next and what I was aiming to achieve on a certain location. I knew I could always head back and aim for another objective whenever I pleased, so the opportunity to choose was very satisfying.
Far Cry 5 has no minimap, which is new for the franchise. This adds a sense of realism and free exploration, as you're not holding on to a certain road or a direct line from A to B to follow. However, having no navigation map on a vehicle and having to switch to the main map (which is in a menu) was frustrating at times. The main map is covered in shadow, until you've explored the spots on it. Then the map lights up in these areas for the rest of your campaign. This mechanic is a huge shift from the bell towers we've all come to love or hate in previous Ubisoft titles, but it's to be appreciated, as it's both realistic and fun to explore the map step by step.
I wish that Ubisoft Montreal would be a little more daring, though. The Fast Travel feature would be better off if removed. There's so much to do and Hope County is beautiful to explore step by step. You're also able to drive vehicles that can go 100 kilometres an hour, so there's no need for a Fast Travel option. Removing the feature would add to the supposed realism Far Cry 5 aims to have. Another issue I have with Fast Travel, is that you can Fast Travel to every single marked location in the game, which means you can Fast Travel in ranges of a mere 100 metres.
The combat in Far Cry 5 is as solid as in other Far Cry titles, but it does improve in a number of ways. First of all, there's more variety in combat. Your melee weapons, which can be used for executions, to throw at enemies or to break in wherever you can, are now of choice. Removed is the famous machete or kukri you've always carried as your finest back-up plan, but today you can choose between baseball bats, shovels, paddles and more. Your executions will also differ based on your approach. Executions in stealth are usually a strangle, while a fistfight is more feasible in a crowded fight. You can also use windows and the like to your advantage.
There's also a ton of new weapons in Far Cry 5. Most notable for me is the compound bow that will be available to you early in the campaign. This bow is great for stealth gameplay, as it can instantly pop a cultist and will not alert his comrades in most cases. It's easy to use and satisfying to play with. It also adds to the stealth gameplay, which was more reliant on bare executions in previous Far Cry entries.
Both outstanding and unique is the ability to fight alongside both animals and humans while completing a mission. They'll follow your orders, so if you're going about sneaky, they will not get spotted either, and if you go ham and order them to attack, they will be merciless. If you do get shot down eventually, you can always count on one of your allies to save you, in which case you can continue the fight right away. They'll also expect you to return the favor if they're in trouble.
To 'hire' a companion, all you have to do is meet a new character. Even the tiniest roles of characters can be hired to fight alongside you, while the specialists with unique abilities require story elements to be hired. Specialists include 9 allies, of which 3 are animals. Obviously, teaming up with a bear and a dog is a dream come true for any player.
The Artificial Intelligence as experienced in Far Cry 5 is nothing less than an abomination. It's worse than in the last three Far Cry installments (Far Cry 2 to Far Cry 4), with unrealistic behavior of enemies that won't shoot you in the head when your back is turned towards them (no matter the difficulty settings), civilians that run in all sorts of directions screaming after they calmly thank you for liberating them from the cult, and allies that act like complete idiots.
I did enjoy the For Hire system that Far Cry 5 heavily utilises, but my companions just couldn't get out of the way of cars, as I mostly ended up having to revive allies that got hit by trucks of both allies and enemies.
The spawn rate of cultists is also as annoying as it is unrealistic. Far Cry 5 made me believe that millions of people live in Hope County, with 4 cultists a minute driving an identical car to the last one in my face while I peacefully explored the county. There was no time for a break, as even my fishing got interrupted by cultists that didn't sneak up on me, but instead shouted at me, alerting me so I could shoot them down mercilessly.
Far Cry 5 has a list of main quests to be completed, all with spectacular settings, crazy objectives and a refreshing taste. They're very vulnerable, however. A bug might not just ruin your mission, but hours of progress, as you'll have to reset your progress to a certain point. I had to experience this myself later on in my gameplay, and it bugged me greatly, as all my previously perfectly executed missions now had to be completed once again.
What I loved about Far Cry 5 is the sense of revealing new mission sites. Talking to strangers revealed a new location to be explored, reading certain signs would tell me what animals I could hunt in which regions, and side characters had some cool missions for me to complete at all times. It made playing through the game feel all the more immersive and realistic.
The Far Cry 5 campaign is in its entirety playable with a friend in a special co-op mode. If you don't have any friends to play Far Cry 5 with, you can use the For Hire system during the campaign to let almost all artificial companions join you in freeing Hope County from the Project at Eden's Gate. This system works phenomenally, as you can switch out comrades to your liking.
Another gameplay mode, Far Cry Arcade, is a new mode reminiscent of the Map Editor of previous titles. However, it appears to be more varied and very advanced. It's like a level creator, but therefore underdeveloped at the moment, as most good creations are yet to be enjoyed. This will improve over time though, as the potential of Far Cry Arcade seems endless.
Far Cry 5 has more ways than any Far Cry game before it to be played. Its features are a blast to play through, its missions are great both in quality and quantity, but the execution of its gameplay components is poor, with bugs, terrible A.I. and reoccuring events ruining your enjoyment from time to time.
Visuals And Audio
Ubisoft Montreal has done a phenomenal job in capturing the beauty of Montana. The textures and effects are of very high quality, and even on low-end computers, you'll be allowed to relish the nature of Hope County.
Although most of the graphics are phenomenal and very pretty to look at, I noticed some issues with the lighting. I had to change my gamma consistently to avoid visual issues in darker cinematic scenes. However, even while messing around with my gamma settings, some dark scenes remained unpleasant to watch due to the lighting issues. When I was outside, on the other hand, none of these issues ever arose. They were only apparent in unlit rooms.
One more issue I've encountered is in the character designs. When I had to watch cutscenes through my gameplay, I was able to enjoy the great animations of both the characters and the environment. When encountering characters during gameplay, however, they would turn into emotionless robots, and were almost never in sync with their voice acting. The subtitles would also not synchronize with their text frequently, and this is also a result of not enough polish.
I can't think of a single issue or nitpick with the sound of Far Cry 5. It's either great or more than great. The soundtracks are gratifying, the sound effects and atmospheric sound is on point and the voice acting is passionate. What I hear is also in line with what I see; I can see Montana and I can hear it. This makes Far Cry 5 immersive as an experience.
Far Cry 5 is one step forward for Far Cry, but also two steps backwards. Technical issues are too common, and if you manage to avoid them, the overall quality of gameplay just isn't satisying enough with unrealistic occurences. What Far Cry 5 does well is in both its sensation and options. The story isn't very credible, but it works very well for a Far Cry game, and the many opportunities to play through its many missions make Far Cry 5 the most varied Far Cry game to date.
Far Cry works just as well in beautiful Montana as in the Himalaya's or the jungle, the experiment can be considered to be successful. Being technically backwards, on the other hand, eliminates the major impact Far Cry 5 could've had on the Far Cry franchise, as for now it's nothing more than an enjoyable Far Cry game, not a masterpiece.
|+ Freedom of approach and exploration||– Horrendous A.I.|
|+ A wide variety of missions||– Game-breaking bugs|
|+ A wide variety of gameplay options, also in co-op||– The story is not credible|
|+ Great characters and lines||– Lack of polish in all gameplay components|
|+ Charming visuals and audio|