Please notice, this is a review in progress. My conclusion is subject to change, as I haven't finished the game yet and the frequency of issues as well as the unfolding of my campaign can influence my rating. Check out the final review of the game
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). The developers have journeyed through Montana to create their own version of the state from the inspirations their journey left on them. While exploring Hope County in Far Cry 5, everything you'll see is a mix of real-life Montana and some spice added by Ubisoft Montreal.
Far Cry 5 preserves the Far Cry tradition of having an antagonist that shows off his insanity. In this instance, Joseph Seed, the leader of the Project at Eden's Gate, foresees the end of the world. In order to do the right thing, Joseph Seed decides that it's his duty to help other people see the light, to prepare them for what is to come. While this may seem like a wonderful ambition to have, it basically means he forces everyone to be baptized and become one of his Children, with him being the Father. While Far Cry 5 avoids the details of Joseph Seed's religion intentionally (most likely to avoid controversy), it's clear from the churches and dialogues in game that he's most likely a protestant.
The point of the Project at Eden's Gate is to make people atone for their sins, so that they may join the Father in embracing the nearing end. Joseph Seed managed to grow his cult rapidly, forcing every citizen to join his cult, and embrazing all forms of resistance. Seed's actions were succesful, as the Project at Eden's Gate succeeded in taking over Hope County. Albeit Seed attempts to block all communications with the outside world, a formal warrant to arrest him makes its way through. This is where the story of Far Cry 5 begins.
You, the 'deputy' or 'rookie', fail in your mission to arrest him, and your colleagues get captured. As you manage to escape the cult, but not Hope County, you decide to combat the cult by building a local resistance.
From this decision forth, wherever you go first is entirely up to you. Story elements, as well as the characters you meet on the way, have no linear order. This impressed me. I could start off exactly where I wanted to. It never felt like the game tried to push me in a certain direction.
Along the way towards the final confrontation with Joseph Seed, countless characters request your help. They all have their own backstories and like to refer back to the times where the Project at Eden's Gate wasn't settled in Hope County. These backstories are the most realistic part of the story. It feels like the developers have put in some of the tales they've heard in Montana in the characters of Far Cry 5, which adds flavour to the rich backstory that Far Cry 5 has.
Overall, although interacting with the characters is absolutely one of the highlights of Far Cry 5, the story feels inconsistent. The explanation for the guerilla-warfare tactics utilised by the cult is that its members would do everything for their Father, yet they sacrifice hundreds of lives to capture the protagonist, only to attempt to make him one of them. It doesn't sound logic and doesn't feel logic whatsoever. The dialogues, cinematic moments and sheer fun of the story will entertain you, but don't think about it too much.
That being said, I haven't completed the main storyline yet, so if it improves, my definitive review will feature it.
To me, Far Cry games are all about gameplay. Far Cry 5 has a huge mixture of gameplay components, some known to Far Cry fans, but a bunch of them are actually innovative and refreshing.
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.
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.
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 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.
The segments in which you're supposed to control a plane weren't my favorite. While it did feel delightful to drop bombs and shoot at cultists from above, the controls felt off and ruined most of my fun with it. It's an issue thats probably not as apparent on consoles as it is on PC, but it might ruin some of the pleasure you're supposed to have in the air.
Definitely one of the biggest flaws of Far Cry 5 to me is its Artificial Intelligence. Problems known to the Far Cry franchise haven't been removed. Moreover, the amount of issues seems to have only increased in this installment. Enemies killing each other constantly, allies running into walls, freed civilians taking off as soon as they calmly say 'thank you', some cultists don't even see you face to face, let alone hear you coming. These issues were obligatory throughout my gameplay and could at times spoil my enjoyment. It's such a shame that the A.I. in Far Cry 5 isn't as polished as it was meant to be, because the concept is admirable.
That being said, there were some gameplay components involving the A.I. that did impress me a great deal. Boomer, the dog, for example, would ensure my safety while hunting or during combat. Him licking me to revive me was simply adorable. He also would rise to the challenge when a wilde predator showed up and scare him away on his own. He's one hell of a dog.
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. I haven't played this mode yet, but I'm looking forward to the possibilities this mode has.
Despite being able to advance through the story line on your own tempo, the feeling of progression is what Far Cry 5 lacks. Sure, there are several perks for you to unluck through objectives, but they're too simple for my taste. There's also a system of Resistance Points, and it's not that appealing whatsoever. It basically determines the amount of resources your cult enemies are willing to use to track you down, which doesn't make sense in the first place, but since your progression is pretty slow, it also doesn't affect much of your gameplay.
Far Cry 5 seems to embrace its slow pace. There's a fun fishing minigame for you to try, if you're ever up to it, and the enemy spawn rates are absolutely insane. You won't be able to walk 100 metres before a truck full of cultists sees you and chases you through the county. This might keep happening for 30 minutes straight and might annoy you at times.
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.
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.
With Far Cry 5, Ubisoft Montreal took a risk. A Far Cry game in the United States is a gamble, but the setting paid off. Montana is a beautiful place for a Far Cry game to take place, and you can tell that Hope County is designed with love.
However, in introducing new gameplay components, more of everything and a controversial story, maybe Ubisoft Montreal introduced too much while perfecting too little. Far Cry 5 is by no means a failure or a disappointment, the game is very fun and I'll be playing it for a long time, but the inevitable bugs, miserable A.I., unpolished story and gameplay mechanics make it feel incomplete. The core of the game is brilliant, it's the mechanical issues that could've been avoided with more polish that negatively affected my experience. As of now, Far Cry 5 is awesome and very flawed at the same time.
My conclusion is subject to change, as I haven't finished the game yet and the frequence of issues as well as the onfolding of my campaign can influence my rating. At present, I'd give Far Cry 5 a 7,5.
|+ Refreshing||– Unpolished|
|+ The unique possibility to go where you please||– Story and gameplay have no logical connection|
|+ Great characters, great companions||– Minor issues in all sections|
|+ Multiple co-op opportunities||– Horrible A.I. at times|
|+ Marvelous visuals and audio|