It is not uncommon to see AAA IPs suffer from franchise fatigue and at one point, Far Cry had the same problem. The less than steller Far Cry 4 and the mediocre Far Cry Primal painted a mundane picture of the future and left me unsure about picking up the next Far Cry.
In a time when Ubisoft was fighting to fend-off Vivendi, releasing successful titles is crucial to the company’s survival. Listening to community feedback was important than ever and Ubisoft knew it, it is one of the main reasons The Division is a huge success, which further opened Ubisoft’s eyes to how feedback from its players can change the fate of its games. Ubisoft’s changed perspective has, thankfully, given new life to Far Cry.
Little nuances here and there play a huge role in changing the Far Cry formula in a meaningful way; so we are not just changing the setting and reskinning to call in a “new Far Cry.”
World and character progression is much different while keeping other fun mechanics from previous FC games intact. Just like previous games, little effort can lead to overwhelming chaos across the map. Enemy and wildlife AI is much better compared to previous games which result in exhilarating, fun, and sometimes humorous situations.
Developers have beautifully implemented what they call “Anecdote Factory,” it is their way of collaborating enemy AI, wildlife, vehicles, physics, and weapons in an organic way. In a classic Far Cry fashion, players will kill, loot, drive around, explore, and watch how the intricate web design of Far Cry 5 interacts with each other.
Exploration is tweaked, changed, and improved. Gone are the days you’ll have to reach towers to unlock the map to access side missions and activities. The entire map is covered with a cloud and all you need to do is visit each section to unlock. You’ll defog the map and can stumble upon side missions in random orders. Side activities, including exploration based Prepper Stashes, are triggered by just walking around and speaking to various characters.
Far Cry 5 hosts a very simplified progression and perks system. No longer you have to find items to crafts your favorite gear, all you need to do is complete missions and challenges to unlock skills and perks through Skill Points. The system is somewhat reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed Origins minus the crafting part.
Everything takes place on American Soil this time as you play a Deputy, out to get Eden Gate; a cult run by Joseph Seed. You go about the game by speaking to people, building relationships, and using them to your advantage.
For the first time after Far Cry 3, the characters and the main story managed to garner interest from me. Joseph Seed is a clam, collective, killer who controls an end of times cult. He uses a special drug to keep his sheep in line and make them “see the truth.” Seed is not your average cultist by any means. At various points in the game he will have a chance to kill you but instead, he’ll try to sway you into joining him.
Interestingly, his dialogues are so well written that his message actually starts to affect you. At least once during your time in Hope County, you will rethink your actions and if Seed is correct. Creating an inner turmoil within the players is the strongest aspect of any storyline, and Far Cry 5 succeeds in this regard.
Still, you need to put an end to him.
You build your resistance and motivate people to stand up against the Project at Eden’s Gate. As the hate and motivation to stand up grows, so does the attention of Eden’s Gate lieutenants. We have Joseph and John running Eden’s Gate with their sister Faith.
Joseph and John are aggressive but Faith is the voice of reason among the chaos. Your interactions with the Seed family are remarkable, they contribute to you seeing the truth, the truth of how miserable Hope County is under the ruling of Eden’s Gate.
These characters are surprisingly familiar and they have a humanity to them that is rare to find in video games; not for a second, they would feel part of an imaginary world. And that’s the beauty of it, lunatics like the Seed family exist among us. Far Cry 5 is a very relatable story about us, about what’s truly going on in the United States; the game addresses an issue which most games would shy away from – a violent Christain cult.
Even though you know their actions are wrong but as you dive deep into the backstory of the Seed family to learn about an abused past, victims of violence, and how they lost hope you start to understand their perspective and how they see the world. The Seed family, truly, wishes to provide peace to the people they “Save.” They aren’t your traditional crazy cultists with a hidden agenda, their agenda is to save people from the end of times and the ailments of modern day society. Far Cry 5 is a very mature and well-written story, never before seen in a Far Cry game.
It is up to you to bring hope to Hope County.
Far Cry 5’s combat has more depth compared to previous games. Often you will find yourself entering an encounter with the wrong type of weapon, and watch the enemies shred you to bits. The solution is to restart the mission with the most suitable loadout.
Not only the loadout but often choosing the correct buddy is the difference between success and failure. Boomer is a great buddy, he can grab weapons, attack enemies, and at the end of the battle, you can pet him for some post-battle pet therapy.
But being a dog owner myself it was hard to hear Boomer get hurt which is why I personally didn’t use him that much. I doubt that would be an issue for other players though. Nick Rye, on the other hand, served at the best out of the buddy system. He’ll be your wingman, death from the sky.
Far Cry 5’s use of death, violence, and mindless killing never feels out of place. However, the trademark humor is still there to lighten things up – you can attend a bull testicle festival if you like. Far Cry 5 embodies the reality of what’s going on all around us. Mindless following of extremists who preach peace yet spread violence is an issue we all face and for the first time, a game developer has highlighted it.