Religion can make you do strange things. The most devoted of those who believe in their holy god will go to the utmost lengths to make sure that their voice is heard and the will of their deity is done. Far Cry 5 explores this concept to its most extreme end by asking just how far will people go for their god? The Ubisoft sandbox playground is back once more and this time it feels a lot more personal. Let’s see how this game pans out.
The story of this entry in the Far Cry series feels very familiar and yet also different enough to make it an interesting concept. In the fictional county of Hope, Montana a religious group called Eden’s Gate has risen to prominence and after certain events have taken the entire region hostage. They believe that the end of the world is coming soon and that they must take what they can, save as many souls as possible and punish as many sinners before the inevitable collapse of the world. You play as a custom made Deputy who has been stranded in the region after a mission to arrest their leader, Joseph Seed, goes horribly wrong. Now it’s up to you to start a resistance, drive back the cult and help free the people of Hope County. If you’ve played any other Far Cry game this all sounds very familiar with a charismatic bad guy controlling everything and you must stop it as a one man army however the rural American setting is an interesting change. While the other games focused on exotic locations this feels a lot more personal and more like you are defending your own home rather than stopping a terrible dictatorship in a foreign country. It helps to add more personality and charm to the game when you do shootouts in the middle of a small western village instead of a deep jungle. I will say however that Joseph himself was not that interesting of a character for me which is a shame as previous entries in the series have always had such interesting villains. I instead preferred his underlings who had more personality and interesting motivations than he did. Ultimately the story ended up feeling just like your typical Far Cry game but just a little closer to home.
The presentation of this game goes for a more colourful feel which perfectly matches the tone of this game. This entry doesn’t take itself seriously at all and much of the look of Far Cry 5 is designed around this. Rural Hope is a beautiful mesh of bright lighting, lush greens and in the villages warm browns and reds which really makes the county seem open and welcoming. In stark contrast of course the cult have a very militaristic feel which is most obvious in the various facilities that they own throughout the region. The graphics of course looks beautiful, even on the lowest settings which I ran on to give the smoothest framerate and in particular I give praise to the facial animations which look absolutely stunning and behave exactly like you would expect them to. The music in this game goes for a country-western style and while it isn’t very memorable it at least fits the location of the game and I never found myself despising the tracks (though whenever I drove a cult vehicle I had to change the radio station off from their god awful christian hymn music). Unfortunately I was a bit dissapointed in the enemy variety of the cult which outside of a few story specific interesting foes to fight essentially boiled down to guys with guns and armored guys with guns, though I do appreciate being able to mark them as enemies which helped me to not get them mixed up with allies easily.
The gameplay is your typical Ubisoft sandbox experience which a huge variety of tasks to do, people to kill and places to liberate. You’re certainly getting your moneys worth with this game as there is so much to do and see that you could never hope to truly be done with the game for a long time. As I mentioned before a lot of the missions lead onto the silly side of things which this game suits greatly as taking off the serious training wheels allows this game to do what it does best, give you a variety of guns and companions and blow up some cultists. One of the biggest and most welcome changes is the lack of needing to map out areas anymore, instead you simply walk in any direction and go where you wish. This really opens up this game and it feels a lot more free than the other entries. The gunplay is honed to almost perfection as animations, hit detection and just how the guns feel is almost as good as it’s gonna get which makes the combat incredibly fun and exciting. There’s also perks that can give you abilities or upgrades that can help you in and out of combat which gives real incentives to complete those side missions aside from extra story progression. Also as I mentioned before you can hire companions to help you on your journey and while you can ask any resistance fighter to help you there are also a variety of special fighters with their own unique abilities and strengths over your average person. My favourite was Boomer the dog as he was a good travelling companion and was so useful in spotting enemies. I did find a lot of the side quests however to be a bit repetitive and your typical filler quests of ‘Go here and find/kill/collect these three things’ however there were a few exceptions to this rule such as the quest in which you help a conspiracy theorist contact aliens or help organise a village’s testicle festival (I now realise the phrase testical festival is now on my site, I’m never living this down).
The main negative thing I can say about Far Cry 5 is that it doesn’t do too much different from the other games that provides huge innovation. It feels as though the game is simply honed to the best it can be instead of actually changed too much. This could be a big problem for people who already felt burnt out on the series and thought that this entry might bring them back. I will say though that the decision to focus on making this game’s tone light hearted is a genius as it really fits the gameplay of Far Cry much better than a serious shooter though it does make it feel a bit unsure of the moral message it is trying to tell us when some scenes with the cult leaders are full of serious imagery and interesting questions and in the next few minutes you’re exploding bears with a magnet gun.
I however really enjoyed my time with Far Cry 5. It’s probably my favourite entry in the series as embracing the insanity of the idea of a crazy cult taking over an entire US county really helps to make this entry feel more unique than the other Far Cry games. Combine this with beautiful graphics, stellar multiplayer co-op and the ability to create your own levels and scenarios in a completely seperate multiplayer gamemode and you have yourself a recipe for a fun experience that you will very much get your moneys worth out of. For getting this game all I need to tell you is to just say Yes.