A Far Cry from Ordinary
We’ve all probably had that moment when we sit down with a highly anticipated game and pray to whatever video game gods are out there, “Please don’t suck!” I felt that sensation very strongly when I booted up Far Cry 5 . Ahead of launch, there were concerns that the game would be overly political, be filled with microtransactions, and might falter. After finishing it, I can tell you with confidence that it is a success. There are a lot of minor complaints I can make about Far Cry 5 , but overall, it was an engaging and enjoyable experience.
Unlike the rest of the Far Cry franchise, which takes place in “exotic” locales, Far Cry 5 is set in small town America. Hope County was quiet, before The Project at Eden’s Gate moved into the area. This cult is headed up by the Seed family. Joseph, otherwise known as “The Father,” is the ringleader, while John, Faith, and Jacob are his siblings, lieutenants, and lackeys. Greg Bryk’s performance of Joseph Seed is absolutely arresting, by the way. The rest of the Hope County residents are down to earth, help-your-neighbor people. A few interesting (read: crazy) residents are thrown in for good measure. All-in-all, Far Cry 5 represents a breakaway. The sense of awe and wonder at the world around you remains with Montana’s beautiful mountain vistas, sparkling bodies of water, and varied wildlife.
With a vigilante cult as the main antagonist, some may fear that Far Cry 5 is overly political. Considering Ubisoft played this up with their marketing strategy, going so far as to create a gag Bill of Rights , it’s a fair concern. I’m happy to say I did not feel there were nagging, in-your-face political overtones. That doesn’t mean politics never comes up. There are characters here and there, like Hurk Drubman, that have certain views. But these are singular instances, rather than an overarching theme. The cult itself doesn’t take any firm stances. While there may have been fears that Eden’s Gate was going to be a Ku Klux Klan type of organization, they’re really more comparable to doomsday believers like Jehovah’s Witnesses. They believe “the Collapse” will result in God performing a hard reset on the world. Only Eden’s Gate members will survive and thrive.
Far Cry 5 ’s Hope County is partitioned up into five different sections. Dutch’s Island acts as the tutorial area, Holland Valley is overseen by John Seed, Henbane River is Faith Seed’s territory, Whitetail Mountains belongs to Jacob Seed, and the cult compound is where Joseph Seed is based. As you complete missions, free prisoners, destroy cult structures, and wreak havoc, your “resistance points” will increase. The more trouble you cause for Eden’s Gate, the more aware of your presence Joseph’s various lieutenants will be. As you reach different resistance milestones, you’ll be forced into confrontations with the Seed family. This will culminate with a battle royale against the region’s leader and their lackeys. When you have terminated all three of them, you’ll go on to confront Joseph.
There are some positives and negatives to this structure. For one, the resistance points create an ever evolving difficulty level in each of the regions. As they go up, the cult will become more of a nuisance. First, there will be roadblocks and more patrols. Towards the end, you’ll have consistent airplanes and helicopters circling overhead, trying to annihilate you. This creates a level of excitement and adrenaline that I thoroughly enjoyed. When one region becomes a bit too much for you, you can also always bail to another one for some more leveling and slightly easier gameplay for a while.
There is a downside to having so many areas packed with things to do. Far Cry 5 has an expansive world. There are so many quests to complete and locations to explore, it’s almost impossible to finish them in one playthrough. When you reach the necessary amount of resistance points in a region, you are forced into the confrontation with its leader. You can’t put it off to complete more quests. You can go back to them after you’ve finished the boss fight, but at that point players will probably feel more inclined to go on to the next region. Personally, I powered through Far Cry 5 and am using the post-game option to enjoy more quests and locations. For anyone who wants to finish everything before they confront Joseph, you can do that. The last and final battle only happens when you choose to head to the Eden’s Gate compound. But you are looking at a lot of playtime if you want to complete optional content first.
It’s not often that I complain about a game having too much to do, but Far Cry 5 relies heavily on its regional system as its primary focus. Those other side quests and loot caches can feel pointless after you conquer an area. This is especially true since it fits the Ubisoft mold of running back and forth over a vast map to complete relatively similar quests over and over again. The find this item/location and kill everyone there quests are a dime a dozen. Thankfully, some more unique side character quests do exist, but they are outnumbered.
As if there wasn’t enough to do in Far Cry 5 on your own, the game also has campaign co-op and Far Cry Arcade. Campaign co-op is seamless and makes an already entertaining experience even better. You invite a friend into your single-player game or they invite you. Once teamed up, you and your buddy go through the game. Either of you can come and go as you please, so if you start a co-op game, you don’t have to feel like you can’t continue without them. Far Cry Arcade is essentially a new and improved version of previous Far Cry map editors. You can play single-player or co-op matches created by Ubisoft or other Far Cry 5 players. These range from tasks like “bounty hunt,” where you have to kill a certain target, or “journey,” where you walk through a map. One I played was reminiscent of a walking simulator horror game. Multiplayer pits two teams of six players against each other in similar tasks. If you’re bored or need a break from the single-player, these shake things up.
While things are mostly tight in Far Cry 5 , the game does have some issues. There are a few stereotypical and predictable characters and lines of dialogue in the game. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were a few times I eye-rolled so hard my eyes almost fell out. There are some missions in the game that you will fail over and over again, until you get the hang of them. Aerial battles in particular can be really difficult to grasp, and if you’ve got aerial companions with you, their AI doesn’t always know how to avoid crashing into you. There are some lines of face-to-face dialogue that are full of echo, like they’re being played through a PA system. The manual save option has problems. When you click to save, you’ll hear a sound that is not indicative of a successful save at all. The only indication things went well will be three small dots in the upper-right corner of the screen. I spent the entire first day playing thinking that I wasn’t actually saving. Finally, making the loot and pick-up weapon button the same is a problem. I can’t tell you how many times I lost my favorite guns in a fire fight, because I accidentally switched it with a weapon on the ground. It’s incredibly frustrating, and you will know my pain.
At least microtransactions are not among Far Cry 5 ’s problems. They’re a very small part of the game. Silver bars can be purchased with real-life money, but you can also find them strewn across the world. I found around 140 or so silver bars during my time in Hope County. These can be used to purchase cosmetic items for your character or weapons. These weapons do carry over into the online multiplayer modes and could give some players an edge over their competition. However, there are no weapons that are hidden behind silver bars, so if players put their minds to it, they can easy acquire the same guns with in-game cash.
It might seem like I have a lot of complaints for a game I’m touting as being really good, but the positives of Far Cry 5 outweigh the negative. You can play exactly how you want. You can stealthily take down an entire region, before moving to another. You can run and gun your way through all three simultaneously. The characters that you meet are varied and engaging. There are tons of things to do and see, and plenty of real and virtual people to experience them with. Most of all, Far Cry 5 tells a story that grabs you by the shirt collar and never lets go. It would make a great addition to anyone’s video game library, and you’ll almost certainly come back to it after the credits roll.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.8 Graphics
Scenery and characters alike are gorgeous, especially the eyes of the cult leaders 3.9 Control
General controls are awesome, but aerial controls leave plenty of room for improvement 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is repetitive and there’s some minor dialogue echo, but otherwise very believable and impressive voice acting 4.8 Play Value
Far Cry 5 suffers from quest overload, but will give players plenty to do even after story completion 4.8 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|