|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal|
|Players: 1-12 Player|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol|
by April Marie
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.