Far Cry 5 Review

Far Cry 5


Game: Far Cry 5
Consoles: PC, Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed)
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

A Far Cry 5 review copy was supplied by the publisher.

Faith is at the heart of Far Cry 5 – faith that you’re doing the right thing, that every twisted tale the villains tell you is a lie, and that this insane plan to crash a plane into a convoy of trucks will actually work. It’s a game that embraces its past but still attempts to deliver something new for those familiar with the series’ formula.

While this game will garner attention from its controversial plot, it should be remembered for the extremely polished gameplay and fascinating antagonists. Even with a few stumbles, Far Cry 5 emerges from its doomsday bunker as one of the best entries in the franchise.

Set in the fictional Hope County, Montana, you assume the role of a rookie officer – affectionally called Rook by literally everyone – who is tasked with serving an arrest warrant to notorious cult leader Joseph Seed (aka Father).

Things go sideways quickly after your arrival, resulting in the kidnapping of your fellow officers, no back-up being called, and waking up in an underground bunker. After agreeing to help the small resistance fighting the cult’s countywide control, you set out on a quest to systematically destroy Father’s operations and rescue your friends.

This is when Far Cry 5 opens up to the player and allows them to tackle taking down Joseph Seed anyway they choose. Hope County is divided up into three regions, each of which is controlled by a different member of the Seed family.

You are never bound to a specific location, allowing for a vast amount of freedom for how and when you tackle objectives. Every companion – here called Guns For Hire – is obtainable at the start, allowing players to instantly customize how they want to tackle the numerous campaign and side quests. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at first, but Far Cry 5 does a nice job of filtering the player through the early hours of the game.

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Each of the three regions are easy to tackle early on, but as you begin causing trouble the difficulty will slowly ratchet up. This is thanks to a Resistance Meter tied to each region that fills up after completing missions, blowing up the cult’s property, or rescuing civilians. Doing so ushers a variety of responses from the cult including attack planes, hunting parties, or vehicle convoys. It’s nice to see an enemy that is willing to push back and adapt to your presence. Outside of simply cranking up the difficulty, this presents a unique and entertaining challenge that keeps Far Cry 5 engaging from start to finish.

A lot of this is helped by the three unique regions that offer a surprising amount of variety despite the game’s setting. Each one is clearly influenced by a member in Father’s family, adding needed personality into the world.

Whether it’s Faith’s drug-tainted countryside, Jacob Seed’s mountainous military training camps, or John Seed’s propaganda covered farmlands, you can never escape the cult’s influence. This has the added benefit of keeping players in contact with the villains from start to finish, which has been a big problem in previous entries. Occasionally the cult leaders will kidnap you and offer tense face to face meetings.

The only problem with this is Father ends up getting shoved to the side for a lot of the story development. He does show up from time to time, but his siblings are vastly more complex and intriguing than him.

Father is simply an omnipotent force holding everything together that remains a mystery even after the credits roll. However, his lack of screen time is saved by a terrific performance and an absolutely haunting ending that stuck with me days after finishing the 30-hour campaign.

Most of your time will be spent completing a variety of missions ranging from the mundane to completely insane. A personal favorite was helping a flamethrower using Gun for Hire burn a ton of cult members while “Burn Baby Burn” blasted over loudspeakers.

It’s as wacky and entertaining as it sounds, even if these missions undermine some of the seriousness that Far Cry 5 desperately strives for. Yet, there are some moments that will certainly have an emotional impact on the player, as Ubisoft Montreal doesn’t tone down the violence or cruelty of the cult. You may stumble on a farmhouse where the owners were killed or drive by a series of bodies strung up as a warning to others.

Thankfully, you have an entire arsenal of weapons and vehicles to decimate the cult with. Almost every weapon can be lightly customized, but you’ll need to earn and purchase them from a shop first. There is also a wealth of different types of explosives and buffs that you can apply to your rookie.

These include basic damage resistance to being able to see all the animals around you. We should also mention that Far Cry 5 does feature microtransactions, however, they were never needed or felt forced during our playthrough.

Players can have a total of three primary weapons and one sidearm, with no restrictions on how you mix arsenal.

While many of the missions can be tackled in multiple ways, there are some annoying instances that force you into large open conflicts. This produces some troubling moments where your character build may act as a hindrance to your success.

Far Cry 5’s biggest addition comes in the form of their companion system known as Guns For Hire or Fangs For Hire if you decide to bring an animal along. Made up of nine unique characters, each one has to be manually unlocked before taking them into the field. Each one offers a unique benefit that can give you an important edge when taking an Outpost or destroying key locations. These companions cater to multiple playstyles and can be swapped on the fly if a certain strategy isn’t working out.

However, the A.I. for the companions is hit or miss depending on which you are using. Players can only issue a very limited number of commands and sometimes the A.I. will end up doing more harm than good. In one instance I sent my sniper to a roof only to discover she took the long way around and altered the guards.

This is needlessly frustrating and caused me to abandon one of my two companions outright on multiple occasions. In fact, most companions outside of Boomer will trigger fights on their own, even if you don’t want to get involved. Because of this, just exploring the environment can trigger gun battle after gun battle. There’s always something blowing up or getting shot at, which can make the game quite difficult if you went for a stealth build.

Things only get more chaotic when you play with a friend in the co-op mode. Virtually every aspect of Far Cry 5 can be played with a partner, which opens up a variety of fun ways to tackles objectives. There is also a surprisingly deep and robust level editor that allows players to construct their own missions.

However, you don’t need to construct your own levels as Far Cry cultivates a collection of the best missions for players to enjoy. It’s a nice way to add replayability to a game without compromising the main campaign’s pacing or design.

Visually Far Cry 5 looks great and I experienced zero frame rate dips when playing on the PlayStation 4 Pro. There’s a calming beauty to Hope County that’s full of sun-drenched fields, glistening rivers, and precarious cliffs. It’s hard not to stop and stare after climbing to the top of a mountain or fishing in the middle of a lake.

This world is filled with tons of secrets both man-made and natural, but Far Cry 5 won’t hold your hand in discovering them. Users will need to speak with various community members to learn of hidden Prepper Stashes or the location of important items.

Far Cry 5 Takeaways

Far Cry 5 won’t win anyone who hasn’t been a fan of the series, it’s a great entry. The level of freedom and creativity offered to players alongside the shockingly rich story makes Far Cry 5 an extremely memorable ride.

Even with occasional A.I. hiccups and Father getting overshadowed by his siblings, it’s hard not to invest in the struggles of your allies. Thanks to the much-needed addition of Arcade mode and fleshed out co-op mode, shooting crazed cultists is a ton of fun with a buddy. Far Cry 5 is the second best entry in a series and the first great FPS of the year.

Our Far Cry 5 Review Score: 8.5 out of 10

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