Thank the Father:
You can probably make a pretty safe bet whether Far Cry 5 is for you. If you had any amount of fun with Far Cry 3 or 4, or the strange-but-welcome Far Cry Primal, you’ll dig what’s here.
Far Cry 5, despite its seemingly controversial set-up, is one of gaming’s safest bets – and that’s a great thing. In an industry defined by disappointing sequels, it’s great to have a series you can rely on for delivering more of the same excellent content, packed full of quality-of-life improvements.
That might not sound as exciting as some Triple-A games, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun regardless.
Much like its predecessors, Far Cry 5 sees you entering a strange new land, being captured by a maniac and then escaping to slowly free the people and take out the crazies. That strange new land might be closer to home than past games, however, with a rural American state full of sprawling fields and farms making up the majority of FC5’s massive new map. The fact that it’s been taken over by a cult of zealots makes it plenty alien, though, and as a born-and-bred Brit it was still 100% foreign to me.
The crazies this time around are the parish of Father Seed, a maniacal villain who is devout in his belief that he is doing God’s work by kidnapping and murdering people. This set up could stir up controversy but honestly, it’s either too silly or too ambiguous to offend. I’d have loved to have seen a more pointed script but it rarely bares its barbs, let alone fangs, at anyone in particular. They’re a cartoonishly evil band of people who ride around in pickup trucks and pick fights with anyone who literally crosses their path, and aside from a couple of mildly menacing cutscenes that rear their heads at seemingly random intervals, you’ll have very little interaction with the bad guys. Which is a shame, because I really had high hopes for these God-fearing nutjobs, and Far Cry have always delivered some truly great big bads.
Far Cry 5 is at once a more streamlined and less focused affair when compared to past games. Ubisoft have taken a machete to any aspects of the series that could be considered ‘fat’ and trimmed it all down, losing plenty of unnecessary crafting trees and making the game more of a sandbox than ever. Within the opening hour you’re let off the leash and are allowed to do whatever you want, however you want and whenever you want. This freedom is a little overwhelming at first, but once you get into the rhythm of things in Hope County you can start having some fantastic fun.
You have a bar to fill for each of the world’s three regions, and you can fill this bar by doing pretty much anything in that area. Freeing captives, liberating outposts, taking out roaming bad guys, or participating in NPC quests will plump it full of experience points, and this player-driven choice allowed me to focus on the content I really enjoyed. When I participated in quests their tailored content felt fun enough, but never as enjoyable as making my way through the wide open spaces, planting explosives on everything that moved and watching the fireworks. Stealthing entire bases or just mowing down murdering hillbillies was just as much fun, and the game rewards you handsomely for doing so.
I wish it had been a little less miserly with cash, however, as I constantly found myself hurting for dollar throughout my time with the campaign. Hunting and fishing seem to be the most lucrative avenues for making paper in this game, which just wasn’t as exciting as the game’s other activities. It’s a shame, because all the best gear (from weapons to vehicles to vanity apparel) is locked behind these paywalls, which meant I had no choice but to spend hours fishing the rivers dry if I wanted a new scope for my rifle, or a machine gun for my fancy new helicopter.
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