So here we are with another iteration to the Far Cry franchise but this time with a twist from its original exotic far away places. Far Cry 5 is the same experience you come to expect from the franchise only this time it is set in Hope County, Montana, a location that is far more relatable, and much closer to home for our American cousins, of course it’s a fictional town filled with its own demons and those trying to escape from them.
The very beginning of the game sees you travelling by helicopter with a U.S. Marshal to arrest this cult leader who has been capturing people and torturing them to follow his fanatical ways.
This is where the game first introduces you to Joseph Seed aka The Father of Edens gate or PEGIS (Project At Edens Gate) as the locals call them. As you walk past all the cult members in the early cut scene you are introduced to the leader and his 3 generals with a moment that brings chills down your spine.
Your first choice in the game is to arrest the father or leave, that’s your choice to make, but let’s go by my choice for now. As you take the father in handcuffs to the extraction helicopter the cult start to become enraged around you and shout and scream at you, once the father is on the helicopter you see how devoted they are, they jump into the blades of the helicopter sacrificing themselves and causing the helicopter to crash.
From this moment is where Far Cry gives you the reigns albeit for a short period, once you have escaped the cult and located a safe bunker you’re introduced to the first character that will talk to you through the whole campaign, his name is Dutch. This instalment in the series changes up it’s standard formula of using specific named characters, in hope county you are an unnamed deputy so it’s down to you how you look and what you wear. The customisation is not incredibly detailed but does give you enough for variety in character looks, after all variation is the spice of life.
Once you have created your character you are introduced to a quest that shows Ubisoft has heard the gripes that fans have had with their early iterations of the series and they even poke fun at themselves. But of course we all know which part of the games we all had issues with and that is of course the 100 Towers you have to climb to earn weapons and skill points.
Something long time fans found is the staple of unlocking weapons and locations, fear not however, this is the only time in the entire campaign you have to do this and Dutch even references that in his communication at the end.
Driving is back but this time with more control than ever before, you don’t feel like the vehicles in the game are unrealistically hard to control and getting from one section to another is easier with the inclusion of planes and helicopters which are something new to the franchise.
The county of Montana is split into 3 large regions each rich with side quests, collectables and side games to play or ignore that’s your choice. Each region is run by one of the father’s generals and they hint at which one you should start off liberating first and yet the choice is completely yours.
Each section can be liberated by completing the side quests and destroying certain objects which differ in each region, in John’s region you have to destroy the silos containing fertilizer that the cult uses to create explosives for example. As you traverse the map you don’t have set pointers on where you should go but instead the story missions occur only after you have conquered enough of the territory which is another first for Far Cry.
Each territory is unique to the general who over sees it and the enemies vary from each zone to the next, the story itself feels solid and fun to play through with characters that don’t seem impossible or unrealistic.
This new formula makes you search out parts of the map for secrets such as prepper stash’s that grant you guns, cash and skill points. You gain these skill points from finding skill books or completing objectives, like getting 100 kills using a pistol, the skills you unlock help with progression through the tougher region and allow you to improve your character and adapt it to your play style.
You’re introduced to your companions by finding their quests in the world or rescuing civilians from the PEGIS, the named characters have set quests that in the end afford you the ability to call on them for help throughout the game.
The iconic character is Boomer who’s traits allow him to mark all enemies close by and even steal their weapons and bring them to you, every recruit-able character be it named or otherwise has unique traits, the civilian characters unlock two traits as you use and play alongside them.
The map itself is as you’d expect from, lots of secrets areas and wildlife that is not always friendly. You almost feel as if it could be a real place even the stories you hear around the world help to entrench you deep within this worlds lore.
A new addition is the inclusion of Far Cry arcade, this mode lets you use the skills you have unlocked in missions created by the map maker, something that’s very enjoyable to play around with and includes assets from other Ubisoft titles.
Now we talk about the dreaded micro-transactions that have plagued games for a while now, although these are present, they are not game changing and are just a quick way for those of us who do not have the time to play for hours to unlock weapons and vehicles. If you don’t have enough cash for a costume or vehicle then you can use the currency which is a reward for completing the weekly challenges or finding small amounts in game. Not once did i feel I was locked out of content by this barrier which is a great move, but for those of us who want the benefits but don’t have the time to grind for them it’s helpful.
The weekly challenges change each week and grant you unique in game costumes and weapons that would not be available by any other in game means. These challenges set you out to complete a milestone by doing a certain task such as playing arcade for 20 minutes which would reward you with the vector and an in-game arcade skin, the challenges also offer you silver bars which are micro-transaction items.
Now once you’ve finished the main story and completed as many side quests as you choose to, there are other activities such as the clutch Nixon events which gives you a vehicle and pits you against the AI in extravagant courses somewhat reminiscent to that of Evel Knievel.
For those who want to just spend time and admire the county of Montana there are fishing spots that you can go to and even try and break records set in each region, upgrade your fishing rod and have fun, but beware of bears.
The customisation available for the weapons is a fun inclusion and allows you to customise how you play the missions using your favourite weapons. Each weapon has a standard set of attachments and even skins that can be used, each of which change how the gun operates and often changes the play style of the game itself, want to go stealth then throw on a silencer etc. Although the customisation is limited its not small enough to feel useless.
Overall once these activities and side quests have been completed Far Cry 5 still brings you back with the Arcade builder, but having said that the game can become stale after a prolonged period of time, this is something they can improve on with more DLC, weapons and enemies to fight.
OVERALL: 8/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Adam Walters.