Far Cry 5 is an interesting game, its fun and the gameplay is fantastic but the story is disappointing. The game has an amazing start, where your character is a Police Officer in the state of Montana. So the game is based in the United States and that instantly made it interesting for me personally. I live in the United States so in my mind there would be some relatability. The whole premise is, there is a sadistic cult that has taken control of a county in the state of Montana. The Cult leader name is Joseph Seed and he believes he speaks to god and is doing gods work. It’s a very boilerplate cultist premise.
The thing is, even though it is very generic the way they start the game, it’s very powerful. You’re in a helicopter with a few other police officers, you’re going there to detain Joseph Seed but once you get there and handcuff Joseph his followers don’t like it. As you’re flying away in the helicopter his followers start jumping on the helicopter and one gets caught in the propeller with brings the helicopter down. Narratively this is the most powerful moment in the entire game. Seeing these cult members kill themselves for Joseph Seed sets a tone that the rest of the game just doesn’t live up to.
The gameplay is what kept me going with this game. The weird thing about this game is, the gameplay reminded me less of Far Cry 4 and more of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The game was split into the three regions and each region has a person at the top. If you take out all three of those people then you can get to Joseph who’s at the very top of it all. Narratively this is what creates some of the issues. One staple of Far Cry (especially 3 and 4) is the game has very charismatic and almost likable villains. This game tries to take it another step where it has 4 villains rather than the 1 iconic one. So what ends up happening is everything gets spread too thin and not a single one gets enough screen time for you to care.
Now the regions aren’t all bad, narratively it falls short but having the regions allows the gameplay to feel much more organic. Each region has “Region Points Bar” and you want to fill that bar so you can take on the region leader. As you can see by this picture the Faith Region is 13,000, there is also John’s region which is also 13,000 and Jacob’s which is only 10,000. It sounds like a lot but it doesn’t take as long you would think. I would guess that the whole game took me 20-25 hours so I would guess that each region took me 6 hours.
Getting back to what I was talking about with the natural flow of the game with these regions, you can do whatever you want to fill that bar. There are “story missions” but not in the traditional sense. These just give more region points but you do not have to complete all of them. The way I played the game was simple, I would walk into an area. I would explore, run into a group of cult members. You kill them and there is a specific enemy type that if you kill then you get 50 region points. Keep exploring and now you’ve run into a cult shrine and if you blow that up you get 100 or 200 (I don’t remember the exact amount). The cult takes people hostage if you rescue people that 50 or 75 (depending on how many you save). Then you keep exploring and eventually, you’ll run into “story” missions which will give 600 or 900. Then there are side missions and then there are camps that you have to eliminate everyone in which is just like old Far Cry. Everything you do builds up that meter and it doesn’t feel like the standard Ubisoft open world game where you’re opening up the map and checking things off. Everything feels much more organic and free-flowing.
One of my favorite additions to Far Cry 5 is the “Guns for Hire” system. Its similar to the Far Cry Primal animal buddy system (or whatever that was called) but in Far Cry 5, you can choose animals or people. There are 9 to chose from and they all bring something unique or different. One has a plane, one has a bazooka, there is a sniper, for, however, you want to play the game, there is an option for you. The other big change from Primal to 5 is instead of just 1 companion, you can choose two. For more than half of the game, I went with the combo of Peaches and Boomer. Peaches is a Mountain Lion and is stealthy and will quietly take out enemies. Boomer is a dog and is probably my favorite dog in all of video games. You send him into an area and he will tag all of the enemies in the vicinity. He attacks enemies and sometimes he will grab their guns and brings them back to you. If he does go down, you revive him by rubbing his belly. Plus, Far Cry understands that sometimes you want to pet your animal friends and you can actually pet boomer.
I don’t want to focus on all positives as I do have one more complaint about the game and that’s the games scaling. The game is very open, almost immediately so you’re just thrown into the world and can go and do whatever you want. What I found was, early on it was very difficult. I didn’t have anything unlocked and I was dying quite a bit. As I progressed through the game, the enemies didn’t change at all so the game got easier and by the end of the game, I was playing it like Doom. I had a shotgun and I was going through corridors and blasting through enemies, now don’t get me wrong. It was awesome but it does show inherent laziness by the developers. Instead of making it interesting so enemies scale with you, they’re just created once and they’re all the same throughout the game.
At the end of the day, I did end up enjoying this game. Sure it had a great 10 minutes and then the next 2-3 hours, I did not have a good time. But as I unlocked perks and the gear, the game only got better and by the end I was having a fun time. It’s hard to recommend this game but if you’re like me and enjoy Far Cry then pick it up. If you don’t like Ubisoft Open-World games then avoid.