Ah, the Far Cry series; a sequence of game types rather than a connected universe of games. There are no stories across the games, no common characters or locations. So what makes a Far Cry game? Mind set and game mechanics, that’s what. Even though as time has gone on, they have also become a general ‘how to make an UbiSoft’ game template.
Far Cry 1 incorporated the idea of a large open world to play in – something of course we now experience in many games, but not in so many first person shooters. The premise of the game had it that you (well your character) were dumped in a bad situation against a lot of bad dudes. Of course, this could be the premise of many, many games for all time. Far Cry was meant to make you feel that it was you against all the elements, but as the games have continued Co-Op play, with humans or NPCs have been added into the mix making the player feel less isolated.
Games have been set on Tropical islands, in Nepal, Africa and even inside a fake 1980s video game movie, and set back in history in the year 10,000BCE. Far Cry 5 is set in the USA, Montana. It looks lovely, with wide open spaces, fields of crops, lovely rivers and streams and crevices and rock formations to experience. During daylight, when the weather is good, it looks just lovely. The foliage is rich and the texture detail is crisp. We’ve been playing this on an Xbox One X, and the system really makes the game pop (and it plays super smooth).
As already mentioned Far Cry games set out to dump you in a situation where you find all has gone pear shaped, and where you need to fight agains the elements and baddies to overcome and survive. Far Cry 5’s intro sequence is tense, and well produced. It feels like a modern US big budget tv show. Somewhere between Homeland (especially the most recent series), the Walking Dead and Supernatural. However soon after the game starts you won’t feel so isolated. There are many NPCs who will talk to you, assist you, and you can select NPCs to work alongside you for missions, telling them where to go, who to attack. The game has some real Tom Clancy moments, which isn’t surprising as it’s another UbiSoft staple.
The good news is that the game dumps some previous UbiSoft ‘rules’, such as taking over towers to show more of the map, or locations on the map. Last year’s entry in the Assassin’s Creed franchise was the first to get rid of this game mechanic and now Far Cry 5 has too, which only makes the game feel more fluid. Players want to tackle missions as and when it suits them. Some players avoid all main missions and first try to level up and perk up by travelling around the map, organically finding tasks and carrying them out. Gun play is as good as ever, and explosions are lovely. You can drive cars, fly helicopters and fly planes too – all in first person.
It’s worth mentioning here that there is something troubling with the storyline. We don’t want to give it all away, but the basic premise is out there in trailers and all over the internet. You are fighting against a cult leader in the USA. A kind of born again Christian, who thinks he is the second coming. You spend a lot of your time going into ‘compounds’ and clearing them out. Now anyone who remembers actual real life situations, which probably inspired such a setting will know that over the years when people have gone in with guns to ‘clear’ out compounds it ends badly for all sides. It’s a game, and we should see it at that. It’s an action game, and I guess if it was the Expendables I wouldn’t care so much. Maybe it shows that in many ways, how games handle themselves is more important than how some movies do. A debate for another day perhaps.
There is one area of the game that is annoying. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the game needed a wider range of NPC ‘baddie’ 3D models. The number of times I’ve shot the same longed hair, burley man running at me is troubling. At times, the game starts to feel like a Zombie game, as the same people keep coming back from the dead. It’s quite common to see the same 3D model fighting alongside someone looking exactly the same. It’s as if this cult is linked to Resident Evil, and everyone in the cult has mutated somehow. This is a great shame as in the cut scenes the 3D models of friend and foe are excellent. Perhaps this can be fixed in a future patch?
Far Cry 5 also comes with a something called Far Cry 5 Arcade. This is a portal through which you can access multiplayer, more single player and co-op experiences. You can also design your own map and share it with the community. The Single and Co-Op modes feel like the Batman games’ challenge rooms (but where the rooms are created by the community). The Multi-Player is more as you would expect. We haven’t put so much time in the Multi-Player but have had a laugh in the single player and Co-Op experiences. Once you finish the campaign, there will be lots here to keep you busy, alongside the already promised three DLC packs due to arrive.
Overall Far Cry 5 plays really well. The story, whilst not subtle, is well executed with really good voice work. It looks lovely, and apart from the inter marrying in the area causing everyone’s kids to grow up looking the same, is a blast to play.
We recommend you give it a shot!
Review by Steven Gurevitz. Thanks to Microsoft for the review code!