Far Cry 5 is a great game brought down a bit by its predecessors. For years, the Far Cry series was known for each release being vastly different from the previous entry. However, since Ubisoft struck gold with Far Cry 3, subsequent games have followed the exact same formula.
Has Ubisoft made enough gameplay changes to keep things fresh and interesting? Far Cry 5 is fun and comfortable to play, but things are beginning to feel a bit stale in many respects.
At this point in the Far Cry series, there seems to be a déjà vu effect in place. You expect there to be an unnerving antagonist who has few moments to truly shine, but leaves an impact on the player when they do. Far Cry 5 attempts to replicate this success with the character of Joseph Seed.
Previous iconic antagonists Vaas and Pagan Min are tough acts to follow. Joseph Seed simply fails to bring memorable energy to the game. This in no way means that he isn’t a good character, though. The few scenes featuring Seed are really good and underlined with a sense of chilling tension. He just isn’t featured enough.
The duties of the antagonist are passed off to other members of the Seed family. From the quiet rage of the violent Jacob Seed, to the smiling, unsettling actions of John Seed, and finally to the pleasant creepiness of the mysterious Faith Seed, there are plenty of characters within the game that are able to bring Far Cry 5 to the level of previous villains. Each has their standout moments of plot and set pieces to keep you invested in the game.
The story itself is interesting enough. It chronicles the efforts of a rookie deputy to liberate the county of Hope, Montana from a vicious doomsday cult.
This initial plot is bolstered by varied and colorful supporting characters. Such characters include a preacher clad in a bulletproof vest at all times, the quiet leader of a desperate resistance hidden in the mountains of Montana, and various deputies relying on the rookie to help them bring an end to the dangerous Seed family.
Technically speaking, the gameplay of Far Cry 5 is incredibly well-polished and easy to play, baring a few open world bugs here and there. Anyone familiar with the series will feel right at home when sneaking, shooting, driving, or flying.
While there are some subtle gameplay enhancements instilled into the trusted formula, the game fails to add much to the series. What is new, however, is incredibly useful and fun to experiment with.
For example, Far Cry 5 features companion characters you can play alongside. These companions, or Guns for Hire, each have great character qualities and are actually useful for a variety of situations.
When you upgrade your abilities, you will also be able to bring multiple guns for hire with you. Some of these complement each other really well. For example, there is the lovable dog Boomer, who can instantly mark enemies for you from a range. Add in Jess Black, who can quietly take out any enemy with her trusty bow and a bit of range. Together, these two can almost break most cult compounds if used properly.
Speaking of cult compounds, the typical side quests from previous Far Cry games return. These include liberating compounds, rescuing hostages, blowing up enemy structures, as well as other series staple side content. But you no longer have to climb any towers in order to lift the fog of war from the map. This is a major quality of life improvement and makes the game flow much better.
Game flow is an important balance to maintain in order to keep the player interested. Unfortunately, the early hours of Far Cry 5 lost me a bit.
Hope County is divided up into three distinct regions, each ruled over by a member of the Seed family. You can tackle these regions in any order that you like, but I chose to take on the advised region of John Seed first.
Holland Valley is a beautiful region and great starting area to show off the visuals of Hope County. The content in the region is a bit lacking in excitement or interest, unfortunately. Sure, there are a few standout moments featuring side characters, but nothing really grabbed hold of me in the early game.
Luckily, this all changed in the two other regions where the game really took off in a big way and kept me invested until the credits rolled.
Far Cry 5 also offers a side mode called Arcade, where you are able to take on maps and challenges created by other players. In all honesty, the entire idea sounded tacked on and boring to me. That is until I tried it, of course.
When allowed to create content themselves, there will always be players who go above and beyond to create some incredible maps and challenges that show off the potential of the in-game level editor. The Far Cry Arcade is no different.
During my time in the Arcade, I played as an assassin in a beautiful Egyptian setting, relived the events of Die Hard in a first-person perspective, and even explored an alien crash site. There are surely hundreds of interesting and creative maps to be played here. This makes the Far Cry Arcade a mode you should try at least once.
You will certainly get your money’s worth of value from Far Cry 5. The game is loaded with standout set pieces, fun gameplay, plenty of upgrades and toys to work towards, as well as a side mode that will add hours worth of play time for you.
While the gameplay and formula is growing old at a steady rate, fans of the series will be more than pleased with Far Cry 5. And players who haven’t visited the series in a while will more than likely find enough to enjoy to make the experience worthwhile.