The Far Cry series has always been a mainstay in my gaming library ever since discovering it years ago. I’ve received hours upon hours of over the top fun gameplay and when Far Cry 5 was announced, I didn’t think twice when it came to pre-ordering. In the newest chapter of Ubisoft’s open world survival series, you play as a nameless deputy who, with the help of some townsfolk, must take down the religious cult that is plaguing the once peaceful lands of Hope County, Montana. Of course, everything is not what it seems to be, and it won’t be long before you realize you may be a little in over their heads.
One of the most important elements of a video game is the story. Far Cry 5’s story has been getting some flak, but personally, I loved it. Another issue that has been mentioned is that it has taken a political turn. I found that while there are political undertones, the game doesn’t go out of the way to attack any figures in politics, which I appreciated greatly. With the current world being full of politics, video games serve as a perfect escape from that serious facet of life, but Ubisoft found different ways to tackle crazy religious American cults.
Of course, even a solid story can easily fail if it’s not backed by strong performances from the voice cast. The ‘family’ is led by Joseph ‘The Father’ Seed, played by the insanely talented Canadian actor Greg Bryk. He plays a great villain who can be suave enough to almost get you on their side before immediately flipping the switch to complete psychopath that has you fearing for your (virtual) life. The rest of the family (Jenessa Grant, Seamus Dever, and Mark Pellegrino) all give strong performances as well. Christopher Heyerdahl, one of my favorite actors, is also on the cast list. This guy has such a chilling and villainous voice, seeing him play a good guy in Far Cry is oddly refreshing.
Far Cry 5 offers a lot of bang for the buck. I finished 1 region out 3 that there are to tackle, which ate up about 20 hours of gameplay. There also aren’t any filler missions (i.e. ‘Another settlement needs your help!). Not to mention all the collectibles and events and the inevitable DLC, we’re looking at a 100+ hour game here, which easily makes up for the US $59.99 / CDN $79.99 price tag. I also have to mention the newly introduced fishing minigame, which was a great in-game experience and works surprisingly well.
Now, let’s dive into what didn’t work so well, like the AI. I felt the enemies were incredibly unbalanced. On one end of the spectrum, you could walk right up to a guy and he wouldn’t react until you get in his face, but then you could attack an outpost and if an enemy sees you for a second out of the corner of their eye, suddenly everyone sees you and that’s it. It is super frustrating at times.
I also found the boss battles underwhelming, especially the first one. They just feel like any run-of-the-mill fight from any other part of the game. You can end it pretty quickly by just shooting the guy in the face with an RPG. I realized, quite early on, that this game is riddled with bugs. Most of them were fairly harmless (such as a truck driving with its cargo floating in the air about 20 feet behind the truck), but some affected the game and made things pretty frustrating. For example, shooting someone with an arrow and having it not affect them at all, or enemies seeing you through walls. Not fun.
Lastly, I really miss the crafting system. Like in the previous games, as well as other games such as the newest Assassin’s Creed, the crafting system provided the player an opportunity to hunt for materials and craft upgrades that could give them a significant edge over the enemies. I found this to be a lot of fun and usually got a lot of it done very early in the game. Far Cry 5 ditched the crafting system, however, and has merged these upgrades into its Perks system. I feel like this was a misstep as the crafting would have just added more gameplay.
Far Cry 5 isn’t perfect, but it’s a damn good installment in a franchise full of heavy hitters. I may go as far as to call it my favorite in the series. It gives us the first memorable villain we’ve seen since Vaas in Far Cry 3 and on top of that, a great story that isn’t too grounded in reality, but at the same time isn’t afraid to show its true intentions.
If you’re a fan of the Far Cry franchise, or even if you’re totally new and just love open world adventure games, Far Cry 5 is a perfect jumping on point.
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