Far Cry 5 Review – Backwoods Blues
A cultist helicopter hovers low and trains its guns on me. I sprint forward plinking shots on the heli’s canopy, my bullets aren’t doing anything. Thankfully I have a C4 which I line up to throw, hoping to stick it to the heli. I toss the C4, but at the last second they move a little to the right. My friend watching chuckles. “You missed”, he says. I grin a little. “But did I?” The plastic explosive arcs and I detonate it. The explosion is timed just right and I blow the helicopter to pieces. I walk through the smoking wreckage looting the dead cultists as my friend watches, jaw agape. This is Far Cry 5, a game that makes you feel like an absolute badass while taking down a cult that has run rampant.
The premise of Far Cry 5 is pretty simple, a cult called the Project at Eden’s Gate has grown pretty powerful and have begun to kidnap people. The US government, who at first payed the cult no attention, fear that this cult could spell trouble, so they send a US Marshal to bring their leader, Joseph Seed, in for questioning. The player is a new Deputy Marshal sent with the Sheriff, the Marshal, and two Deputies to arrest Joseph. Needless to say, things don’t quite go as planned. After a crash the player is separated from the others as they are captured by Joseph’s “family” with each person being held in a different region. The player is taken in by a man named Dutch and given a quick tutorial on how to liberate regions. When that is completed the player is free to explore all of Hope County. Dutch offers one last piece of advice though, maybe start with liberating Fall’s End. This ends up being good advice as Holland Valley ends up being one of the best areas to start your adventure. In Holland Valley you can also find your new best friend, Boomer.
Far Cry shakes up the formula by adding Guns/Fangs for Hire, which allows you to bring up to two NPC’s with you to fight by your side. There are six Guns and three Fangs as well as three slots for non-important NPC soldiers who you can level by using them in battle. Every major Gun/Fang has a dedicated side quest and you can’t help but feel for them. Boomer probably has it the worst (minor spoilers), after rescuing him from the cult he searches for his owners, only to find them dead, holding hands. Every other companion has a happier ending, maybe save for Jess, she lets on a few things about her past and whose closure doesn’t seem too happy. Aside from the missions all of your companions are extremely helpful in combat situations, each favoring a different approach. Boomer can tag all enemies in the area as well as fetch ammo, favoring an assist role. However Nick Rye is a much more direct fighter, using his modified plane he does strafing runs and can also deliver airstrikes. It’s up to you to decide how you want to play and who works best for the current situation. The game can also be played entirely in co-op, with a small caveat. The game progression goes only to the host. I got to test this feature with fellow editor Tony Marinilli and it was beyond hectic in the best of ways. While the A.I. companions work well, playing with another human doubles the amount of chaos that you can cause. Taking over outposts no longer meant being sneaky, instead it became balls to the wall gun fights where Tony sniped pilots out of helicopters while I used a mounted turret to spray lead rain at any poor sap dumb enough to try to challenge us. It’s a ton of fun to jump off a cliff side and wingsuit down with a co-op partner to a vantage point to scout a location. I highly recommend playing the game in co-op to try stunts and tricks, in this aspect Far Cry 5 really shines.
The game a is first person shooter set in an open world. The gameplay is what you expect of the open world series at this point. You are tasked with capturing the regions and taking down the leaders of each area. This is accomplished by taking down outposts, doing side missions, completing story missions, and destroying cult property. As you fill the resistance bar new story missions kick in with a forced story sequence. While these may be a little repetitive they certainly are entertaining. Each time you experience a story sequence you get to spend a little more time with the lieutenants, learning their ticks and doing something to make you hate them. Each region is capped off with a boss fight before the area is liberated. The shooting is tight with high lethality, enemies go down in a few shots with heavies taking more damage due to the armor they wear. You have an assortment of toys to put in your arsenal from assault rifles to flamethrower and everything in between. Most guns have attachments that you can put on it to improve clip size, accuracy, and sound suppression. All of these components are available in the store. Speaking of the store, the game has microtransactions and you don’t need to bother with them, you’ll be drowning in cash. Skills work differently in 5 as there is no longer a standard EXP system, instead you’ll be earning skill points by completing challenges. Challenges consist of getting a certain number of kills with guns or letting your Gun/Fang get a certain number of kills. These skills range from better weapon handling to having more supplies to sabotage techniques. This means that hunting is no longer necessary but you can still hunt animals for cash. Everything really comes together to make a game that has a satisfying gameplay loop. The only real rough edge is that enemy planes are immensely annoying early game. But other than that the game is polished and a ton of fun.
Far Cry 5 is ultimately one of the best games in the series. Personally this ties with 3 for best game in the series. The changes made to the game revitalize what was quickly becoming stale with the past three titles. Finally the story, its endings in particular, is well paced, well acted, and well written. So come visit Hope County, where the grass is green, the sights serene, and people are a little too welcoming.