If you’ve ever played a Far Cry game before, you know roughly what to expect. You’re stuck in sucky circumstances in a place far away from home. Well not in Far Cry 5. Your character is a rookie Sheriff’s Deputy in the fictional Hope County of the very much real state of Montana. This is Trump country. As the game was released into the current political climate, one question that led into the opening screen was whether it would make such commentary like Deus Ex Mankind Divided.
You’re dropped into rural Montana at the beginning of Far Cry 5. Your anonymous character (a rookie deputy), along with the Sheriff of Hope County and an FBI agent are about to arrest Joseph Seed. He’s the leader of a nutty doomsday cult called Eden’s Gate. Mainly, people are complaining that they’re being kidnapped, murdered and drugged.
The arrest goes poorly. I mean, if it went according to plan, it would hardly be a fun game, right? You’re going to have to defeat Jacob and his three annoying, vapid catch phrase sprouting siblings. If they weren’t crazed and hopped up on a drug called Bliss, I’d swear they were running for parliament. You can tell I find the characters of the villains annoying in this regard.
In order to progress, you must do missions, blow up Edens Gate property and cause general mayhem in all three regions. Each region of Hope County is controlled by one of the Seed siblings. Once you’ve caused enough trouble you’ll face off against the boss of that region. When all three mini-bosses are defeated, you get to face Joseph Seed.
There are three endings to the game…and none of them are good. There have been others who have written about the endings, particularly the two “canon” ones. They’re polarising to say the least. While I don’t want to spoil them, they’re certainly not the worst game endings in video game history. For that honour, I present Mass Effect 3’s original endings.
Personally, I had no problems with the endings of Far Cry 5. They’re a real downer, and the game takes an unexpected u-turn in tone at this point. Certainly, there’s no clear cut “good” ending, like with Far Cry 3. Even the immediate predecessor, Far Cry 4, had some pretty tough ending choices for the character. Hey, the world ain’t perfect. Sometimes you have to make tough choices.
Far Cry 5 could be seen as a game apt for our political climate. Eden’s Gate seems to be modelled on other nutty cults. But their main inspiration seems to be Christian extremism. And that’s fine. Most, if not all religions have extremists in their ranks, and the United States is predominantly a Christian country, as are most Western nations.
The world is certainly more polarised and partisan in recent times. Many of these issues might be disempowerment, disengagement and a lack of economic opportunity faced by many. Far Cry 5 takes that polarisation to the foundation, popularisation and militarisation of a doomsday cult. It starts small and grows into something very dangerous.
One wonders whether the ultimate question of the games story is. Certainly, one of the endings is the worst case scenario. You confront whether it was worth it all. But the other question is whether the end justified the means, even if the cult (or you) is right. It’s a tough scenario, which is certainly a very grey area. But it’s actually very apolitical. It talks about the monsters that lead to extremism, and the often tranquil settings from which extremists come.
But I’ll leave those heady questions to you, the player, as you finish the game. I don’t want to spoil it for you.
Far Cry 5 is a first person shooter with some RPG-lite mechanics. That is, you can certainly finish the game on your initial stats and abilities. But to make it easier on yourself, you’d probably want to invest some time in gaining perk (skill) points.However you don’t gain experience points any more. You now gain skills two ways. The first is through completing challenges, like getting a certain number of kills with weapon types, hunting, fishing or using consumables. The second is through completing mini-quests called Prepper stashes scattered throughout the map.
And in a way, it’s forcing you to explore more. To do more. Previous iterations had you hunting animals to increase your carrying capacity of various things. Now it’s a skill in the tree. Both methods are fine, this new way streamlines the player experience somewhat.
Speaking of streamlining, one of the challenges of previous Far Cry games was taking down heavy units. You want to do it sneakily, you grind for that particular takedown skill. No more. You can do it in Far Cry 5 with a baseball bat (or shovel) right off the…um…bat. But this is a quibble, and I suspect there is no right or wrong answer to it.
In terms of the actual cunning and running, this game is much the same as before. The same-same list of weapons is back, and so you should be instantly familiar with them from previous games. Indeed, the mechanics are pretty similar, and playing with them feels like slipping on an old pair of sneakers. In order to unlock their purchase, you’ll need to do quests and gain resistance points throughout the regions.
One annoying mechanic that hasn’t made a return is the climbing of radio towers. There are climbing puzzles in the game, but none that are there to force you to spend your time unlocking the fog of war.
Graphics and sound
To put it simply, the game looks fantastic. There are snow capped mountains, plains and forests stream amongst farm lane and small towns. The game feels like it’s set in a remote wilderness with 4G communications. Actually, this is one thing you’ll need to suspend your disbelief from. How come nobody calls in the journalists and army against this cult?
But I digress. One thing that is immediately obvious though, is just how little graphical difference there is between High and Ultra settings. The landscape is pretty on high, and the scenery is enough for you to just want to sit there and take a breath.
The sound is also pretty good. The music is of the kind you’d expect from a game set in America. It varies from the terrible upbeat twangs of the cult, to the drawling of various country bands and the hammering of rock bands.
Performance of the game is pretty good. However, your results will definitely vary depending on your rig’s setup. On my system with an R7 1700, 16GB of DDR4 and a GTX1070 on Nvidia GeForce 391.35 drivers, the in-game benchmark showed:
|Resolution||Graphics Preset||Graphics Memory Use (GB)||Minimum (FPS)||Average (FPS)||Maximum|
Really, the slight difference in the frames per second numbers show just how well optimised the game is. And also that I need a beefier graphics card. This is without any sort of frame synchronisation technology turned on. With V-Sync turned on, the average frames per second remains at 50 for both settings, with a range of 45 to 55 frames per second in both cases. Depending on your monitor and graphics card combination, your experience should be enhanced by G-Sync (Nvidia) or Freesync (Radeon).
Far Cry 5 is an evolution of the franchise. It remains safe to the core of the premise and the gameplay of its predecessors. But it does change a few things around at the edges. It’s still a fun, beautiful game to play through, and there are always ridiculous physics to enjoy. Like vehicles flipping into existence next to you. If you’re looking for a good, fun shooter set in an open world and great graphics, then this is definitely the game for you.