Welcome To Hope County
When I purchased Far Cry 5, I really didn’t know what to expect. All of the hype (and anger) building around this latest addition to the franchise had left me more than intrigued, especially since I had missed out on playing Far Cry Primal when it came out. So I took a shot (no pun intended) on the preorder – I was promised a free mug after all – and hoped against all hope that this game wouldn’t disappoint me the way other big releases had in the past. I’m prepared to admit that the game was fully worth my time.
If you haven’t picked up Far Cry 5 yet, let me just say that it’s been a blast (again, no pun intended). You play as a nameless rookie deputy who is the last survivor (or so you think) of a mission to apprehend cult leader Joseph Seed, aka “The Father”. Seed and his “family” are the people behind the newly established “Eden’s Gate” cult that has taken over Hope County, Montana.
Their official agenda isn’t clear immediately, but their methods are reason enough to put a stop to things before their grip tightens outside of Hope County’s reach. Thankfully, you won’t be working alone. Allies can be found almost as frequently as enemies as you explore the map, perform tasks, free prisoners, and more importantly, take down the key cult leaders. If you’re up to the challenge, and you’ve a big one ahead of you, I promise it’s a wild ride worth embarking on.
No Man May Cometh Unto The Father But By These Whackjobs
While Joseph Seed is your primary target in Far Cry 5, you won’t be able to get your paws on him for quite some time. First, you must eradicate the threats posed by his family, brothers Jacob and John and sister Faith, each of whom runs their respective territories in their own brutal way. Faith, for example, is the primary provider of Bliss, the drug responsible for brainwashing “Peggies”. Meanwhile, John acts as primary torturer or “obtainer of confessions”. Working your way up to these individuals is an arduous task as you first need to gain their attention, and to do that you have to wreak havoc.
This is where the majority of the game, as well as its fun, lies. Havoc is a broad term here as you can do just about anything, like saving abductees, blowing up silos full of Bliss, blowing up gas stations, hijacking oil rigs, and so forth. Everything will earn you Resistance Points, and you can see how these are building in each sector by checking the map. Small things can earn you anywhere between 50 to 75 points on average, but where you’ll get most of your hits is, of course, in the story missions.
Forewarning: do not confuse your Resistance Points with your Perk Points. While Resistance Points are strictly an in-game measuring tool for how much you’ve pissed off the Seed family, Perk Points are what unlock skills. These Perk Points are actually obtained by completing challenges, and I have to confess, I’m not sure if I liked this or not. This is probably due in part to the fact that I’m not the type of gamer that seeks to complete challenges that don’t pertain to the story. Here I’m forced to acknowledge them. Granted, none of them are especially difficult, which is why I don’t mind it. Too much.
The Thief Comes Only To Steal And Kill And Destroy; I Have Come To Do All Of This.
The downside of the Resistance Points is that they take so long to accumulate. If that seems harsh, keep in mind that you’re going to be doing this three times. Furthermore, the more points you accumulate, the higher the stakes get. And with those raised stakes comes raised security measures in each region. Eventually, you’re being hunted at almost every turn, which can make accomplishing tasks incredibly complicated – not to mention frustrating.
If you can get past this repetitive aspect of the game, the rest of Far Cry 5 is pretty fun. It offers up more than killing cultists too. If you fancy a break from your rampage across the state, take some time to go hunting or fishing. Just be sure to bring a buddy along for the ride as cultists will sneak up on you when you least expect it. Or you can seek out accomplishing those aforementioned challenges to max out your skills and become the baddest bad ass to ever bad ass this side of the Mississippi River. Or you can just pet your animal companions all the time, which I spent a shameless amount of time doing. Sorry, not sorry.
For God So Loved The World He Left Us This Mess
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Far Cry 5 is exactly, especially being a newcomer to the series. This game is most certainly tongue in cheek in its execution; something I learned immediately after embarking on a mission to obtain what was undoubtedly Trump’s Golden Shower tape. Yet the game highlights very serious aspects of modern society that we take for granted as being so easily exploitable. Our vulnerability and our fear make us susceptible to outside control, while ignoring things we don’t perceive as threats ends up coming back to haunt us. Each of these sentiments are touched upon as you talk to the surviving residents of Hope County that haven’t been taken in by Eden’s Gate.
Now, this certainly won’t appeal to everyone, especially the small brand of people that are under the impression that video games weren’t always political. Can you remove the reality from Far Cry 5 and enjoy it for the simple silliness it employs? Certainly. But doing so erases the depth of the experience.
The game’s execution isn’t perfect. I feel that it has some balancing issues to work out. I also feel that things have a tendency to get too repetitive as you’re essentially scrambling across the map to kill or be killed. At the same time though, other games of this genre suffer from the same pitfalls, so it doesn’t seem fair to criticize Far Cry 5 solely on these merits.
Love is patient. Love is kind. I Am Neither.
Ultimately, I enjoyed the time I spent with Far Cry 5. It’s a healthy mix of the serious and the ridiculous, which is something I feel a lot of us need these days. Tongue-in-cheek games are, at least in my opinion, genuinely hard to pull off correctly. More so a game that is equal parts successful social and political commentary, which I consider Far Cry 5 to be in its totality. This may be a stretch to some, but this is a point I won’t retract.
Outside of the story details, the gameplay is satisfying enough to make you want to keep playing long after you’ve wrapped up all your regional duties. I was actually genuinely enjoying the majority of my rampages across Hope County, but once in a while something would crop up that kicked me in the ass, which would then cause me to readjust how I approached various obstacles. My meaning behind this is that the game keeps things fun, but throws just enough challenge at you to keep you from getting bored.
Is the game perfect? No, of course it isn’t. But what game is? If you can get past the aforementioned repetition that’s present at times to a fault in this game, you are destined to have a good time. At the end of the day it stands to reason that if you’re looking for an open world run and gun style video game, Far Cry 5 is going to be able to scratch that itch, without question. With a beautiful setting, vibrant characters, and some absolutely crazy shenanigans, you’re unlikely to be bored every time you pick it up. Sometimes that’s all we can ask for.
Final Verdict: 4.5 / 5
Available on: Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed); Publisher: Ubisoft ; Developer: Ubisoft; Players: 1 ; Released: March 27, 2018 ; ESRB: M for Mature ; MSRP: $59.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a retail copy of Far Cry 5.