Ubisoft releases Far Cry 5 today along with a new launch trailer detailing the fun new activities in the game. The latest entry in the Far Cry series is available for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Set in the fictional Hope County in America’s Montana, players will explore the open world, battling a militaristic doomsday cult. Ubisoft announced in 2016, after Far Cry Primal’s release, that Far Cry 5 would have a longer development cycle. This appears to have paid off, as Far Cry 5 is already receiving more positive reviews than Primal.
Many reviewers are praising the insanely frantic gameplay. US Gamer gave it a 4.5/5 stars, stating “it’s a playground of destruction, letting players fly and drive around, blowing up things with a bear and a dog.” Polygon wrote it’s “a very enjoyable game with an immense number of things to do,” but heavily criticised its story. Scoring it a 6.5/10, they wrote “it’s a story that goes nowhere and ends with a whimper” which heavily detriments the game.
Check out the launch trailer here.
The most praised part of Far Cry 5 is its gameplay. Far Cry has earned a reputation for giving players organic and enjoyable distractions from the main missions. While the main story is sound, it is everything outside of these missions that give the player fun and personal experiences. Far Cry 5 has perfected the formula, with Ubisoft creating the largest map of the series. The entire map is unlocked from the start, full of bases to attack, animals to hunt and plenty of side missions. Kotaku writes “What had previously just been another side mission to check off of a list is transformed into something special, in part because it was somehow the culmination of events you the player set in motion.”
They specifically attribute this to the “hired gun” or companion system. Evolving more and more since Far Cry 2, the companion system in Far Cry 5 allows players to make real connections with their companions and as a result a real connection with the chaotic activities they are taking part in with them. This leads directly into Far Cry 5’s other great feature, co-op. The entire game can be played with other real players, meaning the insanity is only heightened. However this leads into Far Cry 5’s biggest criticism. Polygon believe the co-op focus resulted in the bland and dull lead character. This lackluster character highlights that the main missions are the biggest problem. PC Gamer wrote, “The familiar fun and open world chaos of the Far Cry series continues, occasionally hampered by scripted missions.”
While gameplay is king in the open worlds of Far Cry, Ubisoft ground them in deep stories. From Jason’s mad decent into Far Cry 3’s jungle, to the immersive conflict that enveloped Far Cry 4, the stories of these worlds are what drive the main missions, creating the highs and lows that leave players satisfied. Far Cry 5’s story is definitely the most ambitious. Set in America, it depicts a separatist state controlled by a militaristic Christian cult. This isn’t a distant land at war, but a western homefront. While this had so much potential as a means of criticising contemporary America, the game backs away from any depths. Polygon heavily criticise the game for being “too timid”, stating “any thematic point to be made about religion, the United States or the current state of the nation’s politics is quickly thrown aside.”
Another big criticism is of the game’s antagonist, Father Seed. As with Vaas in Far Cry 3 and Pagan Min in 4, Seed takes centre stage in the story. Father Joseph Seed is a cult leader whose charisma entrances and indoctrinates his followers. He brainwashes them by appealing to their economic anxiety and need for civil liberties, similar to many real-world examples. While this sounds great, Ubisoft have failed to deliver this in-game. Seed lacks the real world charisma of cult leaders like Charles Mansom or David Koresh. This potentially dark and allegorical depiction of a leader turning America into an anarchist state also conflicts with the gameplay. Kotaku wrote “it doesn’t work, with the split between ominous main plot and absurd side adventures feeling even more dissonant than in earlier Far Cry games.”
While it’s unfortunate that the game’s story hasn’t lived up to its potential, the game is still fun. With an insane and chaotic open world there’s plenty of content to satisfy players. It would have been great to see a game truly question contemporary America, but the anarchist setting is still interesting. Far Cry 5 is available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 today.