Far Cry 5 is a different type of beast. When I got to go hands-on with Ubisoft’s latest last weekend I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed Far Cry 5. I skipped Far Cry Primal and only played a few hours of Far Cry 4, but the setting presented in Far Cry 5 resonated with me in a way that other games in the franchise just couldn’t do.
Far Cry 5 takes us to rural town in Montana called “Hope County” where a cult led by Joseph Seed and his family have all but taken over the county. It’s a setting and a story that hits a little close to home and something I didn’t think many developers would dare take on due to the subject matter.
My hands-on took me through some of Far Cry 5’s early missions. The first I noticed was just how massive Hope County was. Joseph’s family controls different regions of Hope County and you must liberate each county from his grasp. Joseph Seed is instantly the best villain Far Cry has ever had. His raw charisma drew me into his character right from the moment I saw him.
I started off with customizing my character with a character creator. It’s not the most robust creator out there but it gave me enough options to allow me to create exactly what I wanted.
Throughout Hope County I encountered innocent civilians held captive by Joseph’s men giving me the option to rescue them. Unlike past Far Cry titles there aren’t any towers to climb this time.
In order to unlock new missions, side quests, and points of interest you must first rescue prisoners and interact with local resistance groups fighting against Joseph’s cult. A lot of the civilians resisting the cult will also join you as companions. These companions can be called upon whenever you need help and will always remain by your side.
As I was thrust into Hope County, the first mission I took on was liberating a lumber mill from Joseph’s control, packed with militia and Joseph’s preaching was coming in through loud speakers. Along with my companion, I began to sneak into the compound, and I started marking the enemies that patrolled the mill allowing me to see their silhouettes through walls making it a lot easier to track my enemies.
As I silently took down members of the cult, I also had to make sure not to be spotted as the cultists would raise an alarm calling for reinforcements. Thankfully I went around and disabled all the alarms during my infiltration. After eliminating all the cult members, I liberated the lumber mill and the resistance took over the mill unlocking shops and other missions.
I teamed up for my second mission with a co-op partner. Together we went on a quest with our quest giver to hunt down a psychopath who likes to burn people alive. This time armed with a bow and arrow we went from camp to camp rescuing civilians as we learned more about his methods and why he burns people alive. At the end of the mission we were immersed in a massive battle in a small compound where we faced off against helicopters and an influx of cult members while taking down the psycho at the same time.
One of the things I truly appreciated is the attention to detail. When I shot an enemy with my bow and arrow they reacted by trying to remove the arrow exactly where it pierced them. It was quite impressive. As are Far Cry 5’s visuals. The fall setting is gorgeous to look at and some of the scenery I was taken to during my quests screamed out for a photo mode.
Battling a cult is not all I got to do in Far Cry 5. Hunting allowed me to craft new gear with the parts of the dead animals, and I also got to go fishing. One of the best missions in the game saw me rescuing a bear named “Cheeseburger.” Cheeseburger became my companion much like the dog Boomer can. Cheeseburger has diabetes due to all the Cheeseburgers he used to eat and is now strictly on a fish diet. The mission saw us go fishing together only to have our fun interrupted by cultists.
As an early build I did find some problems that I hope will be addressed for the final release. Shooting, though improved from previous titles, can still use a little work as it’s still incredibly stiff and some weapons can use some adjustments. When I acquired my first assault rifle the recoil was so high it felt like I was shooting a rocket launcher like it was an automatic.
My biggest issue came in the form of wounding my enemies. Wounding an enemy places a marker over them indicating they are still alive and allowing the A.I. to go in and revive them. At first it was fun luring them to help their teammates but when there was six or seven icons appearing on the screen at the same time the immersion instantly disappeared.
The other concerns I had came in the form of some citizens that just don’t seem to have any effect or even care about what’s going on in the world. I stopped a vehicle and forced the person out of his car and he simply responded with “what can you do?” From the way the story is presented it’s hard to imagine that anyone in Hope County is oblivious to what is going on.
On the opposite side, cult members just patrol the entire county with weapons. almost making it seem as if you are simply just there to overthrow another warlord like you did in past titles.
My hands-on with Far Cry 5 definitely left me feeling a lot more positive about the title than I felt initially. Far Cry 5 is still a little ways off but I hope that some of the issues I encountered will be addressed before launch.