I can’t say anything much different from anyone else when it comes to the Far Cry series. I didn’t really enjoy the franchise until the third entry and I’m sure everyone can either guess why or relate. Now we skip ahead to the fifth instalment with Ubisoft finally steering away from a tropical location and choosing rural America, much to the ire of some. Perhaps ironically the developer focused on religious nutjobs as the primary antagonists instead of warlords or dictators. Both brand new things to a lot of fans. Does this sharp pivot into the political hotbed that is the U.S.A. work out? Yes. Absolutely, yes.
In this tale you play as a rookie Sheriff’s deputy that got tied up in one hell of a mission. Your boss and a U.S. Marshall have a warrant on Joseph Seed, leader of the Christian Eden’s Gate cult, for his arrest. He has acquired much power and one heck of a following in Hope County, Montana, that not only has been accused of kidnapping, but murder as well. Naturally, the lawful document does nothing to solve the problems facing the area and your arresting party is scattered. Now most of Far Cry 5’s advertisements would lead you to believe that the psychotic pastor Joseph Seed is the primary target for your sights. Turns out he has an equally screwed up family that controls different parts of the land. These people each bring about their own unique characteristics and will make you hate them individually for vastly distinct reasons. Being crazy and disturbed is just the tip of the iceberg. They can and will be their own self-contained campaign.
Their insanity is something that needs to be seen to be believed. I know they’re going to be compared to Vaas as villains, except it’s hard to do that considering he owns that word now. Looking back, the third game’s main antagonist was a force to be reckoned with and you never knew what would set him off next. The Seed clan is very similar yet they truly believe they are the heroes in this story. They feel the domestic terrorism they perform is very much the right thing to do and, in my book, that’s what makes them great villains.
Hope County is split up into three sections which each one being controlled by Joseph Seed’s kin. These areas will have separate allies that call Montana home and have a personal vendetta with the ruling Seed member. As you recover from your doomed initial mission, you’ll discover that many citizens need your help to escape torture, forced drug use, and more. These are their civilized homes after all. On top of that every one of your initial posse will conveniently end up with one of the Seed psychos. Your objective is to rescue them and help the local townsfolk at the same time. Luckily, Far Cry 5 forces this upon you as the player needs to complete a certain amount of story missions before they’re allowed to take on the area’s boss. Side operations will contribute to this point total, but not nearly as much.
To truly enjoy these adventures you’ll need some entertaining ground to walk on and sights to behold. I’m happy to report that the cinematography and level design in this game are amazing. Missions will see you taking to the skies in an airplane, diving underwater, fighting your way through a multi-tiered military bunker, raiding a residential home, and much more. Needless to say, experiences never got old and I didn’t feel like I was doing the same thing over and over again (*cough* Wildlands *cough*). Not only that, but the imagery and camera shots bring every cutscene to life. Things are always happening in a way that grab my attention or give me a reason to pause. The diversity between missions and the Seed family was something I was not expecting and I hope it’s something Ubisoft will continue in all future games. The notion of Far Cry 5 “being alive” also deserves a shout out. Hope County definitely feels like rural America (minus the racism and ignorance). People all across the in-game world will be listening to different music, talking about it even, drinking between friends, or fighting as a member of the resistance in the air or on the ground.
Readers probably want to know if those side missions I touched upon up above suffer from Ubisoft’s repetitive problems. The actual side missions are pretty much safe from those woes. Sure some of them will have the same structure like attacking an outpost, but they vary wildly in location and objective. The extra stuff like base jumping, hunting or fishing challenges, and Clutch Nixon hoop time trials are where things do get a bit samey. After doing a few of them I actively avoided their markers on the map. I saw no need to complete them as their rewards weren’t amazing or required by the story. Although if you farmed the fishing/hunting places you could make a sizeable amount of money. Yes, you no longer have to worry about keeping special kinds of fish or pelts.
Gameplay is as satisfying, responsive, and tight as one can expect from Far Cry. To this day the series just the most satisfying gunplay. I realize that may make me an American stereotype, but rest assured I am not a gun freak. You still mow down baddies and drive in first-person with a decent selection of perks and weapons. Upgrades you earn from completing missions or acquiring collectables can be used to level our deputy up. There’s a ton of things all across the board to weapon improvements, lock picking, stealth abilities, torch repairing, space allocation, fishing, hunting, parachuting, grappling, wingsuiting, flying, crafting, and more. [Ed: Sounds like a nice holiday, actually]. Different ones will require more or less level-up coins. The weapons here consist of melee instruments, handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, LMGs, sniper rifles, submachine guns, compound bow, explosives, launchers, and some rather special toys. Most categories will have a handful of different variations to choose from, all with their own statistics. You’ll acquire these machines of death by either purchasing at a store, earning them, or picking them up off of dead enemies.
- Developer: Ubisoft
- Release Date: March 27th (Worldwide)
- Price: $59.99/£54.99/€59.99
There’s also a lot of praise that goes to the voice acting, soundtrack, and sound effects. Line delivery is effective, music playing is immersive, and sounds from any of the guns or vehicles are spot on. Other small, but appreciative, things earned their limelight too. Not all-inclusive you have guns tilting at just the right angle when impeded, grass or flowers bending subtly around your body, the sound of ground being crunched upon, and how your allies actually do something in combat. I was either saved or helped greatly many times by my A.I resistance fighters. My favourite moment was when I realized at the last second that a sniper had me dead to rights. Before I could die my tag along buddy blew the marksman away with a well-placed, fiery RPG shot.
Now in the effort of full transparency, I was unable to utilize the co-op feature in any way. No other friends got a review or early copy and share play didn’t allow itself to work. However, I did find out that being a person joining a separate world will not carry over progress to your save file. At least that’s what a loading screen told me. You will still have help though in the form of rebels for hire. These individuals or animals will follow and help you on most missions after you earn or recruit them. However, Far Cry Arcade worked perfectly fine and will keep me coming back for months. This game mode allows players to create levels or experiences to share with others. Searching for a specific map is easy enough, but by god is the creation feature extensive and intricate. My simple American brain is still having difficulty navigating it comfortably. You’ll be able to spawn or control almost everything down to a degree. Environments, structures, buildings, assets from other Ubisoft titles, A.I., terrain, enemies, elevation, and much, much, much more are all at your disposal to create your own Far Cry experience. I can’t wait to play other people’s creations.
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Of course Far Cry 5 isn’t without its problems. Most notably the microtransactions. Earning in-game currency for weapons, skins, clothes, and vehicles isn’t terribly hard, but if you want to skip all that then you’re encouraged to buy some Silver Bars. These can be purchased relatively quickly after you start the game and will allow you to buy almost everything (even the most powerful weapons) right off the bat if you so wish.
There are a few niggling things, too, like other characters that you need to interact with but can’t because they are in combat. But they aren’t. They’re just standing around. It’s not a massive thing and it typically rights itself if you run away for a few seconds, but it’s annoying no less. Then there’s the story itself. It’s really good, don’t get me wrong, but it did feel like our poor Deputy was being put through certain (no spoilers!) events – ridiculous events – to push the plot along. But that’s Far Cry in a nutshell: Ridiculous.
Far Cry 5 PS4 Review
Overall - Must Buy - 9.0/10
Far Cry 5 is the best in the series, as expected. I can practically taste the Montana air as I explore the mountainous region, performing a more diverse set of actions than I’m used to. The story and villains are top notch and the gunplay is as satisfying as ever. This is easily the peak of the franchise and something one can enjoy for at least thirty hours. Having Far Cry Arcade to fall back on is just the cherry on top. Meaningfully being able to make your own missions can be a game changer in an open-world shooter and I’m hoping it works out for Ubisoft. If only those damn microtransactions weren’t in my face every time I opened a shop.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a physical version of the game bought at retail at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed on base PS4.
Note: The official review embargo is most likely March 26th. We did not get our copy of the game from Ubisoft so we’re under no obligation to adhere to the embargo or any other conditions placed upon those who agreed to Ubisoft’s terms.