Review - FarCry 5 (PC)
When a turkey you set on fire with a flamethrower starts pecking your eyes out, you might be in a FarCry game. When in the middle of an outpost assault, a bear runs through, killing everyone in sight, you might be in a FarCry game. When the villains stare at the screen and monologue while your character is bound or disabled, you might be in a FarCry game. When there’s little variety in weapons, you might be in a FarCry game. Guess what? This is Far Cry 5!
An armed religious cult known as Eden’s Gate has taken over the peaceful community of Hope County, Montana using guns, drugs, and violence to preach the good word of the Lord. The head of this cult, aptly named Joseph Seed rules with an aluminum fist. I say that because everyone seems to disobey him at every turn with little to no consequence except for sensual whispering towards the camera. Joseph believes the world is coming to an end so he strives to convert as many subjects as he can by using a drug called Bliss. However, Joseph cannot convert the citizens of Hope on his own. His three lieutenants: John, Jacob, and Faith rule their own individual territories, each with their own unique qualities that the player must take control of in order to reach Joseph and prevent this doomsday cult from spreading any further.
FarCry 5 is as FarCry as it gets. Great gameplay, wacky multiplayer antics, and wonderful jank make FarCry 5 a fun experience whether it be in solo play or co-op. The story is probably the weakest so far in the series with a silent protagonist and a onenote villain, when compared to the likes of the unpredictable Vaas or the sophisticated Pagan Min. There’s a seriousness to the main story that’s offset by the bombastic and often grindhouse-like humor of the game’s world. Joseph Seed will stare into the camera and spout something philosophically shallow about saving a sinful world but then another character during the next side mission is talking about aliens or asking me to collect bull testicles. You could ask “How were Pagan Min or Vas any different?” Well, those characters had a surprising sense of humor where sometimes you’d be laughing with them rather than at them and often offered moral dilemmas. Joseph and his cohorts are just so bland without any emotional depth that there’s nothing there to attach to and you never really understand what their doctrine is other than that they’re a radical doomsday cult.
Tone issues aside, FarCry is fun as hell to play and discovering the in-game world has never been more intriguing. Gone are the towers from past games and in their place are opportunities to discover things for yourself just by walking around, driving, or flying. When you come across a house or outpost, you’ll receive a note on the screen that the location has become a fast travel point, much like any Bethesda outing but this little tweak makes exploring much more rewarding, a first for a FarCry game. The only detriment is that most of the locations you come across are cookie cutter houses that are usually as ransacked as the last but they'll usually have world building lore. Nearly all of the buildings will have an answering machine that you can listen to, providing some insight to the supporting characters and other residents of Hope County.
And I think that’s what I enjoy most about FarCry 5: its world, not really its story. Scattered across Hope are these Prepper Stashes, which are basically doomsday bunkers, but within these bunkers, you’ll unlock news perks and cash, and that’s not even the best part. The Prepper Stashes themselves are fun and easy environmental puzzles that can be completed in a matter of minutes, but just discovering the stash comes with scenarios ranging from creeping through a haunted house to hunting a sasquatch. Though the end result is always the same, solving a Prepper Stash is the most rewarding action in the game.
The weaponry is a little lackluster in that it feels like I’ve been using the same arsenal of guns since FarCry 3 with little change. I’m a sucker for LMGs, but there are only two throughout the game meanwhile there’s a ton of single shot assault rifles that I never touched. For some reason, Ubisoft is still locking weapon carrying slots behind skill points so that should be the first thing to go for. Other abilities include the usual array of FarCry skills: Wingsuit, carrying capacity, and stealth abilities. The good news is that you can unlock the skills via in-game challenges and by completing missions, rather than by skinning a hundred animals of various varieties.
Some new gameplay options include the Specialists. Borrowed from FarCry 2, the Specialists are NPCs that can tag along with you around Hope if you so choose. Each specialist is unique with their own abilities and personalities, spouting nonsense any chance they get while on the road and they’ll even pick up a conversation with other Specialists if you have that ability active. The only human Specialist I keep around is Grace Armstrong, whose Sniper Rifle decimates enemies. The best Specialists, however, are the animals, which include a dog named Boomer, a cougar named Peaches, and a bear named Cheeseburger. That’s right, a bear named Cheeseburger. That you can command to destroy your enemies. It’s awesome. These specialists provide a lot of jank and hilarity, along with some nuisances as there has been many a time where I’m talking to a quest giver and my specialist somehow walks into a campfire, downing themselves and interrupting the in-progress conversation, thereby restarting the entire dialogue.
Arcade is FarCry 5’s new multiplayer mode, which also acts as a map editor for players to share and play user generated content together. There’s the standard multiplayer deathmatch and team deathmatch but there’s nothing there that you haven’t seen before in any other shooter on the market and honestly doesn’t feel that great to play. Where people will probably be spending their time most is on the solo and co-op content. The different maps for this mode range from taking outposts like in the main game or walking through a three minute trip to hell akin to PT or Resident Evil. The inclusion of Arcade is fantastic and I hope it evolves over time because as of right now, there aren’t many user maps I’ve enjoyed and Ubisoft’s maps seem to dominate the most played and top rated filters.
FarCry 5 is the prime example of a mixed bag. The gameplay and graphics are top notch, especially on PC as I never experienced any hiccups or major glitches; however, the story does leave a little something to be desired where maybe a little more charisma to its characters might have helped rather than making them as eye rolling as possible. However, the game is a lot of fun and I don't regret my time with it. If you want an explosive sandbox to play around in, you should check it out.