Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 is due to release tomorrow, and we wanted to present you with our review #1 in the review-in-progress series. Our focus is mainly going to be centered on cooperative play. Though we received keys late in the weekend, we have a lot to say about what we’ve experienced so far.
The short intro sequence shows the player character and their squad arrive in the Hope County, Montana, to dismantle a dangerous militaristic cult known as Eden’s Gate. As it usually goes, the cult does not want its leader taken away, and anything that could go wrong immediately does just that, including some people you trusted actually being the part of the cult to begin with.
The PC manages to get away and after an epic ride that involves crushing planes and exploding bridges, finds themselves alone at the mercy of a mysterious man named Dutch within his bunker on an island. This is where you take story into your hands and emerge from the bunker to find this almost photorealistic world waiting for you.
After going through the introduction sequence, your character will find themselves on the Tutorial Island and finally access the customization options including facial type, skin color, hair style and clothes split into categories such as Upper Body, Lower Body & Headwear. You can later buy and / or craft more on your journey through the Hope County, Montana.
The goal of Tutorial island is to quickly bring players up to speed in the variety of activities they will be participating in throughout the game such as destroying Cult shrines, freeing civilians and capturing stations, among others as well as to provide the story reasons for them.
In addition to these activities, players will have access to one-time quests such as to get inside a boathouse for a hefty reward or to save a lovable mutt from the cultists. The tutorial also introduces the in-game store with its outrageous prices (prepare to grind cult silos and temples a lot to afford nice arms!), couple types of vehicles and more.
Once the tutorial is done, players are able to team up in the co-op mode that allows you press on together.
Coop Story Mode - Frustrating Potential
One of the big selling points for Far Cry 5 is that two players can take on the game’s story mode cooperatively. For people who really love to play games together, but not necessarily in MMO- or survival / battle royale-sized world, this seems like a godsend. In many ways, it is exactly that. With the gorgeous game world and the notion of “two against the world” sort of thing, the potential is there.
One player becomes the ‘host’ of the game and invites the other into their world. As with the single-player game, the idea is to work through missions to progress the story and complete the objectives involving capturing camps, destroying a variety of buildings, rescuing normal citizens killing cultists and so forth. It’s easy to keep track of your companion as they are always highlighted in blue and can be fairly easily seen.
One of the most fun things to do together is jet around the game in any one of tons of available vehicles. This includes jet skis, trucks and cars, planes, helicopters, boats and more. One player could drive (often ending disastrously) and one could ride along and shoot enemies along the way.
While there is so much to like about playing with a single other person, but there are a lot of drawbacks to the system.
- Only the host of the game actually progresses the story. If the non-host enters their own game, they will not have moved their own story along. This feels so weird as games have been doing this for years. Think of Diablo 3’s story: If two people played together, the story progression was added to both characters, not just one.
- Two players need to stay together at all times. In such a huge world with multiple enemies attacking at nearly all times and with objectives packed with cultists, this sometimes became problematic. Consider trying to liberate a cultist camp. If we wanted to try attacking from two sides, the non-host player would be warned that they’d be dropped if the distance between wasn’t closed. Usually that meant being pretty much shoulder to shoulder. While not a huge issue, from a tactical standpoint, it was awkward.
- Only the host hears the story conversations. For instance, when we rescued a prisoner from the cultists, one of didn’t hear anything while he was talking to add more quest objectives or to provide more insight into his background etc.
Honestly, however, it’s possible to just get in there and have a great time if you can actually manage to stay in the game together. After hours trying to play, we could not stay connected to one another for more than 10 minutes without the non-host being dropped. It’s not to say reconnecting wasn’t a simple thing -- it was and is -- but the fact that every 10 minutes you have to stop what you’re doing and wait is tooth-grindingly frustrating, especially since there was no identifiable reason why and a drop in a “hot zone” could be disastrous for the success of the mission.
Admittedly, we didn’t get into this much as we were more concerned with getting into and trying out coop story mode. However, it looks like this is where FC5 will make its “bread and butter” with players able to create and share custom maps.
Map creators can make solo maps, co-op or PvP levels using all of the game’s assets. These maps will be curated by Ubi, but players will be able to rate them as well.
But what makes Arcade Mode so interesting, is that Ubi is making sure that it’s fully integrated into the game. As you’re running around either in cooperative mode or solo mode, you’ll occasionally find posters or old-time video game booths of the sort you’d find in ….well, an arcade. Clicking on either one of these brings up the Arcade Mode interface that will allow you to jump right into a new map and will drop you back into your coop or solo game when finished.
Players taking part in Arcade Mode will also earn experience points, perks, vehicles, weapons and money that is brought back with them.
There are a number of different arcade styles available such as Bounty Hunt or Journey or Death Match. All of these look like a ton of fun. With both Ubi making new maps and players able to create and share maps, this game mode alone will keep the game going for years.
Far Cry 5 is one of the most beautiful games we have ever played. There are so many moments that are about as photo-realistic as anything we have ever seen. The game play is fast and furious and the ability to take part in cooperative activities is a definite plus.
We’ll be playing a lot more in the coming week, so be sure to come back and see what we have to say next week.
Will you be playing Far Cry 5? What are you looking forward to the most? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.