Last week, Ubisoft invited us to participate in their immersive Far Cry 5 preview event out at Reinstein Ranch in Livermore, California. The event was complete with a firing range for slingshots and crossbows, ATVs, a meet and greet with everyone’s new favorite in-game pup, Boomer and a supervillain style helicopter entrance from the game’s charismatic preacher: The Father, Joseph Seed. But you’re not here to see what kind of party Ubisoft throws… you’re here for the game.
Let’s get into it. Far Cry 5 is an open world, first-person shooter with RPG elements that puts you into the boots of a sheriff’s deputy. Armed with a warrant to bring in Joseph Seed, leader of the Project at Eden’s Gate, you and your team go into their compound, seeking a peaceful arrest and this is where the wheels start to fall off. This moment sets you onto a path to uncovering what is actually going on in the fictional Hope Country, Montana. Once you finish the opening sequence - a carefully crafted tutorial that doesn’t really feel like a tutorial - you get to traverse the gorgeous countryside and navigate how to best liberate it from the Family Seed and the droves of crazy followers of the Project at Eden’s Gate - or Peggies for short.
Oh yeah, did I mention that Joseph isn’t leading the Project at Eden’s Gate by himself? His brothers John and Jacob along with sister, Faith join the crazies that you will encounter. The game takes on a choose your own adventure vibe with the open world being truly open. If you want to go fishing, find a rod and a quiet spot and put your line in. If you want to get behind the wheel for some stunt driving like Hope County’s venerable Clutch Nixon, find his monuments about keep the engine hot. But if you want to immerse yourself in the conflict, taking out cult outposts and liberating the locals, you’re going to need some extra firepower. Let’s just say Hope Country isn’t without its residents looking to take this cult down a peg or two. Far Cry 5 has a Guns for Hire system that allows you to bring some of the locals into the fight. I found this exceptionally handy in those moments where “mistakes were made.”
While a good number of the Guns for Hire are the everyday folks of Hope County, you will run into some people with exceptional skills. Take a specialist Jess Black for example. With her bow and stealth capabilities, she’s like puppy farts: silent, but deadly. Speaking of puppies, Far Cry 5 also has Fangs for Hire. We have already been introduced to Boomer in Ubisoft’s promotional material, but there are also cougars and my personal favorite: a diabetic bear name Cheeseburger. What’s not to love?
As you fight through Peggie territories and liberate areas, you will earn Resistance points. These points will cause you to draw the attention of that area’s cult leader and they will push back. I had a close encounter with Jacob that could have gone far better than it did, but I won’t spoil that for you. The RPG elements continue with a Perks system. As you complete challenges, you earn Perk points which are used to unlock gadgets, abilities, and upgrade your inventory to help you survive the Montana wilderness. Perks aren’t just for you - your Specialists can benefit from specific Perk unlocks, too. So, what did I like about Far Cry 5?
I’ll start with the most obvious thing: Far Cry 5 is a gorgeous game. The scenery is absolutely stunning. The rolling hills, babbling brooks, and dense foliage creates a realistic facsimile of America’s Heartland. It is easy to get lost in the beauty of the scenery itself. But like nature in the real world, there are inherent dangers to standing around. There is wildlife that will come after you! Pro-tip: watch out for snakes! This living environment keeps the gameplay interesting. While I usually find myself getting lost in open world games like this, there was enough going on to continually draw me back to the task of liberating Hope County, raising up the local militia, and seeking out prepper caches for some extra pew-pew.
Another big selling point for me is Far Cry 5 cooperative gameplay philosophy. That philosophy goes a little something like this: players can join their friends along any mission to liberate Hope County and that should be transferable to their own game. The way that this plays out in games is that every mission you complete, weapon you find, and money and experience earned, all of those things transfer over to your solo campaign. Since the map and missions of Far Cry 5 are so extensive, no two players are going to follow the same progression. This makes finding mutually beneficial questing a high probability and highly rewarding. I am curious to see whether or not this is limited to two players in a session.
On the downside, there is some tethering in the cooperative mode and in some mission, if one player dies, you have to start that mission over again. Finally (and I will try not to share anything spoiler-y here), Far Cry 5 follows in the tradition of its predecessors by presenting us with really interesting characters. While the Guns for Hire have intriguing stories, it is the villain who takes the center stage. Joseph Seed (voiced and modeled by Greg Bryk) is calm, calculated, and charismatic. He’s measured and menacing. His silver-tongued sermons and spiritually abusive tactics have poisoned the minds and hearts of the people to the point of gaining ownership over them. His cultic tactics are in line with their real-world counterparts thanks in no small part to Richard Ross of the Cult Education Institute - not to be confused with rapper Rick Ross.
With all of this in mind, should Far Cry 5 be on your radar? Well, that depends. Far Cry 5, like its predecessors, is a very mature title with some very dark humor and themes. But within its rating, it has the room to cover some very real ground when dealing with the themes of cultic activity. These considerations may not be game-breakers for you, but they are something to be aware of. If you’ve never played a Far Cry game, but like a free roaming, open world experiences like the Fallout or Skyrim, this game might be your entry point into the franchise.
However, if you get choice paralysis easily in non-linear games, it’s still worth playing, but you may want to find a more focused friend to play alongside. We are still a month away from launch on March 27th, but you can be sure that Far Cry 5 is not short on content, interesting characters, or explosions! And Lord knows, we love ourselves some explosions!
For more news on Far Cry 5, keep it locked in here at GameSpace.com and MMORPG.com
Note: All accommodation for this event were paid for and provided by Ubisoft PR.