Far Cry 5 is indeed one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. There were mixed opinions about the game when the Ubisoft revealed the trailer of the game, with some people appreciating the change in the setting and the introduction of a new villain which reminded people of one of the most critically appreciated villains of all time, Vaas; while others, foresaw the game to be merely a polished version of the previous titles in the series. Does the game perform in accordance with the people who praised it, or vice versa? Let’s find out.
Far Cry 5 is an action-adventure first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game is available now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One from March 27, 2018.
Far Cry 5
Story and Narrative
Far Cry 5 brings players to America in Hope County, Montana. Players play as the new junior deputy in town, and with their arrival a years-long silent coup by a fanatical doomsday cult, the Project at Eden’s Gate, is incited, igniting a violent takeover of the county. The players fight against the cult leader, John Seed, and his siblings who try to take over all aspects of the life of the civilization and work towards arousing the civilians to build a resistance against the cult leadership and disrupt their plans. The Project at Eden’s Gate believes that the doomsday, the Collapse, is near and avoidable, so they aim to do as many goods as they can and achieve salvation for their souls.
The game begins off with a tense scene where John Seed is being captured and somehow the tables turn and he escapes. We then work towards building a resistance against the cult leaders. The game utilizes various posters which are spread across the world and NPCs for storytelling. Thankfully, a majority of storytelling is done by these elements and not by cutscenes. The various NPCs spread across reveal information about the cult leaders and at the same time unlock missions for the players. Overall, while one may not expect a very good story or a robust narrative, Far Cry 5’s story and narrative are above average.
Gameplay & Mechanics
Far Cry 5, underwent several changes and refuted several elements which were a part of earlier titles in the franchise and gave the franchise a name. The overhaul in certain gameplay elements may prove to be a two-edged sword for the developers. But personally, for Far Cry 5, these changes, proved to be a blessing in disguise since it overshadowed many flaws in the game.
The basic gameplay which is inherent in the Far Cry franchise remains intact in this game, i.e., you traverse around the environment in various vehicles, wingsuits, etc; take out enemies and their outposts along with your AI-controlled or Co-op friend; take out convoys; kill and skin animals to craft items and earn XP to unlock perks.
The very last part has been tweaked a bit. You no longer need to grind for XP to unlock specific skills, or skin animals to increase the amount of ammunition you can carry for instance, instead you have to complete challenges which award you with points which you can then spend to unlock perks, and these perks include a wide variety of new abilities for your character, new gadgets and gear to play with, and improvements to your Guns for Hire.
The new skill acquisition system which introduces challenges to unlock perks, encompasses the breadth and depth of the game systems, encouraging players to try new ways to play.
Ubisoft leaves no stone unturned in making beautiful open words for their games, but they turn out to be lifeless, due to the lack of enough elements which would further contribute to player’s immersion in the open world itself. Travelling vast stretches of sparsely populated land with almost zero interaction, might not turn out to be mundane at first, but as soon as one puts in more hours into the game, it becomes seemingly boring like other open world games of the Ubisoft franchise. That’s where fast travel and co-op comes to the rescue. While fast travel ensures that players don’t have to unnecessarily travel through explored areas in order to reach their destination, it somewhat nullifies the significance of open world.
The open world exploration gets a rather welcome change again. Earlier people had to rely on radio towers to unlock locations in the map, but this time, Ubisoft has incorporated a wider approach by giving players the freedom to play the game they want, i.e., they can play any mission in the order they like, and they can unlock any area which they want to by just traveling to the same which would lead to the dispersal of the fog in the map. The world is literally “open” after the introductory mission and players have the freedom to play the game as they like. This change foreshadows the repetitive aspect of the game and prevents it from being bland by increasing player immersion.
The core aspect of the game lies in doing certain activities inherited from the franchise, i.e., liberating outposts, attacking convoys, and doing certain story missions (to name a few) to increase your resistance meter. This is the aspect of the game which gets repetitive in the long run and suffers the same fate as Ghost Recon: Wildlands.
Another notable change in the game is the way players unlock missions. Earlier radio towers used to unlock missions for players, but this time Ubisoft has completely done away with those and have instead gone with an interactive way for the same. Players need to talk with various NPCs spread across the game’s open world to unlock missions, and various exploration based missions.
Moreover, the missions don’t involve doing the stuff marked on the screen to complete the objective, a feature which Ubisoft has been heavily criticized for in the past. Instead, players are only given the objective, and they have to find their own way to achieve it. For instance, one of the introductory missions involves gaining access to a boathouse. Players are just told to find a way into the same, while they have to alone a figure out the way to do it, which involves following the wires and then traveling underwater to get access to power supply of the boathouse, repairing it, and then using the valve to drain the power supply to gain access to the boathouse. This was another welcome change and it makes even the most boring missions somewhat interesting.
The Guns for Hire and Fangs for Hire are pretty well implemented in the game. Players can have two slots (one from the beginning and the second slot can be unlocked later on) for Guns For Hire/ Fangs for Hire out of which they can replace one with their co-op friend. Players can recruit the specialists from each region as Guns for Hire. All these recruitable characters have their own unique abilities, and thus players have a wide variety of options to choose to support their playstyle.
Fangs for Hire gives the players the ability to hire a bear, a cougar or a dog. The animals help in distracting the enemies, and at the same time attack them. Moreover, dogs bring dropped weapons nearby if you are out of ammo. Both of these prove to be somewhat beneficial amidst a combat, although the AI isn’t challenging as such and I did most of the missions without hiring any of them as they had to be revived if they took too much damage, which they did frequently. They do help a lot though in doing the various missions and at the same time completing the various objective, i.e., liberating outposts without alarms, etc.
Crafting in the game gets another change, but it reduces the very significance of the feature. Earlier players had to rely on crafting to increase ammunition and do other stuff, but now crafting is focused on throwable weapons and explosives, and the ability-boosting homeopathics. Although there are a wide variety of throwable weapons and homeopathics that can be crafted, the AI doesn’t pose any challenge as such, and the health regeneration feature reduces the significance of the crafting elements in the game.
There are many side activities in the game like hunting, fishing, skydiving to name a few. There are various lakes and river spread across Montana and they offer a fun relief from the hectic environment traversal. To successfully catch specific types of fish, players must utilize different attachments and rods to lure the fish and tire them out. Moreover, fishing spots give players access to NPCs who acts as a shopkeeper in the real world. There are various other fun activities in the world which players can engage in. The vehicular side quest which involves reaching specific objectives in the limited time frame, the ability to scale mountains with grapple perk, and the ability to skydive(once you unlock the perk, which can be done pretty early in the game) are pretty decent optional additions to the main game. Hunting in the game is also reduced to a way to get cash for buying weapons and stuff, unlike in the previous titles of the franchise, where hunting formed a part of crafting. There are many hunting spots in the world which can be unlocked by exploring the open world and players can lure predators by using baits. Due to the decreased significance of hunting, players will also no longer see the long sequences of skinning the animals like in the previous titles of the franchise.
Health regeneration was never a part of Far Cry titles, and I won’t be surprised if players miss the good old bandaging sequences which were a trademark of the Far Cry series. I had no issues in defeating enemies while wielding the most basic guns in the game, and this is a mere implication of the fact that the health regeneration makes it easier to fight enemies by hopping in and out of cover at will and, the weapons are very well balanced.
This further nullifies the significance of the very few micro-transactions which are present in the game. The micro-transactions in the game are of purely cosmetic and optional nature, and I do think they are really well implemented. There is absolutely no need for players to use their credit card after buying the game, since there are hardly any or rather no game-breaking micros. The various micro-transactions in the game are as follow :
- Prestige Weapon Skins – these are unique visuals with no effect on gameplay.
- Prestige Weapons – these have a unique skin and can be unlocked earlier in the campaign with Silver Bars than they would through regular gameplay.
- Prestige vehicles – these have a unique skin. Comparable vehicles can also be found in the world.
- Outfits unique outfit designs that have no effect on gameplay.
There are a wide variety of vehicles which can be driven in the game. Vehicle controls are pretty good unlike in some other titles developed by Ubisoft. The first person perspective while driving vehicles decreases the accuracy, but makes the game realistic. The vehicles in the game are also in accordance with the setting of the game, and hence players will find pickup trucks and fashioned planes like one may find in America. The various sidequests in the game are very diverse and range from simple missions to vehicular challenges.
Co-op, is not well implemented. But the game does become somewhat less boring when you are with a friend. Players can play co-op by replacing one Gun For Hire with a friend, while they still can have either one Guns For Hire/Fangs for Hire. The reason why the co-op is badly implemented due to the inability of the guest-friend to carry over their World Progression when they are back to their own game. While Character Progression carries over, the inability to carry World Progression forces the player to redo the missions they have done on co-op. The lack of this feature is somewhat justified since players enter a host’s game as Guns for Hire and not a proper character, but still, this makes the co-op feature somewhat less relevant and a mere way to grind for perks.
The Arcade mode is another notable feature in the game. For people who are not aware of what it is, it is somewhat similar to the Community Workshop maps in CS: GO, a game mode where players can play a huge variety of single, co-op, and multiplayer maps created by other players. The Arcade mode provides a much-relieving break from the main campaign (which gets boring pretty quick) and ensures players can experience a wide variety of things including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Outpost. Players who create the maps can also apply gameplay modifiers to bring even more variety to their creations, such as control on loadout, health, and gravity, to create entirely fresh experiences. The Arcade mode is a pretty healthy addition (it’s significantly better than the map editors present in the earlier titles of the franchise) to the main game.
Graphics, Performance and Sound
Let’s not deny the fact that Ubisoft makes one of the most graphically alluring games in the industry and Far Cry 5 is no exception. The vast stretches of Montana are significantly detailed even after being sparsely populated. The game’s characters, NPCs, and the various fauna in the environment are pretty well animated and designed. Players also get a chance to customize the facial attributes of their characters at the very beginning of the game. There is ample diversity in the flora and fauna of the environment too, which further elevates the graphical aspects of the game. Certain animal species are found at specific locations and players can know about the same by exploring the open world.
The game performed really well on the PS4, by maintaining a stable 30 fps and rare drops to sub 20. Considering the game of this scale, minor FPS drops are nothing to complain about. There are minor bugs and glitches which are customary to an open world game, but I didn’t find any game-breaking bugs as such.
The game’s OST is pretty good and perfectly matches the theme of the game. The gameplay isn’t supported by a music track while players are traversing through the world, but as soon as the players engage in a combat, the music changes to a rather ambitious note which soon dies out when the enemies stop looking for you. Thus, the soundtrack proves to be helpful at times. An interesting feature in the game is that there are certain audio cues associated with the various places marked on the map. These audio cues give a brief description of what’s happening at that specific location.
Far Cry 5 is a pretty decent game. Considering the bad reputation Ubisoft got after releasing some of their unfinished games, it is pretty safe to say that Far Cry 5 is an above average performer as compared to the recent titles released by Ubisoft. For people who are looking for a game with a mediocre story, some amazing graphics and a bit repetitive but innovative gameplay (for a Far Cry game), it is probably worth a buy. For others, there are always better options.