Ubisoft are known for their massive open world games that cover almost every genre across a variety of different platforms. From Assassin’s Creed to Ghost Recon and Far Cry, they have covered basically every major genre for open world gameplay. The latest entry for the Far Cry series comes after the release of Far Cry 4 in 2014, so there has been a gap of 4 years when the fans had to wait for a new game. Considering the time Far Cry 5 has spent in development, was the wait for it worthwhile?
Far Cry 5 takes an interesting approach for its location and setting by focusing on a completely fictional place in America called Eden’s Lake where a group of religious cult has taken control of majority of the land, forcing the people to live by their rule of law. In term of the design for the story and the approach to the open world, this allows them to present the best case scenario with an occupied location that has to be freed from the evil force.
While Far Cry 5 can feel like it doesn’t offer anything innovative in this regard, the focus on creating a compelling villain takes priority over new experiments and it is bit hard to say how much it will work out for others, but in my case, I really enjoyed Joseph Seed – the leader of the religious cult – who shows the potential to top the memorable performance of Vaas, one of the best villain in the Far Cry series. Right from his introduction to the point when the player will properly confront him, it is hard not to be impressed by his charisma and speech, which is full of religious references. His lunatic personality is established extremely well with the prologue that takes you through an action packed chase across his territory while you witness the crazy personality of his followers.
I should mention that with Assassin’s Creed Origins, Ubisoft took a rather dramatic approach to one of their main franchise and completely turned it around in term of gameplay. The case for Far Cry 5 is a little weak here if we are talking about new innovations or changes to the gameplay – rather than doing drastic changes, the developers here play it a little safe and basically retains most of the important game mechanics while offering new additions that make it a better experience.
First of all, the open world in Far Cry 5 is actually extremely well made where each section appears to be meticulously crafted so the players can keep themselves occupied in it. You are still freeing outposts and rescuing citizens that can be your guns for hire but the world in Far Cry 5 now offers much more, basically making it an open world Grand Theft Auto game in term of the amount of options that are available at your disposable. It is a lot to take in especially once you are done with the introduction to the story, which restricts you a small Island and acts as the tutorial.
Once you have passed the tutorial, the game properly opens up and the full world map is within your reach. I have slowly realized that the tech sharing between Ubisoft games can often give you déjà vu feelings and I think Far Cry 5 also suffers from it. The open world is divided between the main religious cult family and the layout here was reminding me of Ghost Recon Wildlands. Setting this aside, I really liked how the open world map was highly detailed with the option to zoom in and out of locations to have a better idea of your objective. Don’t be fooled by the size of the world map, in term of actual density of the land mass, it is a lot bigger than what the world map might imply here.
You begin the game by taking up the role of a rookie police officer. There’s a character creator that lets you pick and customize the appearance of a male or female character. Of course, you’ll never actually get to see your character during the course of the game though your coop partner will, should you choose to take on the 30-hour long campaign with a friend. Cooperative play does introduce a restriction: you can’t move too far away from your partner. Regardless of this, it is the preferable way of playing the game.
You’ll encounter new allies, collect surviving colleagues and fight your way through three large districts, each sporting a unique look and governed by one of the Seed siblings. There aren’t a lot of innovations with respect to the core gameplay. This is, by and large, a Far Cry game, and it doesn’t shy away from reminding you of the fact. The game’s missions will take you across its large open world, and you’ll find yourself quickly accumulating a large arsenal of ammunition, melee weapons, and explosives. As per the usual Ubisoft formula, you’ll travel across multiple points of interests populated on the map. Some of these may be fortresses that need to be freed, while others may be drug hideouts that need to be destroyed. In this process, you’ll also be accumulating a lot of dollar bills as well ability points with which to unlock new skills.
To its credit, Far Cry 5 has borrowed all the right elements from Assassin’s Creed: Origins. Most of the world’s activities are now tied to main or side quests. You’ll rarely find yourself ollecting and crafting things, as it is no longer the focus. Similarly, there are no towers to climb. However, that’s not to say that the game is limited in scope compared to previous iterations. With almost 150 missions , there’s tons of stuff to do.
Occasionally, while exploring the open world, you’ll find random activities to sidetrack you from your mission, such as freeing trucks full of hostages or destroying vehicles carrying drugs as well as powerful ammunition. There’s also a fishing mini-game, which serves as a fun diversion. You can also hunt down wild animals and sell their skins for some quick cash. In addition, searching for treasure is also an engaging side activity, and it offers a great reason to use the grappling hook. No matter the activity, you’ll find yourself increasing your reputation level in each of the three districts. Doing so allows you to make progress in the main story, leading up to a boss fight.
The main story and side missions themselves do tend to get repetitive after a while – you’ll clear away enemies hideouts, capture fortresses, fetch animal skins, defend friendly hideouts, engage in vehicle chase sequences – this is fundamentally the gist of Far Cry 5’s mission design. The enemies themselves are bit more varied. Threat can come your way from cultists, drug zombies, carnivorous animals, and vehicles of different kinds. The degree of threat from cultists depends on the degree of armor on them. There’s also a larger variety of vehicles here than in previous Far Cry game. Not only do you get to take control of cars, boats, and helicopters, but you can also fly planes.
As with previous iterations, you can either approach combat encounters by going in all guns blazing or taking the stealthier approach. Both approaches are equally enjoyable, and there are plenty of weapons and tools to play around with, giving you the freedom to be creative.
It’s great then that the shooting itself is great, and each of the weapons at your disposal feels distinct in terms of handling. However, on the other hand, the hit feedback on enemies could’ve been a bit more prominent, however. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if your weapon fire is actually landing on distant targets. The issue is exacerbated by armored cultists and drug zombies, who serve as a classic example of bullet sponge enemies. The reaction of enemies to melee weapons also lacks the punch one would expect.
Thankfully, the AI works well enough during combat, and enemies are often aggressively in your pursuit once you are spotted. Stealth AI isn’t the greatest, though, and can be exploited to an extent. Occasionally, enemies won’t be able to detect your nearby presence.You’ll also have the opportunity to pair up with AI companions, ranging from pilots to animals. You’ll be able to issue out commands to them, which works pretty well.
Far Cry 5 Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Far Cry 5 is an upcoming action-adventure first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Far Cry series has finally made its return after a long wait, and it’s a bigger and more ambitious attempt on the same old classic Far Cry formula that the fans have grown to love across the numerous games.