Far Cry 5 is a game that’s going to stay with me for a while. I’ve sat down to write this Far Cry 5 review only 20-minutes after finishing it and seeing both endings.
I’m still blown away, to be honest. I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t; though you can watch our spoilerific videos of both endings if you want.
I can safely say though, that Far Cry 5 has shone a new light on the series’ hallmarks. What you expect is still present, but the lens that Far Cry 5 views it through is slanted like never before.
It’s a tale of insanity, violence and destruction, but not as you’d expect.
Far Cry 5 Review
Let’s start with the basics, shall we?
Far Cry 5 isn’t a radical reinvention of the formula and that’s fine. It didn’t need to be. There are some changes like the removal of radio towers and the addition of planes and melee weapons.
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On the whole, they don’t really change anything that drastically.
Instead of having to climb towers to reveal the map, you simply explore it. Rather than having sections walled off from the beginning, you’re able to explore the entire map from the word go.
This is a long overdue change and a welcome one, but it honestly doesn’t make that much of a difference. Nor do planes and melee weapons.
Again, these are nice incremental changes, but the fundamental building blocks of Far Cry remain unchanged.
This is Far Cry
You’re still exploring a wilderness, fighting enemies with a huge range of weapons, travelling in vehicles, killing animals and performing ridiculous stunts.
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That’s what Far Cry is all about and it’s definitely what Far Cry 5 is about. As you’d expect, the gameplay is top notch.
Ubisoft has been creating and perfecting Far Cry for years and Far Cry 5 certainly benefits. It’s an often impossible to comprehend experience as the action unfolds only as Far Cry can.
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While making your way about the map you’re guaranteed to come across a range of activities, be they emergent or scripted. However, as often is the case, the many, many systems behind Far Cry 5 come together in glorious catastrophe.
You may be rescuing a civilian, only to be attacked by a bear which draws the attention of allies, who in turn, draw more enemies and eventually you’ll find yourself dogfighting in the sky wondering just how you got there.
Far Cry and, in particular, Far Cry 5 work really hard to make the player believe they’re exploring a seamless, reactive world. Far Cry 5 truly succeeds.
What is insanity?
Albert Einstein famously said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Far Cry has always been about insanity on some level.
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As the series has progressed, the idea of insanity has become much more explicit. Certainly, Vaas from Far Cry 3 and Pagan Min from Far Cry 4 were broadly characterised as having extreme character flaws and insane tendencies.
If Ubisoft was to continue to create antagonists that were simply ‘insane’ in the same way as Vaas or Pagan Min players would start to get bored. There are only so many times that an evil dictator, psycho killer, power-mad person can be engaging.
Ubisoft knows this and has created Joseph Seed and the Project at Eden’s Gate in response.
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Seed and his ‘family’ are an altogether different kind of crazy. There are still the delusions of grandeur and thirst for power, but Seed’s motivations are polar opposites from previous Far Cry villains.
He sees a vision for the world, a vision he truly believes in and is doing what he must to protect himself and protect his family. He wants to protect others too, so he’s doing so the only way he knows how.
Are we the baddies?
From the outside looking in, Seed is a cult leader and the Project at Eden’s gate is no better than the Branch Davidians at Waco. But the longer you play, the more Seed’s preaching worms its way into your mind.
When I started playing Far Cry 5, I couldn’t wait to put a bullet in Joseph Seed. As I played though, I became more and more reluctant. The ideas the cult and its heralds were preaching started to make more sense.
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Was I becoming indoctrinated? Or was something else going on?
There’s no denying that what Joseph Seed and his Project are doing go beyond acceptable, societal norms, but are they really the bad guys? That’s what Far Cry 5 had me thinking.
It made me question the notions of insanity, of freedoms and of religion. Is a person really insane because they believe something so fervently? I don’t have the answer, but it’s an interesting notion.
The Divided States
[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”Ubisoft has brought together impeccable game design with an utterly bleak vision of the future” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””][/perfectpullquote]Setting Far Cry 5 in America was a deliberate choice by Ubisoft because only in America could something like the Project at Eden’s Gate flourish. The combination of freedom of religion and the right to bear arms creates an atmosphere in which armed religious groups can and do grow until they become a problem.
Despite residing in Australia, having Far Cry 5 set in America makes it hit close to home. This isn’t some exotic far-off land run by a despot. This is rural, middle America. The ease with which Joseph Seed takes control of the people and the region isn’t all that far-fetched.
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It could theoretically happen. Not to the violent, murderous extent seen in Far Cry 5, but when Donald Trump can be elected President, anything is possible.
In Far Cry 5, Ubisoft has brought together impeccable game design and gameplay with an utterly bleak vision of a potential future for the western world. Far Cry 5 is filled with levity, jokes and comedy, but all in all it’s not a hopeful game.
It’s ironic that Hope County is the game’s setting because hope is nowhere to be found.
It all comes together
Far Cry 5 combines immaculate gameplay, a vast expansive and interesting world to explore and a diabolically riveting and engrossing narrative into an almost flawless package.
That’s not even mentioning Far Cry Arcade or the ability to play the entire game in co-op.
Shooting feels great, the weapons sound chunky and firefights are hectic affairs. Vehicles all have their own weight and physics and exploring Hope County is enjoyable enough to stand on its own.
Visually and aurally excellent, Far Cry 5 is triple-A gaming at its finest.
There are so many positive things to say about Far Cry 5 which is odd because it doesn’t seem to preach any positives. It’s a deeply bleak experience, punctuated by the slowly unfolding suspicion that you may be going insane the more you play.
You can’t stop though and when you finally finish, Far Cry 5 will stay with you as it has with me.
Game Title: Far Cry 5
Shooting, exploring and all the other Far Cry bits - 8.5/10
The story, the family and the Project - 10/10
Not everything works perfectly all the time - 7/10
Far Cry 5 is a brilliantly put together, sandbox game. Its focus remains on the various shades of human sanity, but rather than focus on the easily recognised evils, it forces players to look at a far more insidious kind.
The story will remain with you long after you’ve completed it and you’ll be left wondering about yourself and the world around you. Ubisoft may have created its best, most iconic and most relevant villain in Joseph Seed.
But is he truly the bad guy?
Far Cry 5 was reviewed on PS4 using a digital copy provided to PowerUp! by Ubisoft.