Review by J.T. Johnson
DEVELOPERS: Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Toronto
I remember when I played “Far Cry 3”, it was a pretty fun time and critically acclaimed, but it had some problems that personally bugged me. I hated the repetitive nature of the game and always felt like I was just doing the same thing over and over again. One of those elements was climbing a series of towers in order to map out the area and locations of interest.
Not only was the whole “climb-the-tower” thing repetitive, the fact that it also marked the places on the map to visit took away a certain sense of discovery. One of the best elements of open world games such as “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” and “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” is that there is a sense of exploration because they don’t always explicitly point out everything on the map.
When I played “Far Cry 4”, it merely felt like more of the same thing and I must admit that I never finished the game. I also didn’t care to play the spin-off title, “Far Cry Primal”. For some reason, though, I decided to give the series another shot with “Far Cry 5”. Unlike the foreign jungles of the past titles, “Far Cry 5” is set in a fictional town in Montana where the main protagonist must go up against a psychotic religious cult and I must admit that going up against crazy church fanatics sounded like a fun experience.
Now, I’ve spent five hours with “Far Cry 5” and while I can’t give an ultimate score because there is just so much more to explore, I can definitely say that it fixed one of the biggest problems I had with the title. Early in the game, you are told to go up a radio tower in order to fix an ally’s radio. Half way up the tower, he assures you that he won’t make you climb any more towers, thus poking a little fun at previous Far Cry games and allowing you to breathe a sigh of relief that you won’t have to take part in that needlessly repetitive task.
The first thing that I noticed about this game is that it is absolutely gorgeous as it makes you feel that you are in a fictional city on drugs in Montana. In this game, you are an unnamed deputy so that you can customize your character including whether or not you are male or female. When the story starts, you soon learn that a crazy family that runs a cult in the city thinks that a major “collapse” is inevitable and they will kill anyone who doesn’t follow their path.
Not long after this, you do a few missions that is built to let you in on the basics of the game. This segment is not very long and after that, the entirety of Hope County, Montana, is open for you to explore! Another changed element of the game is that you don’t have a mini-map this time out.
Instead, you are meant to discover things as you go along, sometimes when someone tells you about something or if you find maps and other information along the way. Sure, you’re given the main missions from the start, but beyond that you will have several side missions to take part in that will take up plenty of your time. For example, I was on the way to one of the main story missions and soon I found myself liberating a hotel along the way.
The game encourages you to do this as building up Resistance Points is another way that you fight back against the fanatical Seed family that runs the evil cult you must bring down. When I drive around the county, I also find myself stopping to battle cult members and save civilians. Being that my character is a deputy, I truly feel like a cop that is trying to protect the citizens from this insane church that wants to gather followers and demonize those that don’t believe.
I still have plenty of things to do with this game, but if the remainder of the game is as good as the first five hours, then this is truly a worthy open-world experience. “Far Cry 5” still feels like a Far Cry game, but it improves on pretty much everything that bugged me about past entries and at this point, that’s more than enough to enjoy this latest entry in Ubisoft’s long-running franchise.