March 26, 2018

Far Cry 5 - Review

The Far Cry series started out as just your average shooter, set on a beautiful tropical island and of course, your computer needed to have the power to run it. Since then Ubisoft has been the developer behind the series and we have travelled from Africa and the Caribbean, to the Himalayas and even back in time, but now the series has landed in America, but does this new location help change the game?

You start off selecting your character gender, this really makes no difference to the overall experience as you just get called Deputy all the time and for good reason, as you are a new Deputy to the Hope County Sheriffs Department. You join the Sheriff, another deputy and a US Marshall, as hey seeks to issue a warrant to Joseph Seed, leader of the People at Eden’s Gate cult. However, in typical Far Cry fashion, things go south, fast. Eventually, you come to meet up with the Marshall again, only to escape in the most Michael Bay escape that has ever been. Eventually, you meet up with Dutch, a local, who has taken to trying to fight back and after you prove yourself, by climbing a giant radio tower, the only one you need to climb in the game, he gives you all the details on the Seed’s and just how you can help, then it’s up to you.

Past entries in the series have really given you a specific place to go first, a boss to seek and destroy, before you move onto the next and while the game suggests you try that with John Seed, you don’t have to do it at all, you can ignore it and head after Faith if you wanted do. I did take the suggestion to heart though, and headed for the town of Hope’s Fall, a small town, under the thumb of the Peggies, the name that the fighters have given to the Cult. Once liberated, I was able to start causing damage to the cult, by any means necessary, from blowing up silos littered around the valley, to destroying road blocks, rescuing captured civilians and resistance fighters. There are many ways to deal the damage you need; the Outposts are still here and taking them provides some of the best challenges around, if you want to do it in full stealth mode. Dealing damage to the Cult is not just a matter of fun, its how you progress, as you do so, you earn points, earn enough and they start to take notice, earn more and they will then start kicking things into high gear and this is where I hate the game.

By the point I had enough points, I had died only a few times, most of which were from my own mistakes, barrelling off a cliff or getting my car blown up, however, here the game forces you to get captured, you can’t stop it, you can’t avoid it. The second time it happened, I was in a plane, taking out the silos from the air, which made it much more fun and when the game decided that I had to be captured, I stayed in the air for 10 minutes, because I wanted to avoid it. The moment I touched down, they came in hard, shot me with tranquiller darts and knocked me out, nothing I did could stop this, it was forced upon me. When I was dealing Faith, her region is hippier in its overall nature, still plenty of guns though, but she got me, because there was a person tied up, but ignoring the drug wafting off the person, I tried to untie them, and I was captured. Now if I did not bother rescuing that person, I would have been fine, it was my choice, but with John, the game did it to me and that was annoying. No matter how good you are, avoiding death, raining hell down upon the peggies, the game decides that you must be captured, it takes away the freedom of choice that the game builds itself upon and it’s a real shame.

Of course, outside of those moments, the game still offers lots of freedom to do things how you want, from taking out Outposts, however you can, to ignoring the cult for a while and just casting a line and enjoying a good fish. Just exploring the world is worth your time, as the more you do, the more things you can find, from the best spot to fish around, to prepper stashes, locations that are packed with items you can use and more. I had as much fun just wandering the world, as I did completing missions and such for people, something that can be attested to the wonderful world created by the developers, if there is a complaint though, its that there is not enough variety to see, yes it is set in Montana, which is known for farming, but that is pretty much all you see.

The game can change a lot whenever you use a Gun or Fang for Hire, basically a human or animal companion, who can assist with whatever you need. Should you want someone for overwatch, keeping your back safe, then you want Grace, if you want someone to help you track down those hidden items, then the dog Boomer is your pal. Each member of this unique group has to be unlocked, usually by completing their corresponding mission. Once you have them, they will stick by your side, until such time as they are dismissed or taken out, if the latter happens, it takes them sometime before they are ready to be used again. You can decrease this amount of time by investing in their specific perk, but you will likely want to hold onto the points you earn, for other things. The perks can seem a bit pointless at the lower levels and some are, but they stack and when combined, you can get some truly incredible attributes. If you have a friend who has the game as well, you can also play the entire campaign in co-op mode online, if your friend joins your game, they keep their weapons and gear, but nothing they do carries back to theirs and vice versa, of course playing with a friend is always better. In my time playing with my friend, we completed missions, he flew a helicopter, while I bailed out and wingsuited to safety, something he could not do as he had not unlocked that perk and more, it was honestly a lot of fun and given that the entire world is open for you, there is no limit to what you can do.

The problem with the entire game though, comes down to the bad guy, the Seeds, including Joseph Seed or as people call him, The Father. When his character is on screen, it’s a commanding presence, but the bulk of that stems from the fact that every other person in your view, bows to him. After baddies like Pagan Min and Vaas, Joseph just seems bland by comparison and sure, to other people he might be scarier or whatever, but given his whole thing is that God has spoken to him and explained what is going to happen to the world, he comes off, at least to me, as more of a crazy man than anything else. John Seed is much the same, his whole thing about saying Yes, which becomes quite a paint after a while, is nothing fancy, Faith though, ends up being more interesting, as she is not interested in killing you, or forcing you to submit, she wants you to do it of your own free will, with perhaps a little drug assistance. For Jacob, you will have to discover him for yourself. As a whole though, I never felt that they were a threat, each time you complete a mission, they come on the radio and tell you off, tell you they will get you or whatever, but I just wished I could skip it or turn them off, because they were just annoying, not threatening.

The Far Cry series has always put a lot on the presentation, from the original game and beyond, even the Blood Dragon spin off, paid attention to everything it presented to players on screen and Far Cry 5 continues that trend. There is no need to beat around the bush, Far Cry 5 is one impressive game, it is gorgeous, has incredible sounds that surround you and each time I went to somewhere new, something else stood out. The world of Montana is stunning, the trees, the hills and mountains, everything combined makes for a wonderful place to explore and as I mentioned earlier, exploring is so much fun. There was a time when I took off in a plane was flying east, towards the sun as it was rising and while I could not see anything for a while, thank goodness I was in the air, once the sun rose high enough, all I saw were trees, with light and fog all around and I was impressed. While the landscape does not vary a lot, farms and trees everywhere, it still has enough of a variety within that scope. There are a few minor blemishes though, the game struggles to keep the textures even when you are in the air, sometimes they will load fine, other times, random sections will go to their low-res counterpart and then swap back. Pop in, is quite frequent when you are airborne as well, trees are common, but even enemy and ally vehicles and people will spawn right near you, that does happen from time to time when on the ground as well. The lighting model indoors can look weird, which results in peoples faces looking more like negatives from photos, complete with devil eyes, thankfully though, that only really happens, if you are in the wrong spot, but when it does, oh boy.

The sounds the game has are great, once I turned off the games orchestral score, I did not even last 30 minutes, before that twanging country music drove me crazy. When in cars, the radio stations would play actual music and the collection offered was good, a nice mix, if you wanted to, there was even the cult radio and honestly, I found some of those songs better than the main score. The people are wonderfully voiced, even the minor characters you save and meet in the woods, but the stand outs to me were Faith Seed and ironically, Nick Rye, both sounded so grounded, that no matter what they were saying, you could be convinced they were real people. The world around you also comes to life via sound, from the cars racing by on the roads, or the planes buzzing overhead, the sound of man was everywhere, but again, walking around and doing whatever you wanted was great, because it cut the sound down to nature only and when you decide to take up some hunting, hearing the dry grass crack under foot as you sneak towards the best vantage point, only to hear the growl of a bear or cougar behind you, it is quite something.

Far Cry 5 is not a reinvention of the series, if you are coming from 3 or 4, but you will feel at home, there are still enough major changes to shake things up. The freedom to go after whomever you desire is great, including the ability to just stop and fish and while Joseph Seed is not as commanding a character as previous games have had, he is still entertaining. The mandatory sections where you are forced to a path, breaks from the games overall idea of freedom, but it ain’t enough to stop you from enjoying, what is an incredible open world adventure.

Review copy supplied by Ubisoft

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