If only you knew how much I’ve been dying to play this game since revisiting Far Cry 4 a few months ago. I once reviewed Far Cry 4 and talked about the issues I had with it, but I didn’t expect it to rekindle my love for the franchise again two years after buying it.
While I was excited for Far Cry 5 on its initial release, I couldn’t afford to get it at full price and I wasn’t sure when I would get it either. A year later though, and it’s about time I did.
Oh wow, you should have seen my face when I saw the Steam homepage updated to reflect the sale! I was practically on the verge of crying! (≧◡≦)
I took my sweet time playing Far Cry 5 and I can wholeheartedly say it is indeed the best game in the franchise, despite its controversial ending which you’re going to hear me mention once or twice.
You can choose either a male or female protagonist.
Joseph Seed’s lieutenants are great sub-bosses.
The story unfolded pretty nicely (until the ending).
Memorable and well-written side and main characters.
The silent protagonist works better than I expected.
Lore and backstories are hidden throughout the game.
A more modern and civilised setting, taking place in Montana, USA.
As the protagonist, you have no meaningful backstory.
Joseph Seed is weak in his role as the main antagonist.
A lot of the game’s important lore and backstory can be easily missed through a regular playthrough.
The Silent Protagonist
Unlike the last two games in the series, you’re a silent protagonist this time around. You’re a deputy and you’re referred to by the gender-neutral name ‘Rook’.
In Far Cry 4, we started to see this shift in direction in the games’ main protagonists as Ajay Ghale was made less expressive and vocal than Jason Brody, who in my opinion, made Far Cry 3 enjoyable from a story perspective. So in Far Cry 5, Ubisoft decided to give you your own character to which you will be later able to customize to your liking.
And at long last, you can finally play the role of a female protagonist in a Far Cry game! I know others don’t find this important, especially guys, but this is really important to me as it makes my gaming experience more immersive. (Thank you, Ubisoft!)
But as you now have a generic, silent character, it comes at the cost of giving the protagonist of the game a proper backstory. This in terms leaves valuable storytelling material on the table and makes you come off as just another average character. I won’t fault the game development team for this though as Far Cry games have never had protagonists with meaningful backstories.
Ajay Ghale in Far Cry 4 came to Kyrat to lay his mother’s ashes to rest and Jason in Far Cry 3 was just a guy having fun with his friends until their vacation trip goes wrong. The latter being more exciting as it fills you with a much more sense of purpose.
Joseph Seed and the Family.
Joseph Seed and his family are the antagonists of the game. They created a cult called Eden’s Gate that’s brainwashing and killing people to prepare for the so-called “Collapse”.
It’s about as much as you’ll expect from a Far Cry villain now. However, I must commend the use of a cult in the game as I don’t think it’s something that’s commonly used in gaming in terms of driving their main plot.
Joseph’s lieutenants are John, Jacob and Faith Seed and you’re going to have to take them down before you get to Joseph for a final confrontation.
However, just like with Far Cry 4’s villain, Pagan Min, the game makes the terrible mistake of again hiding the game’s main antagonist away from the player for the majority of the game’s main story.
Pagan in Far Cry 4 mostly interacted with you through a radio after fleeing his residence at the beginning of the game, thus it made it less exciting to fight him at the game’s climax. The same happens with Far Cry 5’s Joseph Seed, although this time you only get glimpses of him here and there during the game’s campaign.
Vaas from Far Cry 3 was the opposite and it made every encounter with him intense and exciting, but he was disappointing not the real villain of the game. It was instead Hoyt Volker who was pretty much another generic bad guy.
It’s really funny too because the game’s marketing promoted Vaas as the main antagonist so much that it becomes jarring when you realise he isn’t.
This led to my criticism of Vaas being one of the most wasted villains I’ve ever seen. It would seem like the development team heard this criticism as well, as Pagan Min and Joseph Seed were more emphasized as the antagonists of their respective games.
Now moving onto the game’s lieutenants, I actually found them really great and well-written characters. Pagan’s lieutenants were woefully forgettable, but each of Far Cry 5’s sub-bosses felt like a true and meaningful threat.
If you ask me, it definitely makes up for Joseph Seed not being around as much.
If I’m being honest, it’s kinda difficult for me to choose which one of them was my favourite too. They felt important to the progression of the main story, as well as the thought process behind their actions. I also felt like their final encounters were really well done, although Faith’s encounter felt like more of the same from the last two games.
I’m so glad Far Cry 5 doesn’t pull that “fighting in an illusion” bullshit when fighting the game’s villains like it was in the previous games. You never felt like you were actually fighting the lieutenants of the past games because they took place in some kind of mystic world. But even in the case of Faith’s fight, it was at least properly justified.
John was interesting since you had to fight him with a plane, and Jacob’s final encounter was totally badass because he utilised a sniper rifle. You had to think smartly because his goons were coming after you to make the fight harder for you.
At the end of it all, each lieutenant’s final encounter was both rewarding and impactful. Liberating a region after killing a lieutenant was one of those rewarding moments.
Although I find it really funny that the game’s antagonists had so many chances to kill you but they’re like “Nah, I must give them the chance to mess up my plans”. It’s so hilarious and makes it all the more unbelievable.
I freaking love Montana.
Personally, I’ve never been one for Far Cry games’ jungle and island-esque settings. I just never found them interesting.
But with Far Cry 5, the game takes its setting to a more modern and rural location that I am just in love with! Maybe it’s because I don’t live in America, but setting the game in Montana was a stroke of genius and I love how well it works for the game’s narrative.
Not to mention the awesome side characters in Far Cry 5. They surprisingly add interesting story experiences to the game, no matter who you choose to help in your quest to eradicate Eden’s Gate.
I can’t remember the last time I played a game where side characters actually made me love the game even more than I already had.
One of the things I love and hate about Far Cry 5 though is that there is plenty of good lore hidden throughout the game. But while this makes exploring every nook and cranny of the game more fun and rewarding, it comes at the detriment of making the audience miss out on important information that would further deepen one’s experience with the game as a whole.
Actually, if you’ve checked some of the history within the game’s world, the lore is actually more interesting than the story you’re currently playing through and it’s a huge waste of writing potential.
Competent story material, but the ending…ugh.
Now moving onto the game’s story as a whole, I found it pretty fun and enjoyable. Is it one of my favourite video game story campaigns? My answer would have probably been ‘Yes’ if the ending wasn’t an absolute spit in the player’s face.
For the sake of the review, I’m going to exclude talking about it due to spoilers and instead talk about the game’s ending in a separate article, as I believe it’s a very important topic.
Let’s just say Far Cry 5’s ending is the worst ending of the three Far Cry games I’ve played through.
Montana is a joy to explore and stuffed with hidden treasures
An array of activities to do and side content.
Access to a variety of weapons that provide fun and creative ways to take out enemies.
A ton of vehicle variety.
No radio towers.
Outposts are well designed.
Animals not allowed in vehicles and can’t be fed.
Basic character customization.
Gated off in-game content.
Character customization is one of the greatest additions to the Far Cry franchise, however, while it does offer some variety, it just doesn’t do enough.
For example, for my female character, I didn’t see much options for skirts or dresses. Actually, now that I think about, most of the clothing was unisex. I mean that is fine too, but it still limits the amount you can do with truly personalising your character.
There’s also limited hairstyles and frustratingly basic skin colour options. It’s like playing the early stages of Sims 4 all over again.
On the upside though, you may think that character customization isn’t important for a first-person game, but there’s plenty of chances to see what your character is wearing throughout the game and I love that extra detail that the developers added in.
Something I didn’t like is that some of the content within Far Cry 5 is gated off unless you actually own other games. Luckily for me, I got the items for owning Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon and 4, but there are also rewards for completely different games like Rainbow Six Seige. Really it’s just annoying since some of them are really neat items.
There are microtransactions in the form of “Silver Bars”. But I never felt the need to use them, so thankfully this isn’t one of those predatory forms of microtransactions you have to worry about.
Overall, I just wish there was deeper character customization.
Skills & Weapons
You can unlock skills/perks with points you get for completing missions and tasks. What I also found was that not only are there a ton of skills to unlock, but they are all meaningful in some way. This way it never felt like I wasting points on a perk.
There is so much variety in Far Cry 5’s vehicles. There’s boats, cars, planes, helicopters, ATV’s, trucks, you name it. I would even say it’s even a little overwhelming but this just helps in giving you plenty of options for traversing Montana.
There are a few new weapons to try in Far Cry 5, most notably melee weapons, but most of it is pretty familiar if you played Far Cry 4. I would say the real fun comes in with the weapon-equipped vehicles that look like they’re straight out of a Death Race movie. And yes, they’re just as awesome to drive as they look.
All the vehicles handle well except for the planes and helicopters that are a tad bit wonky to control and can take some getting used to. However, they’re still a great addition to the game.
I used the recurve bow in the majority of my playthrough as I did with the previous games, as it is one of my favourite video game weapons. It has a great learning curve that makes it really rewarding to master.
However, what I am upset with is that incendiary and explosive arrows aren’t as easily craftable as they were in Far Cry 4. Actually, the only way to get them is to come across them while exploring or buying them from the shop, but only if you have the ‘Black Market’ perk unlocked.
What makes this really annoying is that getting the black market perk can take a while because there are other skills you’re going to want to prioritise getting.
And of course, you can get as creative as you want taking down enemies as they’re an abundance of weapons and strategies to utilise no matter your playstyle.
I LOVE exploring Montana! It is just so well designed all around. The map is huge, yet dense with many things going on. Everything in Montana is so detailed that it makes you want to come back to the game over and over again. I haven’t felt this fond of a game’s world since San Franciso in Watch Dogs 2.
Whether it be blowing up cult cargo or saving NPCs, the map is littered with so many activities to do. However, it can be a bit too abundant as you’ll have to skip saving some civilians if you intend to move forward with the game’s story quickly.
Thankfully this can all be resolved with liberating the region. And even if you decided to take your time save those civilians, your progress bar will increase to trigger the next story mission, so it remains worthwhile.
Not to mention the hidden treasures in Montana that make exploration all the more fun.
One thing you’ll notice in the game until you finally realise that you need it is a mini-map. Far Cry 5 lacks one completely.
While at first, I criticised the game for lacking one, it kinda forces you to explore the game more and rely on your sense of the direction. Never thought a missing feature would result in something good. Areas of the map also automatically reveal themselves once you travel to them.
And thank god that there are no radio towers. The game even pokes fun at itself when your caretaker tells you he isn’t going to have you climbing towers all over the county (lol). I’m really thankful for this as it was a really annoying game design for Ubisoft’s games.
Something you’re going to notice in Far Cry 5 at first is that it’s hard to get money from just looting dead bodies, unlike with the previous instalments in the franchise. It would only be later when I found out that the best way to earn money in the game is through hunting and skinning animals.
Thankfully animals aren’t as much as a pain as they used to be as in Far Cry 4, where an eagle would decide to bother you for no reason at all.
One small, but very good detail, is that you can kill most animals in one shot as long as you aim for their head. This makes hunting them with bows easy and fun. The drop rate for killing them with a vehicle or gun isn’t as punishing as it was in Far Cry 4 either.
After you get used to hunting, you’ll notice you’re going to have much more leftover cash. This way you can enjoy buying plenty of game’s offerings.
Oh, by the way, you can also fish. 😀 Although I suck at it right now lol.
In Far Cry 4, stealth was such a headache because enemies would detect you so easily to the point that going in guns blazing was more of the ideal playstyle. But in Far Cry 5, they made the enemy AI much better and it’s not as much of a chore as it was in Far Cry 4.
I would say this is probably my favourite stealth game of all time, as the options you’re given for quick and silent takedowns are abundant and satisfying.
Far Cry 5’s Companion System
And now to talk about my favourite mechanic of Far Cry 5: Being able to partner up with people and pets.
For the first time ever, you’re able to bring partners with you in battle. Considering the game is a bit difficult, you’ll be expected to get some help, and with perks, you can have up to two members at a time.
At the beginning of the game, you can rescue random captive NPCs and they might offer to join you in your fight. However, it starts to become much more intriguing when you get to unlock special side story characters and pets.
I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this mechanic is. It’s very helpful, especially since you can use your partners tactically.
Jess and Boomer were my main partners and it made stealth all the more fun. Jess is a potty mouth but she can quietly take down enemies with her bow and Boomer automatically tags nearby enemies so you don’t have to use stupid binoculars. Just command him to go near enemies and they’ll only be slightly alert. Well, unless you send Boomer to attack them, of course.
Also with pets, the major downside is that they don’t ride with you in vehicles and instead run behind them.
It’s just so sad. Poor Boomer. Not to mention you can’t even feed them as a reward.
Don’t expect to be able to romance anyone like in Fallout 4 or Mass Effect, although that would be really awesome.
There is so much replayability and fun to be had in Far Cry 5 that it makes starting over with a new game fun instead of feeling like you’re erasing your hard work. This is where the New Game+ mode comes in to help move over some of your unlocks from your previous save.
Far Cry 5 also implements modes from Far Cry 4.
There is Far Cry Arcade which lets you play maps made by others. If you don’t want to be bothered by that or starting a new game, you can reset the outposts in the game as many times as you want.
And let’s admit it, outposts are fun as hell to liberate due to the many ways you can approach them. It’s like a never-ending gameplay loop since the outposts are just really well designed and varied to the point that each one of them feels unique.
Visuals and Performance:
Hope County is gorgeously rendered.
Near photorealistic renderings of characters.
Environments are lush and beautiful.
Performs really well.
The game’s physics can get a little wonky, making for fun glitches.
The graphics in Far Cry 5 are just absolutely stellar.
Even if you’re running on not-so-high PC specs like mine, Montana and its inhabitants are vividly detailed. The environments are teeming with life and are well crafted in every way. In my opinion, Montana looks best at night. It really does come close to photorealism and I could only imagine how the game looks on Ultra settings.
I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a game before, but the explosions in Far Cry 5 are really convincingly life-like. The same goes for fire spreading in fields and vegetation.
As for performance, I would say the game seems pretty well optimised. Although I can’t really test that since I’m running a mid-range CPU and Ubisoft games are notorious for hogging my CPU’s resources. Far Cry 5 is no exception to this.
If you’re like me, prepare to hear your CPU fan work overtime when running this game.
Great music selection for the game radio.
Oh wow, can I just say how much I love the music selection of Far Cry 5? I’m not a fan of country music but the soundtrack made me feel like I was at home in the game’s setting of Montana.
Then we get to the radio which is just a huge nostalgia trip for me.
As someone who had grown up in a Christian household where gospel music was the norm, it made me feel like home in my home. lol XD And I’m an atheist so it makes it even funnier how much it made me reminisce.
Whenever I play Far Cry 5, I must have the radio on. It just makes the game all that more enjoyable and immersive and It makes me come back for more.
To the composing team: Fantastic job. The music fits the game’s theme and setting perfectly.
Personal Favourite Tracks:
We Will Rise Again
Hammock – Oh the Bliss (Reinterpretation)
Now That This Old World Is Ending
When the Morning Light Shines In
Come Wisdom and Come Fire
I Must Protect My Place
Safe and Sound
A New One Begins
Far Cry 5 has its flaws. There’s no doubt about that, especially with its egregious ending.
But despite all of that, the game remains one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. There is just so much fun to be had in every corner of this amazingly crafted game. Whether it be exploring Montana or f**king up cultists in your pursuit to help save civilians, there is an immense joy to be had.
Far Cry 5 breathes minty fresh air into the franchise in a way that it feels almost like a completely different franchise, and that is indeed for the best. It may not have a memorable villain like Vaas, but it definitely makes up for it.
To me, Far Cry 5 is without a doubt the best in the Far Cry franchise.
I didn’t know this, but apparently, there was a live-action prequel to Far Cry 5 called “Inside Eden’s Gate“. The game has very few references to this live-action short.
My Thoughts (spoiler-ish):
While a tie-in live-action prequel is pretty cool, this prequel is woefully underutilised in the main game’s story. The protagonists of the prequel have no proper role in the main game’s campaign and are just throwaway characters almost never to be seen again. The short film alone isn’t that interesting to me, but I think this would have been an exceptional small TV show series as there is plenty of lore in Far Cry 5 to make use of. I would have liked it more if it played a stronger role in the game’s campaign as a side mission or something. Other than that, it feels more like filler than anything.
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