Far Cry 5 opens with a helicopter ride and an expositional spiel about how Joseph Seed, The Father, has taken over Hope County. A few US Marshalls have been sent in to arrest him, including you, the Rookie. A beginning so basic and (if I had to admit) a bit boring, meant things weren’t boding well for Far Cry 5.
But then the helicopter landed. Queue an intense walk through a cultist camp complete with followers armed to the teeth and a creepy rendition of Amazing Grace echoing eerily out of the church. And then an even more nerve-wracking walk out as you lead The Father in handcuffs back to the helicopter. “God won’t let you take me,” he says with such a calm confidence that you’re assured of his craziness. As the helicopter tries to lift off, Joseph Seed’s ‘children’ panic and try to take their Father back. One accidentally climbs into the chopper’s rotors and takes the whole thing down. Everyone survives, but only you, the Rookie, escape the grasp of Eden’s Gate.
From that point on, I’m hooked.
Far Cry 5 is basically like any other Ubisoft title: there outposts to free, convoys to take out, NPCs giving you quest after quest. And don’t forget revealing parts of the map by accessing ‘viewpoints.’ Or, in Far Cry 5‘s case, finding actual maps hidden around the world. So if you’ve played a lot of Ghost Recon: Wildlands, or Watch Dogs, Far Cry 5 is just more of the same. But better. Much better.
So, what’s the biggest difference between Far Cry 5 and similar games like its predecessor Far Cry Primal or Wildlands? Let me tell you: The characters are actually written well. I genuinely care for the people of Far Cry 5. They feel like real human beings who could actually exist. Even the NPCs you can collect and deploy as an AI partner have their own personalities. My favourite fighter is Betty Nichols. She runs around with a pistol screaming “I got one!” and “I see the enemy!” in a cute country town American accent. I mean, these are all basic NPC things to say. But I can just imagine that, before the cult, she was just your typical American mother who would yell at the kids to get inside because she’s made brownie. That’s how real the characters feel to me.
Now that you’ve fallen in love with the locals, you want to save them from Eden’s Gate. They’re kidnapping people, drugging them, forcing them into the cult through torture and manipulation, and turning them into soldiers. According to Joseph Seed, God spoke and told him the end is coming. So Joseph is attempting to ‘save’ as many people as he can, even if they don’t want to be saved.
His two brothers and adoptive sister are his heralds, and control one of three regions. Jacob trains recruits for their army, John tells people to relinquish their sins by saying “Yes!” and Faith uses what they call Bliss to help their followers devote themselves blindly to the Father.
Because there are only three regions (instead of 21, like in Wildlands) there’s time to actually get to know the people that populate Hope County. The story makes sense. I can see what needs to be done. I know exactly why each boss for each region needs to be taken down. And so I want to complete this game. Not only do the characters compel me to help them, but I can actually see the end. And that, for me, as someone who doesn’t have a lot of time on their hands, is a blessing.
Far Cry 5 excels at many things. The graphics are beautiful, the weapons many, the missions challenging enough, and the vehicles incredibly fun to rock around in. If you’re one for playing with others, Far Cry 5 lets you play (online) with up to five friends! There’s also an Arcade mode to smash around in, and weekly events. But despite all this, I still enjoy the game as a good, solid, entertaining single-player experience.
In fact, I’m heading back there as soon as I finish this review, because I haven’t cleared out every single outpost just yet.
And I want to. Is that telling enough?