Though the US and Japan setting has been used endlessly in modern video gaming, this has not stopped a slew of games based in rural America. In Far Cry 5, this time you are taken to Hope County, a fictional region of Montana and from the start are thrown into the gauntlets of an American region on the brink.
Your enemy is now a cult led by Joseph, not a huge but moderate Far Cry from an island pirate who knows the meaning of insanity (Vaas from Far Cry 3), Nepal-based warlord who brutally knifes his own soldier the moment he sees his long lost son (Far Cry 4), and the enemy tribal leader launching fire arrow upon arrow (Far Cry Primal). These are all the Far Cry(ies) I have played and I have to say, the intricately developed villain’s personalities are what carry each game through, and the same is true for Far Cry 5.
Far Cry 5 starts with typical things-go-to-hell from the start and a protagonist with limited resources and weapons must first escape a cult’s clutches. You take the role of a rookie cop (called deputy throughout the game), led and guided by a more senior Marshal and you are in Hillbilly country, to arrest and pacify Joseph Seed, an elusive leader of a dangerous cult. The plan does not go according to design and the protagonist is saved but separated from his fellow cops. He has to first eliminate three commanders loyal to Joseph before he can provoke a fight with Joseph himself but there’s tons to do in the meantime.
Joseph Seed has all the wretchedness and wickedness of the usual Far Cry villain. Combine this with his exceeding “faith” in himself, his eloquence, his impassioned speech, (and more hidden and darker capacity of…) fanaticism and ability to survive every encounter. This sums up a villain reminiscent but not completely conventional in Far Cry 5. From the very start Far Cry has been introducing us to tyrants who are malevolent but with a strange mental state nonetheless-which makes taking them down all the more fun as they rant and rave about their philosophy and righteousness.
The commanders are equally vicious and strongly under Joseph’s command but they, as well as, Joseph begin to fight harder and express fury as you continue to defy them. They can themselves be provoked into a fight once the player has done enough damage to their forces in each of their regions. To do so he can storm cultist bases, bring down monuments, destroy convoys, complete story and side missions and ravage their counties in whatever way possible.
It’s a beautifully imagined American rural region, with the problem known as the cult and classic signs of how it affects war affected societies. Each house or residence is home to a family that is either with the resistance (in which case they can be helped) or the Seed family. In terms of history it (deliberately?) reminded me of the American Civil War. It is said that almost every family in the South was polarized loyalty-wise towards either the secessionists or the unionists, and people couldn’t trust who was with who.
This game does not explore the Civil War at all but I do believe the developers took inspiration from it. Far Cry 5 does indeed take a few pot-shots at Trump here and there, and there is some nominal humor directed at him and over how Southerner’s communicate and vote. Particularly it aims at Trumps criticism of Canada’s diversity and his attempts to build a wall on the Mexican border in a humorous recording, plenty of which are present across the map-often also giving clues about loyalties as well as environment outside.
But to say that the game is profoundly political is incorrect mostly since there is only limited discussion of these politics. Instead Far Cry 5 just cautiously paddles into these issues from the safety of a boat (acknowledging they exist at least), rather than immediately jumping in the sea to make a solid statement. But it doesn’t need to. The entire game gives pause, because its entire premise is a cult in Southern USA-where the KKK still exists.
Now there was an attack recently on Capitol Hill recently, a raid that left people dead-and this isn’t Burundi-it is in the middle of the United States capital. The fact that it was from Trump supporters has caused the president’s approval rating to plummet. And this conversation into radicalism, intolerance and its relations with politicians and the state needs to be discussed now more than ever.
The entire game shows how the Seed’s see themselves as absolutely righteous and benevolently pure-something common to a lot of clerics all throughout the world. It makes a mark against radicalism and terrorism and how this kind of thinking can affect and cause degeneration in any society.
Anyway in Far Cry you can loot locations of Seed loyalists but not those belonging to the good guys. There is a chance of a stash though in one of these allied houses too, usually as those families are in the crosshairs of the cult-and they leave plenty of notes and recordings about their situation as well as the Prepper Stashes you can loot.
Then there are guns for hire or fangs for hire-a novel addition not present in the other older Far Cry games. These are among nine human or animal squad mates you can select and each one of them has a specialty. I did not like the tasteless humor and vulgar stupidity of some of these characters. This loutish stuff was meant to be comical, but there are societies not accustomed to it and it also makes the game out of reach from children. At least among families in Pakistan, and UAE, where parents are strict and monitor their kids gaming.
As you go along your experience surges and you can use points to unlock new perks. The perk section was more fun and perk variety more extensive than, say the 3rd Far Cry. But I had unlocked less than half the perks by the time I had completed the game. And the journey was over by the time I had accomplished only around 30% of the missions. The game was also not unnecessarily convoluted or long and I appreciate that. Also there was no real divergence between the story quest and the side quest in the end. Both of them work in a similar manner and you do not have to complete all the main quests to finish the game. This is a unique model and I prefer it sometimes. Mostly because I get tired of a first person shooter game when I have played it for 40 hours or more.
Prepper Stashes are the indigenous Far Cry 5 collectibles. They are mini puzzles partly linked to exploration-which, once solved, give you a stack of cash, weaponry and ammo and loads of perk points. These can then be expended on better abilities or perks for your character. If you are running out of cash hunting too is a good option and you can sell the skins for a decent price. And the more cash you collect the more you can buy and unlock gear, particularly shiny new weapons.
There are lots of allies to be found in the region and they grow as you give Montana hope-true hope rather than the intolerant, selfish, and dangerous faith of the cult. There’s the local sheriff, a black church leader, the beleaguered White Tail Militia and all are fighting back. As you complete missions for them they grow stronger and your reputation grows. Your name is spread all over the county by the end of the game.
Far Cry 5 gives no illusion over the odds you will face, nor is there a shortage of things to do. You will be flying planes, shooting through turrets, high-jacking cars, diving into the seas and hunting dangerous wildlife, some of which has been affected by the bliss, a hallucination drug that turns its affected into brainless zombies. Also taking out entire outposts silently or before an alarm is raised, is one of my most entertaining sections of the game. The stealth system is as gorgeous as it always was in Far Cry.
The mute hero, a staple of the Far Cry Series, who (usually) saves the innocent has been overdone to the point of extremity. From Doom where the Slayer does not say a word to Link in Zelda, the idea has carried many games through. But each time Far Cry brings the mute hero to us, each time we are dancing to his tune. I have trouble understanding how and when this became not only normal, but a habit in the gaming industry. But it takes nothing away from the gameplay and the mute hero feels ordinary enough. Though in real life a person who can’t or won’t speak will be most likely to be memorable in a bunch of people who do, even though we might not think of it much in the gaming industry.
Another pastime added to this brilliant game was the ability to fish. This was one of the only aspects of this game I did not enjoy and I have not enjoyed it in Red Dead Redemption 2 either You can also create random levels in this Far Cry and it has some people hyped up too.
Finally, Far Cry 5’s ending is bewildering and seems to be there only to give an opening to the next Far Cry Game, New Dawn. It was an anti-climax where the bad guy actually wins. The apocalypse the cult has been preaching may actually be truth in the end.
- Stealth system is still one of the best in any FPS game.
- The open world has 3 regions, each of which is brimming with wildlife, different enemies and missions.
- Makes some nominal attempt to untangle the mess, which is known as Right Wing politics in America.
- The villains continue to shine-in their own twisted way.
- The personalities of the various villains are slightly different from each other.
- Brings reminiscence back and has a little understanding of the American civil wars results forMontana.
- Can select from nine Guns for hire. These allies and companions swing battles in your favor.
- Takes the mute hero to new settings.
- Fishing is boring.
- The end is an anti-climax.