Far Cry 5 is the latest in the long-running series, following on from the successes of Far Cry 3 and 4. Developed by Ubisoft Montreal, FC5 yet again puts us in the shoes of an almost indestructible protagonist, set against a crazy antagonist alongside their limitless supply of thugs and more important lieutenants. With fond memories of Vaas and Ping, Joseph will have to work hard to worm his way into our hearts.
Starting off with the calm before the storm, as is common for the series, we see our character heading into enemy territory to hopefully take in a known criminal. With a warrant for arrest, the player Deputy, Marshal, sheriff and other officers, set about their first objective of the game, to apprehend Joseph Seed. As a leader of a crazy religious cult, taking Joseph into custody isn’t all that easy, rocks are tossed, spit is spat, bodies jumped into the propellers of your helicopter… oh, now we crashed.
Welcome to being marooned, the Far Cry special, you must now take down the entire cult, their higher-ups whilst rescuing your team from captivity. You’re not going to be able to do this alone, at least not entirely, as we soon find out. A local rebellion is being staged by the natives, with one such member saving your life as you escape capture from the cult. The top priority is Joseph, but you will need to take down 3 lieutenants and build up the resistance to even get a chance at his life.
The story continues on a rampage of destruction and alliance, with around 3 breaks for each lieutenant… where they capture you because why not. Every time you are captured you are lucky enough to escape but are given an insight into the lieutenant you are after, be it their torture tactics or how they drug people. Surviving falls that killed countless others, escaping compounds and more will just aim to break up the game flow and make it feel even more unbelievable.
Keeping a majority of mechanics from previous games, FC5 doesn’t break the mould much when it comes to its gameplay. You have a weapon wheel for up to 4 weapons, with 2 of them being locked behind skill purchases. Up to 3 melee weapons to cycle through, 3 types of throwables and a whole range of homoeopathic drugs to increase your speed, damage and more. Typical stuff for your average Far Cry game.
Ditching the experience and level systems of the past, FC5 forces players to see all the game has to offer with their new challenge mechanic for skill points. With skill points, you can unlock new gear, more health, abilities etc. To gain these points you will need to complete challenges like X kills with Y weapon, create so many drugs, use allies X amount of times etc. While previous games let you do whatever you wanted and gain skill points while doing so, FC5 decides to say blow up stuff even if you prefer stealth.
With the open world aspect, FC5 does seem to shift some things around. No longer are there any Ubisoft towers, besides the 1st one that even pokes fun at the mechanic of previous instalments. You still need to take over outposts, but doing so will now also unlock new resistance members to call on in battle or traversal. You can have up to 2 helpers, 1 is locked through skill points, to follow you around and help in battle, with 1 being removed for Co-Op play.
FC5 also seems to be going even bolder with the removal of previous mechanics, hunting and skinning no longer leads to crafting. Instead, almost all upgrades to weapons, vehicles and such are done through in-game currency, so you just end up selling any skinned animals. This universal upgrade system does feel a bit underwhelming, cutting down on the fun of hunting for gear. You can also spend real-world money to buy “skins” or early access to weapon types and vehicles.
Co-Op is still stripped away somewhat, similar to FC4, as your friend will only retain skill progression, money and guns. Item unlocks by missions are still locked away alongside any story progression, so they will need to either do it again or stay somewhat behind the host in terms of arms. You also can only Co-Op with people on your friend’s list, but the Arcade mode does allow random groups to be formed to rampage in player-made levels.
The music in FC5 is hard to shout down, it fits the scenarios, locations and events perfectly for a majority of the game. It feels like you’re in the countryside, passing by farms with the well-placed instrument use. Kicking away from immersive music it gets down into more action-packed tracks for the more explosive missions. However, music is mostly kept towards car radios while you are just doing basic traversal and exploration, making the non-mission segments feels a bit empty aside from far-off gunshots and explosions.
Sadly, I found too many bugs, glitches and crashes with FC5, and surprisingly a good number of other players also experienced this, even on console. I crashed over 10 times during my run of it, fell through the world twice, had objects and people teleport around, stuck in the environment, not notice me as a threat and more. The developers have been released patches to fix these issues, but with so many game breaking ones it really trod on the overall experience.
Overall Far Cry 5 gets a 7/10, it feels like it has taken away many points that made the series so fun and immersive in the past. Gunplay is still fun, with plenty of options for your arms, but with the new skill system, it does force you outside of your preferred gameplay style more than once. Plenty of previous mechanics are reused almost exactly as they were in previous games, becoming repetitive to a long-time player of the series. The story is still solid, with some memorable moments and characters but breaks it up too much with the constant scenario of the protagonist getting captured.