Far Cry 5 Review

Richard Walker

From Vaas to Pagan Min, as a series Far Cry has cornered the market in charismatic psychopaths, and now with Far Cry 5, there's not one, but four brand new ones to deal with. Chief among them is Joseph Seed, self-appointed saviour of sinners the world over, a latter day Noah who believes he can save the world from the coming 'Collapse'. With his siblings John, Jacob and Faith, Joseph has taken over the whole of Hope County, Montana, and it's up to you, the rookie deputy sheriff, to try and flush them out for good.

In a world on the brink, Hope County exists as a lawless chunk of America, a region oppressed and indoctrinated under the Project at Eden's Gate's reign. A cult of twisted zealots, Eden's Gate keeps its members under control using a potent drug named Bliss, so you'll see green barrels of the stuff all over the place, as well as fields of the flower it's derived from. As is a Far Cry staple, drug-induced hallucinations and trippy hazes are par for the course, and you'll go around liberating enemy outposts, as well as freeing hostages and locating Prepper Stashes for hidden caches of weapons, perk magazines and money.


Each of the aforementioned Prepper Stashes is a little puzzle (traversal-based mostly) in and of itself, but you'll primarily go about helping the Resistance, ordinary all-American working folks who just want things to return to normal. To the good old uncomplicated star-spangled apple pie days. And 'helping' can take a variety of forms, from stealing back a truck fitted with machine guns to hooking a rogue fish, there are loads of different missions to partake in. It all counts towards drawing the ire of the cult. Destroying cult property like shrines, fuel tankers, silos, beacons and roadblocks is another way to loosen Eden's Gate's grasp over each region in Hope County, of which there are three large sectors to free from the cult's tyranny.

Starting in Holland Valley, home to John Seed, your actions gradually build up resistance points in the area, and hitting certain milestones will prompt a narrative sequence, putting you face to face with one of the Seed family as they seek to control you. Once you've filled each region's meter with resistance points, you'll initiate a final showdown with the zone's leader, and deal a major blow to Eden's Gate with their defeat. From Holland Valley, you're free to roam wherever you like in Hope County, whether you choose to wander north to the Whitetail Mountains to join the ragtag Whitetail Militia led by the idealistic Eli, or head to Henbane River and the heart of the cult's Bliss production.

Far Cry 5's gameplay loops remain much the same as they have been since Far Cry 3, and as such it's a compulsive, addictive experience, its open world densely populated with animals to hunt, secrets to uncover and allies to help out. Some things have changed, though, like crafting using animal hides, which has been completely removed. Instead, cougar, bear, deer, skunk and wolverine skins are sold off for cash, and all skills, enhancements and additional loadout slots are unlocked by earning perk points. It's far more streamlined and means you don't have to murder six rhinos to upgrade a wallet, although this does render hunting less of a necessity.

If you require further help in your crusade to clear out Hope County's religious nutters, then you can also call upon 'Guns for Hire' – or 'Fangs for Hire' in the case of your furry helpers – who'll follow you around and carry out your commands. There are pilots like Nick Rye and Adelaide Drubman who'll provide air support, marksmen like Grace and Jess, unhinged crazies like Sharky and Hurk, and those who'll quite literally fight tooth and claw for you: grizzly bear Cheeseburger, sneaky cougar Peaches and loyal gun dog Boomer.

The only downside is some fairly questionable AI, with more than a few instances of stupidity on their part that can often cause a mission to go awry. Like Grace deciding to steal my helicopter and go off on her own one-woman rampage, leaving me stranded in the process; or Sharky running into fire constantly; or Jess falling down a ladder and dying. They're not the brightest bunch, but can be invaluable in a pinch when they do behave properly. Besides, the game's enemies aren't too smart either, but you could put that down to the brain scrambling effects of Bliss.


It ultimately doesn't matter, however, as you'll be having too much fun to care about the game's minor shortcomings. When you're not following the main storyline, there's a rogue's gallery of weirdos and oddballs to interact with, often eventing in humorous, bizarre or often unexpected outcomes. There are hunting and fishing spots, wingsuit base jumps, and Clutch Nixon stunt challenges that serve up seat-of-the-pants checkpoint races against the clock in planes, muscle cars, buggies and on quad bikes. Hope County is a fantastic, stunning-looking sandbox, albeit it one full to bursting with danger around every corner. Sometimes, it can reach Far Cry 2 levels of relentlessness, yet it's never anything less than a joy to play.

Outside of the campaign, the Map Editor returns as Far Cry Arcade, which enables you to create, share and play your own levels. These can be solo or co-op maps, and are almost limitless in scope, using assets from past Far Cry games (including Blood Dragon), Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and Unity. You can create exploratory Journey missions, build an Outpost to clear out, set VIP targets to be dispatched in Bounty Hunt, or pit players against waves of enemies in Assault objectives. It's endlessly replayable stuff, extending to 12-player PvP multiplayer maps to boot. Far Cry Arcade adds mountains of longevity to Far Cry 5, making it practically essential.Your character remains persistent between the campaign and Far Cry Arcade too, so cash, perks and unlock carry across between modes, and you can play the whole lot in co-op with a buddy.

Far Cry 5 might not be the best Far Cry game, but it's a bloody good one, delivering an open world that's engaging and constantly compelling, inviting you to explore every nook and cranny, even after the credits have rolled. It even manages to squeeze in commentary on today's political climate without thrusting it into your face, proving thought-provoking without being too preachy. Ubisoft Montreal has stuffed plenty into its latest toybox then, with Far Cry Arcade and Prepper Stashes in particular proving somewhat game changing. But as always, it's the emergent random moments that you'll remember, and the stories that happen on the fly that make Far Cry 5 another indispensable entry in the series.

Far Cry 5

From its tense opening to its blistering conclusion, Far Cry 5 is another cracking instalment in the series, streamlining some of the hunting elements and putting co-op up front for both the campaign and the bottomless Far Cry Arcade. The narrative and characters will live on in the memory once you're done and dusted too, as will the insane random minute-to-minute moments that always succeed in making Far Cry so unique.

Form widget
85%
Audio
90%

An excellent licensed soundtrack deployed at exactly the right moments, complemented by fantastic voice performances and a suitably folksy score. Pretty much perfect.

Visuals
80%

A few glitches and bugs aside, Hope County looks utterly gorgeous, all pristine blue skies, idyllic evergreen forests and craggy mountain ranges. There's the occasional bit of pop-in, even on Xbox One X, but overall, FC5 is a treat for the eyeballs.

Playability
85%

Tight controls and stellar gunplay are to be expected in a Far Cry game, while the wingsuit, melee combat and aerial vehicles are also great fun. Flight can be slightly awkward at times and friendly AI can be skittish, which are the only real criticisms.

Delivery
85%

Plenty of mission variety, a huge map, and a generously proportioned story. Far Cry Arcade is the icing on the cake, offering endless levels and multiplayer maps. There are microtransactions available using Silver Bars, but in-game cash is so plentiful, you'll never need them unless you're supremely impatient. Oh, and there are no towers to climb either.

Achievements
80%

A typical Far Cry list that doesn't demand doing absolutely everything. Ubi has also managed to chuck in plenty of smart, inventive achievements into the mix too, making for a list you'll want to completely rinse.

Game navigation