I love Far Cry games. I have played everyone, along with their expansions. I bought the original on PC and Xbox, rebought it under the “Instincts” badge, then a third time under the “Predator” badge. Far Cry 2 gave us a glimpse of what an open world FPS could be like. Right when the gun toting of 3 and 4 was getting a bit tired, Primal stole my time and my heart with a surprising story (yes, story) about early homo-sapiens and their interaction with Neandertals. When the premise for the new game was released, you saw an immediate reaction to the story being placed inside the United States. People already seemed to have their minds made up about this game before it even came out.
Now, before I get to a “review,” it needs to be noted that I have not played the entirety of the story. My style of play is more open and explorative for these sandbox games, so while I’ve only finished about half the story I still have put in roughly 30 hours of play. So, before I get into the story bit though, I would like to talk mechanics of the game itself.
It is gorgeous to look at, of course, as is most Far Cry games. Inside a large sprawling county are all manner of vehicles to drive, weapons to deploy, and animals to hunt (or in some cases force to mate… then kill… then collect their testicles). It’s physics engine can get a bit rag dolly at times, but nothing compared to Skyrim or Star Wars Force games. There are diversity of locals both indoor and outdoor, with some cleaver puzzles and events sprinkled across the Big Sky State. One of the main departures from previous titles is that instead of just taking over outposts to unlock map areas, all you need to do is explore and uncover “the fog.” This can lead to some weird side effects however, by inadvertently completing missions before you progressed through the story, causing some hiccups narratively speaking and not allowing some missions to be completed.
There are innumerable side quests that generate every so often, which often lead you to unexplored areas and dust ups with cultists. There is allot of care that has gone into the little things in the game like journals, notes to loved ones, or the occasional hilarious answering machine messages for local politicians. Players will find that hunting down “Prepper Stashes” to not only be fun, but rewarding. These have accounted for most of the advancement of the “Perk” system, which opens up more items to use or abilities to try out. Hell, nothing beats jumping out of an airplane and using a squirrel (wing) suit to glide over a fire fight and drop a pipe bomb on the “Peggies.” You also can create “homeopathic stimulus” to advance your characteristics: giving you super human speed, or sight, or bullet resistant-ness. This, when properly utilized, can help turn the tide of battle.
The revamped companion system works fairly well, with a cast of characters that run the gamut from Olympic sharpshooter to a diabetic Grizzly Bear named Cheeseburger. You can enlist average civilians too. I tend to have Peaches the cougar and an archer accompany me for my stealthy escapades. Nothing makes me smile more than a panicked red-kneck shit his pants when a giant cat lunges at him from the bushes.
The sound effects, and sound track work well enough. You got a handful of radio stations, none of which I really listen to, but the licensing seems to be pretty good with so good ole classic rock anthems ready at a turn of a know in case you want to cover up the screams of fundimentalists.
So, basically take a Far Cry game, and polish it up even more.
Allot has already has been said about Ubisoft Montreal/Toronto’s latest addition to the Far Cry franchise, and while some of the complaints about it being “formulaic” have merit, I think some of the reaction to the narrative is a bit harsh… or at the least derives from something else than objective review.
Comparing real life cult communities like Warren Jeffs FLDS or Jim Baker and his religious rapture buckets to Far Cry 5’s “Project Eden’s Gate” seems pretty easy at first. Indeed, most of the harsh reviews of the game strike at the story from two separate camps: people that think it didn’t go far enough, and people who didn’t care for the setting. Some of the illusions to modern day America are pretty overt, and depending on your political affiliation, you may feel the game is making fun of your beliefs… which it is.
I for one, am in neither camp (I haven’t finished the full story yet, and probably won’t for some time). But the mystical and weird super serum nature of “Bliss,” a drug Project Eden’s Gate uses to keep it’s members… whelmed, feels very much like a call back to the original Far Cry and the creature powers you develop in Instincts and Predator. To me, the Doctor Moreau seems to fit nicely in the series, but I can see where others might not think it worth the inclusion.
Over all, I think the game is super fun and super hilarious. If you may not find the concept of driving a pregnant lady to the hospital through gun-fire and wild life fun, then maybe this isn’t for you. If you think shooting a religious fundamentalist with a gun in a hollowed out bible inside of a church to be sacrilegious, then this might not be the game for you. If you don’t think driving a tractor off a cliff sounds like fun, then… well you get the picture.