Far cry 5 re­view

’Cause you gotta have faith

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Has Ubisoft de­liv­ered its finest open world game to date?

There’s noth­ing wrong with Far Cry 5. It delivers ev­ery­thing fans have come to love – fightin’, ex­plorin’ and wrestlin’ the sharp­toothed fiends skulk­ing in the wilder­ness. But there’s lit­tle that’s spe­cial about it, ei­ther. It’s like a cake that looks de­li­cious but tastes stale, as though the in­gre­di­ents have been sit­ting in a cup­board too long. There’s noth­ing wrong with it, of course – it won’t make you ill or any­thing. You’ve just had it loads of times be­fore, and with­out any new in­gre­di­ents in the mix, it’s just… well, it’s a bit bland, that’s all.

And that’s what Far Cry 5 is, re­ally: bland. The story’s fine – clichéd, but fine (al­beit one that doesn’t quite de­liver the punch we’d per­haps hoped for). The game­play too is per­fectly ac­cept­able, the easy rinse-and-re­peat of out­posts and fetch mis­sions mak­ing the com­ple­tion­ist in us will­ingly seek out col­lectibles – lighters, vinyl records, comic books and more – se­creted in the peaks and troughs of Hope County. But what you’ll come to love most about Far Cry 5 isn’t any­thing to do with its story or an­tag­o­nists. In­stead, it ex­cels at paint­ing a rich, vi­brant world that begs your ex­plo­ration, and it’s this uni­verse that has been built around Far Cry 5’s story that shines bright­est.

You play as the anony­mous Dep(uty) or Rook(ie) tasked with tak­ing down Joseph Seed, a charis­matic cult leader dec­i­mat­ing the mod­est com­mu­nity of Hope County, Mon­tana. Yes, it’s a fic­tion­al­i­sa­tion, but yes, the story draws on real life, too: at least it seems to be, given one res­i­dent asked if that “Rus­sian orange guy” was still Pres­i­dent.

It feels un­bal­anced, though. The story’s in­tent is ad­mirable, but it fails on ex­e­cu­tion, with any mean­ing­ful so­cial com­men­tary on gun rights, drug cul­ture, rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion or re­li­gious ex­trem­ists wa­tered down to a luke­warm tale of hal­lu­cino­genic drugs. There’s lit­tle emo­tional con­nec­tion with your pro­tag­o­nist or pals, ei­ther; your char­ac­ter – a mute, emo­tion­less slab of meat with all the al­lure of a soiled nap­kin – is barely any more mem­o­rable than the army of iden­tikit sol­diers run­ning riot across the county. The only char­ac­ters painted with any care are Seed’s fam­ily, with Faith par­tic­u­larly a sad, tragic fig­ure with a dev­as­tat­ing back­story.

And yet, story aside, there’s some­thing cu­ri­ously ap­peal­ing about Hope County. The tasks it sets are familiar, yes, but there is just enough vari­a­tion to keep us plod­ding on.

Far Cry 5’s me­chan­ics get in its own way, though. Each final en­counter with one of Seed’s lieu­tenants sees you es­cap­ing a bunker. While the en­su­ing scrapes are en­joy­able enough, the final hur­dle of John’s bunker sees you trapped in a cir­cu­lar room scram­bling to open a hatch, grap­ple a he­li­copter and be lifted to safety. Trou­ble is, the room is tiny, it’s ablaze and there are plenty of Seed’s dis­ci­ples clam­our­ing to take you out. With the but­ton prompt to re­lease the hatch the same as the one to scav­enge weapons, in the fran­tic mash to se­cure your exit you’ll keep pick­ing up one of the dozens of dis­carded guns in­stead of re­leas­ing the latch. Nit­picky? Eh, maybe, but it turns a fren­zied es­cape into a frus­trat­ing fum­ble.

Nat­u­rally, your load­out will be unique to your own par­tic­u­lar style – stealthy shots from afar, or all guns blazin’, it’s your choice – but your ar­se­nal is a dull af­fair, too, and we found the guns we hap­pened upon early on were good for the en­tire du­ra­tion, re­gard­less of what other vari­a­tions we un­locked along the way. Life gets eas­ier still once you’ve re­leased the bonus in­ven­tory slots, af­ter which point you can carry a melee weapon, midrange gun, a sniper and some­thing dev­as­tat­ing, like a rocket launcher. Equip pow­er­ful scopes and sup­pres­sors and you’ll be un­stop­pable (un­less there’s a Wolver­ine around. The equiv­a­lent of FC3’S honey badgers, they’re ab­so­lute ar­se­holes to kill).

There’s lit­tle fun to be had with the perk sys­tem or home­o­pathic reme­dies, ei­ther. Be­yond the in­ven­tory slots, grab­bing a grap­ple, the wing­suit and maybe boost­ing your speed just be­fore you leap into a fight, there’s not much else to play with. To be hon­est, the steps you take to get the perks – usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with Prep­per Stashes, one of our favourite FC5 ac­tiv­i­ties – are more fun than any­thing the perks them­selves un­lock. Again, it feels like we’re whinging for the sake of it, but there’s so lit­tle here that makes it stand out against an oth­er­wise grey sea of anony­mous FPSS.

Maybe we were spoiled by As­sas­sin’s Creed: Ori­gins, but Far Cry 5 lacks both the heart and the pol­ish of Ubisoft’s other golden child. You have agency, but there are no last­ing reper­cus­sions. Help or hin­der, it’s all the same; the only de­ter­rent is a brief “DO NOT KILL IN­NO­CENT CIVIL­IANS” warn­ing across the screen, but that’s usu­ally only trig­gered by some mind­less oaf stum­bling in front of our rocket launcher.

If you’ve played a Far Cry game be­fore, you’ve played Far Cry 5 be­fore, which means if you liked 3 or 4, you’re prob­a­bly go­ing to en­joy 5, too. It doesn’t bring any­thing new to the ta­ble, with the same lib­er­at­ing of out­posts, fetch quests and tak­ing out the cookie-cut­ter army we’ve seen be­fore.

Yet it’s a stun­ning place to ex­plore, and ar­guably the rich­est, most vi­brant world we’ve ever seen grace a con­sole, and it’s this stun­ning sand­box play­ground that truly re­deems an oth­er­wise quite medi­ocre of­fer­ing.

Plus we stayed up way too late on two con­sec­u­tive school nights just to me­an­der through the moun­tains mop­ping up miss­ing comics and lighters, so it must be do­ing some­thing right, eh?

ver­dict

Wor­thy of your time, de­spite be­ing pre­dictable

7/10

It’s a pig with a birth­day hat on. Be­cause this pig’s a fancy pig with places to go

Watch your step here. There’s cer­tainly an… in­ter­est­ing ar­ray of mis­sions in Far Cry 5. This one has you search­ing through dog muck to lo­cate a key fed to a dog. Look, don’t blame us, we didn’t come up with it.

details Pub­lisher Ubisoft De­vel­oper in-house PSN Price £54.99 Play­ers 1-2

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