far cry 5
Good dogs and bad hombres in small-town America
Publisher Ubisoft Developer Ubisoft Montreal Format Xbox One ETA 2018
It’s already become clear to us that, unless something major should change, then this game is going to commit the ultimate gaming faux pas.
And listen, while we could use game, gun, world, sound and system design as a metric for judging a game’s successes and failures we feel that you, the loyal reader of OXM, deserves better. Besides, this is Far Cry we are talking about here; imagine the aforementioned as they were presented in Far Cry 4, only now they have had three years of polish and fine-tuning behind them – trust us, game feel isn’t something you need to worry about here.
So, what’s the problem? Well, why don’t you let us fill you in on the situation as it stands: Far Cry 5 lets you pick from three Gun-For-Hire, AIcontrolled companions that will assist you in your efforts to set small-town America on fire with such a vast array of weaponry that it would make a Second Amendment-loving gun-nut blush. One of these companions is an adorable dog – by the internet’s standards, a certified good boy – who has a penchant for playing fetch with AK-47 ammunition. So far, so amazing; you can even pet the proud puppy to show your appreciation. By all accounts it looks like we’re dealing with some serious GOTY material with this one, right?
But it all begins to fall apart once we jump into a pick-up truck painted in the ol’ red, white and blues, and start cranking up the angelic church hymns to set the mood. We begin our pursuit of a convoy and turn our heads ever so slightly to the passenger door window, expecting to see our new buddy with his head sticking out of the window, soaking up the sun and smell of blood in the air – tongue waggling as we rocket through the countryside at breakneck speeds. But he isn’t in the seat, nor is he in the back, barking at passing wildlife or at other enemies – he’s vanished, and so too has our enthusiasm for Far Cry’s violence.
Far Cry reborn
In all seriousness, Far Cry 5 gets almost everything right, which means we have a little space to sweat it on the details. While it was difficult for us to get a sense of how cohesive the open world is, a few things were made perfectly clear. The gunplay is better than ever; weapons, particularly the shotguns and assault rifles, are hefty, precise, and truly empowering to wield – especially as you face off against throngs of enemies in trucker hats and double denim. The sound design deserves praise too, only serving to make gunfights feel threatening. Combined with the increased environmental destruction and improved enemy AI the changes make firefights thrilling acts of constant movement and aggression. All told, it feels as if this is what Ubisoft Montreal has been working towards all this time.
But then there’s the dematerialising dog situation to contend with. It can’t jump in the car but it can command space and time and warp to your position whenever you need it to. It breaks immersion, that feeling that the game’s hold over your attention is all-encompassing. Far Cry 5 is a world you’ll want to spend time in – hunting, fishing, and eradicating a cult in the most violent ways imaginable. But if we are going to be given the option of doing so with a new friend by our side, at least give us the option of bringing him along for the ride.
“It feels as if this is what Ubisoft Montreal has been working towards all this time”