far cry 5

Good dogs and bad hom­bres in small-town Amer­ica

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Josh West

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”

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