2018 will be a big year for gaming with games such as God of War 4 and Red Dead Redemption and many more. One of the biggest releases for 2018 is undoubtedly Ubisoft’s Farcry 5, and that is the game we will look at in today’s review.
Will the success of the Farcry franchise carry on with the latest installment or has it grown stale from using the same formula?
The latest game from the franchise was the pseudo spin-off, Farcry Primal, which took place in a prehistoric setting. Whereas the most recent ”true” Farcry game was the fourth in this flagship franchise and took place in an ”Himalaya-like” setting, but the fifth has us going to the fictional southern state ‘Hope County’ in the United States of America. Hope County is in many ways an unrealistic and exaggerated version of southern America. However, it is not entirely unfamiliar as it uses modern day topics such as religious radicalism and American fanaticism movements getting out of control.
Your role in Farcry 5 starts with assisting the sheriff and go into the mysterious Hope County, which has been taken over by a religious movement known as Eden’s Gate. You go in hoping to take down the cult leader ”the father” but that doesn’t exactly work out the way you hope, and you instead have to fight your way through the lion’s den.
The Story – Religion, Fanatics, and Southern vibes
Once you finish off the first scenario, you find yourself in a familiar situation in a new setting. You are all alone, in an almost entirely hostile environment and go straight into the classic Farcry survival mode. While it all feels very familiar Farcry 5 does something better than all of its predecessors, you truly feel at a loss and behind enemy lines. There is considerably less hand-holding which makes, in my opinion, help make Farcry 5 feel even more open world than any of the previous installments. Armed with nothing but your wits you need to outsmart the onslaught of religious fanatics that are out to get, how you do it is entirely up to you.
Farcry manages to take its storytelling down to a more trivial level compared to the past two games, but it still manages to be a step of from both Farcry 4 and Farcry Primal from a narrative perspective. The soldiers and militias we have grown so used to fighting have been swapped out for John Doe’s with a hard-on for the old testament which also happens to be armed to the teeth. While this might seem like a bit of a downgrade at first, it works out very well. Nothing is more dangerous than an armed man that believes he can kill in the righteous name of god. This provides the regular soldiers with much more personality than in any of the past installments, and that is quite refreshing.
Joseph & the Rest of the Seed’s
Ever since Farcry 3 introduced the charismatic Vaas Montenegro Ubisoft have been trying to fill his shoes, first with Farcry 4’s Pagan Min and now with ‘the Father.’ I will honestly say that neither of them lives up the brilliance that was Vaas, but I think Ubisoft did an excellent job with both of them and the Father does a great job at getting us invested in the story.
Joseph Seed(The Father), of the excentric Seed family, is the main antagonist of the game alongside his charming siblings, whom he dubs ”The Heralds”. And let’s just say that the Seeds are not the kind of family you want over for Christmas, or any event, of any kind, ever. Conservatively speaking they are nuts, and at the head of the family, Joseph Seed, who is not only crazy but also incredibly ruthless and fearless.
Hope County, and it’s characters
Luckily you are not the only person in the county that think that Eden’s Gate is a bit over the top. And seeing as the game takes place in the southern parts of America, there are obviously quite a few locals with a loaded weapon shed and a firm belief in the second amendment which are willing to help you out. Although Joseph Seed might not be as entertaining as Vaas or Pagan Min, the supporting cast in Farcry 5 is, in my opinion, the strongest for the franchise yet.
Hope County itself is the largest Farcry map to date and feel massive, and if you fancy yourself a completionist, you are in for quite a challenge. That being said, it is not the size that makes Hope County so enjoyable, but the fact that it is truly open world instead of the unlockable piece-by-piece model they use in the previous games. Although the story still functions similarly and is divided into four chapters, one for each Seed sibling.
Singleplayer & Co-op
One of the new primary features in Farcry 5 is the co-op mode which you can take part in shortly after the doing the first scenario. In this mode, you can choose to either team up with your real life friends who also own the game or with one of the many different in-game NPC’s. So whether you prefer to play Farcry as a singleplayer or co-op experience, you’ll be fine. Luckily they avoided the ”Assassins Creed Unity” problem with a lot of the more significant missions being designed solely for co-op.
I loved the occasional co-op, and it really adds another layer to the in-game strategy and tactics. As an example you can have one friend laying in the back with a sniper, another flanking with a shotgun and a third storming the front gate. This allows you to outplay the game drastically and it honestly feels terrific when you pull off a clean, silent takeover of a hostile base with your friends. When this co-op mode is at is best it is honestly the best the franchise has ever felt, at least from a gameplay perspective. The co-op mode also helps make the ordinary side activities a bit more interesting, but at the end of the day, they are the same old ”shoot three bears” or ”take over hostile fort” Ubisoft side missions. So sadly nothing too fresh and exciting as regards to side content.
However, some people prefer playing the game solo and if you are one of those people, don’t worry, it works just like any other Farcry before it when it comes to singleplayer playability.
Progression – No more leveling!
Due to the pure open world nature of the game as well as the co-op function, Ubisoft has decided to get rid of traditional leveling in Farcry 5. Which again adds to the more open feeling of this game compared to its predecessors. Seeing as you can almost instantly get on a plane and fly to the very edge of the map if you so desire. It would not work with the traditional leveling system. There is still a natural increase in difficulty when it comes to the different areas and missions of course.
Naturally, you still progress, and there are a vast array of skills, weapons, and equipment to be unlocked throughout the game. Instead of leveling, you have a traditional talent tree which you unlock throughout the game by earning perk-points. You gain these from anything you do really, from completing the main missions to finding remote treasures.
Overall this is probably one of my favorite changes in Farcry 5 because it makes the game feel much more open than in any previous installment. As well as allowing you to play with any friend at any time, no matter how far ahead or behind they may be in the story campaign.
Gameplay & Controls
The gameplay stays very true to the core Farcry mechanics, and at its base, it is still the same First-person shooter that we know so well. However, something that is significantly different is the overall means of transportation.
First off. There is a much more extensive array of different vehicles available to the player, and on top of that, they are now customizable at specific posts around the world. Think a simplified version of the GTA 5 car shop.
Secondly, fast traveling has also received a drastic quality of life improvement. Instead of only being able to fast travel to big posts you can now choose almost any point of interest that you have discovered around the way. While there is a worry that quality of life can be taken too far, I do think it is a reasonable change when you consider the scope of Farcry 5.
The controls and human interactions are more smooth than ever, and Farcry 5 is overall a considerable step up regarding gameplay quality. There are not as many issues with small objects blocking your path or significant glitches.
If I were to criticize something from a gameplay perspective, it would be the vehicle controls. Much like the other games in the franchise, they feel a bit clunky, and especially the planes can be a nightmare to control in combat situations. I would have liked the vehicle controls to get the same overall quality improvement as the character and weapon controls. But as a game overall, the gameplay has been vastly improved and it is even smoother than ever.
Graphics & Soundtrack
The soundtrack does a great job at immersing you in the world with a score that is well suited to the environment as well as a top-notch ambiance sound that really makes the world feel real. This paired with the stellar graphical detail makes Hope County a truly unique and beautiful experience.
While the graphics don’t match up to the likes of Assassins Creed Origins, it is still a step up from the earlier Farcry’s, and there is a keen attention to detail. Everything from the view from atop a hill to the small details like condensed cans laying inside the hidden bunkers makes the world look real, believable and last but not least, beautiful.
The side content in Farcry has generally been pretty disappointing for me throughout the lifespan of the franchise. The only thing that makes it work is the phenomenal gameplay quality.
It is mostly the same old Ubisoft side content, such as ”take over this watchtower” or ”gather five hides from bears.” Which I do feel gets old after a few repetitions of each kind, but it is also what I have come to expect from a Farcry game, so I can’t say that I am disappointed. The premise of taking over base after base might be dull on paper, but the quality of the gameplay does make it a decently enjoyable piece of side content, especially when played with friends. So if you enjoy the classic Farcry mechanics and side content then you won’t be let down this time either but if you like me find it a bit too repetitive you might not get quite as many hours out of the game as others.
While I overall wasn’t impressed with the side content, there are a few exceptions hidden around Hope County that really make up for it. This is the Arcade mode which will take you to some alternative maps or maybe even if build your own. Most enjoyable of these was a mission that took place in the ”upside down” from the Netflix hit series Stranger Things. The arcade mode does a decent job at evening out the staleness of the traditional side content and adds quite a few additional hours of enjoyment.
Farcry 5 is a perfectionist’s dream, or maybe a nightmare, depending on the person. Completing all of the side missions and objectives will keep you busy for a long, long time and will likely give the average person an entire month of entertainment if you plan to complete everything the game has to offer.
It is clear that Ubisoft is pleased with the overall premise of Farcry and don’t want to change the formula too much but instead focus on creating new and exciting stories and environments. I am not saying this is a bad thing ”if it’s not broken, don’t fix it I guess. However, I do feel like the franchise will need a major overhaul like Assassins Creed Origins was vastly different than any previous AC games. It works for now, but if Ubisoft wants continued success in years to come, I would like to see some real innovations.
I want to start out by saying that I enjoyed the hell out of most of my time in Farcry 5 and I do think it is a step up from both Farcry 4 and Primal. However, not as strong as Farcry 3.
Farcry 5 strikes a good balance between ”if it’s not broken, why fix it?” and adding some enjoyable new features such as the new progression system, co-op, and arcade mode. It is a predictable experience, and if you grew tired of Farcry before then, this won’t reignite your love for the franchise. However, people who enjoy the Farcry franchise for what it is will love Farcry 5.
The story follows the same pattern as the previous games but still manages to be decently unique and have a lot of interesting characters that make this a ride worth taking and in my book, it is the best Farcry since the third installment and definitely one of the best FPS games to come out in 2018.