In late March, Ubisoft released the fifth addition to the “Far Cry” franchise, and as usual, fans are thrilled to dive into the fantasy universe.
At the center of the “Far Cry 5” storyline is a Montana-based cult called Eden’s Gate. In addition, the game boasts some impressive graphics, as well interesting, amusing and disturbing characters.
Of course, the most disturbing character in the game is Joseph Seed, the cult’s founder and leader. Seed displays an intense and nearly-hypnotic gaze, and his yellow-tinted glasses really amp up the creep factor.
From the beginning, the player can go anywhere in the expansive Montana wilderness. There are day and night cycles and dream-like fantastical sequences as well. Fans know the “Far Cry” franchise for its dreamy ambiance, and in “Far Cry 5,” the cult’s drug of choice, bliss, brings on the hallucinatory sequences.
The general plot of the game is both creative and interesting: sent in as part of a team of U.S. marshals to apprehend Father Seed, the player becomes part of a resistance to overthrow the cult.
Without a doubt, the opening sequences are the high points of the game. In fact, the beginning narrative introduces a great villain, focuses on the timeless premise to save the specific part of America from a cult bent on destruction and contains the kind of seat-of-your-pants action that players expect from a good video game.
Also, the story missions — centering on Seed and his siblings — are unnerving and violent. As a matter of fact, the scenes feature graphic torture, religious fervor and hypnotic religious indoctrination. To be sure, the juxtapositions of beauty and violence can be jarring, but this is the games’ strong suit.
That said, “Far Cry 5” is not all blood and explosions. The player can also roam free, drink beer with the locals and drive across a mountain on a four-wheeler, all the while blasting hair-metal music with fireworks exploding across the sky. The player can also ride around in monster trucks to hunt crazed animals and to collect the necessary ingredients for the Testy Festy.
The contrasts the game presents can be an emotional roller-coaster: the player must embrace the intense sadism and shenanigans in order to get into “Far Cry 5.” Alone and in danger, the player must accept the new surroundings to retain power, which they can do by unlocking the locals of Hope County.
In “Far Cry 5,” the whole map is accessible from the beginning, and player progression is based on exploration and interaction. When the player liberates an outpost, the other characters will tell them about missions or locations of caches of gear.
In addition, signs on trails tell the player where they can hunt certain animals. Ultimately, the element of forming relationships with the residents makes the game more engaging for the player.
“Far Cry 5” also tasks the player with bringing down the Project at Eden’s Gate, which the game dubs “Peggies.” The Peggies are comprised of trained pilots, doctors, soldiers and chemists, and they have underground military bunkers, as well as chemical production facilities.
Also, the player can unlock nine specialists throughout the mission, and they range from snipers to helicopter pilots to animal allies. The allies, in particular, become more vital as the game progresses. Notably, one animal ally is a gigantic, diabetic bear named Cheeseburger.
One of the major flaws in “Far Cry 5” is the lack of substance in the cult because its beliefs are vague. In fact, the only thing the player only knows about Eden’s Gate is that it is a doomsday cult, but the game never actually clarifies their religious tenants.
Also, the cult’s leaders are thin characters, and its maxims never progress; instead, Joshua Seed’s siblings repeat the same proverbs. Jacob Seed wants to cull the weak, Faith Seed wants to give in to happiness (drugs) and John Seed wants people to live a life of suffering. The lack of a clear cult message makes the “Far Cry 5” ending fall a little flat.
The following section contains spoilers.
Despite the flaws, the game does capture one aspect of the Seeds marvelously: Joseph Seed’s character. Joseph (wonderfully played by Greg Bryk) is an enduringly treacherous presence throughout the game. After all, the Father is the reason for all of the player’s killing, drug use, kidnapping and brainwashing. And in the end, Seed wins.
The player sits with Joseph in the bunker, watching as the world above is nuked. As the destruction happens, Father Seed has a creepy smile on his serene face.
Suddenly, the player realizes that all of their combat skills, the mass numbers of Peggies killed and all of the Seed’s blood on the proverbial hand happened for nothing. As it turns out, Joseph Seed was right about the Collapse, and by fighting against the Father, the player is ultimately responsible for the destruction.
“Far Cry 5’s” ending is certainly wrought with futility, and the player gets the sense that the game’s writers want to impart a message, which seems to say, “Fuck you for using violence to take down this violent cult.”
Apparently, this is not foreign territory for the “Far Cry” franchise. The familiar narrative style began in “Far Cry 2,” and the brand has repeated it, perhaps to a lesser extent, ever since.
However, the game’s ending still feels bewildering and pyrrhic, and this does not prompt the player to keep exploring more of “Far Cry 5” after the game ends. The fact that some players feel disappointed does not mean that “Far Cry 5” is not a fun gaming experience. And despite its hollow ending, the game’s pros definitely outweigh its cons.
Bottom line: “Far Cry 5” is an amazing open-world action game because it boasts beautiful graphics, interesting characters and a killer soundtrack!
One other aspect worth mentioning is the “Far Cry” Arcade. The Arcade is a sort of playground that players can go to through the menu or from locations on the world map. Once inside the Arcade, the player can access or create community levels.
Using assets from “Far Cry 4 and 5,” “Assassin’s Creed” and “Watch Dogs,” the player can manipulate certain properties in the fictional world. The popularity of the Arcade will depend on the number and quality of levels that other players create, but so far, most people find the Arcade enjoyable.
While “Far Cry 5” does not stray too far from the previous installments, its the most actualized and rowdy gaming experience to date.