Far Cry 5 is a testament not only to how Ubisoft has evolved as a developer of open world games but also to the evolution of open world games in general. The game mocks itself for all the annoying things you have done in past iterations (of the game) and at the same time brings in fresh mechanics to a tried and tested formula. We played the game on an Xbox One X and in short, it looks stunning. The weakest element of the game is the story which at times put me to sleep. However, there is enough here to keep you entertained for a really long time. In short Far Cry 5 may not be the most engaging, but it definitely is one of the most entertaining first person shooters available today.
Kicking things off with the story, the 6th installment in the franchise (which is conveniently called Far Cry 5) takes us to Hope County, a region dominated by the religious tyrant, Joseph. Joseph isn’t as intimidating an antagonist as we have encountered in previous games and that’s because he keeps harping about the sins you and your comrades have committed and how you need to suffer before being forgiven. It may sound like an interesting premise but lacks depth or and may not be relatable enough to keep you invested in the story. You have to go through three of Joseph’s family members before getting to him, but his presence is ominous throughout the gameplay. Story sequences are told through cut scenes which are all up in your face so you can marvel at the visual appeal of the game, but like I said, the story failed to connect with me.
As weak as the story is in Far Cry 5, it’s the gameplay that will keep you hooked. The map is open from the very beginning and you don’t really need to level up to access a particular area. After climbing the first radio tower, the game sarcastically mocks you on the fact that it won’t send you on tower climbing quests. You still however have outposts that you can free. The beauty is the myriad of ways in which you can free these outposts. You can go in solo, guns blazing if you want or you can tackle them with an A.I. companion. You can unlock 9 key companions in the game. You also have access to “guns for hire”. These are people that you rescue during the game who can join you in your journey. The companions are divided into three types; animals, snipers and aerial support. This may sound a lot like Metal Gear Solid V and at times, feels like it to. To put things into perspective, there was one outpost which I infiltrated with my faithful canine companion. He marked the positions of the enemies while I took them out silently with my bow and arrow. There was another situation where the sniper was taking out guys in the outpost and all I had to do was mark them for her. In another situation, I went guns blazing with aerial support, a rocket launcher in one hand and machine gun in the other. This diversity in gunplay is what keeps the experience fresh in a world that is really huge.
Another interesting twist to the game is that you no longer have a map littered with icons of missions you need to do. Once the beginning (tutorial) section of the game is over, Far Cry gently nudges you in one direction (which you can ignore if you want) and then the game’s open world is yours to explore. The map is divided into three key areas, one for each of the sub bosses. The map has some key locations marked to give you some direction. You figure out story and side quests by talking to people and that’s brilliant. You will see someone crying for help, save him and he’ll tell you about a nearby outpost. Free the outpost and you will receive a fetch quest involving a huge armoured truck called the Widow Maker. Finish that and you will meet someone who asks you to free his Airplane. On the way, you could meet a fellow that will tell you about the guns hidden in an abandoned house, so on and so forth. This gives the game a more natural progression rather that 50 icons you need to visit on a map. Once you have received a quest, you can mark it on the map. However, if you accept the quest and embark on it immediately, you will realize you don’t need to refer to the map. In this case, you won’t even miss the mini map in the HUD which is a big deal in an open world game and a testament to how well the quests and exploration have been tied in together.
To make things more fun, you can get a friend to join your game online or vice versa and have a stellar multiplayer experience.
The game also has ‘Prepper Stashes’ which reminded me a lot of the Tombs from Tomb Raider. They are located all over the map and you can either be told about their location by an NPC or just stumble upon them. These ‘Prepper Stashes’ require you to solve a puzzle and/or navigate tight environments to reach a stash of guns, money and more. It’s a fun diversion for those that want to scratch their heads for a bit if the running and gunning gets too much.
Apart from all this mayhem, you have the standard modes of transport including a chopper, plane, car, truck, boat, parachute, gliding suit, and good old-fashioned running.
The only downside to the gameplay is the store. While you can buy guns with in-game currency, you need an active internet connection to purchase customisations. Here, if your internet connection is weak the store will take quite some time to load which can be a bummer. In case of network issues, it will log you out of the game completely which happened to me twice. This is disappointing and I wish the online store and in game store were different.
Overall, gameplay is where Far Cry 5 really shines. There is something for everyone. Pepper Stashes are a great break from all the running and gunning, your AI companions help diversify your approach reducing the repetitive nature of open world games and the random discovery of side quests rather than following icons on a map is a refreshing change.
We played Far Cry 5 on an Xbox One X and on the console the game runs in 4K at 30fps. It looks absolutely stunning; from the vast draw distances to the textures on foliage and even the water. Character models are well detailed too especially for the story related characters as the camera does get in very close to them. Some NPCs are average n terms of design, but we’re just nitpicking. There are no loading screens unless you die. Apart from a few wonky death animations and some texture pop-ins this is by far one of the best looking open world games I have seen on a console coming in a close second to Horizon Zero Dawn.
The vast forest locations, small towns and mountain tops that you visit in this game all have a unique feel. A lot of effort has been put into making this game look beautiful and it shows.
The voice acting is what you’d expect from a game like Far Cry – cheesy and forgettable. But it gets the job done. The bang of each gun, the swish of each arrow and even the sound of the airplane engine, all are believable with very good channel separation.
There is no constant background score and that isn’t a bad thing as there is enough going on for you to focus on. Certain story driven moments do have high octane music to get the adrenaline rushing and it gets the job done well keeping you at the edge of your seat.
Overall, apart from the voice acting, the rest of the sound design is impressive and immersive.
Far Cry 5 – Verdict
Far Cry 5 is a fantastic shooter that has something for everyone. People that enjoy the story can avoid everything else, the game world is open and the diversity in tackling missions keeps the gameplay fresh for a long time before getting repetitive. The story isn’t Far Cry 5’s strongest suit and that’s OK because everything else is a lot of fun. The ‘Prepper Stashes’ have a nice challenge and reward relationship for those interested. The best part is that you don’t need to climb radio towers anymore and you don’t need to harvest animal skins to access the upgrade tree. Everything is open and exploring the world is the focus, just the way we like it. We’ve done a review for the PC version of the game as well, which you can check out here.
|Tested on: Xbox One X
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Price: PC: 3,499, PS4 and Xbox One: Rs 3,999
Sameer "Psycho Mantis" Mitha
I live for gaming and technology is my muse. When I am not busy playing with gadgets or video games I delve into the world of fantasy novels.