Video games, for the longest time, were nothing more than a product. You paid the set price, and in return received a game in its complete glory, or in some instances, its lack. However, no matter how good or bad the game in question might have been, it was always delivered to you in its entirety. But this unfortunately has changed with the rise of digital content distribution and increased download speeds, as such have allowed developers to turn their games from products into live-services.
Ubisoft, as a publisher, is at the forefront of the ‘games as a service’ movement, as seemingly all their titles launch with a limited amount of content, and then live out their lifespan receiving add-ons, dlcs, and expansions, bit by bit. And due to that fact, many gamers have turned their backs on the developer in question, as many detest that approach to game design. And considering that this has been going on for years now, many have lost hope that Ubisoft will ever make a fully-fledged title ever again. But in rather unexpected turn of events, Ubisoft, the same Ubisoft which forced players to pay for basic content in games such as For Honour, and Rainbow Six: Siege, has redeemed itself with the recently released Far Cry 5.
Far Cry 5, just like any other AAA title will cost you no more than £45, in physical form – unless you are buying it from GAME. And for the forty odd pounds which you’ll pay for it, you’ll receive one complete game in form of Far Cry 5’s story mode, and one game as a service, in form of Far Cry Arcade. And in total, both these games will provide you with hundreds, upon hundreds of hours of thrilling, and satisfying content.
Far Cry Arcade, which we’ll discuss later, is a great new addition to the series, however, it is just a side note, to the meat of the particular dish, which is Far Cry 5. And while many might have scoffed at the title in question due to tis highly controversial setting, or Ubisoft’s reluctance to discuss it, then it has to be said that all their doubt, and arrogance towards Far Cry 5 will be dispelled within minutes from starting the game, as it starts with very subtle, if uncomfortable bang.
As many of you might have already seen, Far Cry 5 starts with you, custom-created Sherriff’s deputy, entering the compound of Eden’s Gate, which is run and controlled by the highly controversial and ominous Joseph Seed, who is known amongst his follower as the father. The introductory scene is incredibly atmospheric and chilling, as it presents Joseph Seed as an incredibly powerful and mystical figure, who as you quickly come to learn, is always right. And the hour or so long introduction sets the scene to what is the best Ubisoft game of this generation.
Once a series of dramatic events unfolds, and you meet some of the rather vibrant, and colourful characters of Hope County, Montana – where the title is set – you are then set free to combat Joseph Seed, and his cult of Eden’s Gate. And before you’ll have a chance to pick up your gun, you’ll quickly learn that there is more to this tale, than meets the eye. And that’s because Far Cry 5, unlike the vast majority of its predecessors features incredibly captivating, and expansive narrative, which puts the vast majority of the modern AAA titles to shame.
Joseph Seed, The Father, is an incredibly enigmatic leader, who is more than just a maniacal psychopath, the like of Vaas of Far Cry 3. When you first face him, there is not much you know about him, but as press forwards, and slowly diminish his grip on Hope County, you come to learn that he is a highly troubled man, who despite of his stone-cold façade, is more than a mindless killer. And while his approach to the formation of his ‘’flock’’ may be highly toxic and rather controversial, it ultimately is justified through his back-story, and the rest of his family.
Within the first hour with Far Cry 5, you’ll learn that Joseph Seed is just a figurehead of the Eden’s Gate cult. And that in fact, Eden’s Gate, is more than just a cult, as it is a highly functional and well-oiled para-military and industrial machine, which is run by Joseph’s immediate family. And in-game, each of the three regions of Hope County is run by one of the members of the Seed family.
The northern most, mountain region of Hope County is run by the eldest Seed brother, Jacob Seed. A man who while participating in creation of the Eden’s Gate project, pursues his own goals, and ultimately uses the Eden’s Gate as mean to an end. He just like his younger brother Joseph, is all about the people, the followers of the Eden’s Gate. But where Joseph seeks to embrace all who are willing to join the cult, then the same cannot be said about Jacob, as his vision of Eden’s Gate, has only room for the few, the proud, and the strongest. And with the use of his military expertise, and torture, he ‘’culls the heard’’ so that only those who are worthy remain.
In addition to Jacob, the bottom most regions, are led by John Seed, a charming if unhinged, youngest brother of the Seed family, who cleans the followers of the Eden’s Gate community of their sin, through immense amount of pain and suffering. And Faith Seed, who could be regarded as Eden’s Gate first follower, as she has been quote-on-quote rescued by The Father, when she was just seventeen. And while she might not be biologically related to the Seed brothers, she is still in charge of her own region, where she enslaves those who refuse to join the ranks of Eden’s Gate with a drug called bliss.
All three siblings of Joseph Seed, are presented as the leaders of their own fate. However, as you slowly but surely release their grip on their corresponding territories, you come to learn that while they are nothing more than capos of The Father, they are as complex and well written as Joseph Seed himself. However, as you learn more about them, you come to realise that just like all the other followers of Joseph, the three Seed siblings, are nothing more than pawns, who live in a world of illusion where they are seemingly the masters of their own lives. But in reality, they are slaves to Joseph who controls them in any way he seems fit. And at times, it can be downright heart-breaking to see them come to a realisation, that their father, was nothing more than their executioner.
The writing behind Far Cry 5, as you can see is second to none. And it goes far beyond the Seed family, as Drew Holmes the lead writer behind Far Cry 5 has ensured, that all mainline characters, and plotlines are as well thought-out as the story of the Seed family, and Eden’s gate community as a whole. And on your journey through the Hope County, you’ll encounter stories and characters which will make you die from laughter, contemplate in silence from sadness, and even clench your fist in anger. And Holmes, has even ensured that seemingly pointless NPCs, and co-op partners have always something meaningful to say, so you never get bored even for a second.
Far Cry 5’s narrative and writing, are without a shadow of a doubt its strongest points. However, they are not the only positive features of Far Cry 5. In fact, they are nothing more than water drops in a sea of excellence which the title in question is. And said excellence, in this instance has not been achieved through complete reformation of the Far Cry formula, but through tender loving care, and thorough polish of what has been established by the franchise in recent years.
Far Cry 5, just like all the previous modern instalments, takes place within a completely open world. However, Hope County of Far Cry 5, unlike the settings of the three previous titles, is a picturesque and diverse environment, which is not a chore to travers due to addition of planes, helicopters, and expanded fast travel system which allows you to spawn at the highest possible altitude and using a wing-suit to travel. In addition, Far Cry 5 will not force you to scale towers in order to unlock new points of interest or missions, as those are given to you through the word of mouth and exploration. As all in-game activates can be easily stumbled upon or learned about from the citizens of the Hope County. And seemingly, nearly every single person you’ll come across while fighting the Eden’s Gate cult, will tell you about a prepper stash which will reward you with money, a person in need of assistance, and in some instances a brand-new AI companion.
The AI companion system, is a great new addition to Far Cry 5, as it allows you to fight the Seeds, with a companion, or two at your side. And while it would be shame to spoil all of the available in-game partners, then it can be said that you should not be surprised if you’ll stumble across a friendly cougar, or Hurk, who is now one of a staples of the franchise.
In game companions, can do anything from bringing you new and ammo-filled weapons, to getting you from point A to point B, all the way down to providing you with air support. However, the one problem with that, is the fact that by doing so they prevent you from playing the game to its fullest potential. And that’s a little disappointing simply because Far Cry 5 is an excellent game, which plays incredibly well, and can satisfy one like no other game.
Far Cry 5 in many ways, feels and plays like Rainbow Six: Siege on speed. The title’s gunplay is immensely impactful and satisfying, but the player movement is much faster, and much more responsive than the one of Siege. Meaning that Far Cry 5 gives you the best of both worlds. And in-game, you can glide into a compound, order Nick Rye to drop a bomb on a tanker parked by a group of cultists, only to then jump off of the roof while taking down enemies, one-by-one with a 44. Magnum. And there I nothing more satisfying, than watching lifeless bodies fly away on impact from a .44, and straight into a burning cultist who was just trying to charge you while ablaze.
The core, story driven experience of Far Cry 5, is both incredibly intriguing and satisfying. And while those two factors are both equally important, they do ultimately play second fiddle to the fact that Far Cry 5, is a complete game. And unlike Rainbow Six: Siege, Ghost Recon Wildlands, or the most recent Assassin’s Creed, it never makes you feel like you are being short-changed. And that’s because all the game as a service elements, have all been injected into Far Cry Arcade, which is all about custom play, and multiplayer. Meaning that while Far Cry Arcade may not possess all the possible content, such as Rainbow Six creator objects, or race creator itself, it is ultimately not infringing upon what you’ve paid for, which is the core Far Cry 5 experience.
Ultimately, Far Cry 5, just like the abovementioned Far Cry Arcade, are nothing short of incredible. The core experience provides on with an immense amount of deep and meaningful content, which will keep one busy for months to come. Whereas as the Arcade component of the title, has a potential to keep the title alive not for months, but for years to come, as Arcade’s map and mission creator, will most likely keep the Far Cry community alive for a very long time. And even if Far Cry 5, were to be released on its own, without the Arcade component, it would still be a strong contender for the game of the year title, but the inclusion of the Arcade, only makes its chances for that particular title stronger. And even if it fails to capture the glory of the ‘Game of the Year’ awards, Ubisoft, and all who worked on the game should still be proud of it, as it is Ubisoft’s best game of this generation, and the best game since Far Cry 2.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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