I feel like I’m not surprised very often by gaming experiences – I typically know what I’m going to enjoy, what genres I like, what games jive my turkey, and so on. But I have to say… While I just couldn’t get into previous Far Cry titles for whatever reason, I have genuinely been surprised by how much fun I’ve had in Ubisoft’s recent installment in the series: Far Cry 5.
There are a lot of reason why I’ve enjoyed Far Cry 5 more than its predecessors, and honestly why I’ve enjoyed it more than similar games like Ghost Recon: Wildlands or the Just Cause series: I think it boils down to the mechanics themselves, the location, the story, but also to some really important quality of life changes that are included with the newest addition to the Far Cry family. I was recently catching up with a buddy of mine and trying to sell him on getting his hands on the game, and I broke it down into those four categories I just mentioned – and then I realized “oooh boy, this sounds like a Daily Crate article waiting to happen!” So, lo and behold, here I am to give you cats the rundown on my four major reasons Far Cry 5 stands out above the rest in this shooter/adventure/open world genre!
The gameplay and shooter mechanics are better and more realistic than ever: It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game that had gameplay mechanics, especially shooting mechanics, that felt as smooth and responsive as they do in Far Cry 5. There are some weapons, tools, bows, etc, that might feel a bit clunkier or more unwieldy, but I don’t think it was ever that way due to poorly designed mechanics, but instead, they’ve been made that way as a conscious decision. Those types of tools and weapons would realistically be just as difficult to wield in real life, and therefore it adds a bit of a genuine touch to how the game feels – which makes it even more satisfying when you are able to expertly dispatch a group of bloodthirsty baddies as you methodically take down the evil Eden’s Gate cult.
Hope County, Montana, is breathtaking: I have to be honest here when I say that I really wasn’t initially sold on the Montana countryside being an interesting location for a video game – not only because the Far Cry series has done locations similar to this one in the past, but it’s also done some really exciting and unique locations before (i.e. Far Cry Primal), so I really wasn’t sure how it was going to stack up. But, boy was I wrong! The countryside is absolutely breathtaking and filled with so much interesting and diverse stuff to see and do. Sure, you’re traveling through it to take down bad guys and free Hope County from the clutches of a despicable cult, but who says you can’t stop for a leisurely walk through the plains? Who says you can’t stop and do a little hunting and fishing on your way to that Eden’s Gate hideout? There really is a lot to do, but it isn’t quite as daunting as the open world of a Witcher 3 or Skyrim, but it feels just as lush and fleshed out as the best open world games on the market.
The story was intriguing without taking itself too seriously: No spoilers here, I promise! But what I will tell you is what begins as a somewhat serious-toned politically driven narrative is one that ends up being pretty fun to play through, and at the end, despite the somewhat serious themes it’s covering it ends up not taking itself TOO seriously because this is a video game after all! Anyway, the story follows a rookie deputy picking up the pieces of a failed US Marshall mission to serve Joseph Seed, the “Father” of the Eden’s Gate cult, with a federal arrest warrant. Well, it doesn’t really go according to plan and you are quickly running for your life as some not-so-nice folks want to have a “chat” with you after your attempted arrest of their fearless leader. The story then leads you into taking down the Eden’s Gate regime with a series of missions to tackle in each of the playable areas of the Hope County map that the Seed family has control over. Some points of the story are pretty intense, some of it is pretty tongue-in-cheek campy and funny, and all in all, it’s a pretty exciting and fun campaign to play through (especially if you play through it with a friend, but more on that in a moment).
Map editor, cosmetics, mini-games, co-op, and more: Okay, I know earlier in this piece I mentioned the realistic feel that some of the items and weapons you use have, and that it adds a genuine touch to the gameplay. Well, let’s just say there are some areas of this game that aren’t so realistic – such as, taming a few wild animals to be your companion. I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous and could potentially spit in the face of the more realistic setting, tone, etc, but things like barreling into enemy bases with a GIANT BEAR by your side really do add to the game in my opinion. You need to have those injections of wackiness that the Far Cry series has become known for, and the fifth installment in the franchise does a great job of that. Whether it’s the animal companions, the fun mini-games like flying your airplane around Montana, the fun and quirky cosmetic skins for various weapons and vehicles, or some of the silly and irreverent characters you meet along the way.
But two of the cooler aspects of Far Cry 5 is the extensive Far Cry Arcade map editor with some really incredible options for creating your very own Far Cry maps, to my personal favorite: Co-op campaign! That’s right, you can bust out the whole story with a buddy by your side! Here are a couple quick caveats to that, though: Firstly, you can’t do it couch co-op, which is a bit of a bummer, and the co-op treats your friend as a “companion”, therefore only one person can progress the story at a time. Which admittedly is a little bit of a bummer, but it doesn’t take way from the awesome time you can have taking on Far Cry 5 with a friend.