Ubisoft’s latest open-world adventure, Far Cry 5, is just around the corner. Recently I got to sit down with the newest build of the game, and it’s looking to live up to the hype. Subtle changes from earlier builds have made the overall experience more fluid. With the addition of Arcade Mode and PvP matches, Far Cry as a whole has changed for the better.
First World Problems
At the onset, you are thrown into the action. Appointed as the proverbial new sheriff in town, you are tasked with stopping the local religious cult, Project At Eden’s Gate. They’re a zealous group of crazies lead by Joseph Seed, a man bun-wearing new age prophet, also known as The Father. But don’t let his hipster millennial motif fool you, he is a threat with real power.
The grounded setting is one of Far Cry 5’s strongest points. The previous titles fluctuated between far-fetched and outlandish, handwaving the use of magic and animal spirits. FC5 does maintain some of this silliness, but it also delivers a villain and scenario that feels so real it is cringe-worthy. There was a moment at the beginning where Seed questions your beliefs and looks you in the eye, and it sent shivers down my spine.
Beyond the story, the hills of Hope County thrive with life, and often death. Each of the areas is controlled by a member of the Seed family. Exploring the vast landscape has dramatically improved from previous builds. The minimap is gone which leads to a cleaner user interface. So clean that it barely gives away any information, making exploration feel more natural. A subtle way to get you to stray away from the main path; which I did quite a lot.
After clearing the tutorial area, I choose to rescue one of the freedom fighters from an encampment. Then I took down one of the game’s mini-bosses who had been burning innocent civilians alive. Long story short, it took me about 45 min to get there despite it being five minutes from my location.
Through the Woods We Go
I was instantly distracted by a herd of deer and decided to go bow hunting. I began to track them like a wildlife expert. As I was following my prey, I stumbled across some zealots who were going to sacrifice a man. After taking out the would-be murderers, the man thanked me for saving him by picking up a gun and joining me. Together we hijacked some four-wheelers and performed several run and gun operations.
After a few deaths and frolicking around in the woods, I had assembled a strong collection of weapons. The weapons were surprisingly diverse, everything from a semiautomatic rifle to a blowtorch was included. Each one of them responded more realistically then I expected. I legitimately set my arm on fire from mishandling the blowtorch, and the kickbacks from guns were similar to popular online shooters.
Once I got back on track I made it to the mini-boss. Who was sporting a nice flamethrower. While sneaking my way through the camp I came up behind him, shooting his fuel pack. Unbeknownst to me the man who had been helping me since I saved his life was rushing him from the front. Just when my aid was about to give him the coup de grace. I shot the fuel pack, and they both disappeared in an epic explosion. He was a good man.
If the expansive world wasn’t enough, you can now craft and create your own using the game’s engine. The levels designed use in-game items along with things from other Ubisoft titles like the recent Assassin’s Creed games, prior Far Cry installments, and Watch_Dogs.
In Arcade mode I played a dizzy and creepy level reminiscent of a Resident Evil game. There were no enemies. Just a scary goat filled maze that turned out to be a dream. The second one was a secret agent mission with retro graphics where I had to eliminate a VIP and escape. I know I will ultimately create one okay level and call it a day, but I’m excited to see what the community will create.
Thanks to the level editor you also can create PvP maps. Which can get pretty wild, but the new competitive aspect is as much fun as any other arena shooter. I initially wrote it off, but after going a few rounds, it was apparent real effort was put there. I don’t plan to spend much time there. Though I’m sure many players will find themselves distracted there longer than expected.
Before my time was up, I got to play an hour of co-op, and it was one of the best buddy experiences I’ve had in a while. I couldn’t tell you all the misadventures Charles and I had, and unfortunately, we were not allowed to record that specific session. In a later session, we explored the vast open world and set out on a mission to rescue a bear named Cheeseburger, and that took nearly two hours.
Between us exploring in two completely different directions, being killed by packs of wolves several times, and completely botching a boat hijacking, we managed to accomplish what we set out to do. While laughing the entire time. It really made me look forward to more of it in the full version.
Far Cry 5 is scheduled to release on March 27, 2018, and our full review will be available shortly after.