Explore the positively breathtaking Montana countryside as you take on a mysterious and deadly cult in Far Cry 5.
Far Cry 5 opens on the rustic landscape of Hope County, Montana. The county’s recent history begins to unfold (in mind-bendingly beautiful CGI) as told through the first-hand accounts of its citizens. They discuss the violently religious cult that quietly stole in, silently prospering and growing under their noses.
Inter-spliced with their stories is covert camera footage of a man unsuccessfully attempting to record one of the church’s “masses.” The game accomplishes much in its first two minutes. It acquaints you with characters that you will soon meet in the game, as well as the main antagonist, Joseph Seed.
Immediately following this documentary-style beginning, you are lightly introduced to the gameplay and core mechanics. You are a new Deputy, fondly referred to as “Rook” by your superiors. You choose a male or female character as you enter the customization phase, and from there you may pick your hairstyle and facial features. Your hair and clothes aren’t set in stone, however, as you may change them at nearly any shop once you’ve got the cash.
Soon, you are thrust directly into the action. If you’re familiar with games of a similar genre, and especially other Far Cry games, then the controls will be a breeze to master. The actions and animations of your character are smooth from the fixed first person perspective, which is great visually; unless you’ve put a lot of effort into your clothes, as you’ll only see these from the menu screen. Driving is also not ideal in first person and I would have been happy to have the third person option whenever I entered a vehicle.
Exploration is massively fun in Far Cry. From the beginning, you are free to go in whichever direction you want, though it is recommended that you head in a specific direction. Your map is fogged over and as you travel, the fog lifts and exposes the traversed spots. You may also speak with nearly any NPC in the game. Most will offer missions or show different map locations. The missions could range from loot hunts to new character roster additions tucked away in various corners of the county.
Joseph has three “siblings” that run each region of the world map. Each region has its own personality, unique characters, and special enemies. The siblings themselves are fairly complex individuals; each take distinctly different approaches towards endearing the citizens of Hope County to them. As you progress in the game, you may discover that there is more to this story than meets the eye, and the stark black and white colours of good and evil slowly meld into a tangle of morally-questionable grey.
There are nine special characters that you can meet across in Hope County, each of whom has a special attribute. These characters can be added to your roster to lend a helping hand in a fight. Initially, you can only recruit one partner at a time, but you may unlock a perk that allows you two partners later in the game. Some of these characters are pilots, some are snipers, and some are even wild animals. One of the best mates that you can add to your roster is a lovely little pup named Boomer. After an especially harrowing mission, it’s nice to you know that you can give him a pat on the head to bring you back down to earth. Oh, and he’ll spot the bad guys for you, too.
The overall atmosphere of the game creates a sort of dismal, foreboding mood – a feeling that doomsday might be lurking just over the nearest mountain. You will meet many characters, most of whom have intriguing side missions for you, or culturally poignant vignettes to share. The humour of these tertiary folks cuts hard through the gloom, as does the brilliant, haunting soundtrack and inconceivably beautiful backdrop of mountains and forest.
I look forward to exploring the multi-player aspect of this game soon. But so far, the campaign is highly enjoyable. If you’re not stunned by the graphics, you will undoubtedly be marveled by the minute details, lovingly crafted to make Far Cry 5 feel uncannily familiar, almost like home. Almost.
Far Cry 5 releases today for Xbox, Playstation, and PC starting at €54.99.