The one thing that open world games lack is a solid character development, games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild offered a gorgeous open world and gameplay mechanics but lacked slightly in story and character development. One game that managed to salvage that is the Farcry series, which seem to blend storytelling, character development and a lovely open world for us to play with. With Farcry 5, they managed to take that one step further by offering players a world with a great amount of content and by far, the best cast of villains in any of the Farcry games.
Farcry 5 is set in a fictional county in America called Hope County. The game starts off with calm and serene scenes of the county with slow, country like tunes which is meant to throw you off if you don’t know the Farcry games or watched any of the trailers. Behind this facade of calm and serenity lies a gruesome and evil plot which is carried out by the Seed family. A cult family that believes the collapse is upon us and they are the only ones that can bring salvation to the people. You, as a rookie with the US Marshall, is tasked to arrest their leader, Joseph Seed, but like all Farcry games, things are never as easy as it seems.
Farcry 5 is by far, the most optimized game out of any of the other instalments. It is capable to run on 1080p at 60 fps with medium settings on my Ryzen 5 1600 processor, alongside the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 graphics card, which for a game with this graphics capabilities is seriously impressive. Unlike the other Farcry games which were mainly set in jungle or forest environments, Hope County offers a nice balance between towns, lakes, forest and wide open meadows, offering a nice change of scenery to keep you absorbed into its world.
The immersion is further enhanced thanks to Ubisoft’s attention to detail with the lighting and fog, giving you the change to get lost in its thick forest and open roads. I love the lighting in the game, the light from the sun shines through the trees is just lovely to admire and the fog that comes in the night offers an eerie feel when going through a forest give you a sense of dread, especially when you are trying to clear out an encampment or if you feel like going on a rampage, killing cult members in the most efficient way with stealth.
Adding to that, the wildlife brings these dense forests to life, giving the player a sense that each of these animals has their own habitats and of course, offers you the chance to hunt them to make some money from their meat and other body parts. Ubisoft has also made an effort not only in its environment but in the action as well. Guns and melee weapons look great, on guns you can see the obvious reflection and detail that is reflected in its real-life counterparts and melee weapons have scuff marks and obvious wear and tear. It is subtle, but I love when game developers give attention to details although some players might not realize it.
Explosions are glorious, the ball of fire and smoke that rises out of a blown up fuel tank give you a satisfaction that not only you have done your job, but getting a call from one of the Seed family members telling you how disappointed that you did not see the way, makes you wanna blow more things up.
Farcry 5 is an exploration game, it does not hold your hand and mark out every section of the map with things you can do. The game expects you to venture out into the world your self and talk to all the NPCs along the way. This is extremely important as most of the NPCs will tell you about locations in the world and the most important ones is the Pepper Stashes, those are one of the main sources of earning perk points, aside from completing the in-game achievements.
These points allow you to increase skills which will show you very obvious improvements to your characters and unlock more weapon slots. Pepper Stashes are also very fun to complete. It gives you a break from the action-packed game world by offering you a puzzle, similar to the shrines in Breath of the Wild, Pepper Stashes will require you to figure out how to get to the location by performing certain actions, like turning on a water pump, or switching off the electric so the door unlocks or so the water is not coursing with electricity. Other than that, the other gameplay element I really enjoy is liberating an outpost of cult members so the residents will be able to take over the location and unlock access to shops to buy and sell items or a vehicle depo, allowing you to summon a vehicle and the all-important quick travel point.
Hope County is rather huge, in the best way to get around, other than fast travel points, is by using vehicles. There are a range of vehicles available to you, from cars to trucks, ATVs, and even planes. The cars drive as you would expect from a video game, but each vehicle has its own feel. Sedans will get you around the easiest but if you pick a muscle car, it will require more handling, due to its power but both these vehicles perform poorly when going off-road, which is expected. However, using a truck or ATV will easily get you around when going off-road, which makes sense. Planes, in my opinion, is slightly tricky to control, it’s not as hard as using a plane in GTV, but it will require some getting used too, as it requires some patients when flying through a ravine or lining up your sights against a hostile enemy plane.
Just like every other FarCry game, it offers very tight controls, especially when using high-powered guns. It won’t be as simple as just running an gunning, (Sorry COD fans) every kill, every gun battle has to be planned out. You can die very easily in this game if you are not aware of your surroundings, but with the implementation of the binoculars for you to mark out targets, it does make a gunfight much easier. You could also hire resistance members to aid you in gunfights, and I am impressed with the competence of the AI, it understands whether you want to go in with stealth or guns blazing by your actions. For example, if you are approaching an enemy encampment, the AI will acknowledge that and follow close to you, taking cover and sometimes even marking enemies for you, which makes the combat much easier.
Guns can also be upgraded to add suppressors, scopes and even paint to make your self-stand out from others. The game also supports coop, but sadly, if you were to join a session hosted by your friend, your account will not progress in the game, which got me thinking, why implement a coop system when only one person progresses in the game?
Based on the above, you might think that this game is the most polished and refined game in the FarCry series, that may be true but there are some issues that still plague the game. The first being the enemy spawn, enemies seem to randomly pop out of nowhere, you might be in the middle of the road saving a citizen of the county from cult members only to find that two trucks carrying backup miraculously appeared behind you. I find that the game does not give you a chance to get away, as it would make sense that it will take time for backup to arrive, but not in FarCry 5.
Other than that, there are a lot of physics bugs, like two vehicles colliding with each other might send one of them or both flying into the sky, which is funny to look at but if you are in the vehicle, it is not going to be funny for long. This can sometimes extend to planes where sometimes your wings might get snagged against a tree branch sending the plane and you spiralling to your death. Other cases were an important quest item getting caught on an invisible platform in the sky, which required me to load up a save file in order to fix it.
The bugs and glitches are mostly harmless and sometimes even funny to look at, sure it breaks the immersion but being as it is an open world game, it is hard to ensure that every section of the map is bug-free.
Although FarCry 5 has some bugs and obvious issues that need fixing, it is still a very optimized game and is highly recommended to everyone that loves a great open world and FPS. The story can leave you on the edge of your seat and I believe that this the game that this is UbiSoft’s message that they are taking care of their games.