Far Cry 5 Review – PC

I’ve been a huge fan of the Far Cry franchise long before it became one of Ubisoft’s yearly releases, and while some installments have been a bit hit and miss I thought they had finally found their groove with Far Cry 3 and 4. Even Primal was pretty cool as an experimental knockoff, but ever since that first trailer for Far Cry 5 I was hot with anticipation of bringing Far Cry’s epic brand of open-world adventure back home to America.

Set in current day events we are headed to Montana for this adventure, playing as a rookie cop who has teamed up with a US Marshall and the local Sherriff to serve an arrest warrant to a cult leader who is more powerful than anyone suspected – although that Statue of Liberty-sized shrine should have tipped them off. The game starts off with a partially interactive cutscene where you chopper in to Joseph Seed’s compound and arrest him during a church service, but when you try to fly him out his devout followers storm the chopper and literally sacrifice themselves to crash the aircraft forcing you to flee into the woods. After a harrowing truck chase you end up getting rescued by one of the local non-cultist citizens where you learn of the resistance movement and are told just how expansive Joseph’s reach has become, taking over the entire valley. Your comrades are being held captive at opposite ends of the open-world map, naturally, so it’s up to you to save them and the rest of the citizens from this religious zealot.

Religious cults are great source material to spark an interesting backstory, and while Far Cry 5 starts off strong the narrative quickly lost my interest. So much of the incidental backstory was relegated to countless pages of reading material and messages on answering machines while much of the main story was forced upon you to the point of actually interrupting my gameplay.   I’d be flying around the map and right in the middle of a mission and I would suddenly be “transported” to some hallucinogenic cutscene then forced to complete some timed escaped mini-game. Not only were these extremely intrusive and broke my game flow, they were totally illogical.

There is a sub-plot to the story where Joseph and one of his followers, Faith are creating this mind-control drug called Bliss from a certain flower that grows in the region.   You’ll get to destroy numerous structures that manufacture and store this drug as well as stop numerous cultists from pouring it into the rivers and city’s water supply to infect the population. You’ll also fight numerous cultists and even some animals who are under its influence, as well as succumbing to its hypnotic effect yourself in numerous interactive cutscenes. The whole drug element seemed a bit contrived, as a way to justify you killing religious followers who were under the influence of Bliss rather than simple brainwashing.

The cultists, known as “peggies” are painted as blindly loyal to their leader and totally evil. You hear reports of them recruiting citizens door-to-door and killing those who won’t join them. You’ll see numerous corpses on horrific display, often in crucifixion poses or wrapped to a post in barbed wire. The more you interfere with Josephs plans the angrier he gets, sending his more powerful disciples to kill you. Near the second half of the game these encounters become so frequent they just start to get annoying; again, breaking the flow of what is ultimately an open-world sandbox where you just want to “do stuff”.

And boy is there a lot of stuff to do. Sure, you have the core story missions, and then you have side objectives; a list that continues to grow every time you clear a new area and talk to the local quest-givers. Prepper stashes are fun discoverable bunkers often locked behind a puzzle and always loaded with useful loot. There are a ton of side activities like stunt driving and fishing challenges. I’m truly ashamed to admit how addicted I became with the fishing mini-game in Far Cry 5, spending several hours trying various lures to hook me an award-winning fish.

The wildlife situation in Far Cry 5 is awesome, and while you can hunt for animal skins to sell for cash you’ll often be gunning down moose or blowing up a bear with an RPG in pure self-defense.   These Montana animals are out to prove they are at the top of the food chain. It got to the point where I would often have to have one of my NPC pets watching my back while I was fishing to avoid getting mauled.

Speaking of NPC’s, there is an eclectic cast of characters who will join you in the resistance fight offering their own signature services of stealth archery, redneck rocket-launching, or aerial support from a plane or chopper. You can even summon animals like a dog, cougar, or bear as loyal and useful partners. Having one or two NPC’s for backup provides a nice strategic advantage; some can even revive you if you go down in combat, and the banter between any of the human characters is highly entertaining.

Far Cry 5 is also the first game in the series that allows you to play the entire game cooperatively. I dabbled with this a bit and had another staffer play most of the game in co-op to give me his expert findings. Basically, the AI is pretty bad at its core, so even solo gamers will want to notch up the difficulty if they want any kind of challenge, but nothing seemed to changed when adding a second human player. In fact the only time having a real person on your team really mattered was when using vehicles where one could drive and the other could shoot. But even then, Far Cry 5 has this cool command where you can pick a waypoint then have the car auto-drive while you lean out and shoot pursuers. Co-op is cool if you want to share the experience and chat online, but it doesn’t seem to be heavily integrated into the game as far as purpose or challenge. In most cases the AI NPC’s are just as competent.

As you might expect Far Cry 5 is loaded with massive amounts of content and interlocking systems. You have a perk system that will boost your abilities to meet the increasing demands of the game as well as limited crafting abilities to create explosives and traps. There is an impressive arsenal of modifiable weapons you can equip in up to three unlockable slots as well as numerous cars, trucks, planes, choppers, boats, and Jet skis that you’ll need to explore every last inch of this enormous map.

Interestingly enough, after the opening cutscene and a small tutorial the entire map is opened up, which was an odd choice because without gated content it is super-easy to get lost in the clutter.   Normally in games like this I would finish the story then go back and clean-up the map, but now with all the small stuff just sitting there it’s way too easy to forget about advancing the story, especially when that small stuff is being triggered on its own every few minutes. At any given time you can hit the Back button to make any new content your current tracked objective. This is not a good game for those with a hint of ADD, as you will find it hard to complete any one task before getting distracted by the next.

Ultimately, you end up having to play the game much like you would if you were really in this situation. You might get a quest to blow up 14 silos but you probably shouldn’t go off looking for them. Just play the game and you’ll more than likely find them as you do other stuff. I stopped looking for fishing spots and just waited until I stumbled on one. You might not clear all these passive objectives during the main game, but you should knock out a big chunk of them.

Far Cry 5 is the pinnacle of technical achievement when it comes to photorealistic visuals, but you are going to need a monster PC to enjoy it. My GTX1080ti card was able to maintain 47fps running at 4K at ultra settings, but when I backed it down to 1080p everything locked in at 60fps. My Sony 4K TV does a fantastic job upconverting to 4K, so I opted for smooth framerate over high resolution. The entire experience was nearly flawless with only minimal pop-up when flying over the levels. You could probably go in and start tweaking settings to get 60fps at 4K but I think you’d have to sacrifice too much to do so. The amount of texture detail is incredible and if you have an HDR make sure to enable this for the ultimate in realistic lighting.

The surround sound mix is just as immersive as the visuals with awesome sounds of nature interspersed with location-specific sound effects for gunfire, vehicle engines, and the ominous growl of a grizzly or wolf about to pounce. The dialogue is outstanding with flawless voice acting from even the most insignificant NPC to the soothing hypnotic voice of Joseph Seed or the haunting temptations of Faith as she innocently twirls and dances through your mind and gameplay environment.

If you focus through the story content you can finish Far Cry 5 in 20-30 hours but plan on a solid 40 or more to 100% complete the game. And then you have the Far Cry Arcade, a world-building level editor that lets you create the levels and games of your dream using assets from nearly all the existing Ubisoft properties. You can access the Arcade from the main menu or any of the arcade machines found in the main game, and can even earn cash and perks while playing. My only issue with the Arcade is that there is so much content and none of it is curated, so it’s a bit hit and miss when it comes to quality. I do recommend you check out anything made by actual Ubisoft designers. Their stuff is great!

Executing crime lords and their henchmen on a tropical island is one thing, but killing Montana rednecks and their Bible-thumping leader may spark concern. But once you tear away the thinly veiled cult narrative you are left with a quintessential Far Cry game where you are given a massive map, an equally massive toy box of guns and vehicles, and hours upon hours of activities that OCD gamers will feel compelled to check off one by one. While not unlike Far Cry 3 or 4 in its design and execution, bringing the adventure back home to the scenic vistas of Montana and throwing in some contemporary political and cultural talking points certainly makes the game more relevant and potentially more controversial. But most of all, Far Cry 5 is fun and a must-play adventure for anyone who loves open-world games or just wants to visit Montana without actually going there.

Screenshot Gallery

[carousel arrows=”display”]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[panel][/panel]
[/carousel]

One thought on “Far Cry 5 Review – PC”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.