“Far Cry 5” launched on PC, PS4 and Xbox One Tuesday, bringing the long-running series of wacky open-world shooters to the U.S. for the first time. Each previous “Far Cry” game took place in foreign locales like fictional versions of Africa and Nepal, but this game takes players to rural Montana.
The fictional setting of Hope County has been taken over by a murderous, anti-government Christian cult and as a U.S. Marshal it’s the player’s job to save it.
The new setting is accompanied by several new changes to the series formula, but how does it stack up?
One thing many critics agreed on is that the story does not live up to its potential, with plenty of references to current political events, but without any coherent statement of its own. Waypoint’s Austin Walker called it an “inconsistent mess of ideas” that constantly references Donald Trump’s presidency, but usually without any substance behind it.
Instead of a nuanced look at rural American life, “Far Cry 5” usually opts for parody in between bouts of edgy darkness. Every character is either “crazy, stupid, or both,” wrote Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann. Multiple reviews criticized the game’s characters, describing its friendly characters as underdeveloped and its villains generic and forgettable.
Critics generally had nice things to say about the structure and mechanics of the game, but noted that it fails to be drastically different from “Far Cry 4.” Players will no longer have to climb towers to uncover areas of the game’s huge map, as now it organically fills in as they run around the world. In order to find new missions, the game encourages players to simply explore until they find someone with a task for them.
It is more open than before, as players no longer have to complete every single story mission to see the ending. Instead, each task they complete fills up a “resistance points” meter in each region. When the meter is full, the region is ready to be liberated from the cult. Kotaku’s Ethan Gach called it a “license to go out, explore and have weird things happen,” rather than blindly follow a set story progression.
At its heart, though, “Far Cry 5” is still largely about running or driving across a large world and shooting people. Players can still find and upgrade new weapons or unlock special perks to help them out in combat, but critics noted these systems were simplified from previous games. Hunting animals is now only useful for selling skins for money, as opposed to previous games where players could craft new items out of animal materials.
Most video game writers who received the game early noted the inordinate amount of glitches. Characters will spawn in and out of existence at random, or even magically fly away for no discernible reason.
— austin walker (@austin_walker) March 25, 2018
Allllso, this guy, who is totally fine. (warning, loud) pic.twitter.com/5PSeDmptxU
— austin walker (@austin_walker) March 24, 2018
“Far Cry 5” seems to unquestionably be a “Far Cry” game, despite its unusual setting. Eccentric villains, high amounts of violence and an edgy sense of humor are all present in the newest game. However, critics indicated these elements are not always as refined or memorable as in years past.
Though its premise touches on real-world, hot-button issues like right-wing militias taking on the government, critics have called it out for doing very little with those ideas. It seems that players who want fun shooter hijinks might be satisfied, but those who come for the story should look elsewhere.