FarCry 5XBOX-One / PS4 / WinSingle Player / Co-op / Multiplayer Deathmatch / FPS / Action / Adventure
Before I start this review I'll make it clear that I have never owned a prior Farcry game. I have only either played bits of previous games, or been there watching friends play previous games.
Actually, that's a slight lie. I did buy Blood Dragon and loved the hell out of it, but who doesn't want to play a retro sci-fi action movie hero with over the top acting and effects? But I digress!
Farcry 5 is set in Hope County. A fictional county in Montana. It centres heavily around religious cultists who are consumed by the idea that the "Collapse" is upon them and they must begin a great cleansing in order save the people of Hope County, and to prepare themselves for the "new world" to come.
Their leader, Joseph Seed, is a powerful, charismatic, clever and dangerous man, piously spreading his teaching across the county and drawing more and more people to his following, the Project at Edens Gate. He believes he is chosen by God to save the people of Hope Country from the collapse, and along with his lieutenants, John, Jacob and Faith, he will stop at nothing to make it happen.
Anything… abduction, drugs, torture, murder and fear.
You are a junior deputy, sent in on a joint operation with the US Marshalls and local Sheriffs to take Joseph into custody for the above short list of abhorrent reasons. Naturally, this goes south very fast as Joseph's followers, who the locals call "Peggies" (People at Edens Gate), bring down the chopper you try to take Joseph away in, quite literally by climbing all over it and getting caught in the propellers.
You crash, your helicopter in flames. Then you have to get out and run way. One of your team mates is taken away before you get out. You find out later what's happened with her. And you and the Marshall try to get away and out of the county to get the National Guard involved. But you instead get taken out, crash into a river. And wake up with the Marshall being captured on the opposite side of the shore, whilst you are lucky enough to be found by Dutch. The man who'll get you started on your journey to put a stop to the madness. All communication has been cut off from the outside world at this point, and all the Peggies are convinced that the collapse has begun.
Dutch will start you off with liberating his little island by capturing an Outpost and getting a radio tower working. Along the way you'll learn about Prepper Stashes, which are crucial for getting Perk points quickly, and how to recruit survivors to your roster as henchmen.
So before I delve deeply in a review based on the first few hours of gameplay I had, which will have spoilers. I'll jump into some of the games mechanics.
The combat in this edition of Farcry, from what I know, is as delicious as the previous. There's an assortment of weapons, both ranged and melee alike for you to play with, and some customisation for each one. Though I've found myself sticking only to equipping reflex sights rather than any other scope. But that's me. The Red Dot feels too large for my liking, even though it's probably more accurate.
There's also paint jobs for weapons to jazz it up, and different clothing to play dress up in.
On top of the customisation comes, for the first time, the ability to choose the gender and appearance of your player character at the start of the game. The game heavily reminds you that this is permanent. Perhaps they'll add a payed feature later that lets you change it? Hopefully, using hard earned in game money, and not the Silver Bars you can buy with your real-world
dosh. By the way, you can spend YOUR
money on in game currency to spend on weapon customisations and clothing to dress your character up with... or you just become a master hunter and spend the games own currency instead.
Which I'll jump to, actually, hunting game and fishing.
The fastest way to get quick money is by hunting, and if you use a Bow, or the Slingshot, you'll get double drops. You'll need to hunt Prey to get Bait, and Predators to get better pelts to sell. More often than not, there'll be an NPC Hunter roaming about whom you can sell your loot to, restock ammo, and change out your weapons (or buy new ones). They also are often accompanied by a dog, who you can pat. There's also a hunting perk which will give you double the amount of items from hunted animals, so you can quickly rack up the money and buy that flashy DragonFruit-pink paintjob for your trusty flame thrower. Don't act like you won't buy that, I know you will.
Occasionally your bait won't lure an animal though, and if you're silly and throw two baits, it will cancel out the first one. Then there's the max amount of each pelt you can carry, so unless you're near an NPC Trader you'll have to trek back to town or fast travel to sell them. Then there's the issue that your NPC might get slaughtered by a wild animal. But, such is the hunters’ life.
Also, your own NPC Henchmen are very prone to freaking out when a predator is nearby and will screw up your clean shot. So maybe don' bring them along. Instead, bring a co-op friend.
Fishing is another feature, and at first it took a few tries to really figure out how to actually pull it off properly. But it is easy once you've grasped it. You pick a lure then cast your line. Slowly reeling it in to get a fishes attention. Hook the fish once it finally bites. Then keep a close on your line as it goes from green to red, as to know when to stop opposing the fishes pull or to stop reeling.
They'll all cost the same $100 though when you sell it. Unless you're fishing for the big unique catches later on, like the Albino Paddlefish that netted me a lovely sum for its capture.
You’ll probably want to take in the sights while going about your adventure too. The game boasts a gorgeous amount of detail in its scenery and backdrops that might make you want to visit Montana and buy yourself a holiday house. I’ve never been, but I assume the creators tried to keep the aesthetics accurate to the real worlds region.
I actually found a spot east of Dutch’s island where a cool stream was flowing through a mountainside, surrounded by nature, and crisp cool water. So I appreciated taking a moment away from mowing down mindless cultists to fish here for a bit. Just up until a Cougar ruined the serenity of course, but I’d already gotten fairly good at cancelling my current action and knocking out my bow, so I was back to enjoying my little piece of tranquillity once more.
The game comes with a Co-Op feature. Accessible once you've liberated the radio tower on Dutch's island. The first time the series offered a proper co-op, and not a separate campaign. It plays quite fluidly. You could be anywhere on the map hunting down some game while your friend is blowing up a Peggie outpost on the other side of the map. This of course, affects the host's own game progress. The other player will keep any money earned, items they buy, or perks they purchase back with them when they leave your world to go back to their own. It's a good feature, and makes hunting dangerous animals a lot easier.
It's a shame that, despite the obviously powerful capabilities of the engine, that you can't have a second friend join in, as the game does have a Perk which lets you have two henchmen at once. But I suppose that'd make things maybe too chaotic and unbalanced since enemies don't come in larger numbers, nor put up any more of a fight when there's two players instead of one.
The henchmen you hire are quite useful. They won’t startle any enemies unless you you've given them a command to stealthily take a target out and someone spots them doing it. So you can take down an outpost all by yourself if you wish and they won't screw you over. They also come in 5 handy types, depending on your style. Soldiers with either Assault or Close Quarters ranged weapons. Melee brawlers, Snipers, Explosives troops with RPG's, and Hunters with tech-bows. You can have up to 3 of your choice in your roster, and disband them at any time to hire a new one. Getting kills with them unlocks a couple perks, the most helpful one I find being "Back-Up", which will let them revive themselves when downed.
Then there's specialists you'll get through the game, including a couple Pilot's and 3 animals - A Dog, a Bear, and a Cougar, and yes, you may pat each of them - and they all provide a unique perk to suit your purposes. Like the Dog marking nearby enemies for you, or your pilot doing strafing runs.
Among other things are various perks you unlock with points you acquire, mostly through completing the games challenges or by finding Prepper stashes with Perk Magazines. There's plenty to choose from, and if you're like me and playing on Hard, you'll want the extra Health, increased Backpack, and ability to buy special ammo through the Black Market. Lock Smith and Harvest Master are also good to grab early on. There's safe's located almost everywhere, and as mentioned before, Hunting is the best was to quickly get money and Harvest Master will let you get double drops.
Other handy perks are defiantly the Parachute and Wingsuit. These will save your life. The Wingsuit will also cover a good distance if you're high enough.
There's also an Auto-Repair perk to fix your vehicle while using it. Which Henchman can potentially acquire as well. The Additional Holsters are quite important, otherwise you’ll be stuck with a two ranged weapon combo for far too long.
All other perks I'd say you should use at your own preference of what you think is more important to you.
Getting around the world is pretty easy going. All cars have an auto-driving feature, provided you're on a road. Placing a way point means the car will take you where you need to be. All you need to do is enjoy the views, occasionally speeding or slowing your car down for it to automatically overtake, or give you the perfect chance to fire at an enemy without the worry of steering into a tree. And with the games nice selection of very nice muscle cars, who wouldn't want an excuse away from the mundane to relax on a nice road trip?
Getting to the game now, and if you don't wish to see spoilers, then don't read any of the below content as I'll be briefly covering my play through of the first region I tackled, and what I thought during it.
Having played most of the game, I'll focus my experiences on John Seed. He was the first Lieutenant I focused on, and you find out after liberating Dutch’s radio tower that he has captured Deputy Hudson. The ally I'd mentioned earlier on, who was dragged out of the burning chopped and captured. She's being held captive by John Seed and from what I figure, about to be subjective to a huge amount of torture, both physically and emotionally. So begins my campaign to build the resistance and take down John.
This region is where you'll acquire Nick Rye the pilot. A terrific asset in bringing down John and Cultists alike, as when in your roster he'll do multiple strafing runs and take out enemy choppers and planes coming after you. You'll also get Boomer, the dog. Not the best at taking down a Peggie, but when he does he'll finish them off. Otherwise he serves as a scout, tagging enemies for you and occasionally brining weapons back to you after killing a target.
I learn a little more about John along the way. How he is known as the cult Baptist. He works very thoroughly on cleansing and 'exposing' people sins so that they can be removed. Which I learn later he does by branding the persons sin literally onto their chests, then cuts it off with a knife. He focuses a lot on intimidation and faith to convince people to adopt the cult's views, and will constantly go on about the power of "Yes". He is clearly, a broken and deranged masochist.
I spared no time wasted here, taking outposts and destroying their Silo's. Doing the odd side quest here and there. Eventually I cleared my first Resistance Point milestone. John's very disappointed voice came over the radio, and I was greeted by a pop up saying that I'd been marked. Then not long after I encountered some heavy residence. Nothing I couldn't handle with a few lobbed grenades. But unfortunately, they're packing "Bliss" infused bullets.
Bliss, being the special drug the groups using to physiologically control those who refuse to follow their way.
So despite my adequate defence. My character falls unconscious. I'm treated to a cut scene where I'm being dragged away and then forced through the first stages of John Seed's "cleansing process" by being forcefully baptised.
After being dragged out, John himself approaches me. Declares that I am not clean yet, and takes it upon himself to aggressively continue to drown me. He is only stopped from likely drowning the Deputy by Joseph who reminds him to not let his own hate and rage consume him. That he must do things properly and finish the cleaning of the deputy the right way. An interesting first look on the double sided nature of Joseph, who if not for the obviously crazy cult ideas, almost sounds like a reasonable man who may actually care about people.
This is my first look into some of the psych behind the main characters. It's interesting and one could debate how certain things they talk about make sense. But the methods they choose to enact their teachings are clearly morally wrong.
The Deputy escapes this scenario as the truck you're being taken away in is intercepted by Jerome Jeffries, a local pastor helping lead the resistance to retake Fall's End and bring down John. And so my quest to bring John to justice and rescue my fellow deputy can continue and I return to liberating outposts and taking down any Peggie I can find. This leads to the second time I hear John's, very angry voice over the radio. He's not pleased and more of his elite's are on the way to capture me once again.
And it's inevitable. They arrive and this time though I think I've got the better of them, it only takes one stray bullet for the Bliss to take its effect.
This time though, I wake up in John's very own bunker. Strapped to a chair across from my fellow deputy who is very much broken herself by now. But maybe this is my chance, I wonder, to rescue her and turn the fight around against John. But that's not going to be the case. I'm presented with an option as John stands there, wondering which of us will be branded first. So I choose to sacrifice myself first. John wheels the deputy away, so that I may confess all my sins to John in private before he strips them away.
This is when I instead escape myself.
And to an extent, despite resistance from cultists, John lets you run away, threatening the imminent execution of Hudson if you do not. So naturally, I get away as fast as possible.
The next outpost I take after this is a little disturbing. At each outpost there are radio towers broadcasting for all to hear. Sometimes it'll be one of the Lieutenants talking, a recording from Joseph’s speeches, or the eerily sweet music used as part of a method of wisping cultists into their Blissful trance.
This time it's John. Slowly torturing Deputy Hudson. Threatening that any more actions against them will result in more and more torture and possible death. I'd assume that this game does have divergent story paths, and I questioned now that maybe something I'd done before could have prevented this. And if I wasn't careful now, would John actually kill Hudson? But there's no other way to go about it, unfortunately. You can't simply break back into the bunker until you've maxed out the areas Resistance Points and confronted John.
So that's just what I aim to do.
But I'll stop there, because then I might as well be doing a play through guide and not a review.
All the regions work the same. You tackle the outposts. Bring down key vehicles and VIP Targets. Rescue civilians here and there and eventually you get enough RP to get the Lieutenants attention. Each milestone will inevitably lead to a cut scene where you are treated to a little bit of the methodology each of the Seed family members use to brainwash, corrupt and control their followers.
You'll learn quite a bit about them, particularly about their own personal back stories for why they are who they are today, and why they believe so whole heartedly in Joseph and Eden's Gate.
It's good. Sometime's they even make a little sense and when you hear about their back stories you can almost sympathise with them for the horrible past they'd dealt with. They are, in the end, deeply broken people, blinded by faith and even fear of their own brother. And they will do everything to prepare the people of Hope County for the collapse.
But their method's are morally unethical and will make it ever clearer that you too must do whatever it takes to stop them.
It's a good story. I personally felt like I was drawn into it quite well, and there's just enough choice in the game to change the outcome of certain scenarios. So you can start a fresh game and see where your decisions will take you from there. If perhaps one different choice might stop the massacre of others somewhere else. Or if you were just a little faster, could you have saved that one character?
Or maybe you should just walk away, and none of this would have ever happened? Who knows! You'd have to do a second play through to find out. So I guess when I'm done with it that's what I'll do.
But now that chatter about the story aside! There's another feature I've yet to touch on.
The Game features an arcade mode that comes stocked with play created maps to mess with. Some Perks you have will also work here, and you'll earn separate in game cash to spend on weapons as well as extra perk points. It's a nice addition and although it's very early, there are some little gems that other people have made.
The Arcade ranges from various single player and co-op missions such as liberating outposts, or reaching an escape point on a map. You can find good maps by looking for the positive ratings to filter out the disastrous. Or you can just jump from one random map to another.
There’s also 12 player Death matches allowing for 6v6 too.
And if playing maps has lost some lustre, you can try your way at making your own. Which obviously, would be much easier on a PC since the controls for the console are much like handling an old truck. But if you've got a creative mind and are patient (like me if I've got a few beers in you), then you'll enjoy building a map to play on and share with your friends and others.
All the in game assets are there to build with, including those from Farcry 3, Primal and even Assassins Creed and Watch Dogs. So there's plenty of opportunity to get inventive and maybe even re-stage a scene from Die Hard. Which I haven't spotted yet, so maybe I should make it?
There's quite a bit of planned DLC too. Some of it sounding quite silly, like going to Mars to fight Spiders. So if you've got the game already, the Season Pass might be a worthy investment, as I've heard the expansions are more far out, much like Blood Dragon was, and I don't think I've emphasised enough how much fun I had with Blood Dragon.
That’s probably about all I think needs to mentioned about the game. It’s certainly worth buying in my honest opinion, and you could easily scavenge out a lot of gameplay from it if you decide to knock out side missions and explore a little.
If there is a negative to highlight, and I’m probably being a bit nit-picky here, it’s probably that you can’t “explore” the world map by air. The zones you fly over, no matter how close to the ground will remain greyed out until you land and go by foot, car or boat.
But that little annoyance is a teeny detail hidden among a bunch of nice ones. Overall, Farcry 5, is a solidly decent game, and I look forward to the DLC’s to come.