For fans of the Far Cry series, the agonising 10-month wait is finally over, with Far Cry 5 arriving in Australia just in time for the Easter long weekend. The newest instalment in the franchise has had hype building around it for months, with the new storyline based in an American setting for the first time… drawing much intrigue from gamers.
This time around the series delves into the open world of ‘Hope County’, a fictitious area of Montana which has been overrun by a doomsday cult known as ‘Eden’s Gate’. The cultists are led by the deranged and dysfunctional ‘Seed Family’, headed by the dictatorship of Joseph Seed who is known by his followers as ‘The Father’.
Players will take on the role of a ‘Deputy Sheriff’ who is sent to obtain and arrest Joseph Seed, whilst attempting to liberate the locals of Hope County along the way. As the game progresses some of these liberated locals become ‘guns for hire’, whose special skills can be very handy when attempting to fight off wild animals, cult militia, or slowly destroy Eden’s Gate from the inside out.
From the opening moments it is noticeable that the graphics for Far Cry 5 are exceptional, with the cutaway scenes and storyline clips engaging players from the outset and throughout. The gorgeous scenery and countryside is an immediate drawcard as players explore the open world, replacing the forests and tropical islands that have characterised the franchise so far.
The gameplay is amazingly smooth, with no obvious downsides or complaints to be made about the way the game flows. Impressively the developers, Ubisoft, haven’t been afraid to adjust aspects of previous instalments of the series that were well overdue for a revamp.
Driving is much easier, with controls heading down a similar vibe to Grand Theft Auto, taking out the awkward single-joystick configuration from earlier Far Cry editions. Aeroplanes and helicopters are a welcome addition, allowing improved mobility around the gigantic map, whilst the subtraction of ‘Bell-Towers’ allows players to follow the storyline more organically.
Interestingly the game was originally announced in May 2017… just months after America had elected President Donald Trump, leading to some controversy and suggestions that the game was possibly in response to the new government.
In an article for GQ in the midst of controversy in late May 2017, journalist Joshua Rivera noted the controversy surrounding the game more likely had stemmed from the fact that, “Far Cry 5 has defined its villains, and they’re a doomsday cult that bears a striking resemblance to Christian extremists, fueled by the sort of hyper-conservative gun-toting militias that are in fact very real—and usually very white.”. With this said, Rivera also contended that “It takes about four years for a video game of this size to be made, which means that it cannot have been conceived as a response to the Trump presidency”.
Although developed years earlier, the game has managed to still stay eerily relevant to todays political climate. From the outside looking in, it appears to tackle extreme sections of religions and stereotypical ‘pro-gun’ values that can be found in certain areas of America… though developers have said the game is not based on any real life group.
The political references give gamers food for thought as they navigate through the game, allowing a more immersive experience that challenges a player’s ideals, adding a further layer to what has been a typically chaos driven gaming series.
All in all, Far Cry 5 is a must-experience for gamers in 2018. The series feels rejuvenated, mostly thanks to the brave developmental decisions that have crafted a game that goes so much deeper than its predecessors. For those that are new to the series, jump in, the experiences that await in ‘Hope County’ will not disappoint.