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*This review may contain spoilers for Far Cry 5, read at your own risk*
In a time of high social conflicts and hot-button issues of ethics and morality, Ubisoft hits the ground running in their newest addition of the morally ambiguous and sometimes controversial Far Cry series. Far Cry 5 delves into the world of mass cults, religious zealots, and the slow devouring of the autonomy and will to resist of the people.
The game introduces you to Hope County, Montana, a quiet little town in rising fear of the ever-growing cultists of Eden's Gate snaking their way into the area by buying the land, holding its resources, and meddling in politics. You are a rookie deputy brought along with the marshal and sheriff to arrest the cult's leader, Joseph Seed, a modern day Jim Jones with all the dogma and psychosis to go with him. As you helicopter down into the cult grounds heavily armed and surrounded by Peggies (Project of Eden's Gate followers), you begin to realize the true gravity of your situation. From the moment you land, you have descended into what can only be described as chaos in its purest form.
*There are little gems in this game as there are in the other Far Cry series, enjoy them if you find them*
This game really kept me on the edge of my seat because like Far Cry 4, there were so many unknowns and I love not knowing what to expect, I like being surprised but most of all, I want to have everything I know turned on its head. This game was great at those things and when a game makes me question my own humanity and morals, I know I'm watching something good.
1. Graphics and Aesthetics
I've never been to Montana, but looking at the way this game was designed really made me feel like I was looking at a beautifully taken postcard of Montana. The home screen image of the game is of the road leading into the county with the welcoming sign tagged in black spray paint with a single, ominous word: Sinner. The road isn't brand new; it has seen its share of wear and tear, as nature takes its course and tries to reclaim it. The farms are peaceful places bordered by broken, rotted wood fences and surrounded by fields of tall wild grasses and forests of gnarled trees.
The characters had facial expressions! They didn't all look dead inside like the talking mannequins in many other games that have great scenery graphics. There was believable dilapidation and quick reconstruction of certain areas but the designers of this game really thought of things that I thought were cool like the shadows of trees and plants and the way they moved as branches swayed in the wind.
I also enjoyed the consistency of the graphics in relation to the plot and main storyline. Like the image above, the symbol of Eden's Gate was everywhere. There was a specific gut-wrenching feeling when I saw that flag with the insignia as the stars, something about it represented so much more than just the claiming of a brand, it was telling us how deep into the democratic soil this group had sunk their claws into.
2. Music and SFX
There is a repetitive usage of the old hymn "Amazing Grace" throughout the entire game, especially when you encountered Seed or one of his family members. And while I'm not a huge fan of using a song like that over and over again, the producers of this game turned it into an anthem. It gave the whole game a feeling of haunted tension that really worked on the senses.
There is also the feature of radio stations that you can collect music to play while driving around that totally makes you feel like a rebel.
3. Storyline and Plot
I cannot stop going on about this game's storyline and the ending really messed me up. Elaborating on what I spoke about earlier, Far Cry 5 tackles issues of religious zealotry and how the holy book in the hands of one man can be more dangerous than a weapon in the hands of another. As one plays this game, they dive headfirst into a very realistic and possible world where a man has been raised to godhood by the people he has indoctrinated and militarized to carry out and prepare for the apocalypse he believes is coming.
The side quests are also partially enjoyable in the sense that some had autonomy but still relate back to the main story. Some of them are a bit nonsensical and some of them are freaking hilarious. I would highly recommend playing through the funnier ones.
The story comes with a lot of cut scenes and hallucinatory trips where you are faced with moral dilemmas and situations that might seem to have thin lines between what is right and what is best.
The ending, while I won't tell and spoil it for those who may not have finished, was satisfying and shocking at the time, I didn't expect it, but I wouldn't change it. You feel like you earn that ending.
Always think about your choices.
4. Game Mechanics
This game was pretty standard in mechanics. There were different difficulty levels and I believe our first run through was on the normal setting. The game has an autosave feature that continuously updates but be warned that only one save slot exists (at least at this level). This did not allow us to go back to previous points and play from there, instead, we would have to play the entirety of the game over again to inspire various events to be initiated.
I enjoyed fight scenes because human anatomy worked well for the most part (if I shoot you in the gut, it should take a bit more firepower to put you on your back versus a headshot) and there were fun weapons to upgrade to an extreme if you had the resources and insanity to do so.
The engine itself was pretty decent, the game didn't bug too much (unless you were driving) and I want to say we only experienced one full crash.
You could also unlock and carry companions along with you on missions which I also highly recommend you try out. The fresh mouthed citizens that you run into or save from the recruitment/torture of Eden's Gate have interesting backgrounds and prove to be not totally useless NPCs.
Overall, Far Cry 5 is probably on my top ten list of video game favorites and if you haven't played it yet, you needed to yesterday.