Far Cry 5 review: Open-world shennanigans

Far Cry 5 is the game that has made me realise that perhaps my reflexes aren’t up to scratch when it comes to modern first person shooters.

I’m fine with the shooting. In fact, I’m a dab hand with the game’s hunting bow, a weapon that lets me pick off enemies silently and one-by-one. It’s a great feeling to sneak into an enemy encampment and clear it out without setting off an alarm.

No, the part of FC5 that is causing me issues is the driving. Once I put the pedal to the metal, things become all slippery and slidey and I tend to get up close and personal with trees. During one optional mission, where I had to drive a race car through a circuit of flaming checkpoints, I lost control so many times  on tight corners and hit so many trees that I gave up.

Far Cry 5: It seems your driving may be the death of me (and yes, I realise admitting this will open me up to criticisms of “You suck, at games!)

My journey with the Far Cry series started way back when the original Far Cry came out on PC from developer Crytek (and Ubisoft wasn’t even in the picture). Set on a lush, tropical island, it was a PC-destroying game that was great fun, despite losing its way a little when the mutant monsters appeared. The Far Cry series has seen it visit Africa and Nepal and this time we’re in Hope County, Montana, where cult leader Joseph Seed – named The Father by his followers  – reigns and doesn’t take kindly to outsiders.

Like the most recent Far Cry games, Number is open-world, meaning there is a plethora of stuff to do when you’re not dealing with the main story mission. Sometimes, like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed series, I feel as if the series suffers from too much bloat at times, with almost too much to do.

Narrative-wise, Far Cry 5 is perhaps more relevant for the modern age – a religious Middle American zealot named Joseph Seed is preaching the end of the world for sinners  – but it’s nothing original: Bad guy out to rule the world, good guy has to stop him (but must first stop Seed’s crazed siblings as well.

The game play in numero 5 feels familiar and while Joseph Seed maybe not as memorable as say,  Vaas Montenegro, from FC3, or Pagan Min, from FC4, he’s suitably crazy. One early mission, though, summed up for me all that’s  frustrating with open-world games from time to time.

In it, you have to retrieve the Death Wish, a souped-up and heavily armed off-roader owned by Merle and which has been hijacked by the resident cult. The Death Wish is being driven around by a VIP cult member, so he is a little tougher than your run-of-the-mill cultists.

Stop and retrieve sounds easy, right? Well, yeah, but what seems like a simple mission is hindered by the fact that the cultist is driving the Death Wish on a road, which means that as you wait in ambush to capture it or grab a vehicle to try and ram it off its pre-programmed route, you’re spotted by other cultists as they drive past, meaning the mission is continually punctuated by chaotic fire fights as more and more vehicles drive past and more and more cultists join the fight.

After dying for the umpteenth time because things just got too chaotic and my AI-companion managed to get himself pinned between a truck and a power pole, I re-spawned in a field, not far from the main road the Death Wish was driving on. Unfortunately, I had spawned next to a group of rather pissed off wild boar, which proceeded to gore me  to death. Oh, at one point, a cougar suddenly appeared, mauling my AI companion while a gun fight was going on. Madness!

Eventually, I managed to hijack enough cultist vehicles (including a tractor) that I was able to block the road, cornering the Death Wish and its rather hardy driver. Mission accomplished, I proceeded to drive the Death Wish back to Merle, after which we proceeded to attack a cult compound.

I’d actually like to travel from point A to point B in my car, on a road,  without every few moments turning into a gunfight because the enemy AI in every car that drives past spots me and opens fire. Friends told me to drive off-road to avoid that but, really, should I have to drive off-road just to avoid other AI?

I think, too, sometimes in FC5 there is so much going on, it’s almost a distraction. There are Hope County residents to liberate, animals to hunt and skins to sell, compounds to seize, stashes to raid, things to explode but at times I almost wish it was a bit more linear and wasn’t so “go where ever you want, do what ever you want, when you want”.

At the end of the day, Far Cry 5 is competent at what it does without setting the world on fire, which isn’t a bad thing if you like playing open-world games that throw you onto the landscape and say “Go to it, lad”.It’s a lot of fun at times.

Oh, and if I can offer one piece of advice, it’s this: Watch out for the turkeys.

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