Thursday, 16 August 2018

Far Cry 5: Top Knots and Neckbeards ★★★★☆

Hipsters have taken over Hope County, but rather than setting up hairdressers and pretentious coffee shops, they’re forcing their religious views upon everyone. Like the born again, shouting at passers by, in the town centre… only being slightly more violent about it. Westboro Baptist Church looks pretty sane, in comparison. Some jobsworth, appropriately named Marshal Burke, wants to arrest and bring in its leaders, with the help of the local sheriff and his trusty deputies as a guide. They attempt to apprehend the culprits but shit goes a bit wrong, leaving the deputy to survive - Rambo style - and take it upon themselves to rescue their colleagues, from the evil Cult, as they prove that they're morally better than the religious Cult of top knots... by killing countless numbers of them and their brainwashed followers.

Ubisoft best excel at creating open worlds (even when the game sucks - Watchdogs) and Hope County is no exception. Split into three main sections, with an evil Cult Leader running a section each. Main characters all have conveniently biblical based names. Everyone else, in Hope County, seems to be called Aaron. In order to get to John Seed, the neckbeard in charge, you must take out his underlings. His brothers Jacob and Joseph and, the chick that likes to blaze her own stash, Faith.

Far Cry 5 has dropped a lot of it's traditional Ubisoft tropes, Crafting is gone, hunting is mostly pointless now and only used for making extra money. Weapon upgrading is also reduced to in shop purchases and the Skill Tree has been gimped and climbing radio towers to defog the map is also done away with, now you only climb them to jump back off. The menu map, which has taken on a 3D look close to the one in Horizon: Zero Dawn, is now filled out with the natural progression of Breath of the Wild, Skyrim or Fallout compass system. Locations and points of interest will appear on your Map, only as and when you find them after you've read about it or an NPC suggests it might be worth checking the area. For the most part, you're left to your devices to wonder the land, like Kane.

Random events can and will occur... continuously, to the point of having to start ignoring them so that you can make some actual progress. Stand near a road for 20 seconds and it'll set about a chain reaction. An enemy truck will pass and start shooting, so you take them out and another will show up to back up their friend. Before you get a chance to take aim, a Bear will come out the Woods and eat the guy meanwhile a farm dog has decided he can take on the bear and bolts towards it, only to be hit by another passing enemy truck... It all descends into chaos... But it's hilarious. Especially in Co-op. Co-op is where Far Cry 5 is at it's best. Aside from fully breaking the game, making it a bit too easy and only allowing the host to progress with the story. Running around Hope County, with a friend, is just outright fun and greatly improved over Far Cry 4's Co-op. The second player receives any loot, money and experience they earn, so running around and raiding a few hidden stashes together does have its advantages.

The main extent of the game's failure is in its poor execution of storytelling. While it was a nice idea, allowing the player to create their own hero, giving them no voice, and therefore no dialogue, they feel a little bit meaningless. You're just a mute serial killer, being praised, or Preached to, with no thoughts of your own. Nothing to interject to the subject matter at hand. There are no working mirrors in Hope County, so you never see the protagonists face anyway, making it all seems a bit pointless. Co-op or dying is the only time anyone will see your face. Furthermore, Playing through as a female, people often still referred to the protagonist using male pronouns. Suggesting that the character creator was a late addition to the story campaign and the lines were either forgotten about or just never adapted. As you progress through the game, you'll be kidnapped by a leader. These moments disrupt the flow of gameplay and only serve so they can fill you in on uninteresting exposition. These dudes clearly never saw a Bond movie, as they can just send someone out to tranquillise you, whenever they feel you've made a significant amount of damage to their cause, tie you up to talk to you and then let you escape. Over and over. Reusing the same capture gimmick, over and over, is just some real lazy writing.

Bad story implementation aside, I still found myself playing until four in the morning, more than once. Don't drink the Kool-Aid.

 Bry Wyatt

Far Cry 5 at CeX

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