Earlier this week I had four hours of solid hands-on time with Far Cry 5 prior to its launch later this month, venturing through the first hour of the game and then wing-suiting around Hope County with a buddy in co-op. In short, it was a heck of a lot of fun.
That said, during my time with the game I noticed quite a few things have changed and evolved in the fifth entry of the long-running series. As such, here are seven things that had me excited for Far Cry 5 after my hands-on time with the game concluded.
THE STORY IS NOTICEABLY DARK AND GROUNDED
Far Cry 5’s opening moments stick with you. Infiltrating cult leader Joseph Seed’s stronghold, you are introduced first-hand to the frightening realisation of cultist extremities as you try and reprimand Seed in front of his followers. Of course, it doesn’t take long for everything to go awry, but the ten minute sequence is truly something else — my eyes were glued to the screen from beginning to end, stricken by the design of the village I was walking through and what Seed’s managed to do to an entire county of people.
The sequence is made even more frightening via the way Amazing Grace is sung by Seed and his followers, and acts as a bit of a literal representation of what happens during the game’s opening moments. It’s cinematic storytelling at its finest, and sets up a story that emanates themes of darkness and the sadistic nature of this year’s big Far Cry villain, and I loved it.
THE OPEN WORLD IS STILL AS FUN AND LUDICROUS AS EVER
Shortly after those moments of intense violence and everything going pear-shaped for you and your crew, you are let loose on Hope County to do as you please. Like other games in the series, Far Cry 5 doesn’t force you to do anything in particular and gives you the freedom to tackle the game’s many tasks and missions in any way you please. Whether that’s liberating cultist outposts, taking on story missions, or recruiting more guns and/or fangs for hire — it’s entirely up to you.Hope County is a fantastic playground for destruction and experimentation with vast fields and wonderfully-realised town villages, and before long the entire notion of the dark opening I’d experienced earlier was thrown out the window. This freedom of exploration is something Far Cry has always excelled at, and it seems like that’s continuing on in Far Cry 5.
YOU CAN PLAY THE ENTIRE GAME IN CO-OP
A big new addition to Far Cry 5 is the ability to play through the entire game in co-op with a buddy, and it’s a game changer. The seeds were planted in Far Cry 4, with enjoyable co-op side missions to complete and endeavour on, but everything you can do in Far Cry 5 can be done with two players — whether that’s playing through the game’s story or adventuring out into Hope County’s wilderness.Having a buddy made the game feel way more enjoyable too, as the Far Cry series has always been a perfect playground for mischief and experimentation, and that finally seems to have been properly realised in the series’ fifth main outing. I did notice some problems with the frame rate during co-op, though it was nothing that really took away the enjoyment that came from chasing down cultist followers (also known as “Peggies”) on ATVs and liberating a major Eden’s Gate outpost in hilarious ways.
CUSTOMISEABLE CHARACTERS GIVE A TOUCH OF PERSONALITY
Customisable characters also make their debut in Far Cry 5, and while this also means we’re being treated to a mute protagonist this time around, the wide array of customisation options — combined with a shop in-game that allows you to buy new clothes, headgear, and so on — made for a much more personalised Far Cry experience. These customisation options paid dividends when playing with a buddy in co-op, too, as you’re able to see customised characters in all of their glory.
It might not be the biggest new addition to the series, but these customisation options are a nice change up from what’s been seen in previous entries, and makes the multiplayer side of things a lot more enjoyable and personalised because of it.
THERE’S A PLETHORA OF THINGS TO DO IN HOPE COUNTY
With prepper stashes to find, outposts to liberate, and everything littered in between, Far Cry 5 doesn’t shy away from its predecessors in that there’s a lot of content to experience throughout the game’s world.Hope County is split up into three seperate territories, with each being run by a member of Joseph Seed’s family. Each are themed around different ideologies and methods of interaction with the cultist followers too, though they all share the same principle — to lay the land with hundreds of things to do and see. And while some activities aren’t especially different to what players may have experienced with past entries in the series, the new setting of Hope County gives a nice injection of life into everything you do — it still feels fun to discover new things, and it’s especially great to naturally come across activities that pull you off the beaten path.
THE RESISTANCE POINT SYSTEM ENCOURAGES YOU TO HAVE FUN AND EXPLORE
Instead of relying on basic story progression, Far Cry 5 has instead implemented a resistance point system in each of the map’s territories, which acts as a way of progressing the narrative in more natural ways. Each activity you complete, from liberating outposts to rescuing captured civilians, nets you resistance points and improves your grip on the territory you’re occupying, in turn forcing out the leaders and allowing you to overthrow their power in the area.
As you fight back with others in each of the game’s territories, the leader of that area will notice their loosening grip and will start coming for you in more aggressive ways, which leads to a dynamic that should keep the gameplay and narrative experience enjoyable. It’s a great way of encouraging players to involve themselves in the multitude of activities on offer in Far Cry 5, and I’m keen to see how deep the system runs.
UBISOFT TOWERS ARE GONE FOR GOOD
Early on in Far Cry 5 you’ll be forced into climbing a tower to complete the game’s prologue before being thrust out into the open world of Hope County. And while I thought this may have been a precursor for what was to come in this entry, the character instructing you to do the climbing jokingly states that no more towers will be climbed in the game. The entire sequence is an open acknowledgement of the changing times with Ubisoft, and it was wonderfully tongue-in-cheek.Rather than climbing towers to gain information on specific parts of areas across Hope County, you’ll instead be tasked with talking with the locals of the area and finding out about the lay of the land that way. And by having you interact with Montana’s inhabitants you slowly develop a better understanding of the place and, on a personal level, what Hope County once was to these people, and it’s a fantastic way of replacing what the towers were and represented.
After four hours of hands-on time with Far Cry 5, I’m excited by the direction the series is going and the way the game’s new features have been implemented. Obviously there are still unknowns in the mix — like how the story is going to play out over the game’s duration and whether there’ll still be co-op issues come launch day — that won’t be known until we have our hands on the full game and mull through everything that’s on offer. That said, Far Cry 5 is shaping up to be a really fantastic sequel, and I can’t wait to play more.
TOBY FLEW TO PARIS AS A GUEST OF UBISOFT FOR THIS FAR CRY 5 EVENT. FAR CRY 5 IS OUT ON MARCH 27TH FOR PS4, XBOX ONE AND PC.