Far Cry Again

Meeting a new acquaintance

I remember, summing up the results of the primitive experiment named Far Cry Primal Two years ago, we threatened to turn our noses up at the next installment if it followed the same old pattern. We complained about how developers kept slapping new wallpaper on old walls and that it was time to consider a major overhaul of the decaying structure. Because anyone, except Bethesda with its immortal “Skyrim” for microwaves, will tell you that what is good the first time is not always good the seventeenth.

But this didn’t stop the sandbox kings, open-world overlords, and just plain charlatans from Ubisoft from releasing exactly the same game as always. Rearranging trees on the map, dressing the surroundings in American flags, adding mustaches to yet another Vaas – and with a clear conscience, asking for the standard $60 for the work done. The creatives, one would think, collapsed from exhaustion after the release.

The most interesting thing, however, is that it still hooks you. Not as strongly as before, of course, but returning to the familiar “Far Cry,” which has changed by two and a half pixels since our last encounter, turned out to be surprisingly pleasant. Moreover, you can call me a hypocrite and an impressionable teenager with a penchant for virtual violence, and yet Far Cry 5 is a damn fun game.

Even though the path to this fun is oh so distant.

Launching an explosive RPG
A face-off with a central character

The main problem with the sandbox of Far Cry 5 is that it has a lot of sand, but for a long time there are very few toys.

No one will let us get to the heart of the matter right away. First, the game, following tradition, presents itself as a deceptively serious and carefully staged action movie, where our protagonist (this time, a literal mannequin of any gender) gets acquainted with the region of Hope and the cult that has occupied it. As usual, the eccentric hipster is at the head of the cult, and attempting to arrest him stirs up the whole mess that we have to deal with: the local fanatics successfully land a police helicopter upside down on skis, take its passengers hostage, and after a short chase through the linear forests, they release us into the open world – to gather our strength and fight back.

From this moment on, common sense suggests that it should be fun, especially since Far Cry 5 is not stingy with reasons to have a good time. As soon as you step into the starting location, the radar is filled with icons of all sorts: outposts, altars, convoys, patrols, hideouts, side missions, and whatever else you need for happiness – there is plenty to do everywhere and at all times. Even if you stay in one place for a few minutes, the game will generate a bunch of enemies and send them your way, whether you want it or not.

Usually, considering the lack of means of existence, unnecessary adventures are not needed at all. The main problem of the sandbox in Far Cry 5 is that there is a lot of sand, but for a long time, there are very few toys. Life is constantly bustling around you, things are constantly exploding, driving, flying, shooting, and screaming, but all you have to participate in the festivities is a weak “Colt” and a couple of medkits in reserve. It’s not easy to get going with such a set.

Engaging in intense combat
Fishing for leisure

Do we need to say how quickly the surrounding world turns into an annoying world? Random trademark events come out of every crack, bringing nothing but a headache, because there is simply no way to react properly to them. Yes, Far Cry 5, I understand that you now have airplanes – but there is no need to send them when I have just scraped together enough money for a shotgun. And no, Far Cry 5, I can’t earn more because your bombers scared away all the quest givers in the region, thanks.

In general, in order to truly immerse oneself in the madness that is happening, one has to endure this madness first. Accumulate a decent arsenal, fill the garage with cars, upgrade a couple of dozen perks, get a higher education, take out a mortgage, and invest in a small business – the progress climb on this local ladder is probably the most boring and routine in the entire series. Not least because it feels like an obstacle to normal gameplay.

A special feature of the sequel is the system of combat companions. Now, in order not to wander around the area in proud solitude, you can recruit any passerby into your squad or get a unique companion by completing their personal mission. The proteges differ in specialization and accompanying bonuses: someone pours enemies with napalm, someone silently eliminates targets from the shadows, someone provides fire support from the air, and someone is just a cute dog named Boomer who brings ammo right in the middle of a shootout. Boomer is awesome.

Building a bond with a loyal companion

Dear dog Boomer brings bullets right in the middle of a shootout. Boomer is awesome.

The addition did not have a colossal impact on gameplay as expected, but it somewhat diluted the overused tactics and, at worst, automated the least exciting part of the process. Silly stealth, for example, is now even sillier and one-buttoned, but it is free from the eternal problem of every living creature on the continent instantly knowing about you due to the slightest mistake. It’s easier with an ally: if they have stealth in their talents, they can even pick their nose in front of the guards – no one will bat an eye.

Build the multiplayer yourself.

The diligently promoted arcade mode with a built-in map editor turned out to be a hollow gadget, by the way. Although the tool itself impresses the eye of a curious amateur, the results of the work of more skilled hands do not generate any interest: the showcases are filled with either long, intestine-like survival trials for one time, or acidic competitive arenas where people run around a single shed for 10 minutes, trying to squeeze positive emotions out of the process. Judging by the participants swiftly leaving the matches, it’s not very good.

Somewhere over there, you can try an exact copy of de_dust2 and once again convince yourself of how useless it is to transfer maps from one game to another.

Arcade gaming fun
Taking flight in a helicopter

Far Cry 5 takes a ridiculously long time to get going, only really starting around the tenth hour, but once it does, it becomes impossible to tear yourself away. Everything that was previously frustrating and forced you to take long breaks suddenly merges into one endless canvas for improvisation. Fighter jets swooping in? Awesome! Finally, a reason to test out the newly purchased grenade launcher. Reinforcements spawning around the corner? Even better – my pockets are full of C4 for a reason! And who knows, maybe a convoy will drive by…

Spontaneous skirmishes become the main attraction, because now you can afford them and have all the tools to intertwine them, creating a long chain reaction. Take out an entire outpost from a military helicopter, then dive down, shooting at the approaching van, and engage in a chase on your star-spangled truck, smashing through flimsy farmer fences to the sound of machine gun fire, keeping up with the unforgettable rhythm of “Barracuda” on the radio – that’s the fun of Far Cry 5. In its permissiveness and excessive action.

What’s even more surprising is that with such a luxurious sandbox, the developers decided to make the story mandatory. Not in the sense that area X won’t open until you complete mission Y – the game will simply yank you out of the open world when it deems it’s time to show you a new portion of the story. How’s the entertainment going? Too bad, because it’s time for another preventive conversation with the boss of the region!

Exploring a lush garden

Ah, well. Everything would have been fine if Ubisoft hadn’t committed narrative suicide at the concept stage, dividing the map into three regions and allowing players to tackle them in any order. From a storytelling perspective, this means that all three pieces must be, firstly, equal in importance, and secondly, completely independent from each other. In plain language, this means that there couldn’t possibly be a coherent, connected plot here.

So, each region has its own lieutenant, but there are no connections or structural differences between the local conflicts. Far Cry 5 simply repeats the same arc three times – condensed, superficial, and devoid of ideas.

On the other hand, the story missions differ drastically, unfortunately, in a bad way. It feels like a separate team was responsible for each region’s development, but only one team actually finished their work – the contrast in quality is too noticeable. While one of the antagonists has a whole “Disneyland” of diverse quests, events, locations, and characters under their control, the other two lazily offer linear shooting galleries with timers and boss fights from 2001. Although the climactic episodes in the bunkers are the same for all three – and as we know, there’s nothing worse than bunker episodes.

Life on the farm
Facing a formidable opponent

In general, since we’re on the subject, in terms of the script, the game is much more memorable thanks to the deliberately silly and absurd side stories. Far Cry 5, aside from the central conflict, diligently mocks the American countryside, and although the satire on rednecks’ love for the Second Amendment is a bit too persistent, many jokes and related missions are a hit. At least no one has ever suggested setting mating bulls on fire before.

Another pleasant surprise was the exploration of the terrain. In the fifth installment of Far Cry, if you didn’t know, they finally got rid of the tiresome towers in favor of live human interaction. Now, nearby NPCs tell you about interesting places on the map, which, in the grand scheme of things, is like trading one problem for another, but thanks to this, exploration has gained some sequence and meaning, so to speak. Free a hostage – and they not only give you abstract resistance points but also a lead on the nearest cult outpost. Capture an outpost – and they tell you where to find a treasure. A little more, and we’ll completely mutate into an RPG.

Unleashing the Magnopulser

There is also our gravity gun here.

This is a loud, bright, juicy, and insanely beautiful blockbuster construction set that allows you to play out your dream action movie on the screen.

In the end – a huge portion of dirt towards an equally huge deception, called here a joint playthrough. After a mediocre, but clearly executed cooperative program. Ghost Recon Wildlands We did not expect at all that the flagship Ubisoft series would take a few steps back in this regard.

Everything related to playing with friends in Far Cry 5 has been confined to unreasonably strict limits. The first unpleasant revelation was that playing is only allowed in pairs. Of course, this was mentioned somewhere in the depths of the official FAQ in advance, but we, being simple consumers, fell into the trap of our own logical reasoning: if the protagonist has two slots for AI companions by default, then maybe you can invite about the same number of friends. What a ridiculous foolishness, right?

A whole bunch of small restrictions and caveats only worsen the situation. For example, the client is not allowed to talk to NPCs and move away from the host for any significant distance. As the icing on the cake, their progress in the storyline is not counted at all, which means they do not receive the most useful perks and tasty weapons. The pleasure from this is no more than from a party under house arrest: it seems cool, but without an ankle bracelet, the list of potential adventures would be much broader.

In addition, the network code is riddled with synchronization problems. More than once, I flew in a helicopter with hysterical laughter from my comrade, who didn’t have a helicopter on his screen at all, while I was soaring gracefully in the air on my own. Many similar incidents only became an opportunity to exchange funny “gifs,” but there were also truly annoying things: character models disappeared, animations froze, and individual scripts, including those related to the storyline, simply turned off.

Seeking cover from danger
Explosive moments

I won’t be afraid to repeat: Far Cry 5 is a damn fun game. Despite its old flaws and an impressive list of shortcomings, out of the four evenings spent playing it, at least two gave us genuine pleasure, which only solid sandbox games like Saints Row: The Third or Just Cause 3 This is a loud, bright, juicy, and insanely beautiful blockbuster construction set that allows you to play out your dream action movie on the screen – what else do you need?

Ideally, of course, more radical changes are needed than just one and a half mechanics in two years, but who am I kidding…

Far Cry 5
PC, PS4, Xbox One
Action, Co-op, Multiplayer
Ubisoft Montreal
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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