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Review: Far Cry 5 (PC)By Chris125 At 10.04.2018 22:02

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Most of the accusations in recent years involving Ubisoft have been a criticism of its ability to innovate. The common charge has involved too many titles sharing mechanics, styles and structure. Far Cry 5 is arguably the biggest break in tradition and mechanics that the series has undergone since Far Cry 2. It is notable that very early in the introductory island section; the narrator breaks the fourth-wall to take a humorous pop at the much derided tower-climbing mechanic, which dogged so many recent Ubisoft titles. This is almost the epitome of the new approach taken. From this point forward, it is clear that this adventure is going to be so different and really shake things up.

One obvious change is that the tropical paradise locations of the prior two games have been ditched in favour of a slice of Americana. Gone are the palm trees and beaches, and in their place are cattle farms and swamps. It is a huge contrast and also provides Ubisoft the ability to critique much of the more amusing aspects of American life in a highly satirical style. Of course, the biggest critique it makes is arguably focused on the main antagonists of the piece; an ultra-religious cult led by 'Joseph Seed,' which has managed to take over large parts of the US state of Montana in militaristic rule. It is hard to escape the allusions to contemporary America, of course, with the focus on the rise of far-right nationalism. Ubisoft, of course, has made no secret of its political approach to storytelling before and, in a way, it is positive to see a game try to tackle these kinds of ideologies within the medium.

While the villain and his family are dangerous, it has to be said that they fall some way short of the kind of despotic madness that previous series antagonists have displayed. In a way, although their approach is clearly violent and wrong, many of their ideals could be justified in one way or another and this makes it hard to become invested in destroying them.

The actual narrative plot also fails to bear up to too much scrutiny when one considers how impractical it would be to be able to shut down enough methods of outside communication to stop the federal government from sweeping into the state with an army to quell the rebellion. With that said, the main goal of any story is to keep the player invested through its action, narrative, and drama, and Far Cry 5 does this with great set-piece moments, and loveable characters.

Speaking of a break in the 'Ubisoft style,' the whole method of exploring and discovering things is a lot more refined. One of the pet-hates of many was the world's in which there would be an almost endless spew of icons spilling out onto the world-map, many of which were meaningless busywork. Far Cry 5 presents an organic approach to discovery, more akin to something like the Witcher 3, in which quests are usually discovered through the act of talking to people and exploring the wilds without any specific direction reaps new loot and story to discover.

The main story is centered round this concept of building up a resistance metre in order to challenge one of the 'Seed Brothers,' done through the act of side missions, freeing civilians, taking over bases and outposts, and causing general mayhem to the Eden's Gate cult. It is not an original idea, but it provides, again, a more natural feel to the gameplay in comparison previous Ubisoft titles, which always appeared too structured and tied down.

The side-quests exemplify this in not being simply fetch quests, but rather many of them having some great dialogue or plot, which make them all the more enjoyable. They are so diverse also, with anything ranging from doing a race in a car through flaming checkpoints, to collecting cow testicles for a competition, gathering "alien" artefacts for a mad scientist, or freeing a soldier from a besieged church. A lot of thought has gone into all of them and it really pays off.

The map being split up into three sections presents a good deal of diverse environment. With that said, because this is the USA and not a tropical island, the one drawback is that there can naturally be less scope for environmental range. The land is peppered with forests and farms, which all look stunning, but no less stunning than the shimmering lakes or ransacked towns. Generally, this is a beautiful-looking game and special props go to the draw distance, which is impressive not just in its aesthetic but also in the technical qualities of the lack of pop-up one would expect.

In general, the PC version stands up incredibly well and this is not something that can always be said of Ubisoft titles. Here, however, there is no issue getting 60fps and above straight out of the box without any patching. Additionally, for an open-world title, the lack of bugs encountered so far is very pleasing - some minor ones, but nothing game-breaking.

Slightly less impressive is the general quality of the enemy AI, which seems to be set to 'super dumb.' Who knows, maybe the approach was to emulate cult thinking or whatever, but it is not uncommon for countless enemies to climb the same ladder to get shot dead before their comrade goes and does the exact same thing. It's strange, because on other occasions they display moderately useful tactics, like grenade usage or ramming cars off the road; the inconsistency is startling.

Equally startling is the general enemy encounter rate. It seems strange to use that phrase outside of an RPG, however, anytime the protagonist drives anywhere, it is inevitable that out of nowhere will come a truck, or a car, or a car with a machine gun, or a plane, and so on. This would be fine, obviously occasionally, but this is a big state. Also, it is not simply confined to roads or humans, as when traversing the forests it leads to endless bear and cougar attacks. It would almost be funny, in a sort of slapstick way, the amount of mauling from cougars, if it was not so frequent in its regularity.

Although there are many encounters and battles to be fought, thankfully the gunplay makes these usually enjoyable - the feeling of weight and power with the many weapons; from rifles, to bows, to flamethrowers and beyond, means that combat is really mechanically solid and fun. One minute taking an outpost can be a silent stealth affair and the next the player can whip out a heavy machine gun and call in an airstrike and all hell can break loose. Far Cry 5 epitomises the action entertainment spectacle that gaming can convey.

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Final Score
[i]Far Cry 5[/i], while having some issues, such as the janky AI and a rather far-fetched plot, more than makes up for these things with some compelling and truly innovative approaches from Ubisoft. There is a real sense that it put a lot of love back into a series that over the last spin-off and fully-fledged entry was possibly becoming mundane. The world set in the USA presents a real contrast to the tropical paradise settings of all the previous entries. Additionally, the organic approach to missions and narrative advancement mean that [i]Far Cry 5[/i] avoids the 'cleaning up of the map' feel that some previous games have conveyed. The gunplay is smooth and fantastic and the graphics are stunning. Anyone who hasn't played a Far Cry game before needs to get this and any doubters of Ubisoft's ability to deliver a truly great open-world title need to do likewise.

9

/10

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