I’ve loved Far Cry games in the past, 3 was a particular high point, but that was 6 years ago and Far Cry 4 lost me somewhere along the way. I never finished it. 5 looks to be more of the same kind of an outdoor adventure through a beautiful land that is beset upon with chaos, light RPG mechanics without the role-playing, and this time they’ve set it in Montana.
The most important difference with this game is that it once had some promise in making a statement about the current political situation. There’s a lot of things that it’d be incredible to see a game even try to talk about, but Far Cry 5 isn’t that game despite having all of the opportunity in the world to try.
Thematically, Far Cry 5 is such an inconsistent mess of ideas that there is hardly a recognizable through line at all. Instead, the game gestures towards ambiguity as if looking for a shield to save itself with.
This is a game that undeniably knows that Donald Trump is president, but cannot decide if that fact should be punchline or key plot device. When, in two different scenes, cult leaders make oblique references to “America’s leadership” or the failures of the person “who’s in charge” as proof of the American empire’s final days, the game reaches for sincere relevance. But an hour later, you’ll be recovering the notorious piss tape from a Russian spy in a pun-filled quest.
There’s probably a great story you could tell around a Christian Doomsday Prepper Cult that has you fighting them off as they prepare for the End Times by murdering everyone around them and stealing all the resources they can. That’s meat that few games even attempt to chew. But the ambitious setting doesn’t pay off in this story that seems to want to hedge every chance it gets. The end result is a story that goes nowhere, says nothing, and fails to live up to the previous settings and villains in the franchise. If you can get past that… the rest is pretty much fine if you’re up for another Far Cry game.
Far Cry 5 is up now on Steam for Windows, as well as your Xbox One or PlayStation 4. It’s also got the traditional slap in the face of $60 not being enough, and offering both Deluxe ($70) and Gold ($90) editions.
I have a stack of open-world Ubisoft games that I haven’t finished, Far Cry 5 isn’t joining them.