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‘Far Cry 5’ takes the fight home while sticking to its roots

With increased emphasis on exploration, the game breaks away from a cluttered map system in lieu of a more organic experience.

Ubisoft%27s+latest+game%2C+%22Far+Cry+5%22+brings+a+slew+of+changes+while+staying+true+to+the+game%27s+tight-knit+storytelling.+
Ubisoft's latest game,

Ubisoft's latest game, "Far Cry 5" brings a slew of changes while staying true to the game's tight-knit storytelling.

Courtesy of Ubisoft

Courtesy of Ubisoft

Ubisoft's latest game, "Far Cry 5" brings a slew of changes while staying true to the game's tight-knit storytelling.

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Thrust into an unfamiliar and dangerous terrain populated with an army of people ready to kill, and one lone protagonist, tasked with going up against it all.

This has been the classic “Far Cry” formula seen in the Ubisoft series’ past three iterations. But with the newly released “Far Cry 5,” players will be taking the fight to the homefront for the first time.

For those looking for a huge departure from past installations, this game does little to shake up the core formula but for fans of the series, little tweaks have been added to gameplay mechanics to bring some refreshing changes to the latest title.

Taking place in a fictitious county in Montana, this is a huge step away from foreign settings like Sub-saharan Africa and tropical islands players are used to.

“Far Cry 5” puts you in the middle of a hostile takeover of rural Hope County, where religious cult leader Joseph Seed and his followers, the Project at Eden’s Gate, have taken control of the county and its people in preparation for a collapse of society.

Upon the game’s release, controversy surrounded the plot of a militaristic religious sect, as many people felt it was politically motivated by the current presidential administration.

However, if you go into the game expecting a huge political statement, this really isn’t the case. Call it a missed opportunity or intentional avoidance from the developers, but the story is told in an enclosed setting that doesn’t attempt to make a grand statement. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing as the story is still relatively entertaining and will keep players engaged in the roughly 30-hour adventure.

If the “Far Cry” series’ storytelling can be praised for one feature, it’s the villains that steal the show from the generally unlikeable protagonists. What characters such as psychopath pirate Vaas and cruel dictator Pagan Min lacked before was screen time that allowed players to learn to love them — or hate them. This time around, players come into contact with the antagonist and his lackeys numerous times, making for more fleshed-out characters.

While the game created intriguing villains, the main character falls flat. Protagonists in past installments such as Jason Brody and Ajay Ghale had little growth through their journeys and poor writing left players with unrelatable, unlikeable characters. This time the developers of “Far Cry 5” opted for a silent protagonist who can be customized at the start of the game, in a sort of “Fallout” style character creation system. But the limited editing tools of this system leave players wanting more.

The gameplay is as strong as ever with an emphasis on fast-paced gunfights, but as always, players are given a choice on how to tackle a situation — go in guns blazing, or take the stealth approach without raising alarm. “Far Cry” has always been about choice and it’s one of the features that makes the series so great.

The biggest departure in the series has been the setting, finally taking place on American soil, whereas past games have stuck to foreign lands where players are made to feel like the outsider looking in.

Gone are the days of scaling large radio towers to sync dozens of locations onto your map. The developers wanted to create a more organic exploration that kept players from eyeing the minimap and instead go for a more adventure-style gameplay that was beautifully integrated. Taking inspiration from the likes of “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” Ubisoft opted to create an experience that encourages players to explore every nook of the map.

This is an amazing change because in a game like “Far Cry,” there’s never a question of where the next interesting location is. Every part of the map has something going on, whether it be a firefight in the distance or a cougar lurking in the nearby bushes. Boredom is never a problem one experiences when wandering the vast mountains and plains of Hope County.

Returning features from “Far Cry 4” and “Far Cry Primal” include the guns-for-hire and animal companions. Players can discover other characters across the map that can be recruited to fight alongside you in combat, each with their own abilities. Animals can also assist in combat, or even fetch a weapon out of an enemy’s hand. Not much has changed with these systems, but nothing beats charging a stronghold with a bear at your side.

Co-op gameplay also returns, allowing for a friend to hop in your game and help take on members of the Project at Eden’s Gate. The downside to this is that story progression is limited to one console, allowing only one player to advance the story while the other will not progress on their console.

“Far Cry 5” manages to uphold the solid, tight-knit gameplay that the series is known for and the new additions have vastly improved upon an already polished system. For the next addition in the series, developers will need to change up their formula in order to keep fans interested.

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