Far Cry 5 is a story-driven experience of the human condition. And you can steal a monster truck with guns on it. Far Cry 5 has a dark, austere story that invokes modern political tensions. It also has a Grizzly bear named Cheeseburger.
These two halves are at odds. Far Cry 5 is a story-driven experience with something to say about the human condition. It’s also a game where you can steal a monster truck with guns on it, or take breaks from saving lives to do stunts that would make Evel Knievel jealous.
Many games, including past Far Cry titles, have swung between deadly serious and funny in the same package — but Far Cry 5 swings so hard in both directions that the game begins to fall apart. As a result, Far Cry 5 feels like an Americana-skinned rehash of the series’ signature style, which is okay – but the experience falls far short of the game it could, and wants to be.
Knocking on Eden’s Gate
In Far Cry 5, you control “the deputy,” a rookie sheriff’s deputy in Hope County, Montana. (Unlike past Far Cry games, you get to choose your character’s gender, race, and appearance). At the game’s outset your posse, including the Sheriff, your two fellow deputies, and a U.S. Marshall, fly out to the compound for “the Project at Eden’s Gate,” a Christian-style cult that has earned a reputation for secrecy and brutality. You are there to arrest its leader, Joseph Seed — A.K.A. The Father.
The exact reason seems to be irrelevant, but the game makes Seed’s villainy crystal clear. Also, as you’re told in no uncertain terms, you are on a suicide mission. The group of religious zealots, thousands strong, isn’t just going to let five people take their leader away. Why is law enforcement sending five guys to arrest thousands? The game doesn’t say, but the (lack) of logic is lost in the intensity of the moment. It’s a tense, effective introduction.
After your predictable failure to arrest him, The Father initiates “the reaping,” giving his followers carte blanche to start kidnapping the people of Hope County to “save” them from “the collapse,” their coded term for the end of the world. Effectively, the cult has invaded the land and become an occupying force. You must rally the people who have survived to fight, and free the forcibly converted masses.
Hope County, and its inhabitants, paint a surreal but relatable picture of the U.S. countryside in a state of de facto apocalypse. Most homes are empty, but people are scattered across the woods and mountains, camping out to hide from the cult. The cultists, meanwhile, roam the highways and control the county’s infrastructure. Everywhere you go, you see billboards with the Seeds’ individual mottos — “Cull the herd” and “welcome to the bliss.” There is even a colossal statue of The Father on a hill, looking down on you.
When Far Cry 5 was announced, there was a lot of hand-wringing over whether the game would take a political stance, be it about the prominence of evangelical Christianity in American government, gun ownership, or any number of issues that could arise from setting the game in the U.S. The game deftly dodges these real-world problems with a dose of patriotism. The Resistance plants or raises American flags in all its bases. Everyone has a gun (or wants one), but with a murderous cult actively kidnapping people, they have good reason to carry them. The game’s not likely to offend any particular group – except cultists, of course.
Roam if you want to
How you rally the people of Hope is almost entirely up to you. The county is broken up into three regions, each one under the supervision of a member of The Father’s “family.” John, Joseph, and Faith Seed each have a bunker full of kidnapped people, who they are converting to become “Peggies” — the local nickname for the cultists — using their own magic blend of psychological conditioning and mind control.
Far Cry 5 – Order it today!
Targeting: M for Mature: Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
Genre: Action, Adventure
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Developer: Ubisoft Reflections, Ubisoft Ukraine, Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft Shanghai, Ubisoft Toronto