By now, most players at least vaguely familiar with the franchise should know what to expect when they enter the Far Cry realm: a first-person, action-adventure shooter, complete with a psychotic villain and a beautiful open world to explore. In this regard, Far Cry 5 doesn’t deviate too far from the tried-and-tested formula – but that’s not to say it’s simply more of the same.
Based on our limited hands-on time with the game at EGX 2017, we can say that Far Cry 5 very much feels like the culmination of everything that came before it. You can recruit allies to your cause through the Guns for Hire system, similar to the buddy system from Far Cry 2. There’s also Fang for Hire, which allows you to tame wild animals in a similar way to Far Cry Primal.
Far Cry 4 introduced co-op play for the first time; however, none of the main missions were available. You could explore the title’s open world and even do side missions, but were forced to play the campaign solo. In continuing the trend of being bigger and better, everything in Far Cry 5 can be played two-player – a hugely welcome addition for fans, and their friends.
Right off the bat, the demo launched into a liberation side mission, which roughly translates as “kill everything in the village that moves”. Without providing too much in the way of narrative exposition, the alpha led us to believe that the militaristic Eden’s Gate had forcibly taken over a number of communities in the fictional Montana setting of Hope County. Gameplay-wise, this is nothing we haven’t seen in previous games, with the likes of Far Cry 4 requiring the player to liberate outposts at various points. Once you’ve successfully driven out the enemy, villagers will emerge from the woodwork and start taking down barricades and rebuilding their homes. A select few will even become your allies and join you in the fight. Luckily, these allies can be revived as they have a habit of jumping out of doors at you and getting themselves pummeled with assault rifle rounds.
Your Gun for Hire, selected before a mission (only one, mind you) can aid you in a variety of ways. For example, Boomer, the lovable yet savage mutt, will stay close to you and attack nearby foes, while Nick Rye favours a more distant approach from his aircraft, raining hell from above while screaming, “It’s a good day for strafing!” every few minutes. Both can scout enemies for you and mark them on your map, as well as take orders such as retrieving ammo or taking up a tactical position of your choice.
There are plenty of weapons to find lying around and the idea is to constantly replace your older weapons for better and newer ones. This is handy, as the weapons we started with felt very sluggish and the machine guns had awful recoil – particularly at long range, which we can only hope will be rectified when we progress further through the story. The flip to this awkward shooting, however, is that the enemies are not bullet sponges; it didn’t take many hits, as you’d expect, to put them out for the count. Dynamite also helps.
Once we were successful in our liberating it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Just because you’ve forced out the bad guys doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. As we explored the picturesque hillside village now under our control, several stragglers kept turning up in their trucks to ruin our peace and keep us on your toes.
The quick mission we got to play, which was also showcased at E3 back in June, gives the impression that Far Cry 5 doesn’t reinvent the wheel but certainly looks as if it improves it. Even this early on, it’s safe to say that fans of the series won’t be disappointed and Ubisoft knows what its long-time players want from the franchise. You can get your hands on Far Cry 5 yourself when it hits stores on February 27, 2018.