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Far Cry 5

FBT plays not the best Far Cry, but the best of Far Cry.

‘Far cry’ means “very different from” which is not how you’d define the Far Cry series. The original yes, that was a trailblazer but since then they’re the same game in a different setting; Primal even nicked from stablemate Assassin’s Creed, the undisputed king of the reskins.

All sequels follow the same pattern or they’d not be sequels, but FC is so repetitive the law of diminishing returns dictates that by now, FC should be washed up. FC4 was pretty much a wash out. Will this be a far cry or another Far Cry?

In a chopper flying over a Montana-inspired valley called Hope County, we’re a rookie deputy alongside our sheriff, fellow deputies and an ATF-type looking to arrest Joseph Seed, aka The Father, who runs a religious isolationist compound where hundreds of followers await “the Collapse”; and here we are.

Seed is much like the other megalomaniac villains we’ve faced in FC, but he’s more realistically threatening, with a David Koresh look and feel to him; and here we are, walking into Waco. Surrounded by ‘Peggies’, the nickname for Seed’s followers, the jumpy Sheriff implores the bolshy Marshal to not serve the warrant. Seed lets us take him, but naturally the Peggies are unhappy; unhappy enough to jump into the chopper’s rotor blades causing us to crash. Seed declares our arrival the Collapse’s catalyst, and orders the Peggies to round up locals and supplies to survive the apocalypse. Cut off and the only chance for the region, it’s all on us. So Far, so Cry.

True to form we’re recovered by a survivalist local who fills us in. We don’t need much of a fill, this is literally Far Cry 1/2/3/BD/4/P, but for the first time we’re on US soil. And the soil looks amazing. FC5 is beautiful and a great deal more relatable than FC’s previously exotic locations. I was expecting Redneck Rampage or Deliverance the Video Game but the locals, while dressed in lumberjack shirts and mullets, are genuine and not outback clichés. Well, apart from the lumberjack shirts and mullets.

Although the overall goal is to weaken Seed’s control, you spend most of your time just running about in America’s backyard helping folks out like one of those wandering heroes in ‘80s TV shows. There’s tons of people needing help, who then tell you about other people who need help, who reveal locations that need exploring, that open up other things to do. Like fishing. Real fishing is boring, but for some reason I spend ages trying to land fish. Seems like a nice spot to watch the Apocalypse, and for a while I’m obsessed with upgrading my rod instead of my rifle. Half the time I kill Peggies because they’re scaring the fish away. Obviously, this annoys Seed; which is weird, wasn’t Jesus’ emoji a fish? Come on Seed, grab a rod and let’s talk this out over a couple of beers by the lake.

Seed has three lieutenants, aka ‘the Heralds’. But rather than go through them in a linear plot we can chop and change between their regions and stories, and piss them off as we please. There’s Faith who controls a forest area and manages production of ‘bliss’, a hallucinogenic which keeps Seed’s followers faithful and turns some into zombie ‘Angels’. She’s like Poison Ivy meets Lana Del Ray, and the most compelling villain within the game, conflicted about her role, almost wanting us to save her; but we’re told not to believe her. She appears randomly to whisper and implore you to stop fighting, or maybe that’s down to us running through Bliss fields and hallucinating; often you’ll see a cute little deer or injured animal, only to have it change into a Cougar or worse when you get close.

The animals of FC5 are all great. Skittish deer roam about, but there’s also wolverines and skunks who spray, along with easily annoyed bears, bison and moose which are great, if painful fun to tangle with. Thankfully no crocs this time, but the Cougars have a sixth sense for attacking locals just as they’re about to tell me something. And there’s Eagles again. But the eagles are not the only thing in the sky.