Despite its new, arguably boundary-pushing rural America setting, my roughly half hour spent playing Far Cry 5 felt very similar to Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4, though this is to be expected given Ubisoft’s track record in this department.
The next entry in the Far Cry series is already surrounded in controversy and it hasn’t even come out yet, with the game’s modern, rural Montana setting likely hitting a little too close to home for some. It also remains to be seen exactly how the title intends to handle issues of race and gender, especially given its setting, or if it will shy away from delving into these subjects altogether.
Far Cry 5’s shooting remains as accurate and fluid as previous entries in the series, though there’s still an air of floatiness to it that has become a love it or hate it staple of the franchise. It would have been nice to see Ubisoft Montreal tighten the shooting mechanics in Far Cry 5, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case.
American flags are present nearly everywhere, from rooftops, to backyards, to tabletops and flown from the back of vehicles. Beer bottles are strewn across the floor and while houses aren’t in a state of disrepair, they’re certainly weathered.
It’s fascinating to see French Canadian developer Ubisoft’s vision of rural middle America, though it’s worth noting that the game’s executive producer, Dan Hay, is originally from the United States.
Far Cry 5, however, plays nearly identically to past titles in the series, allowing players to approach stages in different ways, either stealthily or by going in guns-blazing.
The goal of the brief demo I played was to clear a small town of cult members. In one playthrough, which took about 10 minutes, I ran into the centre of the tiny town, was discovered by the cultists, who at the time were harassing regular citizens, and shot down everyone in sight.
In terms of approaching the game from an action-oriented perspective, Far Cry 5 works quite well, but similar to past Far Cry titles, it’s also possible to play the game stealthily, though I wasn’t very successful when attempting this approach.
To accomplish this, I grabbed a sniper rifle and tried to take out enemies from afar, though I was quickly detected by a stained tank top clad foe standing near a rusted car. Then, the stealth side of the experience fell apart. I rushed as quickly as I could into a nearby house in an attempt to hide and crouched in a corner, but wasn’t able to remain undetected long enough for the game’s stealth meter to empty.
The demo I tested out was focused on showing off the game’s support characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, Boomer, a dog, is a stealthy companion and is capable of identifying enemies and also picking them off. Grace, on the other hand, is a long range sniper, and is able to take down foes from afar. Finally, Nick, a pilot, drops bombs from his biplane, dispatching large groups of enemies from the sky.
Different companions also work better with varying play styles. For example, during my full-frontal assault attempt, Nick came in handy when I was pinned down. When I attempted a stealth approach, Grace’s ability to pick off enemies from afar, as well as reviving me when I was down, became extremely useful.
I played an extremely small portion of Far Cry 5, but walked away impressed with the experience. The title’s true test will be whether or is has changed up Far Cry’s formula enough to remain compelling. It’s unclear if the series patented tower structure, weapon upgrade and foraging mechanics, remain the same as they have in past entries in the series.
There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity with Far Cry’s story to create a focused and inventive narrative, something past entries in the franchise haven’t been able to do.
Ubisoft didn’t reveal exactly how many companions will be included in Far Cry 5 or provide more information regarding its cultist-focused plot.
Far Cry 5 is set to be released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on February 27th.