After people started to get tired of the formulaic feel that Far Cry started to deliver, Ubisoft announced they would skip 2017 to give the next title some extra time. Did that pay off to achieve the ultimate game in the series? Does it rival with the masterpiece that is Far Cry 3? Well, yes and no. I do love this game; I will say that right now. Ubisoft cleaned, polished, and refined this latest entry to be quite pristine.
The story takes place in Hope County, Montana. The first time the series has gone into the U.S.A. and your character go in with the sheriff and a U.S. Marshall to stop a religious cult called Eden’s Gate who have taken over the entire county. Your team meets up with Joseph Seed, also known as The Father, who has a warrant for his arrest. During this procedure, his crazed followers attack. The cultist captures your colleagues, and you must escape. It is up to you to go out with other people to form a resistance, save your colleagues and stop Joseph and his family.
Far Cry is always known for their characters, especially the antagonist. To start off, let’s look at people who are allies along with who the player is controlling. Well, the main protagonist is silent which gives no depth to who you are. I hated this aspect because I felt like a bystander rather than a hero. The character has grunts, catching their breath, and other sounds. So, why not let that person have an actual voice? I have no idea, and it took me out of certain moments of the story. Your main allies such as Sheriff Whitehorse, Nick Rye, Hurk, Deputy Hudson, and many others are mostly likable. Seriously, there are a ton of main and side characters. Some are not as memorable, but most are enjoyable and even hilarious. One of my favorites being Hurk who was in other games. People are fleshed out, and well voice acted with mostly well-written dialog that can be interesting or funny.
Regarding the antagonists, this is a bit inconsistent. Joseph is the leader, who is phenomenal. I wish there were more time with him, but enough time was given to give his character more depth. He was captivating, insane, and had a complicated moral compass. Joseph may not be as good as Vaas from the third game, but he is the closest they have gotten. His brother John is right next to Joseph on being a great villain. He uses more intimidation tactics against the resistance but sticks to his religious beliefs as much as Joseph. He is one of the most crazed and brutal people to ever come across in this series. Faith and Jacob are less interest. Jacob has a military background and is more focused on the political issues of the world rather than anything to do with his religion. He still is religious like the rest of his family, but his focus is slightly different. I felt like he was a lot less exciting and his missions- that I will discuss later- were repetitive and overall dull. Finally, we have the worst of the bunch which is Faith. After being adopted by Joseph’s sadistic cult and is more focused on drugs. Yes, another Far Cry game with drug-induced moments, it sucks. Her whole story has a focus on this, and her missions are all about illusions from the bliss, the drug in the game that takes significant attention throughout the game. Everyone has an exciting and compelling backstory, but the times spent with them rocks back and forth from being fascinating to flat out annoying.
The tasks at hand to defeat the cult are quite intricate in comparison to previous games. Once you finish the introduction, then there is freedom to go anywhere. The map is sectioned off into three major areas. A different leader controls each section. Defeat Jacob, Faith, and John to do one final mission to take down Joseph. The activities to build up the resistance can come from destroying cultist property, outposts -a staple in the series-, helping the local people, and a lot more. There is no force to complete everything. As a player, you get to decide what you like best and run with it, besides some mandatory story missions. Each area has three major points to gain enough resistance to have a meeting with that area’s leader. You get captured, which can be quite annoying because it forces you in some awkward moments to do a mission. These usually are not that fun, but the information on the characters tends to be worthwhile. After enough resistance points and meetings with the leader then the boss fight can be initiated. The boss fights can be lackluster. Each one can be too easy or too annoying. Most of the battles are heavily involving a drug-induced situation that took me out of the moment. I had that issue with the entire story as a whole anyways.
The endings are between a simple choice at the end. Ending one through my off by how crazy things got, but as I digested it, I like the ending overall despite some issues. To not give anything away, you will not see any of those events coming. You will either love it or hate it. The other is quite lackluster but makes some sense. Sadly, it makes you feel like your adventure was a bit of a waste. Overall, I wish both endings were different because they were not that strong.
The world is packed with animals, activities, animals to hunt, and a lot to explore. Exploring in this game is not only the most rewarding feeling from a Far Cry game but one of the most rewarding games I have played in a long time. Exploring is so much fun. There are no more towers to climb that will unlock everything for you. The exploration system is organic by talking to people, looking at road signs, walking around, and reading notes rather than using towers to discover the surrounding area. Going around to find items that will benefit you is quite satisfying. Live events are constant, but from what I can tell it is mostly challenges that give you a cosmetic reward. Nothing that special, but a nice addition that is new to the series. Shops to buy vehicles, guns, clothes, and other items are all around. Buying is the primary focus since there are not many items to craft. Crafting is minimal and not as important. Bigger bags and other types of equipment are perks or things to buy. Money consists of regular cash you gain by selling or finding then there are silver bars that are in every outpost. Silver bars are microtransaction too, but money is almost entirely useless. Money is easy to gain, and there will not be a lot that will be needed to purchase from other characters.
Having people back you up is a huge mechanic in the game. Side characters such as Hurk or Nick Rye can provide support on the ground or in the air. Animals such as a dog named Boomer or a bear named Cheeseburger can come to your aid too. The animals are my personal favorite because who doesn’t want a bear named Cheeseburger to help them? Civilians that you save will also join you to fight off the cult. Everyone who comes to help has special perks and weapons that help your decision on how you want to tackle a situation. For stealth utilizing the cougar, Peaches would be wise or be bold by getting Nick Rye to use his plane to bomb out an area. One thing to note is the AI is not great. Animals tend to be perfect, or close to, but enemies and friendly humans can be pretty moronic at times. At times they can be because enemies can go down then their friends can go help them out. I have seen the AI have its great moments, but some painfully stupid moments too.
Gameplay is better than ever. Combat and vehicles all feel great. Melee combat is a bit too simple, but nothing beats going around with a shovel to hit these cultists to death. I have always loved driving in the series, and it is still an absolute joy to drive around Montana. Completing challenges or finding specialized magazines give you points to use for perks. The perk trees are expansive and useful. Nothing about it is too hard or too easy. I found the progression to be at a great pace that is not too slow or fast. The ultimate way to play the game is with a friend. Cooperative play is for the entire game, even story missions. I have had some extraordinary moments with my friends that truly changes everything about this game. There is a distance restriction, but it is a reasonable distance that rarely is an issue. Customization is another new gameplay feature from attachments for weapons, paint jobs for vehicles, and how your character looks and dresses. For the first time, you get the choice between playing as a male or female. This would matter only if the customization were not so painfully limited and for your character to be a silent protagonist. Guns have a few skins and attachments. Vehicles are pointless to even look at because of the uninteresting skins. The most prominent disappointment is how lousy customization is in this game, just flat out lazy and slapped on to have an extra feature. The weapons all feel great, and there is an abundant amount of weapons, but a lot of them have similar stats. The lack of variety in weapon stats makes it less appealing to experiment with different guns.
Graphically and sound wise, this game is stunning. Hearing explosions in the distance that echo throughout the valley to looking over the forest in a helicopter, everything is breathtaking. Nighttime or during the day, every inch of the map is beautifully crafted. I can see this game all day and be amazed. If you have a great monitor and sound system, then you will be in heaven. Along with almost no hud except for some occasional indicators, the graphics stand out even more so. I love how clean everything looks without a minimap and a bunch of other clutter on the screen.
Lastly, the online in the arcade mode is something to be discussed. Arcade is full of maps that people have made and game modes to play. Playing arcade can be done with a friend, with other players, or by solo. Some maps are poorly done, but if you have the time and skill to get good at the map editor, then it is worth it. The map editor is extensive and is well made. Personally, I play these games for the single player, but the developers did a good job with this addition.
To conclude, I do love this game for its fun cooperative gameplay, stunning graphics, refined and tight gameplay, its new exploration system that is rewarding, and the game’s hilarious and entertaining characters. Joseph is one of the best villains to the series in years. Sadly, there are some glaring issues. Customization feels like it was slapped on with little effort. For the story, the tone of everything felt off with going serious, to funny, to political commentary, and so much more. It felt that the writers were not entirely sure of what tone to set. At times it worked, but at other times it did not. The silent protagonist felt pointless and gave less significance as to the player’s position in the game. AI was inconsistent with moments of brilliance to moments of being almost brain dead. The top two qualities are the exploration and the coop. If you have a friend to play with and you either love or never played a Far Cry game, then you must buy this. If you never liked the series, it is still more the same than different. A refined experience with the core of it staying the same that will make die-hard fans happy.
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Images from in game
Header image via Ubisoft