The war on religion brings up nostalgic Far Cry feels.
I was a big fan of Far Cry 4, probably even more so than Far Cry 3, which many consider to be a superior title. To most, it probably is, but for me Pagan Min’s corrupted control over Kyrat won me over with its terrific shooting mechanics, a genuinely love-to-hate villain and a brilliant setting. It had it all for me and was the first game I ever Platinumed 100%, so yeah, I was excited about Far Cry 5.
Jumping into the game at EGX though, and I had a bit of a sinking feeling. The one mission we had time to do was to liberate an area full of members of the armed cult Eden’s Gate which has taken over Hope County in Montana. With the option to have our backups as a sniper, a air based sidekick or the ever faithful dog Boomer (14/10 would pet after every liberation), you’re set to work playing through the mission. We began above a hostage situation, with seemingly innocent members of Hope County being placed central around some militants, and it was up to us to shoot the ever living shit out of every single member of the cult which stood around him.
Whilst it felt very Far Cry in this particular instance – liberating areas and blasting up absolutely everyone is nothing new in the franchise – the shooting felt a little off. Gone was the precision and kickback of Far Cry 3 and 4, instead replaced by bumbling, a lack of focus and well, it all felt a bit last-gen, like we were playing through Far Cry 2 before the spit and polish came to the franchise. We had a selection of weapons at our disposal, none of which felt particularly powerful. Granted, this level appears to be very early on in the game, though we couldn’t get this verified. The Far Cry feeling of being outgunned and outnumbered was present and correct, the sense of finally liberating an area is still rewarding, but here it felt particularly good because the gunplay felt like it had taken a bit of a knock back to a generation before it got perfectly refined. After two solid weeks of Destiny 2 and the Call of Duty beta, alarm bells were ringing. FC5 didn’t feel anything like we were expecting, and though we still have a few months before release, there’s a sinking feeling in my stomach this is something that is probably in its final form.
What was pretty great though was Boomer, your canine pal who we ordered to go and eat some cultists whilst shooting up the place. This was a pretty cool addition to the Far Cry canon, particularly as he’s genuinely helpful in overwhelming situations. As previously mentioned, this level felt like it was placed early on in the game and the enemies moving forward may need a bit more than Boomer to the ankles to bring down, but early on he’s an essential asset should you choose to play with him by your side. Good dog, Boomer. Good dog.
Whilst awaiting for our turn to come around, we were watching others play the game on the screens and it looked crisp and clean, it was only once we got in front of these swanky TV’s ourselves that those rather glorious visuals all started to blend into one another, and if it wasn’t for the arrows above the heads of the enemies, I worry I wouldn’t have seen the couple that were only a short distance away. I can of course put this down to being so close to the screen whilst I played, which is pretty common at these events, and I would naturally sit back a fair bit when playing at home, and then it probably won’t feel so hazardous, but it certainly caught my eye during my playthrough.
If you had enough time you could also explore other areas, including the local bar where you could have a small conversation with the bartender Mary May, or drive around in your badass pick-up truck (with Vaz-from-FC3 bobble-head as standard). There was a surprising amount to see in this demonstration and it was interesting to see how people could use the Fall’s End area to plan a liberation in their own way.
Far Cry 5 is still on my list to pick up when it comes around, but I’m certainly cautious. Leading up to release it will be interesting to see what the reaction will be like to the finished product, because at least for now, for this writer, it doesn’t feel like a Far Cry game. And that’s very worrying.