Going into PlayStation Experience, Far Cry 5 was a game I was very excited to get my hands on. The story and setting of the game stand out from older games, with the playable character, a new deputy Sheriff of Hope County, Montana, setting out to reclaim the region from the fanatical cult Eden’s Gate. Once I got in and played the demo, I came out of it with mixed feelings. Although there were some new mechanics introduced, I couldn’t help shake the feeling, for better or worse, that I had played this game before.
The feeling of similarity to other Far Cry games started the minute I was handed the controller from the person running my demo station. As I picked up the controller, I was asked right off the bat, “Have you ever played a Far Cry game before?”. When I said that I had, he told me that I should be pretty comfortable with the with both the controls and set of objectives I had to complete. On the control side, things seemed more or less identical to Far Cry 4 and 3. L2 and R2 were used to aim and my fire my weapon, L1 pulled up my weapon wheel, and R1 was used for grenades and other throwable weapons. The face buttons were used to heal, enter/exit vehicles, crouch, reload, and jump. The new Gun for Hire mechanic (more on this shortly), was mapped to the dpad.
I also felt right at home with the set of tasks that I had to accomplish. First up, was liberating the town of Fall’s End from the cult. In classic Far Cry fashion, stealth, a frontal assault, or a combination of both were all equally viable options. Since I prefer a more up close, stealthy approach (until I get caught of course) I ignored the sniper rifle on the top of a water tower and ventured directly into town. This is also where the Guns for Hire mechanic made its first appearance. At the beginning of the demo, I was given the choice of three characters I could bring into the mission with me. Grace is a sniper that could take out enemies and revive me if I went down, a pilot who could conduct airstrikes (his name slipped through my notes), and Boomer, a dog who can tag enemies, attack targets, and retrieve weapons from dead bodies. I went with Boomer. He went into town and tagged the majority of the cultists. I was able to take a few out before I was spotted. What ensued after that was classic Far Cry gunplay. Weapons felt good and responsive. Additionally, there were plenty of environmental elements that I could use to even the odds. For example, by throwing a stick of dynamite (which was more or less playing the role of a grenade), I was able to blow up a fuel truck in the middle of town which set off a chain reaction of explosions on nearby vehicles.
After clearing out the town, the second part of the mission was to head out to an airfield and help a pilot fight off more cultists. After doing this, he asked me to take his plane and take out three fuel stations controlled by the Eden’s Gate. Armed with a machine gun, rockets, and bombs, I took into the skies and took down the three fueling stations. The flight controls felt good for the first portion of the mission. The left stick controlled the tilt of the plane, with X and O being used to speed up and slow down. For bombing runs, things felt smooth. However, Eden’s Gate sent a plane in after me and air-to-air combat ensued, things got a little troublesome. I have never been a huge fan of the perspective used when controlling vehicles in Far Cry. The way the environment moves around the vehicle in first-person has always been a bit disorienting. Instead of being able to track the cult’s plane by using the indicator on the screen, I found myself going in the wrong direction and flying right into a tree, which brought my demo to a close.
After spending a short period with Far Cry 5, I think it is safe to say that much of this game, especially the mission structure, is going to be more Far Cry. For many, including myself, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Liberating towns, which appears to be 5’s version of bandit camps is always a blast, since the game gives the player so many ways to go about it. This freedom is expanded on even more with the Guns for Hire system. Add on top of that, the entire game will be playable in co-op, and Hope County, Montana is a place I may just want to spend some time in. Far Cry 5 releases on March 27 for PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One.