Ubisoft knows a thing or two about tradition.
Every year, the French studio releases another title in the Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance or Tom Clancy’s series. Recently, after a large amount of criticism, Ubisoft restructured their image. They took a year off from Assassin’s Creed to release the critically-acclaimed Assassin’s Creed Origins.
It is safe to say that Ubisoft’s on track to be one of the best modern developers/publishers in the business, further proven by Far Cry 5.
The fifth game in the wildly popular, first-person, open-world games, Far Cry 5, sees many of the series conventions naturally evolve.
Foregoing the tropical island from Far Cry 3 and the Himalayan mountains of Far Cry 4, 5 is the first in the series to take place in the United States. The fictional Hope County is a large and sprawling playground. Around every corner there’s something going on, whether it be animals wandering the grassy plains or a group of dangerous cult leaders patrolling outposts.
Those cult leaders play into Far Cry 5’s lackluster story campaign. Players assume the role of a custom character. As a rookie in Hope County’s law enforcement, they are tasked with investigating a religious extremist cult. Things go south and the player’s character is tasked with liberating the town from said cult.
Being a custom protagonist, it is hard to relate to the main character. Even worse, they are completely silent. It takes a lot to get used to this after the amazing protagonists from games prior. There is no sense of purpose that comes from the story.
Thankfully, that purpose comes from pure gameplay. Every mission has several ways to tackle it, whether through means of stealth or direct combat.
This mission variety has been a staple of the series, but it is fleshed out fully here. Melee weapons have been added for even more choice in combat. Bats, pipes and oars can be equipped to take down enemies. Added is the ability to throw them at enemies head on, making it the best new mechanic in a game this year. Seriously, nothing beats sneaking around and throwing a pipe from feet away to kill a crazy cult member.
The gameplay, though fun, feels too familiar. Recently, most of Ubisoft’s open-world games have felt very similar. This game takes a lot from last year’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands, specifically with the interface design and multiplayer. Ubisoft has made strides to rid the game of old mechanics, such as climbing towers to unlock portions of the map. Now there is a more natural way of seeing new areas, much comparable to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Sure, the story is incredibly boring and characters are static but the fun in Far Cry 5 comes from just that: fun.
There is a sense of discovery at every corner. Hope County is a beautiful place, begging to be explored.
As far as annual or semi-annual franchises go, Far Cry 5 is an excellent blueprint on how to shake things up. Ubisoft has found the right balance between expanding on the good and trimming out the bad.