To be honest, I have never been a huge fan of the Far Cry series. I’ve played the series off and on, always enjoying my time but never fully committing to the series’ overall gameplay mechanics. As the series has grown to become one of gaming’s biggest I’ve actually been somewhat surprised at this transformation. The core of the series was solidified in Far Cry 3 and has remained relatively unchanged for the last few entries. That seems to continue with the latest game, Far Cry 5, which I got to go hands-on with at E3 2017. Sure, there are changes, but the core remains the same. For those who’ve gobbled up every hour of this series that’ll be great though.
Far Cry 5 puts players into cult controlled territory in the middle of Montana. The initial reveal seemed to indicate that the player character wanted to escape, but according to one of the developers that I spoke with there will be something keeping him around, driving him to fight. What that event or person is wasn’t revealed in the demo, which put me right into the fight that was presented at Ubisoft’s press conference.
Before the demo began I got to choose my companion, deciding between a sniper, air support, or dog. As I’m a normal human being I chose the dog, which was much more useful than I thought it’d be. Most video game dogs help out, but largely keep to themselves. Using the dog in Far Cry 5 however allowed me to strategize my attacks, working with stealth to eliminate larger opposing forces.
I discovered this almost by accident, as I stealthily worked my way through a small area full of cultists. I was able to take a few out without being discovered, but the rest of the enemies were clustered together making that almost impossible. By sending the dog to attack one group I was able to draw their attention toward him. I could then sneak around the other side and take them all out with some firepower. Seems simple, but as I’d usually been the run-and-gun type of shooter player, it was nice to see how well it worked and how natural it was within Far Cry 5.
The rest of Far Cry 5 was pretty open at this point. The area of the map available in the E3 demo was huge, even though it was only a small portion of the final game. To keep things simple I stuck to the main mission available in the demo. This involved heading to the local pilot’s house, killing some cultists that are attack him, then taking his plane into the air to destroy some equipment.
On the ground combat was fast paced and exhilarating, just as it has been throughout the entire run of this hugely successful series. Using the dog to take out or distract enemies was great fun and really useful, and it was nice to know that he can’t die from being wounded, though he will need to be revived and can despawn for a little while if you fail to do that within the necessary timeframe.
The freedom of the series was quickly shown in this demo, as I stole a few vehicles, drove wherever I wanted, and got into fights with small groups as I wished. There was also a nice new theme and fun atmosphere over top of everything. I’m not sure if it’ll be in the final game, but the truck I stole had a Vaas bobblehead in it that I’m sure fans will find hilarious.
When I took to the air things calmed down quite a bit, as there were no real threats. Flying the plane was easy and helped me get around quickly. Taking out the cult locations was quick and effective, accomplishing the mission with ease. Once again air travel will be a preferred way of getting around in Far Cry 5.
My time with Far Cry 5 was short, but I had a lot of fun with it. Even though I haven’t been a huge fan of this series I found myself sinking into the usual trappings that it offers. Stealth was key to encounters with larger groups, and here is where Far Cry 5 stood above its predecessors in my assessment. The new buddy system seems great, though I only got to try out the dog. The full game has me intrigued so far, though anyone looking for a total revolution for this series will certainly be disappointed.