After a few years off, the Far Cry franchise is back with a full-on numbered sequel, and we’re headed to the good ol’ United States this time. Specifically, the game is set in the wilds of the fictional Hope County, Montana. The player takes on the role of a rookie US Marshall, and they’re tasked with capturing an incredibly dangerous cult leader named Joseph Seed. Big surprise, it doesn’t go smoothly.
At our sister site IGN, Far Cry 5 has earned a score of 8.9/10. It doesn’t quite hit the high watermark for the series, but that’s a big bump up from the previous installment. Even all these years later, FPS open world antics still hold a special appeal.
Metacritic currently has 65 scores counted on the PS4 release, and they average out to 81/100. The PC and Xbox One versions have significantly fewer reviews, so the differences in their metascores aren’t particularly meaningful here. And even though many reviewers seem to think this is the best iteration of the concept since 2012’s Far Cry 3, it just doesn’t hit in the same way. Regardless, there’s still many smart changes to enjoy.
Most notably, the tower-climbing crutch that Ubisoft relied so heavily on in the past is nowhere to be found. Instead, you can find new activities by exploring the world, and speaking to NPCs. And since so many people started complaining about icon fatigue in earlier games, this alteration seems to be going over particularly well.
On a similar note, the progression mechanics have been majorly retooled. Traditional experience points have been eliminated in favor of perk points earned through the completion of challenges. Crafting is still in there, but it’s been scaled down dramatically – you won’t be making larger sacks out of skins anymore.
Overall, most reviewers are enjoying this installment, but the plot and storytelling are points of contention. Outlets like Waypoint and Giant Bomb have been particularly critical of how Ubisoft has dealt with the militias and the central cult, and the disappointment is easy to understand.
Far Cry 5 doesn’t dive particularly deep into these complicated subjects, and the brainwashing “Bliss” drug is seen by some as a lazy way to handle the idea of indoctrination. All of that is exceptionally hard to swallow since the early unveiling relied on a much different tone than what’s evident in the finished product. With that context in mind, the handful of middling reviews make a lot more sense.
At the Digital Foundry, only the PS4 and Pro versions of the game have been given a thorough test thus far, but that’s a good place to start. On the vanilla PS4, we’re still getting that same 1920×1080 that we’ve come to expect. Move up to the Pro, and the resolution leaps all the way up to 1620p with temporal anti-aliasing to keep everything nice and smooth.
With a long legacy of impressive environments in the franchise, Far Cry 5 goes above and beyond in the foliage department. Highly detailed trees, bushes, and flowers are lush in this setting, and does a damn fine job showing how beautiful Montana actually is. The lighting effects, gorgeous shadows, and well-executed DOF effects shine through just fine on both PS4 and PS4 Pro. From the initial look, the Digital Foundry team believe resolution is the primary delineator here.
The game targets 30fps on consoles, and early results show that it mostly sticks to that goal. Brief drops and mild tearing can be found, but it’s pretty darn stable. We’re always disappointed when we don’t see a perfect lock, but the handful of dropped frames shouldn’t be cause for much heart burn here.
On the PC side, Guru3D tested Far Cry 5 on nearly 30 different cards, and the results were largely good news. Even on a relatively low-end GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB of memory, you can hit 1080p30 on ultra settings. Hitting higher frame rates and higher resolutions obviously require beefier cards, but it seems like even budget PC gamers can enjoy everything Hope County has to offer.
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