Since Ubisoft evolved Assassin’s Creed by turning its latest series entry, Origins, into a proper RPG, Far Cry fans have hoped their beloved open-world shooter will get its own reinvention. Sadly, despite some noticeable efforts to break Far Cry free from Ubisoft’s typically tower-heavy template, every game since Far Cry 3 has, more or less, fitted into the same mould.
You might no longer need to pack your tower climbing boots or your minimap for your trip to Far Cry 5’s Hope County, Montana, but you will still be accepting various tasks with which to build your reputation and further the ambitions of a rebel cause against a given big bad. At times, it can feel something akin to Far Cry 4 - which was, of course, excellent - with an Americana, star-spangled skin.
Want more? Here is everything we know about Far Cry 5.
This time it is Joseph “The Father” Seed and his merry band of ultra-religious, far-right cultists. To take them down, you will be liberating more outposts, fixing the pipework of an irrigation system, and everything in between. In Far Cry 5, you are nothing if not versatile.
In our two hour hands-on session with the game, Far Cry 5 became much more interesting in the final 30 minutes, at which point I could be unleashed on Hope County with another human in co-op. Now I had the chance to bring some good ol’ fashioned political moderation to Montana - read: dealing death and destruction with copious amounts of fire - but with a fellow pyromaniac. Here are five reasons why co-op elevates Far Cry 5 from a passable game to a good one.
Play the whole campaign as a twosome
Ajay Ghale’s Himalayan romp in Far Cry 4 was the first in the series to include drop-in/drop-out co-op in the story, but it was not possible for the main quest. This time, once Far Cry 5’s tutorial is out the way, a mate can join you for the duration of its campaign.
In solo mode, I dutifully busied myself with clearing the types of objectives I expected to find. But, in the end, found I was just going through the motions. In co-op, however, why we were causing mayhem mattered less than how we chose to obliterate our environment next.
You are trusted to make your own stories
Creative director Dan Hay has often referred to the concept of the “anecdote factory” in relation to Far Cry 5. In other words, Ubisoft are encouraging players to write their own stories - in cultist blood, mostly - by allowing us more freedom than previous games in the series. Go north or south. Get stuck into some outposts or make a start on the main quests. Hunt some fauna or pick some pretty flora. It is up to you.
Essentially, no two experiences of the game will be the same - unless you have a pal to share yours with. With the restrictions we have endured in previous Far Cry games thrown off, you can tackle any mission type in pretty much any order you like. If you take on a mission, the game is not only much more relaxed about you getting distracted, it is positively encouraged.
In Far Cry 5’s solo mode, you can recruit soldiers among the resistance to help you in your quest. If you want to fight stealthily, choose Grace: her long-range AR-15 rifle works as handy cover and as a way to take out awkwardly placed enemies. Equally, though, good boy Boomer the dog effectively tags cultists and pinches their jingoistically-designed boomsticks.
That said, why use the AI when you can have a human slave do your dirty work for you? In co-op, whatever your gameplay style, you are certain to cut through outposts like they were white-supremacist butter.
So much room for activities
Since Far Cry 5 is made by Ubisoft, Hope County is massive and saturated with activities to do. It feels as if hostile animals sharpen their teeth as they lie in wait behind every tree. Cultists capture civilians and create road blockades like it is going out of fashion.
As playgrounds go, it is not the safest, I will admit. However, while such a gargantuan world might seem daunting in single-player, in co-op, it allows your duo more space in which to mess around. Vehicles are scattered and plentiful across Ubisoft’s recreation of Montana, too: relive your most cherished Blaine County memories from GTA Online as your whizz through fields and farms, classic American rock blaring from your tape deck into the sunset.
Make even bigger fires
Ever since the combustion simulator that was Far Cry 2, the series has loved the hot orangey-red stuff. Far Cry 5 is no different: just a quick spray of lead will spark the kind of hellfire I imagine Joseph Seed and his followers are attempting to avoid. Deal them even more, er, firepower with a friend.
Will you be playing Far Cry 5 in co-op? Let us know in the comments below.