In Depth

Far Cry 5 reviews: critics torn over ‘hollow’ shooter

Ubisoft’s latest open-world game boasts ‘excellent’ controls - but is let down by a ‘b-horror movie plot’

After a month’s delay, the eagerly awaited fifth instalment in Ubisoft’s Far Cry series has finally arrived on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. 

Set in the fictional US community of Hope County, Montana, Far Cry 5 puts players in a vast open world that is riddled with members of a religious cult known as Eden’s Gate. You play as the county’s deputy sheriff, who is tasked with taking down the cult’s leader, Joseph Seed, and removing followers of Eden’s Gate. 

A band of rebels are scattered across Hope County and will assist you in the fight against the cult. There’s even a group of nine characters, including animals, with rich back stories that you can recruit to help you in close-quarters combat.

The game is a radical departure from the vibrant tropical environments of the previous game, but will the shift towards a darker and more political narrative resonate with fans?

Here’s what the critics had to say. 

On the surface, Polygon says Far Cry 5 has the potential to “say something interesting” about the political spectrum in the US. For instance, members of the Eden’s Gate cult take a fictional drug known as “bliss”, which hints at the “very real ongoing opioid crisis”. 

But the game’s story kicks off “on a hollow note and never improves”, the website argues, as it fails to tell players how the cultists became radicalised and their ultimate goal “undercuts any grand statement”.

Kotaku agrees, calling the game’s story a “b-horror movie plot”, where the player’s actions can give the title an inconsistent tone. In some instances, the main mission will task you with torturing a member of the cult, only to then have you calmly fishing or swimming moments later.

The game’s setting hinted at “the potential for greater thematic complexity”, the site says, but Far Cry 5 doesn’t feature “warring political factions” or a protagonist with any motivation for taking down the cult. 

Despite its lacklustre story, The Guardian praises Far Cry 5’s “excellent” gun controls and the “unpredictable world generates daring stories of accidental heroism”.

But the game is marred by a paradoxical plot that appears to be “an extreme satire of modern America”, the newspaper says, while at the same time “says pretty much nothing about it”.

Far Cry 5 can be ordered from Amazon on PS4 and Xbox One for £48, while the PC version comes in at £49.99.

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