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E3 2017: Blowing stuff up with Far Cry 5's explosive new companion

The Far Cry settings have spanned across the globe and even across time itself, but regardless of where it ends up, the actual gameplay feels as smooth as ever. For the series' latest installment, Ubisoft is taking Far Cry 5 to one of the ruralest parts of America, a region under siege by whacked-out cultists.

At the end of the day, it feels like Far Cry, but with a few more options for playing around in the world. Shacknews got to explore the beauty of the American landscape at E3 2017.

The Far Cry 5 demo opens up along one of Hope County's expansive fields and it's hard not to stand and just be mesmerized by the grass. It's beautifully captured in a bright green essence that waves freely in the wind. The clear skies, tall trees, and mountains in the distance give Far Cry 5's setting a sense of majesty, like a painting come to life.

The serenity is quickly broken when it comes time to face off against cultists that control parts of the world. Prior to starting the demo, players are given a choice of an NPC companion, which suits specific play styles. There's Boomer the dog, who's good for fighting alongside players and scavenging for items and ammo. There's Grace, a powerful sniper that lends her talents to stealthier players. She can pick off targets and help players infiltrate areas undetected.

But this particular writer is all about mass chaos, so I went with Nick Rye, the foul-mouthed, grizzled pilot. Nick is all about blowing stuff up, so whenever he's cued, he'll fly overhead on his plane and drop bombs on enemies and designated targets. Nick is fun to play with, just because of the total mindless explosions he leaves in his wake. He's also amazingly effective. While I disposed of a couple of cultists, Nick's bombs were able to clear out multiple adversaries simultaneously.

There's also the bonus side effect of Nick acting as a diversion. Once the bombs start falling, enemy cultists will focus their fire on his plane. Once Nick draws their fire, they become much easier to dispatch. The downside to Nick's bombs is that they can easily blow up the player, too. Those using Nick should be careful with using him, because they could also find themselves inadvertantly caught in his explosion radius. He isn't particularly good about precision, either, as I directed Nick to clear out cultists that were holding an innocent woman hostage. Nick dropped a massive explosive that took out the enemies, but also came within a hair of taking out the hostage, too. Each companion will have their pros and cons, but Nick's came across as far more obvious.

After seeing all the fun Nick was having in the skies, it was soon time to take to the air myself. The final mission in the demo involved flying a biplane and dropping explosives on cultist targets. One thing to note is that the flight mechanics feel refreshingly smooth. Compared to Far Cry 4, where I often went into tail spins with the game's helicopter, the biplane was much easier to fly. Dropping bombs was also an excessively easy process, as it mainly involved zooming in with the left trigger and just letting it drop. Dogfighting was a little tougher, given the biplane's limitations, but the machine guns and rockets were simple enough to handle.

Far Cry 5's versatility will be one of the best things it has going for it. While the smooth Far Cry shooting mechanics remain in place, traveling with companions that are suited to different play styles adds greatly to the experience. Exploring with the different companions will be fun and seeing how they help in other areas of the game, like hunting wild animals, should be interesting.

Ubisoft welcomes players to Hope County when Far Cry 5 arrives on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

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