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Far Cry 5 Hands-On Preview: Papa Don't Preach

In just a few short weeks, fans, zealots, and heretics alike will all be able to get their hands on the latest iteration of the long-running Far Cry series, Far Cry 5. But, before the game goes gold, Ubisoft was gracious enough to give me some hands-on time with a work-in-progress build of the PS4 version. While this wasn’t my first visit to Hope County, Montana, it was definitely the most thorough peek behind the curtain I’ve been allowed yet.

For those not yet familiar with Far Cry 5’s settings, the game takes place in the aforementioned fictional Hope County. A man by the name of Joseph Seed has been slowly forming a doomsday cult around his religious ideology called Eden’s Gate. Seed, also known as “The Father,” believes the end is near and has turned his followers into militant zealots willing to die for him using more than just his persuasive rhetoric. The Father has been using a drug called “bliss” to brainwash his followers and using violence alongside his proclamations of an impending apocalypse to keep them all in line.      

Players will take on the role of a young deputy selected to join the task force that’s being sent in to take down The Father after too many people go missing. This is where players will get to witness The Father’s megalomania first-hand before everything hits the fan and the game really begins. There are some very creepy moments in the opening sequence including one point where the way The Father was staring at me made it hard to keep eye contact with him.

After an initial tussle with the cultists, players will find themselves alive thanks to an NPC named Duke who has been preparing for a chance to strike back against the “PEGies” (Project Eden’s Gaters) as they’re locally called. Duke brings you back to his bunker on a small Island and informs you that all lines to the outside world have been cut off. He then enlists your help in organizing a resistance against The Father and taking down his cult. From there players can set about growing their counter-militia any way they see fit. As the resistance grows in an area, so will Eden’s Gate’s aggression towards the player.

Players will help the resistance grow by saving citizens, destroying cult property, completing resistance missions and liberating outposts throughout the massive open world map. Or players can just go explore Hope County and do some hunting or fishing. Traditionally, players have had to climb watchtowers in Far Cry games in order to reveal areas on the world map. Now map info can be gathered by reading signs, finding intel or speaking with NPCs. However, some details you gather may contain misinformation since much of it will come from anecdotal sources.

As the resistance grows, hired guns and animal companions, like Boomer the hunting dog and Cheeseburger the bear, will become available. NPC friends that can be called upon for assistance will be met along the way as well. Allies can be given basic commands like where to go or who to attack and they can revive players who’ve taken one too many bullets. If an AI companion can make a kill without being detected, they will.   

Enemies run the gamut from your standard grunts in sleeveless shirts and jeans that look like the bastard offspring of Danny McBride and Mac from It’s Always Sunny to heavily armored and trained soldiers. Then there’s the giant mutant wolves and their handlers known as Judges. Judges do not mess around and their wolves will rip a player to pieces given the opportunity. As always, players will have a variety of options to approach most situations whether that’s sneaking around and breaking everyone’s necks or throwing Molotovs everywhere before going in guns blazing.  

While there’s a lot of darkness in the main plot, there’s actually quite a bit of humor surrounding the gravitas of Hope County. For instance, there’s a series of Clutch Nixon stunt missions that have you do things like try and beat his best track time on the ATV “Mooseknuckle” run.Clutch also has an epic metal theme song that plays in the background as players follow trails of American themed objective rings and fireworks fanfare.

AI characters like the rocket launcher toting Hurk Jr. provide their own color commentary to the action. I took a mission from Hurk Drubman Sr. to retrieve his truck from the PEGies with the help of his son and an AI gun for hire I’d recruited earlier. The young Hurk bro-ed out with me the entire time and was constantly yammering on about his own amusing takes on religion and his more Eastern-rooted spiritual values in between blowing up enemies.

Beyond the optional and main missions, Hope County is very much alive and situations for action or to lend a hand present themselves constantly. For instance stopping to help an NPC that’s about to be executed by a cultist on the side of the road can lead to a massive shoot-out, especially when more enemies happen to drive by in the middle of everything. Or maybe a bear just shows up and starts killing people indiscriminately.

So far everything I’ve had a chance to experience personally in Far Cry 5 has been living up to what I’ve personally come to expect from the series. While I didn’t get much time with the co-op mode, I can say that my brief experience was one of the more amusing moments thanks to the person I was paired with. But I feel such a sentiment is generally true of any co-op mode.

Still, I’m looking forward to getting a hold of the final finished product when it launches later this month. I’ve been playing the series since Far Cry 2 and 5 seems like it could be the best in the series yet. Far Cry 5 will launch March 27 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

  





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