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“Far Cry 5” exceeds expectations

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“Far Cry 5” exceeds expectations

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On March 27, 2018, videogame developers Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto released the latest installment in their “Far Cry” series for Playstation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.

Similar to the previous iterations, “Far Cry 5” is an open-world action-adventure first-person shooter game. Taking place in the fictional land of Hope County, Montana, you play the role of an unnamed rookie sheriff’s deputy whose first task is to aid in the arrest of preacher Joseph Seed, the leader of a militaristic doomsday cult called “Project at Eden’s Gate.” Seed, along with his family members, have converted the majority of the residents of Hope County into followers of their cult through any means necessary, including but not limited to coercion, violence and mind-controlling drugs. They have also cut off all modes of communication to the outside world to prevent the United States government from interfering in their scheme to purge Hope County of sin before the world ends, an effort they refer to as “The Reaping.”

Unsurprisingly, the apprehension of Seed doesn’t go as planned. After capturing and loading him into the task force’s helicopter at gunpoint, his heavily-armed followers open fire, forcing the chopper to crash into the woods. Your character miraculously survives the wreck and is saved from the pursuing cult members by a mysterious survivalist who goes by the name Dutch.

A short while later, you awaken in Dutch’s bunker and he proceeds to explain the full magnitude of the dire situation unfolding in Hope County. All of your fellow officers either died in the crash or have been captured by the cult and are likely being tortured. To make matters worse, you discover that your team was truly the last hope for the locals who have been able to resist the “Project at Eden’s Gate,” and it is now all on you to eradicate the cult and save Hope County.

As you progress through the campaign, you are introduced to numerous characters on both sides of the fight, each more memorable than the last. There are nine members of the resistance that you can unlock after completing their specific missions and then recruit to fight by your side. Each one has battle skills unique to that character and, although the majority of them are humans, you can also access several animals like a grizzly bear named Cheeseburger and a cougar named Peaches.

When your war with the cult begins, you are completely weaponless and must scavenge for any useful resources. But it doesn’t take long to discover a large arsenal that includes compound bows, machine guns, sniper rifles, shotguns, pistols, rocket launchers and several melee weapons. “Far Cry 5” also offers players a significant array of modes of transportation like boats, jet skis, fighter jets, helicopters, ATVs and copious variations of road vehicles. These collections can be acquired via missions, scavenged and purchased at stores using in-game currency.

Another important feature is the perks system. Everything you accomplish in the game contributes to your overall stats and provides you with points to unlock helpful survival and battle skills. These range from extra weapon carrying capacity to increased health, and much more.

The open world of “Far Cry 5” realistically mimics the Montana terrain and landscape with exceptional graphics and textures. It also incorporates an accurate representation of the state’s flora and fauna, most of which you can harvest and sell, and lends itself to a subtly great aspect of the game in its hunting and fishing simulator. I’ve spent hours in the game just exploring Hope County in search of different species of mammals, birds and fish. However, this can also be a detriment to your health, as the animals do not hesitate to attack when approached, and even an over-aggressive turkey can defeat you.

While many of the previously discussed facets of the game are comparable to older “Far Cry” games, the latest version offers a couple of fresh modes. “Far Cry 5” is the first in the series to offer online co-op throughout the campaign. It also includes arcade mode, which allows players to create and share maps online using assets from every previous game Ubisoft has generated for the current generation of consoles.

Although it was entirely unintentional, “Far Cry 5” has faced significant controversy due to the parallels its subject matter draws to contemporary societal issues. However, the game began development over three years ago during a very different political climate. “We could have never imagined, and to be honest I wouldn’t have wanted to . . . that in some ways, it’s echoing out in the real world,” said Dan Hay, who served as lead director for the game.

Upon its announcement, an online petition was formed on Change.org claiming “Far Cry 5” portrayed American Christians as villains and insisted the antagonists be rewritten as followers of Islam, inner-city gang members or any non-white demographic the studio wanted. Obviously, Ubisoft did not give in to these outrageous demands, although some videogame writers have criticized the game for, allegedly, deliberately avoiding offending gamers of all religions.

Overall, “Far Cry 5” is my favorite game in the series and has far-and-away exceeded my expectations. It is certainly not a perfect game, as the missions occasionally seem redundant and sometimes feel completely disconnected from the plot. But between the immersive campaign, cutting edge graphics, complete player autonomy and unforgettable characters, those complaints are just a blip on the radar of the total experience.

The aggregate review website Metacritic.com currently has “Far Cry 5” listed at 84 out of 100 based on the opinion of 27 critics. Of those 27 critics, 23 gave it a score of at least 85/100 signaling generally favorable reviews.

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“Far Cry 5” exceeds expectations