TO LIVE IN HOPE
In November 2014, Far Cry 4 emerged as my ‘great, unexpected love of this generation’. In retrospect, that description seems a little hyperbolic (not to mention toe-curling…), but I really did love it, and, in 2016, I loved Primal, too. As far as I was concerned, I was firmly on the Far Cry train — whatever the future held, I was as ‘in’ as ‘in’ can be.
Or so (as you can probably guess) I thought.
It’s taken me longer than I’d hoped to get around to Far Cry 5 — turns out quitting your job isn’t a great move for someone wanting to keep up with modern gaming! — but got around to it I have. At the time of writing, I’ve been playing it for three days…
… and it just isn’t clicking.
All the ingredients — the sense of exploration; the random, mental encounters; the fun of scoping out outposts and clearing them of enemies undetected — are there, but something’s just not working for me, and, because of that, every little issue has become ten times more noticeable (and ten times more frustrating…).
On the surface, it isn’t quite as impressive-looking as I’d thought (and hoped) it would be — but that doesn’t bother me half as much as stuff like the missing animations for collecting plants/skinning animals, the lack of sound-effects when creeping through various bushes, the truly bizarre water (which swings between looking excellent in some instances, and anything but in others), and the fact that, when I raise my sniper rifle to take aim, there’s absolutely no transition between raising the gun and looking through the scope. In Far Cry 4, it was smooth, seamless; here, it’s rough, abrupt — and, along with all of the above, thoroughly immersion-breaking.
It all feels a bit haphazard, unfinished — dated, even. It’s as though the game’s missing a layer of polish that would keep me engaged and immersed in its world. As it is, however, I keep getting pulled out of the experience, keep thinking about those things both 4 and Primal did better as I play… and that’s a damn shame, given how much I was looking forward to my trip to Hope County.
Despite it all, though, I haven’t written 5 off entirely.
It’d be disingenuous to pretend there aren’t things I’m enjoying. As I mentioned, most of the ingredients are there, and, however bumpy the road’s been, I’m still finding considerable pleasure in raining on the cult’s parade. As I type these words, I’m just wrapping up my misadventures in John Seed’s region, and have yet to explore the other two. I’m hoping they have some surprises in store, that, as I continue to play, everything will fall into place and Far Cry 5 will finally win me over.
If not, though, there’s always the third game. With Ajay’s war against Pagan Min serving as my introduction to the series, I never got around to that one when it first came out, and the Classic Edition seems like the perfect opportunity to remedy that.