Before I began my Far Cry 5 demo, I was presented with three choices of a partner. There were two capable soldiers that would be able to help me out, but there was also a dog. I chose the good boy without a second of hesitation. This ended up paying off as he’s a very helpful partner in his own right. Similar to D-Dog in Metal Gear Solid V, I could order my adorable canine friend to attack enemies and he automatically scouted the area for me.
The doggo’s helpful skillset helped me finish my first objective of wiping out an enemy outpost very easily. I climbed a nearby tower, started sniping away at enemies he had marked, and once my cover was eventually blown I ran to cover and had my four-footed friend help me out. A few rounds out of my rifle later, and I had liberated the town from a gang of evil rednecks. It felt really good.
From a gameplay perspective, Far Cry 5 will feel awfully familiar to those that have played the previous games. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, as both Far Cry 3 and 4 controlled like a charm, but those expecting something radically different will feel let down by the core action. While it’s mechanically similar, there are some differences to how players will have to approach combat. This is due to how the world is structured. Expect to see a bunch of fences, houses, and other geography one would expect from a small American town. It ends up feeling a lot different from the Indonesian islands of Far Cry 3, even if the process of clearing out an outpost remains the same.
After I cleared the outpost, I walked inside a local bar (complete with a jammin’ jukebox). It was there that I found out that another local resident needed saving, so I hopped in the nearest truck I found and headed to the checkpoint on my map. It took me about 30 seconds of driving through Montana’s wilderness to hit a tree, so I decided to walk the rest of the way on foot. This ended up working fine as I was able to sneak up on my unsuspecting foes. A few shots later, I had them running around their complex looking for me.
I used this distraction to my advantage and jumped inside one of their trucks. I then took joy in running over the cultist scumbags until they shot enough bullets into my vehicle to make it start malfunctioning. Since I didn’t want to end up as burnt toast inside the truck, I jumped out and commanded my dog to take care of the few remaining soldiers. This is an easy process, as all I had to do was look down my sights at the enemy and touch my directional pad. After I gave my dog a good petting for helping out, I was ready to talk to the man whose life I just saved..
The dude I saved ended up owning his own seaplane equipped with weaponry (which is pretty rad), and he asked me to use it to destroy some of the cult’s buildings. I’m not one to turn down a shot of flying a plane, so I happily agreed to do so. As I walked to the lake where the seaplane was docked, I noticed a dude that was just spending his day fishing. Since I was fascinated by the guy finding time to chill during all of this chaos, I walked over. Before I knew it, I had a fishing rod in my hands and was casting it into the lake. I never got any bites (I’m even more impatient in video game fishing than I am in real life), but it’s nice to see that the world is populated with things to do other than shooting people in the head.
Piloting the seaplane was my favorite part of the demo. I easily blew up all of the vehicles I was asked to destroy, but then a real challenge appeared out of nowhere. A rival plane was on my tail, and it was up to me to take down this elite member of the villains. Getting behind the foe was pretty easy, but it took me a while to line up my shots. I eventually ended up running into a tall tree as I chased after him, which signaled a game over screen.
I did much better on my second attempt, as I took down the enemy aircraft in about a minute of action. The key was using my guns rather than the rockets my plane had. Once I figured that out, I was able to finish the final mission of the demo with ease. I saw a lot of variety in the 20-minutes of Far Cry 5 I played, and was really impressed overall.
From a gameplay perspective, Far Cry 5 largely sticks to what has worked for the series in the past. Despite a sense of familiarity, it manages to avoid feeling redundant thanks to a drastic change in scenery. The rural USA setting not only changes how the action unfolds, but it also worked to create a more grounded experience for myself. Hope County felt like many places I’ve been to, and seeing it overran by psychopath cultists really struck a chord. I’m excited to see how everything unfolds when Far Cry 5 releases next year.
Far Cry 5 Preview conducted at PAX West 2017.