Update: During a Ubisoft showcase at this year’s E3 we had the chance to get hands on with a Far Cry 5 demo and get a good look at the game’s rural American setting, as well as get a sense of how the new companion scheme will impact combat. Read on to find out what we thought.
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Far Cry 5 is the latest game in Ubisoft's chaotic first-person open world shooter franchise and thus far it's looking like it may be the most controversial title to date.
Following on from the prehistoric and unexpected Far Cry Primal, Far Cry 5 is returning players to the modern day, this time in America. Specifically, a rural area known as Hope County, Montana.
Hope County has been taken over by a cult of religious fanatics and the game tasks the player with liberating the residents of Hope County and restoring peace and order to the area. Using violence.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next installment in the open world first-person shooter franchise
- What can I play it on? PS4, Xbox One and PC
- When can I play it? February 27 2018
Far Cry 5 trailers
At this year's Ubisoft E3 conference, we were treated to two new trailers for Far Cry 5, one of which featured more controversial and thematically-revealing cinematics, while the other depicted actual gameplay. You can watch both of them for yourself below:
Alongside the game's initial announcement trailer, Ubisoft released a series of character trailers which give details on some of the interesting NPCs players will meet in Hope County and have the chance of recruiting to their resistance when playing the game.
Mary May: The Barkeep
Pastor Jerome Jeffries
Nick Rye: The Pilot
Our first look at Far Cry 5 came on Monday, May 22 when Ubisoft dropped the first teaser trailer for the game.
The 40-second trailer didn't offer much of an idea of when the game is going to be set, but it did tell us where: Hope County Montana.
Far Cry 5 release date
The game's announcement trailer revealed that the game would be available from February 27 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Hands on impressions
In the E3 demo for Far Cry 5, the very first thing we encountered was by far the biggest addition and change to the franchise in a while - guns for hire companions.
Before we started our mission we were given the choice of three companions: Grace Armstrong, a sniper able to provide accurate long-distance cover; Nick Rye, a pilot who can swoop in with his plane to drop bombs and spray devastating machine gun fire; and Boomer, a dog well-suited to stealthy take downs and a genuine sense of in-battle companionship.
Though we were tempted to go for Boomer (because who doesn’t love a canine companion in a video game?) we went for Nick, certain that he was the most capable of causing chaotic and widespread damage. We were not wrong.
Choose your companion
Once our companion was selected we were dropped into Fall’s End, a town in Hope County overrun by the game’s villainous religious cult and in desperate need of our help. You start the level from an advantageously high position and we were able to survey the chaos and devastation the people of Fall’s End were experiencing at the hands of the cult.
This was probably a good move as it made us feel a little less guilty about the bombs we were planning to rain down.
After scrolling through the weapon wheel to select our preferred weapon (the biggest and most dangerous-looking one, obviously) we jumped straight into the thick of the action and started firing bullets.
Unsurprisingly, the cult members reacted immediately and started running for cover, firing back. It was at this point that we started to question our decision to jump straight into killing every enemy in sight, a self-doubt that was exacerbated by the Ubisoft representative who delicately reminded us that a more stealthy approach was also an option.
It was at the point where we were cowering behind the shell of a truck, however, that we decided to employ the skills of our companion Nick Rye. Targeting one of the cult members in the center of the town, we pressed the button that would direct Nick to fire from his plane. Moments later, a satisfying explosion took place and we were saved the trouble of disposing of several enemies at once.
Knowing Nick was there for back-up made it much easier to take the brazen but exhilarating combat approach of walking straight into the open and shooting down enemies with abandon.
Creating safe spaces
Because of this, we were able to liberate Fall’s End fairly quickly, after which it became a safe place we could explore and interact with NPCs. After chatting to another possible companion, the barmaid Mary May, we made our way down to see Nick Rye to try out another form of combat in the game: aerial dogfights.
On the way to see Nick, we came across a woman being harassed by members of the cult at the side of the road. Random encounters like this in the game will be common and though you won’t have to stop and intervene to help every towns-person you see, it’s hard not to.
When we finally took to the skies, we found Nick’s plane fun if slightly dizzying to use. The sheer amount of guns the thing is kitted out with make you feel invincible but chasing another plane through the sky in first person left us looping through the air for far longer than our sense of balance was comfortable with.
It became frustrating that we couldn’t zoom out for a wider view of the sky to find our enemy more quickly, though perhaps if we’d been more willing to slow the plane down we may have found the whole experience less stressful.
Aside from its new guns-for-hire feature and the controversial setting, Far Cry 5 doesn’t really do much to change up combat. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and there’s definitely a sense of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ There was never anything wrong with Far Cry’s first-person controls.
With the addition of companions, things have been made a little more interesting as you feel like you have a powerful trick hidden up your sleeve when combat feels like it’s becoming overwhelming.
In addition to this, it’s an easy way to add diversity to combat - it’s up to you to pick the companion that suits your play style most and depending on who you choose could genuinely affect the way you decide to tackle a particular area. Had we taken sniper Grace as our companion, we wouldn’t have been nearly so gung-ho as we were with Nick.
Aside from what we experienced, we were told by the Ubisoft representative that recruiting companions and forming relationships with them would be a big and interesting part of the game. It's up to you, then, to secure the companions you'd most like to have on your side and, more importantly, keep on your side.
Aside from using companions in single-player mode, players will also be able to bring their friends into the game to fight alongside them in co-op mode.
Far Cry 5 will also feature the hunting elements we’re used to seeing in the franchise and wild animal encounters will again be another danger in the game world, as well as religious fanatics. Players will be given the chance to create their own character at the beginning of the game, determining gender and appearance.
From our brief time with the game we got the sense that Far Cry’s controversial new narrative, combined with the more varied combat enabled by the new guns for hire feature, has the potential to breath fresh air into the long-running series.
News and features
What's the story?
The game will this time revolve around a religious cult in the USA called The Project, which rises up to take control of the town of Hope County when your character arrives in town.
You'll play a deputy sheriff trying to take them down. The leader of The Project is Joseph Seed, who calls himself The Father, and he resolutely believes that the end of days is coming and it's up to him to save the town whether they like it or not.
This will be an open world adventure like previous Far Cry titles with a range of vehicles you can use to explore, ranging from trucks and sports cars to gun-equipped planes and boats.
Hunting and driving
According to Ubisoft, vehicles and weapons will be customizable (more than they've been in any previous Far Cry game) so it'll be interesting to see what we'll be able to do with them.
Hunting will also make a return, with players able to fish and shoot at wild animals they encounter while exploring.
Guns for hire
There will also be a guns for hire element to the game.
Each of these recruitable characters has their own back story and motivations so the player will have to interact with them and form relationships to convince them to help rather than have immediate access to them.
Once they're on your side, you'll be able select these companions to join you in the game world. Each of them has a distinct skill to offer and it's up to you to decide which one compliments your play style most.
When they're fighting alongside you, you can direct them using simple d-pad controls, instructing them which enemies you'd like taken out without having to do the work yourself.
It's an interesting and game-changing feature for far cry as it adds some much-needed variety to the otherwise not-much-changed combat.
We've been told that players will be able to create their own character in Far Cry 5 with a choice of gender and some degree of appearance customization.