I was wrong about Far Cry 5. When I saw the first publicity photos—featuring a panoply of villains with an American flag with crosses on it—I assumed the game would be a hatchet job on Americans, Christian Americans, and gun-owning Christian Americans.
Mea bad. Mea maxima bad.
Instead what we got is a straightforward Far Cry shooter set in Montana where both the good guys and the bad guys are racially diverse, where both sides keep and bear lots of arms, and where the good guys are Christians, atheists, pagans: basically anyone who’s not part of the psychotic hipster cultists’ cult. (The psychotic hipster cultists are the bad guys. The main bad dude? Wears a MAN-BUN.) Yeah, the main bad guy is yet another cultist whacko, a modern day Jim Jones, a false Christ selling false redemption, backed up by a trio of whackos he calls his “family”. Just like those who fight his fanatic followers, he represents no extant political or religious group, and just exists to be the bad guy.
And, being a Far Cry bad guy, you know what you’re gonna get: a lot of half-assed philosophical mumbo-jumbo served up as if it were the truly insightful instead of thoroughly nonsensical. (Plus, drugs. I don’t even get it, but just like Far Cry 3, there it is.) Look folks, VAAS DID THIS THE BEST, and everyone since has been a pathetic wannabe mimicking the master. (Yeah, Pagan Min had his moments, but he’s no Vaas.) And I may be wrong, but I think the cut scenes where you have to listen to this nonsense are getting longer and longer. Maybe not Metal Gear Solid long, but almost. I’m not here to watch a movie, Ubisoft, I’m here to play a game. LET ME PLAY THE GAME.
Not only is the main villain precisely who you’d expect, but so is the gameplay. Not that this is a BAD thing, necessarily, it’s just not all that fresh. With the sole exception of the “Prepper Stash” puzzle solving, nothing feels new. It’s a retread of the previous two games. If you like the previous two games—and I indubitably do—it’s nice to get a little more of them, but for $60, shouldn’t it feel more groundbreaking? (And, yeah, they got rid of the radio towers, but I really liked those, so it was a downgrade as far as I’m concerned.)
Then there’s the damn micro-transactions. Not as bad as Assassin’s Creed Origins, where I hear they nearly ruined the entire game, but still… they’re obvious, and everywhere—every time you want to equip a gun, spawn a vehicle, or refill your ammo, they’re right there, reminding you to buy some silver and spend it on a better outfit, that you can’t see, or a prestige weapon skin, that you mostly can’t see, or a fancy-schmancy new vehicle, that you can’t see. Plus, because of the micro-transactions, the company permanently tied the in-game store to their own servers, so you FREQUENTLY suffer super-long lag trying to buy ammo. It’s annoying.
Did I enjoy it? Sure, right up until the obnoxious, railroaded, sucker punch, because-I-said-so “twist” ending. It retroactively ruins the entire game, and means you can never ever win, no matter how gud you git. It’s utter garbage. It changed my opinion of the game from “good, if you like this kind of game” to “you bastards wasted my damn time with all this foolishness”.
Killing cultists isn’t a bad way to pass the time—I iced 2431 my own self—and I guess saving civilians was an alright way to spend a few hours (I rescued 233). The game was enjoyable, if repetitive, and the graphics were excellent, per the usual for this generation. If it weren’t for the ending, I’d be giving it a nearly-enthusiastic, if mixed, recommendation.
But that ending… It was The Phantom Menace bad. Han Solo death scene bad. CARRIE FISHER MARY POPPINS BAD.
And that’s bad.