During the initial visit to Hope County there was some cult called Eden’s Gate that was generally making life suck for all residences of this fictional Montana location, and the primary objective was to liberate the outpost called Fall’s End from the oppressive control of Eden’s Gate. On a return visit to the liberated outpost it had become a bustling hub filled with characters needing assistance and many others offering their services as mercenary work. It also becomes apparent that Fall’s End is nothing but a tiny speck in the massive county and liberating it from Eden’s Gate does virtually nothing to the cult’s strength as a whole.
The open world of Far Cry 5 is enormous, filled by an extensive narrative-driven campaign with countless side quests to distract players away from actually completing the main storyline. Spending a brief period of time with an incomplete early build is insufficient to give a complete synopsis of what all the game entails, but it does provide an adequate sampling of some of what may be offered and also provided a level of enjoyment where this author wanted to continue playing long after the allotted time was over.
One of the main story missions was given by the bartender at Fall’s End, which requires the player to take back her father’s semi truck named the Widow Maker which is currently impounded in an Eden’s Gate outpost. Taking the truck requires clearing the outpost of the cultists, which was quite an enjoyable process. The player has the option of charging in guns blazing or using a more stealth-based approach. A safe but somewhat cheap option is taking the high ground outside the perimeter and shooting the cultists from the outside. Once they’re all dead it’s time to hop in the truck and drive it back home. There are some roadblocks set up on the way since the Widow Maker is a nice rig and the cult doesn’t want to give it back, but the Widow Maker has been modded to include .50 caliber cannons to assist with plowing through the roadblocks. This mission was essentially action movie-quality mayhem and as fun as it was over the top.
Fall’s End is just one of many outposts occupied by Eden’s Gate in Hope County and liberating these locations is one of the more enjoyable side activities to be completed. Liberating them is simple on paper, kill all the bad guys presently occupying them, but doing so requires some semblance of strategy. Even with a full roster of three hired guns the odds are in the cult’s favor. Creeping around and stealthily taking them out with melee take downs works but with the more people with you the more likely you are to be seen. Shooting explosive barrels near where a few of them are having a conversation is a good way to take out three with one bullet but doing that takes the undetectable ninja approach off the table. There isn’t really a set way these have to be done and part of the fun is figuring out the mix of stealth, gunplay and explosives works best for the player. Once an outpost has their cult infestation exterminated, allies move in which opens up new missions to take on and opens up another hub to buy equipment and hire some travel companions for extra firepower.
Something completely new that was experienced in this trip to Hope County was co-op online multiplayer. Two players communicated through the headsets and had free range of the world to take on main story missions and side missions. Teamwork did make some aspects easier, such as having a gunman riding shotgun or someone to revive you when you charge three cult members with an assault rifle that has no ammo. Conversely, a second player can make things more difficult by alerting enemies in an outpost you’re attempting to take over stealthily or “accidentally” discharging an RPG at your feet. Playing this mode with friends is basically setting up the video game equivalent of an action buddy comedy where the two buddies lead to the repeated untimely death of their friends, which somehow makes it funnier. Regardless of whether or not the second player is doing more helping or hindering this feature shows a lot of potential to be a highlight of Far Cry 5.
In addition to the structured missions and activities there is plenty within Far Cry 5 to make Hope County a memorable location. Driving along the road there are cultist getting ready to execute hostages and stopping to help them out can lead to getting new intel or perhaps taking on the prisoner as a hired gun. Random Eden’s Gate trucks patrol the highway that are good targets for supply hunters, and hunting animals and fishing are always available pastimes looking for other goods to sell or just whittle away idle time. Eden’s Gate always has their eyes on the player, which may sound difficult given the scope of the game world. This is resolved through the resistance meter, where the player earns resistance points by liberating strong holds and hostages and generally doing things that get under the cult’s skin. Raising this will increase the ire Eden’s Gate has toward the player.
A community is only as good as its citizens and Far Cry 5 has plenty of interesting people. The nice bartender is nice enough to give the player use of her father’s Widow Maker, but that is really only kind of fair since the player does have to take on a lot of gunfire to get that beloved vehicle safely back home. Zip is another interesting chap who hangs out a bit off the beaten path. He’s a little nuts, loves animals and has a flamethrower. It’s recommended when this game is released to make a point to visit him in his little corner of Hope County. People talk about southern hospitality all the time, but Hope County seems a lot friendlier. Any outpost that was visited that wasn’t currently occupied by Eden’s Gate had no shortage of people willing to take up arms and follow the player into battle, so Northwestern hospitality seems to be more beneficial.
Far Cry 5 is a massive open world adventure filled with endless mayhem. While not in its final form, what we have been able to experience shows great potential for being extremely enjoyable, whether playing solo or with a friend. A game this size does require a lot of care in making sure it runs as smoothly as possible and create the most rewarding experience possible, which is probably what accounted for the recent delay in pushing its release date to March 27 of next year. Delays are always disappointing for anyone anticipating a title, but with what we’ve been able to experience so far, this is an ambitious title with lots of promise that will be worth the wait.