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I've always had a lot to say about the Far Cry games. They are a goldmine for think pieces about the depiction of foreign cultures, and a source of perpetual controversy and problematic themes. Far Cry 5 continues this trend, which is just as well, because the actual game gets very tedious by itself.
As always, the player is dumped in an isolated semi-wilderness with buckets of guns, and hordes of enemies and wildlife to kill. There are the same old outposts to conquer, but Ubisoft finally got the message and spared us all that mucking about climbing watch towers. Thank god. The most fun I had was with a new mechanic which involves figuring out how to break into old prepper shelters to loot the contents. It involves a bit of environmental puzzle solving, making a nice change of pace from the constant gunfire. The guns or okay, but are arbitrarily locked behind a progression meter that keeps you from varying up your play style for hours of game.
The biggest problem with the game is that it doesn't stay fresh. The game is crammed with content, but it only makes it all the more repetitive. The story won't progress until you've done enough activities and earned enough "resistance points", which will be annoying for anyone who just wants to get on with it. Meanwhile, its annoying when you do earn enough points to progress the story, because the game will then kidnap you in the middle of whatever it was you're doing, greet you with a long boring monologue from a crazy-eyed villain, and teleport you into an obligatory story mission across the other side of the map. It's really bizarre and obstructive way of tacking the story and villains into the game.
As to the story; this time it is set in a county in rural Montana, which has been taken over by a doomsday cult. The cult is clearly Christian, but the game carefully avoids ever saying "Jesus" at any point, instead making the bad guys obsessed with the leader, Joseph Seed. I hate Joseph, and not for the right reasons. Firstly, he looks like a hipster barista, and I have a hard time believing an army of bikers and rednecks would ever give him the time of day. He and his three lieutenants all talk in the same prozaic, lifeless monologues, and I'm thankful the game allows me to skip their cut scenes because that's what I immediately started doing. Vaz and Pagan Min of past games both had substance and originality, whereas Joseph just feels exactly like the perfunctory videogame crazy-guy that he is. I remember Vaz talking about how insane it is to do the same thing over and over and expect something different, which is the experience of Far Cry 5 in a nutshell.
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