Your buddies in Far Cry 5’s scenic Hope County, Montana, are unique characters with whom you’ll forge alliances over the course of the game, and once they join you, they each bring something unique to the table. Having them around adds new dimensions of strategy and possibility to Far Cry 5’s anarchic, creative approach to gunplay, destruction, and exploration. Here are a few things to consider going in:
They can scout for you
Boomer, the “Fangs for Hire” of the E3 demo, is a cute dog that everyone loves. This means that they won’t really take notice or attack if they see Boomer, and you can command him to slip into areas with heavy enemy activity, nose around, and tag enemies so that they’re easier for you to spot. You can also command him to retrieve guns from dead enemies, which comes in handy if you’re low on ammo and pinned down by enemy fire.
Once the shooting does start, Boomer won’t shy away from a fight, and he can take down enemies just as capably as any Gun for Hire. He’s also more durable than you might expect; after my first few encounters with Eden’s Gate death squads, he was still raring to go, only to go down when I accidentally hit him with the blades of a rotary tiller. (Fortunately, he respawned shortly afterward, so I didn’t beat myself up too much about it.)
They create new tactical opportunities
Grace will follow you into any danger to watch your back from nearby, but as an expert sniper, she’s at her best when providing overwatch. Keep your eyes peeled for any high places or hiding spots, and if you see someone you want to ambush, order her to a nearby perch or blind and start calling out targets. She’ll also cover you from afar when you’re in the thick of it, and in a situation where trouble can come from any direction and small squads can turn into small crowds if someone sounds an alarm, that’s invaluable.
They can add immense firepower to your arsenal
Grace’s covering fire can take down enemies in a hurry, thinning their ranks so that you can deal with them more easily – but if you’d rather not deal with them at all, consider calling in Nick Rye for a tactical airstrike. Once he joins your side, Nick will fly overhead, providing air support from the safety of the skies. Call in a strike on an Eden’s Gate roadblock, however, and he’ll buzz down and strafe them with machine gun fire, or drop a bomb that will damage (if not destroy) anything and anyone blocking the road.
They’ll change your approach to combat
When I started the Far Cry 5 demo at E3 2017, I initially fell back on the familiar tactics that had carried me through Far Crys past: charging into danger while spraying rifle fire at anything that moved, and then sliding behind cover and desperately tossing out sticks of dynamite when my first approach nearly got me killed. And while that was fun, I soon learned that I could have done so much more – and with each partner I employed, my approach to the world and the enemies I encountered changed.
With Boomer, I got a lot more cautious; partly because I thought he was much more fragile than he actually was, but also because he gave me the biggest advantage when I took it slow, had him scout ahead, and stealth-killed cultists with a star-spangled baseball bat. Grace made me mindful of rooftops and other high places I could order her up to – and in a pinch, grabbing a sniper rifle and taking up a position next to her let us both make quick work of the cultists trying to occupy the town of Fall’s End.
Nick, meanwhile, made me hold back for a different reason: Bombs. When I saw a cultist roadblock – which pop up frequently throughout the demo, and usually consist of one or more vehicles and a complement of cultist guards – I’d tag it and run for cover. Within seconds, I’d hear Nick’s engine roaring as he buzzed low and turned everything in the roadblock’s vicinity into twisted wreckage and lootable bodies. Each time I saw a major challenge, I held back and let Nick buzz it first, less out of a tactical concern than because the massive explosions were wickedly fun to unleash. Even when Nick ran out of bombs and switched to less-destructive strafing runs, I could rely on him to rain a little death down on the cultists – or at the very least distract them so I could attack before they noticed me.
They cover multiple angles
The demo at E3 2017 kept things relatively straightforward by making players choose between Nick, Grace, or Boomer. This opens up some interesting strategic opportunities, giving you the chance to scout with Boomer, set up Grace on overwatch, and then charge into a gunfight with Boomer at your side, calling in Nick to soften up any cultists who give you more trouble than usual. You’re already a one-man or one-woman army in Far Cry 5 – but with the right combination of people behind you, you’ll be ready to take on the Project at Eden’s Gate.
Far Cry 5 launches February 27 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. For more on Far Cry 5 and the rest of Ubisoft’s E3 2017 lineup, keep your eye on UbiBlog, and check out our previous coverage: