Far Cry 5 is the biggest, most open Far Cry to date, giving you free rein to explore the highways and wilderness of Hope County, Montana, where you’ll make life tough for the cultists of The Project at Eden’s Gate and unite the locals as a resistance. How you do this is entirely up to you; what matters is that you take back Hope County and hit the cult as hard as you can.
The world on your terms
The entirety of Hope County is yours to explore however you like, whether by truck, on foot, in a helicopter, or in a plane. It also has what might be the best twist on fast-travel ever, in that you have the choice to either teleport straight to a destination, or to appear in the sky hundreds of feet above it, using your wingsuit and parachute to get around quickly and make a dramatic entrance. There’s a lot to discover in Hope County, too; poking around its wooded trails might reveal signposts that point to places to hunt, fish, or go skydiving. Hidden prepper caches can yield piles of money and guns, but only if you can get past their puzzles, challenges, or resident wolverines. You might even discover a plaque commemorating the impossible deeds of ’70s daredevil Clutch Nixon, at which point you’ll be able to, say, re-create his literally on-fire rally run through sprinkler checkpoints that delay your inevitable explosion.
As with any Far Cry game, however, some of the best moments come from the unpredictability of the world itself. When you’ve got cultists, vehicles, fire, and extremely violent animals all running amok at once, it only takes a second for a mission to go from high-tension stealth to berserk carnage because that incendiary arrow you fired at a cult VIP missed and hit a bull instead. It doesn’t have to be accidental to be nuts, either – annihilating cultists with a grenade-launcher potshot while racing down a zip line is a unique thrill. So is nailing a cult sniper with a long-distance arrow headshot, annihilating an outpost’s defenders with a salvo of helicopter-launched rockets, or splattering through a cult patrol with a tractor tiller. Lots of thrills all around, really. Far Cry 5 also expands one of the best parts of earlier games: scouting out enemy outposts, methodically hunting down all of their defenders, and claiming the compounds for your side. Not only are outposts everywhere in Hope County, clearly marked by columns of black smoke, but all across the map, you’ll find prominent citizens under siege by the cult. Helping them push back and reclaim what’s theirs will convince them to join you in battle, or at least to give you more intel about the cult’s activities.
As you reclaim territory from the cult, destroy their property, and generally interfere with their plans, you’ll build up a Resistance Meter for the region you’re in. When you hit a new tier, the cult will step up its armaments and tactics. The gun-toting cult rank-and-file will be joined by armoured heavies, bat-wielding berserkers under the influence of Bliss, strafing planes, and more. And with ammo being a relatively scarce commodity in the field, you’ll need to be as efficiently deadly as possible with whatever weapons you’re carrying – even if all you’re carrying is a canoe paddle. Not only will things get tougher, but each new resistance level will force you into a story-driven confrontation with that region’s “Herald,” one of the sibling-lieutenants of cult leader Joseph “The Father” Seed. These more direct missions challenge you to do things like survive against waves of enemies while waiting for a helicopter evac, or to escape an underground cult bunker, and they’ll give you a good idea of exactly whose operation you’re messing with, and why you’ll eventually need to take them on.
Meet the guns for hire
Once a rebel’s property is back under their control, you’ll be able to recruit them to follow you into battle as a Gun for Hire, using their skills to help push back the cultists as you give them orders with the d-pad. In addition to the unique story characters, Guns for Hire also include locals looking to fight back, who you’ll encounter as they wander the countryside, get kidnapped by cultists, or appear when you liberate an outpost. You can run with two Guns for Hire at once, and they’re perfect for tackling the side quests that each outpost opens up, which will net you money to spend on more ammo and better guns. Aside from being good in a fight, Guns for Hire can also revive you if you fall in battle – and you’ll need to do the same for them, which can get a little challenging if you’re under heavy fire. You can double your odds of reaching them in time by bringing along a co-op buddy as a Friend for Hire (which also doubles the mayhem you can create together), but don’t let it bother you too much if you can’t reach your downed comrades in time; they won’t die, but they’ll also be unavailable for a while as they recover from their injuries, after which you can recruit them again. Also, be aware that any cultists you take down but don’t kill can be revived by their comrades, so be sure you finish the job.
Far Cry 5 is an adventure you can pursue on your terms, and the fact that everything can go sideways in a second because you ran too close to an ornery turkey is a big part of the fun. Hope County is wild and unpredictable – and you can find out just how wild when Far Cry 5 launches on March 27th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. To find out more, check out our previous Far Cry 5 coverage.