With the release of Far Cry 5 in less than three weeks, Ubisoft is settling into yet another installment of the popular hunting and shooting series, reinventing some of the games’ most identifiable staples in favor of adjusting to the more traditional conventions of its FPS peers. If you’re a seasoned player of Far Cry and are expecting to jump into the new game with little to no adjustments, think again: there are some major differences in how the gameplay should be approached, based on its new features. What are some of the biggest and most jarring changes? Here’s your chance to brief yourself.
Until now, the Far Cry games have largely taken place in areas that many players would consider “exotic,” teeming with plants and wildlife that most of us only see in zoos and documentaries—a tropical vacation, but with guns. Far Cry 5, however, is set in Montana. It’s one of the least populated states in the U.S., but nonetheless a fitting location to showcase the domestic issues of America, such as the game’s themes of white Christian religious and military extremism. Whether this is a good switch remains to be seen but it does promise a major shakeup to the sights and sounds that until this point have made the series what it is. Case in point: fishing in Far Cry is now a thing, with a variety of lures, bait, and fish to catch.
Map editing and multiplayer have a long history within the Far Cry series, and now, they’re packaged together within something called Far Cry Arcade. As part of this new feature, the map editor will have access to over 9000 assets within the Ubisoft catalogue, primarily from Far Cry 3, 4 and Primal, and allow improved control over environmental aspects like the day and night cycle. An additional mode, Bounty Hunt, replaces Hunt from Far Cry 4 as the fourth available in Far Cry Arcade, joining Assault, Outpost and Journey. For the first time, co-op multiplayer will be drop-in drop-out as well.
In an effort shift the game towards a more character-driven experience, Far Cry 5 will not have climbable radio towers, which were a staple of Far Cry 3 and 4. Instead, the player will receive necessary information about the landscape, missions and various weapons and supplies hidden in the area from the other characters they meet along the way, encouraging them to engage more with the NPCs and thus with the world around them.
As a long time fan of the series, I’m sad to see such a comfortable Far Cry convention go, but it’s probably for the best—the towers served as little more than an artificial barrier to progression, and messed with the pacing of exploring the full map. It’s time to move on.
One big series first that I’m curious to see play out is the customizable main character, who can now be adjusted according to gender and race. If the dialogue is static and doesn’t change depending on the player’s identity, I can’t much see the point, but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless.
As for the vehicles, those are now customizable too. And while there isn’t a lot of information on how far those modifications will go (paint jobs are making their return), it is known that some will include turrets, mulchers and other items meant to increase damage when passing another car on the road.
To be honest, I’m not sure how much I need this companion system in Far Cry 5; it looks similar to the great buddy system in Far Cry 2, but then I do just fine hunting and taking over outposts all by myself. That being said, the available companions seem pretty cool, and I can’t complain too much about being able to have a dog by my side, a la my beloved Dogmeat in the Fallout games. Joining Boomer, the gun-for-hire mutt, are former Marine Grace Armstrong, who focuses on assault-style rifles and long-range sniping, and series staple Hurk Drubman, an RPG specialist.
I got a chance to experience the new planes in Far Cry 5 when I played a demo back during PAX West 2017 that ran me through one of the missions, and while I found the experience difficult to pick up quickly, it just wouldn’t be a Far Cry game if I weren’t crashing spectacularly thanks to some unreliable form of air transportation. While the learning curve seems a bit steep, forcing a certain amount of player finesse that just wasn’t required with the simple paraglider from Far Cry 3 or the unwieldy but serviceable buzzer from Far Cry 4, it’s an interesting choice, perhaps with far-reaching implications. Will the vehicles of the series become more of a key part of the Far Cry identity with Far Cry 5?
Holly Green is the assistant editor of Paste Games and a reporter and semiprofessional photographer. She is also the author of Fry Scores: An Unofficial Guide To Video Game Grub. You can find her work at Gamasutra, Polygon, Unwinnable, and other videogame news publications.