Why You Should Revisit Far Cry 5 On It's Fifth Anniversary
The Far Cry series has always chosen exotic locations for its games. From sweltering jungles to arid deserts, the settings are always treacherous, something that reinforces the survival element that the series is known for. After reading that, you may be wondering why I found Far Cry 5 so enjoyable; at first glance, small-town America isn't known for being either exotic or treacherous.
Well, firstly, to me, it is exotic. I'm a little English northerner, and the connotations surrounding America appeal to me greatly. It's a wild place with wacky individuals (if the stereotypes are to be believed, and I hope that they are), and being able to experience that, even in a fictional form as exaggerated as this, always pleases me. I appreciate that an American audience would probably scoff at the notion of an action-packed, survival-centric videogame being situated in Montana. However, having grown up within the dull confines of central England, Far Cry 5 is a breath of fresh air. Plus, it helps that I would actually like to visit America one day. It appeals to me—the series' other location options aren't typical tourist material. It's a similar reason as to why I love Red Dead Redemption 2 so much.
Secondly, is the available arsenal. There are so many guns! Although I personally prefer Far Cry 6's Cold War Era-inspired firearm selection, Far Cry 5 still has a brilliant variety. It's very complementary to the stereotypical all-American setting, as a lot of the weapons are recognisable American classics, such as AR15s, M14s, and M60s. Far Cry 5 also expands melee combat too, and is currently the only entry in the series to do so. Far Cry 6, unfortunately, took a step back with the melee combat and removed it in favour of just giving the player a machete, as is series tradition. Want to haul around nine shovels and then use them to spear enemies? Well, in Far Cry 5, you can do that. It really does nail the sweet spot between ridiculous and practical.
Far Cry 5 also has an extensive companions roster; one that is far better than any other entry. During your adventures you can call in friends to aid you, and each has unique abilities. There are both human and animal NPCs that can be called in as soon as their accompanying prerequisite side quest has been completed. Far Cry 5 builds on Far Cry 4's 'Guns for Hire' and Far Cry Primal's animal teammates mechanic, and amalgamates them into a simple, robust system: pick your favourite friend and go! Again, Far Cry 6 went backwards with its buddying-up arrangement, so Far Cry 5 (and Far Cry New Dawn, which uses the same setup) has the best team-based gameplay, in my opinion.
Another reason—arguably a stupid one, I might add—is the creatureless waterways. Although I am a good swimmer, I do have a bit of a phobia of large, open, natural water sources, and that always translates over into games too. Far Cry tends to encourage exploration, due to its open-world nature, and that often means swimming. However, so that players cannot abuse surrounding oceans and rivers, Ubisoft usually fills these areas with nasty critters. Think Skyrim's Slaughterfish, but usually much bigger. The worst for me will always be the sharks, but the Demon fish in Far Cry 4 and other entries aren't much better. At least in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim your character would only yell in pain; in Far Cry the attacking creatures have dedicated animations. They're close up, frantic, and more often than not catch you unawares. Much like real-life, you're also powerless to stop them, you're on their turf. Far Cry 5 has none of this, so it was nice to be able to just swim between locations, or even use the water tactically without fear of being nibbled to death.
Finally, it's the enemies that make it interesting too. Them also being my favourite antagonist group from the series. The Project at Eden's Gate religious cult are utter lunatics, and are fun enemies to engage in combat with. Their fanaticism angle distinctively sets them apart from enemies that have appeared both before or since, who are often trained soldiers and mercenaries, as opposed to those driven to kill due to a belief system. It's kind of a crazy approach when you think about it, but is still far more interesting than simply gunning down typical ‘bad guys’ for the sake of it.
And those are my reasons why you should dip back into Far Cry 5. Although it's not perfect, and does have aspects that I wish I could alter, overall it's still the entry that I revisit and find the most joy in playing.