Far Cry 5 Review Roundup: What Critics Love (and Hate)
Far Cry 5 brings the storied, chaotic action video game franchise to America's soil for the first time, but it appears this game may not match its hype.
The first reviews are in from critics, and suggest that there's not enough new in this game, and that the game's much-hyped controversial storylines don't live up to expectations.
That's not to say the game appears to be without some innovation. Reviewers point to the changes in the open world gameplay, but those are good or bad, depending on whose review you read. Here's what the critics are saying about Far Cry 5.
Editor's Note: Given the sheer size of Far Cry 5, several of these are "reviews in progress," and are thus subject to change.
Our own Sherri L. Smith, reports that Ubisoft continues to polish the open-world sandbox and has a potentially intriguing story that gets lost in the typical Far Cry zaniness. Ultimately, she dubbed the game "gorgeous, but hollow."
"Hope County, Montana, encompasses a land of rolling hills, majestic mountains, stately evergreens and bodies of water that can be placid ponds, babbling brooks or raging rivers. It's a love letter to the beauty of nature that most of us never get to see in person." – Sherri L. Smith, Tom's Guide
"I never want to leave this sandbox. Like most Ubisoft titles, Far Cry 5 is beautiful and massive. The fictional land of Hope County, Montana, encompasses is a land of rolling hills, majestic mountains, stately evergreens and bodies of water that can be placid ponds, babbling brooks or raging rivers. It's a love letter to the beauty of nature that most of us never get to see in person. When you're not blowing up buildings or wresting control of a strategic outpost from Peggie hands, you can and should explore Hope County, and do some hunting and fishing."
"Far Cry 5 is indeed a tale of two games, and I'm gnashing my teeth at the issues Ubisoft could have addressed in the story regarding the current political and social climate. They take definitive steps to make commentary on the cults and perverted uses of religion only to stop short of saying anything and further diluting the story with typical Far Cry antics. "
In his in-progress review, Gamespot's Edmond Tran is positive about the game less-linear open-world format, but he's also disappointed by the storytelling.
"All these elements work wonderfully together to create a style of larger progression that feels mostly organic." — Edmond Tran, Gamespot
"To accompany this decision, Far Cry 5 now handles its story progression in a more freeform manner. … Mechanically, it's a great, player-friendly system that rewards you no matter what activities you decide to undertake or avoid."
"There are so many more simple, experiential joys to be found in Far Cry 5. The exhilarating feel of jumping off a mountain and flying through the skies in a wingsuit. … Flying a plane for the first time in the series. The taut and precise gunplay. The relaxing feeling of cruising down a picturesque highway in a 70s muscle car, listening to the great selection of classic American (and one Australian) rock and country tunes on the radio."
"What makes these missions more egregious are the prolonged, close-up encounters with the Seed family members upon capture. … But every encounter with them is the same--you're restrained in some manner … Far Cry 5 devotes too much time in belabouring the point here, and the few attempts to try and capture your sympathy for their cause feel cheap."
"And, despite Far Cry 5's unquestionably relevant, religiously and politically volatile setting, the game doesn't do or say anything interesting with it beyond a few hammy jabs here and there. It's unchallenging satire, and for all the attention paid to the Seed family, you would expect there to be something more."
At IGN, Daemon Hatfield wrote his in-progress review after completing 57 percent of the game, and not even having touched its online component. While he found the game enjoyable, Hatfield wanted more from this chapter of the Far Cry saga.
"Far Cry 5 doesn’t feel like a revelation because it doesn’t do a lot to set itself apart." — Daemon Hatfield, IGN
"It’s still a blast to play, and the brutal combat remains ever so satisfying no matter where you are"
"I like that, for the first time in a Far Cry game, you can choose between a male and female protagonist and do some light customization."
"The crafting system is still here, but toned down somewhat so that you won’t spend nearly as much time tediously gathering leaves and branches.
"Far Cry 5 doesn’t feel like a revelation because it doesn’t do a lot to set itself apart."
"I was sometimes distracted by the pop-in caused by the density of the landscape. Even on the PS4 Pro, it’s hard not to notice all the magically appearing trees. In fact, other than the resolution on a 4K TV, there isn’t a stark difference between the PS4 and the Pro at all."
"This corner of Montana is controlled by a man named Joseph Seed, a zealot leader whose acts of terror haven’t left the same impression on me that Vaas or Pagan Min did in the previous two games. He hasn’t had any particularly memorable lines, and his motivation for basically wanting to end the world is, at this point in the story, still unclear."
Jeff Cork at Game Informer seemingly rolled his eyes at every encounter with the Seed family, the villains of Far Cry 5.
"Far Cry 5 isn’t as provocative as its posturing may lead you to believe." — Jeff Cork, Game Informer
"Environmental puzzles are still here in the form of lucrative prepper caches, which are one of my favorite parts of Far Cry 5. Each one offers a unique challenge, which can include escaping a trapped bunker or navigating a mountain obstacle course, with big rewards at the end of each one. I got excited every time an NPC conversation put a new cache icon on my map."
"Dismantling Jacob Seed’s operations could be downright tedious if not for one of the game’s most fleshed-out systems. The Guns for Hire, A.I. companions that you recruit to fight alongside you, add some much-needed variety to the game. There are nine of them to find in the world, and you have to complete a special mission to convince them to tag along. It’s generally worth it. You can bring two of them on your adventures in the solo game, and finding effective combos is part of the fun. "
"Far Cry 5 isn’t as provocative as its posturing may lead you to believe. Its exploration of religious extremism is too bizarre to be taken seriously, and it’s delivered with a self-serious tone that it doesn’t earn. You get knocked out, abducted, and tied to a chair a ridiculous number of times."'
"Some moments attempt to subvert your expectations, but they’re generally limp commentaries along the lines of saying, 'Ah, yes, but have you considered that YOU are the real villain here?'"
Bob Fekete at Newsweek notes that while this game is beautiful, so much of it is copied and pasted from previous iterations.
"Graphics are stunning, and the lighting especially stood out as impressive." — Bob Fekete, Newsweek
"From a technical perspective, Far Cry 5 is a triumph. Gameplay is smooth as silk,"
"Far Cry 5 also shines, oftentimes literally. Graphics are stunning, and the lighting especially stood out as impressive."
"[Far Cry 5's gameplay] is virtually identical to previous iterations in the franchise. There’s a heavy emphasis on stealth, like previous games, and players can go through the entire campaign in co-op with a friend. There aren’t any new weapons from previous games, so expect the same rifles, SMGs, bows, shotguns and rocket launchers you have come to know."
"Far Cry 5 might actually suffer from its open-world organization. If the game were more linear, it would be possible to tell a more cohesive story."
At Eurogamer, Edwin Evans-Thirlwell only found good things to say in the online component Far Cry Arcade, spending the majority of his review talking about the title's narrative issues.
"Adding insult to injury, the tone is all over the place, as though several writing teams were fighting for control of the pen." — Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, Eurogamer
"In some respects, Far Cry 5's heart of hearts doesn't lie anywhere in Hope, Montana. It lies in Far Cry Arcade, a map editor where the fundamentally reductive nature of Far Cry's open world is caught in the neon glare of a faux coin-op interface."
"Far Cry 5's key problem as a story is that it's utterly at odds with itself. It wants to say something about our world, about evangelical ecstasy, gun advocacy and nihilism in America's heartlands, but all of that plays second fiddle to the real core of any Far Cry game, a fantasy of conquest that imposes its own criteria on the writing … It wants to analyse how cults rise and fall, drawing upon consultation with real-life cult deprogrammers, but in practice the Pledgekeepers of Eden's Gate are just another army of expendable, dehumanised grunts, irredeemable from the get-go."
"As campaign frameworks go it just about keeps you awake, and Montana makes for a lush backdrop, though it lacks the visual variety of Far Cry 4's Kyrat. But it's also very bland, and more importantly, a serious obstacle for the game's hapless stabs at social commentary."
"Adding insult to injury, the tone is all over the place, as though several writing teams were fighting for control of the pen."