Today is a bit of a struggle as it is the first day in a week that I am actually having to get up and around on a schedule. Traditionally I take the full two weeks off surrounding Christmas and New Years, but this year since I am now the low manager in seniority… I wound up having to work the weird and horrible partial week following Christmas. However that meant I was going to take all of my time off for the holidays in the first week of the year. I allowed myself to get way out of practice in the whole getting up at 5:30 in the morning thing… most of those days I wound up rolling out of between somewhere closer to 7 or 8. So as a result I am paying for it this morning.
Note I am going to be talking about Far Cry 5 this morning and there might be some minor spoilers. Going to try and stay away from a lot of the specifics, but I have to say some things to explain the shape of the narrative.
The Video Game Awards produced a shocking number of announcements that made me greatly interested in some of the games coming out. One of those was Far Cry: New Dawn which is a post apocalyptic game set in the same setting as Far Cry 5. This intrigued me greatly given that as far as I am aware… the Far Cry series has never actually made a direct sequel to any of their games. They’ve had several cases of the same game using the engine from the previous title… aka Far Cry 3 and Far Cry Blood Dragon and Far Cry 4 and Far Cry Primal. Far Cry 5 had been on the list of games that I wanted to play since I saw the initial trailers, but I never picked it up because I always had other things to play. Over the break I caught a sale and wound up grabbing it and have been playing a silly amount of the game. It’s weird that the thought of a sequel was what ultimately pushed me into gear to get going with playing it.
The elevator pitch for Far Cry 5 is that it is set in Hope County Montana, and draws heavily on the history of various religious cults that we have had here in the United States. The game centers around one such Cult that has a home base of operations in the Montana country side called Project Edens Gate. Instead of worshiping the Bible, they worship something they call the Book of Joseph… which was written by Joseph Seed the man the cultists refer to as The Father. He has predicted a collapse of society, and when you are called upon to serve a warrant to arrest him on Kidnapping charges that signals the opening events of his prophecy. You barely escape the compound and are now a hunted man… as the Project Edens Gate… or Peggies as the locals call them… swarm out capturing everything in the Valley.
You have the set up for a game that works pretty much like so many other games where you are the opposition to a larger force… your job is now to destroy the foothold the cult has on the area and save as many locals as you can in the process. The game is divided up into a bunch of sections, as each one of the “children” of Joseph Seed act as lieutenants over a different region of the valley. I wound up going after John Seed, in part because it felt like the game was directing me there… and the person he was holding was the one I was most interested in saving. As you take actions against the regional “boss” you raise a resistance meter, and every third of that bar there is a stopping point that triggers a specific event that plays out. By the time I reached the conclusion of this “zone” of the game I had successfully worked up quite the hatred for John Seed, and wanted to see him die.
Which admittedly plays in really nicely to the narrative of the game. My sin is that of Wrath, and as you tear through wave after wave of brain washed cultists… you start to think about that specifically. I love killing baddies in games, but in truth… I am the embodiment of Wrath each time that occurs. The final fight unfortunately is one of the most frustrating I have ever encountered in a game, largely because it centers around a dog fight. While I enjoy flying planes in Far Cry 5… the controls themselves do not lend themselves to aerial combat. There are a couple of options here… you can hire one of the townsfolk to be your wing man and let them get the killing shot. If you are far enough in the game you can buy a heat seeking rocket launcher and take him out that way… or you can go the route I did and purchase the attack helicopter which is way the hell more maneuverable in the air for fighting. Thankfully at that point in the game I had a lot of cash and had unlocked the Helicopter shop.
The best part about the game however is that you get to run around… if you choose… with Boomer that dog. He is so much better than any of the human options when it comes to your partners… because firstly he alerts you to any trouble that might be ahead. Secondly he retrieves stuff from the bodies that you kill along the way, meaning that other than cash you don’t have to be quite so concerned about making sure you loot every single body that drops. You are going to be killing a lot of people in this game and as a result producing copious amounts of bodies that you have to painstakingly loot. The dog short cuts a lot of that, and unlike some of the other companions he rarely gets in the way of what you are actually trying to accomplish. The game has a photo mode and I used it in the above shot to focus in on the good boy that I am regularly running around with.
I think the most interesting thing about the game so far is how familiar it feels to me. I grew up in very humble and very rural roots. I came from a town of 2000 and graduated in a class of 60… while that was Oklahoma and this is Montana… there is a shocking bit of detail that stays exactly the same no matter what rural environment you are traversing. The people remind me so much of people that I knew growing up, so I have to give massive credit to Ubisoft for getting that feel completely dead on. Even the cultist thing feels a little familiar as we had a local Want-To-Be-Megachurch Preacher that paid kids to attend church service in the form of scholarships. The amount you got was a formula based upon how many services you attended and how many other kids you recruited to the fold. So sure it wasn’t a dooms day cult, but it felt no less creepy. Essentially I relate to this game and setting way more than I ever have in the Far Cry settings, and I am looking forward to getting home tonight and starting another area.
Great game so far, but unfortunately given the release window for Anthem of February 22nd… I doubt I will be playing New Dawn the sequel when it releases on February 15th. Tomorrow I am probably going to talk some about the games that are coming out in 2019 that I am looking forward to… but if you want a preview we talked about it at length during the podcast this weekend.