FarCry 5 Does More With Less

That awkward moment where avoiding the main story makes the game soooo much better.

A lot has been said about how FarCry 5 has handled its premise, and that is for good reason. There are too many opportunities to have done more and make this something special in a big way. Even still, Ubisoft did manage to deliver a few moments that really stand out without having to even fire a shot. If you’ve played through the game’s tutorial then you’ve seen Johns Seed’s propaganda broadcast where he tries to Oprah his way into your heart. He preaches about the one word that can, “save everyone.” He just wants you to say “yes.” Fine, whatever, that’s your schtick. The issue is that he wants to save everyone with the power of yes, and he isn’t taking no for an answer. He ends the broadcast by saying that anyone watching had been chosen and that they didn’t have to do anything, he’d come for them…oh…

Lo and behold I roll up to point of interest, a farm where my new best friend Boomer was waiting to be rescued. While removing the cultist presence on the farm I noticed a nearby pickup loaded with speakers blasting what I assume is the Project at Eden’s Gate theme song. While I was looting the area I started to hear a voice over the music. John was going on about someone who was coming to ruin their way of life. I was flattered but didn’t think much of it other than some pre-recorded broadcast. Then I hear another voice, one of the deputies that were with me to arrest Joseph. He asks her if she wants to confess her sins, she says no, he doesn’t like that. Screams of pain burst from the speakers as I stop looting and walk toward them. He tells her she just has to say yes, she won’t, but she’s more than willing to swear her head off. More screams of pain until quiet. One final time he asks her, she breathes heavily before responding, “yes…” John finally got what he wanted, he broke her.

Plenty of games have moments like this where someone you’re supposed to care about is being tortured or whatever but not many actually make you care. I knew this cult was twisted, but the dialogue was well written, the lines were well delivered, and those few minutes that I easily could have missed hit the mark. I didn’t know enough about this deputy to want to rush out and save her at the time, and even now I can’t remember her name, but you can bet I’m working on building up that bar so I can throw down with John. Since that time I’ve come face to face with him after being captured, a moment that is clearly supposed to antagonize him further and is a moment that is designed not to be missed, but this story moment feels so dime a dozen because it lacks the same level of delivery and misses the mark. The radio broadcast earned my attention by defying my expectations and making the cult feel more evil than I thought. This moment earned nothing and is instead trying to force feed the “these are the bad guys” storyline.

Every time I hear John on the radio I stop and listen, which is a small victory in itself. Realistically, if this guy were a real cultist “recruiter” then he’d already have the upper hand because he has my attention. Worse yet, for me that is, is the fact that I actually find some of what he says to be pretty valid. He talks about how people are more worried about taking pictures of their food and clothes for their followers rather than sharing with the people in the room with them. He says they don’t care what you wear, as long as you are clothed, and they don’t care what you eat as long as you are fed. I jokingly texted Ross about this and asked him if I was a cultist now because some of what he said makes sense. It’s clear there is some quality writing hiding beneath the surface and had it been surfaced more it would have made the game as a whole better.

I haven’t spent much time with the other two zone bosses, though I spent just enough time in Faith’s territory to realize that Bliss ain’t nothing to mess with. In the five minutes, I spent in the zone I heard a voice behind me talking about how “they found me.” I turned around to see…Faith? There she was, prancing around talking about…something. I was much more concerned with how she got there. I quickly realized I was hallucinating due to the Bliss in the air. Sure enough, as soon as I’d approached her she poofed away. Still, it’s amazing (within the context of the game) that I was able to hallucinate about a character I’d only seen once and never actually heard speak. Well played.

Understanding the time that was put into making cult culture believable in Far Cry 5, I wish it showed more throughout the game. Too much boils down to killing generic enemies who occasionally yell about sins and God. These smaller moments make all that work feel worthwhile, and it’s just a shame that they don’t show up more in the thus far bland main story, but I’m hardly the only person saying that. My biggest suggestion to anyone playing the game is to just go out there and keep your ears and eyes open and you’ll likely find what you’re looking for.