Far Cry 5 review: Immersive playground in the heart of cultist America
Featuring a lovely weekend with the Seed Family
Since Grand Theft Auto III’s explosive arrival more than a decade ago, open-world games established themselves as part and parcel of the video game industry. For years, game developers have tried to replicate and improve on Rockstar Games’ formula.
Following Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft pioneered a more inventive take on the open-world system — an expansive map driven by waypoints. However, after years of sequels, their unique formula has grown tired and weary.
That is, until Far Cry 5 came along.
Reinventing the wheel
Only behind Assassin’s Creed, the Far Cry series enjoys its spot as one of Ubisoft’s most trusted properties. Besides the five main games, the franchise already has a plethora of spin-offs, expansions, and downloadable content.
At its heart, the Far Cry series is a Rambo simulator that drops you into an exotic location to fight off a militant force. From the start, you face a completely red map that you slowly carve to your favor. You do this by completing missions, liberating outposts, and unlocking the map. Throughout the game, you are pestered by the game’s — sometimes psychotic, sometimes manipulative — villains.
Far Cry 5 keeps the essentials but infuses a breath of fresh air into the tired formula. The game isn’t just a minefield of spoon-fed objectives anymore. Now, it’s a fully immersive map that you tackle in your own way.
In Far Cry 5, you, a sheriff’s deputy, are dropped into the hostile Hope County in Montana. A doomsday cult has taken roots in the county, coercing innocent people through torture and mind control. Your job is simple: rescue the populace and kill the cult’s leader, Joseph Seed.
Unlike previous Far Cry games, the fifth entry presents a completely explorable map right off the bat. In Far Cry 5, you decide which region you want to liberate first. It doesn’t lock out anything.
Also, the game doesn’t immediately reveal which points on the map have things for you to do. It’s a blank map that you explore by yourself. You unlock waypoints by either encountering them physically, reading about them in notes, or talking to NPCs in the surrounding area. The map isn’t a tedious checklist; it’s an experience you craft.
Additionally, Far Cry 5 doesn’t hide its skills or weapons behind grinding progression trees. Just from the first region, you can unlock all perks and weapons — if you have enough money or points, that is. Regardless, Far Cry 5’s skills costs are fair. A few hours into my playthrough, I already carried a .50 caliber sniper rifle, a shotgun, and a whole load of explosives.
Friends are forever
Another refreshing addition to Far Cry 5’s mechanics is the offline co-op.
A few years ago, Assassin’s Creed Unity had the not-so-brilliant idea of locking some of its content behind a co-op requirement, meaning you couldn’t play some missions unless you had a friend with you. If you didn’t have a friend with the game, the console, and a good internet connection, you were out of luck.
Far Cry 5 finally solves the riddle of co-op by introducing a host of NPCs that you can bring along on missions. Ubisoft has realized that even just a digital dog is enough to lift the monotony of killing tons of cultists. Throughout the game, you unlock and recruit new characters by rescuing them or doing missions for them.
Thankfully, Far Cry 5’s Guns for Hire aren’t cardboard cutouts. They have their own stories, characters, and abilities. Because of their diversity, their effectiveness depends on your own preferred play styles.
Do you prefer the stealthy approach? The huntress Jess Black wields a silent, deadly bow for your covert operations. Are you more of a demolitions guy? Hurk Drubman, Jr. touts a meaty grenade launcher that can cut down a helicopter in a few shots.
Besides this gaggle of oddities, Far Cry 5 also has a trio of strangely adorable furry friends (or Fangs for Hire) you can take with you. Boomer is a cute, scouting dog. Peaches is a ruthless mountain lion assassin. Cheeseburger is a towering bear. (Yes, you can pet them all.)
Far Cry 5 features one of the most enjoyable first-person experiences this year. Until it drags you back into its story.
To liberate a region, you fill a meter of influence. Every third of the way through, the region’s lieutenant (or boss) issues a search warrant for you. Immediately, every enemy gets one-hit-kill ammo. One hit, you’re out. When you wake up, the lieutenant confronts you in his/her headquarters which you eventually escape from through stealth or gunfire.
These required story missions are still par for the course. However, while they do offer enjoyable gameplay, they are a massive pain. Their inevitability takes away from your pristine immersion into the game. Even if you’re busy liberating an outpost, once you hit that point in the game, you’re yanked mercilessly into one of the story missions.
Regardless, every lieutenant offers a unique flavor to their region. John Seed is a merciless evangelical who prefers torture to bend his adherents into shape. Faith Seed uses an airborne hallucinogenic to control her soldiers. Jacob Seed trains canines into dangerous killing machines.
Despite how charismatic they are, there’s not much to care about in Far Cry 5. The big baddie, Joseph Seed, offers nothing but a backdrop with which his lieutenants operate. Ubisoft tried to market a commentary on today’s political climate in the US. However, all they managed was a version of WWE’s The Wyatt Family.
Much of the story’s lack of empathy derives from the game’s curse of a nameless protagonist. Far Cry 3 had Jason, the fish out of water. Far Cry 4 had the recruited Ajay Ghale. Sadly, Far Cry 5 lacked that character anchor to hook gamers into its story. In fact, characters simply call you “Rook” or “Deputy.” You, as an in-game character, don’t have a story.
You never really care about any of the game’s more important characters including yourself. You engage in rescue missions for people whom you’ve never built any rapport with prior. Far Cry 5 just isn’t a convincing story.
Then again, Far Cry 5 harmonizes to the music of nature or of gunshots, but not to the Seed Family’s evangelization. The game shines brighter when you’re free to traverse the picturesque landscapes of Hope County. It’s still an all-around enjoyable game.
All TEKKEN 8 characters revealed so far
Get ready for the next battle!
Even though TEKKEN 8 is still miles away from being released, there’s no stopping the train on what you can expect. Starting off, no fighting game is complete without the list of fighters themselves. Of course, TEKKEN 8 is no exception to this. Several familiar faces have been revealed over the past few days, with more incoming.
Without further ado, here’s all the confirmed characters for TEKKEN 8 so far. Don’t worry, this list will be updated as more fighters and gameplay trailers are revealed.
Honestly, it wouldn’t be a modern TEKKEN game without the main protagonist himself, Jin Kazama. After spending most of TEKKEN 7 healing up and watching from the shadows, Jin is ready to strike back in honor of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Overall, he sports a much buffer look than before. Jin is now rocking the whites and reds compared to previous versions.
What makes Jin different this time around is how he’s harnessing the Devil Gene inside him to power his moveset. From the trailer alone, we see glimpses of the power he wields as he unleashes a barrage of attacks. Also, his character model even reveals one of his Devil’s wings, which most likely means he’s embraced the Devil in him.
Now, the one on our minds is, well, will the Devil Jin character from previous games also make its way onto this one?
In every TEKKEN game, someone portrays the ultimate villain that holds all the power and will not yield for anyone. For TEKKEN 8, that man is Kazuya Mishima, the leader of the G Corporation and Jin’s biological father. After the events of TEKKEN 7, Kazuya seemed more poised to take over the world than ever before with the G Corporation continuously waging war.
By this point in time, he has fully embraced the Devil and has since showed flashes of its power since TEKKEN 7. It’s not to say that just him alone isn’t already a ton to deal with, as his moveset is just as hard-hitting as before. With the addition of his Devil form as he enters his Heat State, it turns him into a wrecking ball of chaos.
Nina Williams returns to the roster and is one of the characters that has appeared in every TEKKEN game since its release. The silent assassin has made quite the list of alliances and enemies through the years, and is on the hunt for her next target. However, after the events of TEKKEN 7 and her failure to locate Jin, she’s taking an approach from the shadows.
From a design standpoint, she loses the wedding dress she had on from the previous game and goes back to the leather jacket and purple dress — something familiar and comfortable. Moveset-wise, she retains the cat-like reflexes she showed off in previous titles and can throw punches with the best of them. Also, she had dual pistols now, so be careful when going up against her.
Another staple of the TEKKEN franchise is Paul Phoenix, one of the hardest hitting fighters in the game. In fact, the trailer literally shows off his power as he brings a brick wall with him when he enters the battlefield. Although in TEKKEN 8, he grew his hair out and didn’t really bother to fix it in an upright position as his previous character models showed.
In terms of his moveset, the trailer makes it look as hard-hitting as before, if not more than that. You can tell that the man aged like fine wine in his combat, especially with all the punches he’s thrown. As seen in the last few seconds of the trailer, he even threw a punch that had so much power in it, it resulted in a sleeve getting ripped.
One of the franchise’s key returnees from previous games is Marshall Law, Namco’s tribute to the legendary Bruce Lee. As with his previous appearances, he is agile, likes to take the fight to his opponents, and has an arsenal of moves relying on quickess and dexterity. In TEKKEN 8, however, it looks like his body has grown significantly.
Law maintains most of his moves from the previous games, with a bit of fine-tuning and power added to them given his growth over the years. Also, this game shows off his nunchakus which make a comeback after appearing as an item move in TEKKEN 6. Unlike that game, however, he only gets to use the nunchakus on specific moves instead of wielding it infinitely.
Yes, for all the wrestling fans out there, King is back! And he is in much better fighting shape than ever before. Of course, the man still dons the same jaguar mask as his predecessor, and is hungry for competition wherever he goes. If all goes well, the eighth edition of the tournament will give him the glory he seeks.
As one of the franchise’s elite wrestlers, his moveset only improved from the previous games. He still boasts a series of gut-wrenching blows and grapples that turn the tide on his foes in combat. Also, he uses a variety of wrestling moves that fans will recognize from a mile away. This time around, as the trailer suggests, he adds more to his kit with moves from WWE superstars, Triple H (Pedigree) and Randy Orton (RKO).
Jack-8, Lars Alexandersson, and Jun Kazama?!
BANDAI NAMCO also released a Story and Gameplay Trailer to help build more anticipation on the upcoming fighter game, and shows what the TEKKEN Saga has in store for us. Also, this particular trailer showed us a few more characters to watch out for:
From this trailer, we can find two familiar faces in Jack-8 and Lars Alexandersson. The former is the eighth iteration of the JACKs since the first TEKKEN. For Jack-8, the main objective remains the same: destruction at all costs; it’s design to learn its opponents and strike at their core. For Lars, coming from the events of TEKKEN 7, the protector of Jin Kazama must now help him in his plot to overthrow Kazuya and put an end to the war.
Perhaps one of the biggest returns for TEKKEN 8 is Jin’s biological mother, Jun Kazama. She was presumed dead prior to the start of TEKKEN 3. Jun reunites with her now all-grown up son to help Jin find some form of inner peace. Whether or not she reunites with Kazuya has yet to be shown.
Let us know who you’re most excited to play for TEKKEN 8!
Ubisoft announces an AI writer for video games
To streamline dialogue writing
Video game dialogue gets a bad rep these days. Though a good number of titles come from acclaimed writers and storytellers, a sizable chunk can leave gamers grasping for a mute button. Now, in a move to streamline the writing process, Ubisoft has announced an AI writer to automatically create video game dialogue.
Conspicuously called Ghostwriter, the upcoming AI tool can create dialogue based only on a few prompts. Writers only need to input a character and the type of dialogue to create an exchange. The tool can create a few variations for writers to consider and edit as need be.
The tool wasn’t created to replace writers. Rather, according to the reveal, Ghostwriter will help writers focus on larger tasks like grander narratives and important cutscenes.
Currently, Ubisoft has not showcased any examples of how the writer can work. The company is still working on implementing the tool in its production cycles. With huge sprawling games, using an AI writer to streamline dialogue creation will help deadlines. However, it’s still an unknown whether the tool will improve quality as well.
Over the past few months, companies have tried creating their own takes on AI-based chatbots and creators. Ubisoft is the latest to integrate the technology into its own company and one of the first to try it in the gaming scene.
SEE ALSO: Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Red, Jade, showcased at Ubisoft Forward
Counter-Strike 2 is official!
Coming later this summer
Finally, it’s official. After a huge leak a few weeks ago, Valve has officially confirmed that Counter-Strike 2 is coming. And it’s coming fast.
On the last full day of Steam’s Spring Sale, Valve suddenly revealed its official plans for Counter-Strike 2. No longer just a rumor, the upcoming title will come this summer as a free upgrade for those who already own Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
As was leaked previously, the title will come with several upgrades to the existing system. While it’s still the same formula underneath, Counter-Strike 2 will look and feel better than previous titles.
For one, smokes are now volumetric objects, meaning they can react to gameplay events naturally. If you shoot through smoke, the bullets can push a visible hole through the cloud. It will also fill spaces around objects more naturally.
The game will also feature graphical upgrades to the old titles. Classic maps have refreshed designs with better lighting, more realistic textures, and better reflections. Dust II, or de_dust2, looks absolutely amazing in its upcoming iteration. Smaller elements — such as UI and throwable effects — are also improved.
In terms of performance, Counter-Strike 2 is apparently going beyond tick rates. Though the previous leak hinted that the title might upgrade its servers to compete with modern shooters like VALORANT, the official update introduced “sub-tick updates,” a new engine which will supposedly make tick rates obsolete and gameplay more fluid.
Now, if you can’t wait for summer, the upgrade is already available today in a limited test. Valve will also release more updates for the game before it launches in a few months.
SEE ALSO: Counter-Strike 2 potentially ready for release soon
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