There is plenty to love within the boundaries of Hope County, Montana.
In many ways, the latest entry in Ubisoft's first-person open-world franchise transcends a genre it helped build. In other ways, like narrative, Far Cry 5 struggles to hit the highs of those that have come before it.
But with the highest of highs and the not-so-low lows, this game's cooperative play is some of the best out there, and may be unmatched in the open-world space. Seriously, Far Cry 5's co-op is just that fun.
After knocking the first few missions of of the game's dossier, Far Cry 5 opens up the ability for drop-in, drop-out co-op, in which you can invite a friend to take back Hope County with you.
Sure, there's no exact story reason for you to have a friend out there with you, (In fact, the game makes it clear that you're basically on your own until you meet resistance members) but we can suspend that. It's OK, we remember playing as a cloned Spartan or Covenant in Halo.
hile the game's co-op mode has a fairly glaring issue -- it only save's the host player's game progress -- it shouldn't detract from the experience of players looking to play the game in its entirety with a friend, even through to the highly-controversial end scene.
And that's just what we did. The simple escort, tracking quest and cache locating missions stocked high in the game's campaign were mostly a blast when done with two. The quiet, staleness of traversing a map solo to get from one point to another is turned into a wild experience in itself with someone else.
For example, one of the game's earliest quests are collected from the pastor of a church in a town liberated by the player creator. While I was speaking with the NPC to accept the quest, my co-op partner crashed an ATV through the front entrance of the church, shattering the building's beautiful stained-glass window and lodging the ATV in the doorway.
They also accidentally threw a grenade.
That grenade "killed" the NPC (he needed me to pick him up) and set the church on fire. Well, sure, that's inconvenient. Let's just roll out and come back when the church resets. Except -- we were trapped by the ATV and so we went down in the blaze.
It's that dynamic, unpredictable madness that makes Far Cry 5 so endearing, even when it's story beats of alt-right cultists fail to strike the right chord. Plus, it sure helps that the world in Far Cry 5 is intricately woven, and is incredible with both 4K and HDR enhancements.
It's also the type of gameplay that will extend the game's life beyond its plot points. And the introduction of the game's soldier (and bear. and dog) companions makes that even better, as you roll up to liberate outposts with your own personal army.
Sure, the weapon variety may be weaker than past entries (though the quality of life improvements are stellar) and the story may falter, but above all else, a good game needs a foundation of fun gameplay. Far Cry 5 has just that.
The game's Arcade Mode and promised season pass content should extend that fun even further, and as long as there's more to do, we don't foresee ourselves leaving Hope County any time soon.
Far Cry 5 is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. A review copy for PS4 was provided by the publisher. The campaign was completed in co-op on a PlayStation 4 Pro.