The Far Cry franchise isn’t exactly new, and it sure hasn’t been setting the world on fire (though in game I have burned enough landscape to qualify for several war crimes). However, everyone seems excited about the next installment, Far Cry 5….. or should I say keyboard activists who have never played a Far Cry game are excited for the new one.
This newest edition takes place in Montana, which is pretty far removed from the jungles of Kyrat, the dangerous predators of Oros, or the waterways and cliffs of the Rook Islands. The villains this time around will apparently be a religious cult. For some reason some people have taken offense to this, seemingly having forgotten that Resident Evil 4 ever existed. If you are actually IN a religious cult, then by all means, take offense.
This game has been the subject of much debate lately, mostly over whether the design choice was politically motivated or not. Being that this is coming from Ubisoft doesn’t help, as they tend to be very vocal in their beliefs and aren’t exactly subtle. I’ve seen comments ranging from “I’ve played every one of these since release but will be boycotting this game because of pc bullshit!” all the way to opposite end of the spectrum and comments such as “I can’t wait to kill some Trumptards!”.
Both sides are fucking morons. What they should be concerned about is if Ubisoft has learned how to tell a compelling story. When the most likable hero from the past 3 main entries is a caveman who barely speaks, and spends the entire game playing Pokemon, you know something is wrong.
For those unaware, Ubisoft cannot for the life of them figure out what makes a good hero. They have, however, accidentally found the formula for creating amazing villains and making them antiheroes. The leads in Far Cry 1 & 2 are so bland it’s not worth writing about them. 3 however…….
Oh boy, where do we start with Far Cry 3’s protagonist. Jason Brody. Never before have I hated a main character as much as I loathe this fucking twat. We get the pleasure of spending our entire run through of 3 playing as Jason, who is your typical spoiled rotten trust fund douche from California. He sucks, his friends suck, everyone that doesn’t want to kill him sucks, his brother was ok but sacrifices himself to save his annoying brother, and his girlfriend sucks. Hope you like them, cause you have to put up with them for the whole game!
Then we have Vaas, brought to life by Michael Mondo. Mondo was so awesome here that I have been a fan of his ever since. From his classic “Definition of insanity” speech, to just being a crazy dickhead that ends up making more sense then Jason, it’s pretty much universally agreed that Vaas is the BEST thing in Far Cry 3. So of course he dies midway into the game cause Jason is just SUCH a badass with his magic tattoos (Oh yeah, Jason has magic tattoos, cause fuck you!), and you get to spend the rest of the game fighting cut/paste drug lord #17 from the book of stock villains. I have other issues with the game, but we’ll stop there and save that for another time. Still, despite the shortcomings, I beat the game, and enjoyed it enough to play Far Cry 4 when I had the chance to play it for free.
In Far Cry 4 we have a much more likable hero in Ajay Ghale. Ajay’s problem is despite being a much more enjoyable character to spend the game with, he is surrounded by fucking assholes and just does whatever asinine thing they ask of him. I’m sure Ubisoft thought they we’re being incredibly clever with the ‘moral choices’ you are presented with during the game while you work with the Golden Path and help one of their leaders raise to power.
The problem is BOTH Sabal and Amita suck, they both make dumb choices, seem like they will get countless people killed or hurt, and are just not good people. Yet they give the orders, and Ajay follows. That starts roughly 15 seconds after meeting them.
Ajay also does whatever a random disk jockey asks of him. I’m starting to think Ajay is just desperate for people to like him.
While your running errands in 4 you will be at odds with Pagan Min. He is everything Vaas isn’t, but is even more awesome. Pagan has more personality then just about every other character in a game I can think of. He’s also just very polite, even when he’s being a dick. The game keeps telling us how bad Pagan is, and how the country will be better off without him but shows us the complete opposite, and I don’t think it’s on purpose. Seeing the bullshit he has to put up with, and the Golden Path just blowing shit up and shooting anyone wearing an army uniform, well, maybe there is a reason he has to be a hard ass. Maybe he wouldn’t have to execute people if Amita wasn’t trying to turn the whole country into a drug operation. Maybe he could relax on some of the violence if people like Sabal weren’t into preserving their rich cultural heritage of child brides and goddesses (and I’ll assume sacrifices).
There is a reason that on EVERY message board for Far Cry you will see countless messages asking if there is some secret way to ditch the Golden Path and joining Pagan’s army.
Then we have Takkar from Far Cry Primal. He grunts a lot, and literally gets pissed on more then you would think, but his story is a simple one. He is just out to keep his people safe, and survive. He’s also kind of a dick, as he has no respect for other cultures, in fact one of the collectibles in the game involves destroying sacred masks of a rival tribe, but don’t feel bad, they’re even bigger dicks then you are. Oh yeah, Takkar is also the first ‘hero’ in the franchise to be encouraged to kill civilians. They give XP just like everyone else, and your pet animals seems to think they are delicious treats. I’m not about to argue with a cavebear, so treats they are.
Some hated Primal. I loved it. It’s VERY basic, but different. It’s stripped of the bad story elements of the last 2 games because their IS NO STORY! You are a cave man, there are other cave men. Some want to sit and make pottery and dance, others wants to eat you or sacrifice you to their gods. It’s very black and white, and the game lives and dies on gameplay alone (this is both good, and bad). I will probably do a full review of it soon, cause I don’t think it got the attention it deserved. I will say this, the game started with me hiding in shadows, cowering on cliff sides at night brandishing a torch to keep wolves away, running from more than 2 enemies at once…. and ended with me riding into bases on the back of my sabretooth tiger, wielding flaming spears made of obsidian that I chucked with enough force to pin people to the walls.
Now in 5 supposedly you get to create your own character for the first time in Far Cry! This alone makes me feel like the main character is going to be terrible. They won’t want to offend anyone, so will most likely have a couple sets of neutral dialog for males, and for females, hell there may even just be one set of dialog for each considering the amount likely needed. This leads me to believe the main character will be intentionally bland, to be more of a blank slate for us to project ourselves onto. If we weren’t supposed to project, then why let us create a character in the first place?
Of course the blandness of the main character will just make the ‘villains’ all the more interesting, engaging, and fun. The stage is being set for them to steal the show, and everyone complaining or blindly defending the game doesn’t even realize it. Now before you try to argue the whole ‘what about the other good guys, your supporting cast?’, just take a moment to remember Sabal, Amita, and the douche brigade from 3.
Those who aren’t playing this game for the gameplay alone need to rethink their pre-orders and purchases. Ubisoft has developed a specific niche that only FC seems able to fill, and it’s sure as hell not about the narrative! Get ready to climb towers, kill wildlife to make a new bag, take over bases, discover the bow is the best weapon in the game, curse at whatever water based predator is in this version, set giant forest fires because you can’t be bothered to hop off your moped to kill the dudes hiding behind that tree, and pick flowers. But this time you get to do it in Montana!
In essence, I think anyone reading too much into the narrative of 5 is a in for some disappointment. Ubisoft may very well be trying to send some political message they feel very passionately about. However, going by their other games, at the rate their going they will end up creating some icon to be used by rednecks and religious zealots that brings more casual people to their side of thinking.
Just look at that dude, sitting there with all the confidence in the world, surrounded by dangerous and obviously unstable people. You already know he’s going to be awesome.