“Only You” – An Updated Far Cry 5 Perspective

It’s fair to say that my recent post about the flaws in Far Cry 5 – more specifically the fact that I wasn’t playing it properly and getting annoyed – may have come across as generally quite disappointing. I am happy to report that I was an idiot, and now I think that it is my new favourite in the series, just edging ahead of Far Cry 3 thanks to some bold decisions. First and foremost, however, we need to have a chat about gaming perspective.

So. Imagine you are playing an open world shooter. Emphasis here is on open world. In fact let’s take Half Life 2 as an example. How much ‘narrative’ is there really in Half Life 2? Sure there is dialogue at certain points, but the majority of the game is relatively quiet moments punctuated by action and puzzle solving. But no one would say that the game doesn’t have a plot, or a purpose. It just doesn’t need to be sat screaming at you about your motivations throughout. When it comes to open world, there is a fine balance between keeping the plot active and letting the player explore unencumbered by the trappings of the platform. So it’s integral to the experience that the gamer be allowed to draw their own conclusions, make their own decisions and take their own path. This cannot be done with rigidity. It has to be subtle to a point whilst also keeping a thread going. This is not easy, but in my opinion – as a paying punter who has powered through over fifty hours in game – it works beautifully.

Perspective is so important when judging a film on the merits that it may or may not exhibit, so while some moan that it has a paper thin plot that avoids too much discussion of political issues I would say ‘POOH! POOH TO YOU!’ as it is absolutely driven by a political stance, that stance being ‘the powers that be will possibly ruin everything for everyone’. It’s not a difficult or fantastical concept really. A cult that believes that capitalism is leading to selfish and confrontational ideas within the international political stage and is concerned about ‘God’s Wrath’ which is handy cult speak for ‘Nuclear Armageddon’. So while the politics are there, this is a reaction to real world politics whilst also making fair commentary about national pride, the choice to protect your loved ones and the enjoyment of eating testicles that have been harvested to the strains of Marvin Gaye.

The Eden’s Gate ‘Cult’ is also fascinating in their provocation and persuasion, while they seem to be forcing people to follow their beliefs, there is always that niggling thought of ‘what if they are right?’. It doesn’t take divine intervention to propose the idea that a power mad lunatic with access to a nuclear salvo could quickly turn even the greenest of meadows into an apocalyptic hell hole like Nottingham. Much of the resistance comes from folks who don’t appreciate being told what to do, less so the method. Sure there is plenty of evidence that Eden’s Gate are a nutjob bunch who are capable of despicable things, but isn’t that also true of the Tory government and look at how many people vote for them.

It might sound like I find myself sympathising – or maybe empathising – with the cult, and that would be very accurate. I’ve sort of radicalised myself thanks to the music that has been created for the game that is eerily persuasive in it’s jolly take down of Capitalism and celebration of the Seed family. I’ve had the playlists on constantly from Spotify and by the time I finished the game I was almost convinced that I knew what was going to happen and what I was going to do. And then [the thing] happened. I won’t dip into spoiler territory here but what happened stunned me, excited me and made me wish I was able to share the moment with other folk almost immediately. Annoyingly – however – at that point, according to the achievement tracker, less than 4% of players had completed the game so I trawled through Twitter with a stream of search terms to try and find folk who had completed the main story themselves to see if I could spark conversation.

This almost NEVER happens.

Soon enough I was sliding into DMs like a chav all hopped up on Lynx Africa and Red Bull and I was discussion characters, events and more with the sort of enthusiasm you’d expect from a chav sliding into DMs all hopped up on Lynx Africa and Red Bull only I kept my trousers on and didn’t send photographs to unwitting recipients. Instead I got enthusiastic about telephone calls in-game, about the variety of weapons and companions and how the right combination can turn a difficult mission into a breeze and about how much fun I had punching people into firepits while high on drugs… performance enhancers. The other players echoed my sentiments and I was happy. Not because I had found approval for my thought processes, but because sometimes it’s brilliant to discuss a game with people who actually played it and have an opinion based upon actually putting in the graft. Now you might argue that finding agreeable opinion from the people who were among the first to finish the game would be akin to finding someone who likes trains alongside a railway bridge in York, while waiting to photograph the Flying Scotsman, but it doesn’t make it less worthy. It just means you are less likely to hear ‘opinions’ from folk who don’t like the game without having played it, and are simply echoing the words of some pretentious and smug ‘Tuber who has ‘strong feelings about the ethics of Ubisoft games’ while last week they were posting up videos of that time that they grabbed girls and called them bitches while laughing at the camera knowing full well that viewers would both approve and disapprove in equal measure. Fucking ethics of game design, from a twat in a shed who thinks that women are for sex and sandwiches? Fuck off mate.

Sometimes it’s just nice to have an enthusiastic chat. So that’s what I offer you all, if you want. Just slide into my DMs (@Bouncybhall).

Far Cry 5 is brilliant, it is quiet at times and near apocalyptic at others. Try it out, give it time, and make your own mind up!

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