Biased Notes Vol. 3: Far Cry 5

by Jed Pressgrove

You can read my review of Far Cry 5 here.

1. The artificial intelligence in this game can be quite bad; many times enemies won’t see you if you’re in their line of sight. But it’s the AI of your allies that can be comically terrible. Early on, I destroyed a truck which started a fire, and my ally proceeded to run into the fire and call for help before falling to the ground. My ally would also frequently block doorways that I needed to walk through. My quick solution? Shoot them in the head, walk over their prostrate body, and revive them. It’s funny (and pathetic) that a big-budget title in 2018 would inspire me to do such a thing, when a game as old as Final Fantasy VI (1994) featured characters who would get out of your way.

2. The best part of Far Cry 5 is avoiding roads altogether and trying to drive, at top speed, through woods and hills. The arcade charm of this activity cannot be denied: the shrubbery and small trees that you can knock out of the way look like cheap assets from Cruisin’ USA. Driving in this manner recalls the classic rural pastime of being a fool in the middle of nowhere, and if you don’t collide with too many big trees or dive into gullies and water, it saves time when going from point A to point B.

3. Far Cry 5 has a so-called open world, but it can be hard to remember that during the scripted sequences. The cycle goes like this: once you build up a certain amount of “Resistance Points” in one of the game’s three territories, the villainous leader of the territory sends a group of hunters to knock you out and bring you in. You can’t stop this capture, which leads to a crappy mini level. What’s ridiculous is that this contrivance occurs multiple times for each territory. You would think that instead of waiting for someone to blow up cult property after cult property and kill cult member after cult member, the main villains would have hunters on your ass the whole time. Not to mention that the “Resistance Points” concept panders to trendy political audiences. At this point, “resistance” is nothing more than a code word for people who want to appear hip and active between bouts of retweeting media figureheads who have dollar signs in their eyes.

4. As far as I know, Far Cry 5 marks the second time in two years that a big-budget game has featured a black Christian minister who seems all too comfortable with violence (Mafia III did it back in 2016). This choice of character is sort of a super stereotype, as it suggests the inherent violent nature of black men wins out even among the leaders of a religion that bases itself on the nonviolent example of Jesus Christ. Ignoring race for a moment, such a character could also inspire a variation on the lyrics of that idiotic Eminem song: “Will the real Christian please stand up?”

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