I felt Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was messy, with a fluctuating tone and some off-putting characters. But I was won over by its sincere call for love and reason to win out over hate and violence. On completing the game this week, I was surprised to find this was also how I felt about Far Cry 5.
I’m generalising, but I see the Far Cry discussion falling into two camps: publications like Polygon and Eurogamer criticising the game for supposedly having a weak story and lack of political commentary; and defenders of the game who insist the story isn’t important, that the game is just fun. I don’t agree with either take.
On a technical level, the game is astonishingly detailed, with features like feuding wildlife, fully-functional aircraft instruments, and catchy propaganda tunes by the game’s evil cult playing on the radio. With so much effort on show, it’s surely rash to dismiss the story as a cop-out or afterthought. That the game’s moody story missions and cut scenes are jarringly at odds with the zanier sandbox mayhem of the open world is impossible to argue with: listening to a harrowing confession of infanticide is definitely a contrast from taking on an enemy outpost with the help of a biddable grizzly bear named Cheeseburger. However, I believe the developers are aware of this and the dissonance is possibly intentional.