Let The Water Wash Away Your Sins
Happy Weekend TAY!
Ugh, this is quite the cold I’ve been enjoying (maybe flu?), it has been with me for over a week. I’m hopefully at the tail end, but at least all that downtime allowed me to finish Far Cry 5.
Wow, what an experience! I’ve always loved the Far Cry series as much for the gameplay as for the storytelling and Far Cry 5 doesn’t disappoint. I’m still processing everything I saw and heard, but it was a heckuva lot of fun.
Like its predecessors, Far Cry 5 was a little too easy overall but thankfully it seemed to be the toughest one since Far Cry 2. However, I was pissed to see a higher difficulty unlock after finishing the campaign. I’m constantly disappointed with the hubris of developers and publishers that think they know how hard I want my games or that I’ll have the time to play their huge game all over again with the difficulty setting I would prefer. As much as I enjoyed Far Cry 5, it is a very similar experience to the previous games and I’ll just move on to the DLC at some point (or the next release in the franchise) to get my fix. I could possibly see playing Far Cry 5 again, just to revisit the story, but I would imagine it would be at least a decade before that happens. Hopefully Uplay will still exist at that point and that it remembers all the stuff I unlocked in 2019.
Regardless of the issues I have with the difficulty in Far Cry 5...that story...oh boy, what a ride!
I’ve always loved the writing in the Far Cry games. They are occasionally quite funny, often thought provoking, but particularly dark and shocking. Far Cry 5 is likely the darkest of the series, but that’s partially due to me being more familiar with the source material than the other games. Perversion only works well when you have a good understanding of the ideas being twisted. Growing up in a christian household and bound to the U.S. by family and land, Far Cry 5 hits home far more than the exotic or fantasy worlds of the previous games.
While there isn’t a real Hope County, Montana, Far Cry 5’s first steps on the shores of the United States are based on the stereotypes of American preppers and militant gun-loving cults. It is often presented tongue-in-cheek, but as with the previous games, there are hard-hitting ideas on display that ring particularly true in today’s world. I always feel that the storytellers in Far Cry are letting the player see many sides of an argument and the players own biases will colour their experience. There are definitely bad guys in the game, but the player doesn’t escape without blood on their own hands.
The writers did a fantastic job with the cult aspect of the story and the mix of music and recorded sermons playing on repeat begin to work on the player. The more I listened, the more I started to agree with some of the ideas the cult was pushing, even though I disagreed with their methods so much that I murdered most of them. It was a great narrative and even though there was the Far Cry trademark psychedelic and supernatural moments, it somehow felt more grounded as an experience. Amazing ending too...I never saw it coming.
The gameplay was a little less cohesive. I never felt any real push to do many of the side missions and only ran around on fetch quests because the game is such a joy to move around in.
I returned to the game after the credits to get some screenshots (with the HDR disabled) and I discovered many detailed locations and structures that the game simply never made me visit. I suppose if you want to be a completionist that you will see all the content, I just felt less of a need to collect things than with previous entries in the series.
I think we need some evolution in Far Cry’s design to shake off the strong feeling of deja vu you get from the gameplay after all these years. I’d like to start seeing more permanence to the world similar to something like State of Decay and I definitely need some more challenging AI. Also, they really need to straighten out the economy or ditch it altogether. I never seemed to need cash, always had tons on hand, and could fly and wreck all the planes and helicopters my heart desired.
Still...I’d buy a lot more Far Cry games, even without any changes...that’s how much fun I had.
And even though my gushing and rambling is getting long winded, I have to mention the music.
I almost never (unless forced) enable soundtracks in most of the games I play. This isn’t to say there isn’t amazing music to be found in video games. I love the Doom (2016) soundtrack but I turned it off in the game. I find games far more immersive with just the ambient sounds of the worlds I visit. I enjoy the nature sounds in Skyrim VR and the city soundscape in Marvel’s Spider-Man, much more than the weird unconnected soundtrack that is layered on top of my world. This is especially true in games like Far Cry where sound is a major factor in the gameplay and listening is an important sense. I’d never go hunting while listening to music, especially when what I’m hunting might also be hunting me.
**Spoiler Warning for video below, it contains a small portion of a mission in Marvel’s Spider-Man for PS4**
However, turning off music isn’t without perils. You often also end up turning off music that is important to the game if the developers haven’t done things correctly.
Turning off the soundtrack in Spider-Man on PS4 also ends up turning off the music during a mission at a dance, as well as for the final cutscenes, where we are clearly supposed to be hearing music. Far Cry 5 uses music in cutscenes (with the soundtrack off) and I’m absolutely on-board with that. I think as a cinematic tool music is extremely powerful, it just often feels out of place and disconnected during gameplay.
Far Cry 5 not only understands music as an object in the game but almost makes it a character. I don’t want to spoil how the music is used and changes in Far Cry 5 to affect you, but the mix of music with the cult themes really gets in your head. If you don’t go away from Far Cry 5 humming “Let The Water Wash Away Your Sins”, you weren’t paying attention. I feel a little brainwashed actually, I’m contemplating buying the soundtracks (there seems to be four separate releases) and they are so not my jam. (...or are they?)
The quality and variety of music on the radios in the game is impressive and makes the world feel more real because of it. I don’t even know why you’d want to turn on the general soundtrack at all, Far Cry 5’s world is alive with music on its own. Definitely one of the best uses of music in video gaming.
Good stuff that Far Cry 5. I had a blast with it...even though I’ve now played an awful lot of that game through the years; I always have a rough and tumble good time and leave with a few new scars.
I’m hoping this weekend for more Dying Light with the kid and more time with Hollow Knight which I’ve just started. It’s no Ori so far, but it has a great atmosphere.
So, what are you playing this weekend?