When the expectation is a Far Cry from reality…

Months after its release, I finally beat Far Cry 5 over the weekend.

Now usually the simple act of rolling credits on any game would leave me feeling pretty accomplished and satisfied, but not this time.

In fact, once I had taken everything into account with the time I had spent in Hope County, I was left pretty disappointed.

Without spoiling the events of Ubisoft’s open-world trudge, the ending to the tiresome story only served to confirm that I was kidding myself on about really enjoying this game.

Once all was said and done with the main story, I just sat there on the sofa with a realisation that I had completely ignored for hours on end.

The realisation was simple – I just didn’t have any fun playing this game.

Rather than get pissed off, I’ve spent the last few days thinking about that moment and why I didn’t just turn the thing off.

My gaming habits have largely stayed the same since my halcyon days reviewing titles to a deadline, playing games to at least finish the main campaign, its a good habit to have when playing anything.

I’ll also admit that a major driving factor towards the end was to finish Far Cry 5 because I paid for it and wouldn’t trade it in, a major pitfall of going digital-only this year.

When motivated by sheer frugality this disappointment quickly turns to frustration as no one likes to realise they have bought magic beans.

Ultimately I think what made Far Cry 5 such a disappointment was the fact that what I considered to be a ‘sure-thing’ good investment of my time and money proved to be the opposite.

Getting hyped (and often a bit carried away with said hype) is just part of being a gamer, it is exciting and very often can lead to some letdowns.

Fair enough.

Leading up to release Far Cry 5 looked to have everything I could want from the series: a beautiful American setting, rewarding exploration and a creepy cult tale to usher you along.

While it did have all of these elements, the whole experience just didn’t improve on what I loved so much about the Far Cry series in the first place – empowerment.

Whether you were playing as island douche Jason or freedom fighting Ajay, Far Cry really made you feel powerful and communicated a real sense of progression into a skilled murder machine.

Far Cry 5 on the other hand, felt like it had a more stuttering share of power to the player.

Guns and difficulty aside, no matter what your actions are in this game you are never made to feel like it matters, rendering whatever you do useless.

Empowerment is an important element for many games, especially for a title which has done such an excellent job of creating the ultimate power fantasy for players through the years.

This is what made the ending feel odder for me, instead of building to a natural crescendo as expected Far Cry 5 does the opposite and strip everything away from you.

I’m sure for some this kind of boomerang narrative will come across as an ingenious twist, more power to them, but for me, it just served as confirmation that I should have played something else.

Without the payoff at the end to leave you with an ounce of satisfaction, all that grinding to reach the conclusion just leaves you feeling pretty hollow.

There are good moments in Far Cry 5 and it is by no means terrible, but the ending completely missed the mark and will leave a lot of players wanting.

Despite the sense of wasted time, I did have one thing to feel good about once the credits started rolling… my pile of shame just got a little lighter before this year’s AAA glut.


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