I'll be honest, I was not interested in Far Cry 5 at all. The setting seemed uninteresting after the majesty of the environments in the previous entries and the return to a modern setting felt like a step back after Primal. I was also fatigued by the Far Cry formula, a formula I believe Ubisoft perfected in Far Cry 4. When the reviews came out, I was surprised to hear how the game had shifted to a player-driven exploration system to unlock locations and quests. I wondered if Ubisoft had found the same open-world magic that the team behind Zelda: Breath of the Wild had discovered.
Picking the game up, I was absolutely right. If you rush through Far Cry 5, you likely won't find much to change your opinion of the series. This is a game, however, that expects you to adjust your habits to meet its particular rhythm, a game that has learned from the best open world games of the last year. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that the company made such big changes: Assassin's Creed: Origins was similarly saddled with series fatigue and really blew me away with the lessons it had learned from similar games, especially The Witcher 3.
A game this dense deserves to be savored. There is a ton of hidden and secret content in Far Cry 5, but there are an equal number of systems that are kept deliberately obtuse from the player, things you'll only discover if you've got the time. Or, if you let me take the time for you!
Ubisoft may be taking a page out of Rockstar's mystery book with the mystery of the Sasquatch in Far Cry 5. Players have found a remote cabin that kicks off a Prepper Stash quest, following in the footsteps of a Hope County resident who thinks he's on the trail of Bigfoot. Follow the quest, and you'll find the hunter's corpse and some weird, too-big footprints in the mud nearby. Things get weirder once you get inside his shelter.
There's a map on the wall with plenty of locations around the Whitetail Mountains which the hunter has planned to investigate or has eliminated as possibilities. Players have been taking up the hunt, even going so far as staying in certain spots overnight to see if anything pops up. It may be nothing, or a clue to forthcoming DLC.
This is a new one, Kotaku just reported it on April 11, and is an even more mysterious and creepy hidden secret than the hunt for the Sasquatch. Player Colby reported hearing weird static coming from his car radio that sometimes sounded like someone, or something, crying out in agony.
The static and accompanying groans sound a lot like Silent Hill to me.
Reddit user colby-klaus, with the help of the Far Cry subreddit, has been chasing down leads trying to figure out where, exactly, the transmission occurs and what it might be leading them towards. In a game as dense as Far Cry 5, there is a possibility this is a just a glitch caused by too many emergent systems emerging at once but, with the high number of people able to recreate Colby's findings, it could be much more.
Larry Walker is the tinfoil hat-wearing nut of Far Cry 5. In a game built around conspiracy theorist extremists, Larry stands out only for holding onto the 90s staple of conspiracy theories: aliens. You find Larry trapped in his own homemade electrical prison and he sends you all over Holland Valley looking for pieces of alien technology.
Larry's story is the key to the mystery of the crop circle visible on the map at Bradbury Farm, which is itself a reference to science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury. Completing all Larry's tasks gets you the Magnopulser, a weapon that acts like a Force Push at medium range and completely dusts your targets into a red mist when close-up. It'll also vape any loot or cash they're carrying, so don't use it if you're low on cash.
Far Cry 4 made waves upon release with the revelation that there was a 'secret' way to beat the game pretty much right away at the beginning. When your buddy is dragged away from a feast to be tortured by dictator Pagan Min, Min asks you to stick around for about 10 minutes and "try the crab rangoon." Thing is, you can do just that and Min will come back about ten minutes later, let you spread your mother's ashes, and roll credits.
Far Cry 5 has a similar sequence, though it isn't as funny or surprising. You are given the task of handcuffing cult leader Joseph Seed by pressing a button. If you don't do it, after a few minutes the Sheriff will back down and the four of you will walk away from the church, leaving the Seeds in peace.
"Immersive" HUD options are becoming a major feature in triple-A releases these days. We are finally in an age where the graphics are so good you can glean most of the information you need just by looking at the game environment. The "Pro" HUD option in Zelda: Breath of the Wild turns off everything except your health and stamina meter (Which only pops up when you use it) and the game is so well designed and has such simple visuals that everything you need to know is right there in the game world.
Far Cry 5 has the option to remove everything at one time hidden away in the "Interface" section of the Options menu. You can turn everything on or off, or select individual items. I like to switch off everything for walking through the forest or fishing and turn everything on for combat, but experiment to see what works for you.
My favorite location so far in Far Cry isn't even marked on the map. The prepper stash "Mayday" sees you climbing, walking, and grappling up a waterfall, searching a for downed Militia airplane. Once you find it, you can easily wingsuit back down into the Whitetail Valley, but if you keep going north you'll find something extraordinary.
In what must be a volcanic crater at the top of a mountain is a peaceful fishing hole surrounded by high rock and sparse tree cover. There are no enemies here, other than an occasional Wolf Trainer Cultist and the odd Grizzly Bear and Wolverine, and no gameplay reason to travel this way, other than a "hard" fishing spot. It's an area of natural beauty with no purpose other than to exist and give you a bit of a breather.
Despite the absolute glut of think pieces flooding the internet about Far Cry 2 being the best game in the series and this hidden gem that only the most sophisticated of gamers can appreciate, Far Cry 4 is considered the best game in the series. With its unique Himalayan setting, memorable villain, and synergy of stealth gameplay with explosive mayhem, 4 still rings in the hearts of a lot of fans.
I still have nightmares about eagles.
Ubisoft went all out on the references in Far Cry 5 and the beloved previous numbered installment in the franchise was not left out of the fun. While many have written about the purchasable Vaas bobblehead you can stick to the dashboard of your car, Ubisoft Club members can also buy a figure of beloved villain Pagan Min, voiced by Troy Baker. There is also a less-obvious reference: the fashion magazines scattered about Hope County referencing Muma Chiffon, the quest giver for the Kyrat Fashion Week quests in 4.
It's not just the numbered entries getting the easter egg love: oddball experiments like Blood Dragon and Primal get nods in Far Cry 5, too. While the Blood Dragon reference has been covered elsewhere on this site, the winks towards Primal aren't as obvious. (And one of them didn't exist until this week!)
First, that brand-new one: This week, members of the Ubisoft Club who owned Primal were given access to a full outfit inspired by the prehistoric garb of that game. That means The Deputy can liberate Hope County in all their loincloth-and-tiger-teeth-necklace glory. A less obvious but much cooler reference to Primal can be found in a cave to the south of Rae-Rae's Pumpkin Farm. (Where you get Boomer, the best video game dog ever.) Frobisher's Cave has a few primitive cave paintings on the walls, just like in Primal!
I don't know for sure if this is an actual, planned secret or just a freaky weird glitch on the part of whatever system governs animal spawning, but there is a tiny island that is just full of deadly rattlesnakes in the Whitetail Mountains.
The sound is like a thousand scaly, deadly cassettes.
While exploring the area behind the Grand View Hotel, where Jacob brainwashes his followers, I took a boat out to the small island with a cabin on it directly to the north. After securing the dock, I went in to scout the interior. That's when I heard them. Not one, or two, or three, but at least five distinct rattlesnake warnings. I used every Molotov I had and burned that island to black ash.
Video games have been trying to make a decent fishing minigame for years and it just hasn't clicked with me, for whatever reason. Despite Final Fantasy 15's lush visuals and amazing environments, I never had the compulsion to take a breather and go fishing. There's something about Far Cry 5's environments, and how peaceful they are when you're safe from enemies, that makes fishing in FC5 a real joy.
While fishing for profit is obvious, there is a less clear metagame to fishing. Each area's HQ has a board somewhere with the biggest fish of each type posted. By fishing in areas marked HARD on your map, you can beat those records and eventually earn perk points. You don't get any kind of notification for beating the record, you have to physically go to the board to see if a blue ribbon has been added.
If you follow the main road into Whitetail Mountains, you'll come across Skylar trying to force her boyfriend out of their trailer. Help her out, and she'll give you some fishing tips as well as let you in on a secret: there's a legendary fish called The Admiral that she's vowed to catch. You need to prove your ability to Skylar before she'll let you know where The Admiral is. Catching the guy gets you a unique fishing rod.
Wonderboy The Wonder Rod! The whole thing reminds me a lot of an episode from the second season of The Simpsons, where Homer and Marge go to a marriage retreat in the mountains to work on their relationship. Homer schemes to catch a legendary fish, General Sherman, and does, but lets it go to prove his love to his wife.
A common criticism of Far Cry 5 is the game is too eager to toss tons of enemies at you and it can be hard to get a breather. I disagree with this critique, and wonder if it is a side-effect of many reviewers being forced to rush through the game to meet a deadline. If you're always driving on the road, yeah, you're gonna run into a lot of heat. If you're skulking in the woods like the guerilla you are, it's much easier to stay hidden.
Or you could just end everyone.
The expression "cut off the head of the snake and the body perishes" applies well to the three regions of Far Cry 5. Once you fill up your resistance meter, you're forced into a confrontation with the leader of each province. End them, and the cult basically collapses in the area. You can now explore that region in relative peace.
This is an old stealth game trick that works just as well in 5 has it has in the other games in the series. The enemies in the game have three 'alert states:' I call them normal, searching, and combat. Enemies will enter 'search' mode if they find a deceased body. They may or may not call out to other enemies in an area, but no one will enter combat unless they physically see you. You can use this to your advantage.
Eliminate an enemy and let his body fall within sight of another. The second will investigate so you can take him down too. Bonus points if you put an explosive on the first body, though the explosion will generate a lot of attention.
In the Southeastern corner of the map, in Hannebane River, is a truly creepy location. Dubbed Mannequin Ghost Town by the internet, the place used to be a Wild West Ghost Town attraction and someone has filled it with a ton of mannequins in weird dioramas.
There are picnicking mannequins, mannequins hanging off rooftops and climbing scaffolding, mannequins reenacting a bank heist, you name it. There doesn't seem to be any explanation of who did this or why, though there is a note on a bench that hints at a disturbed young man. It's significant enough to have dialogue written about it. In this video the player's companions mention how creepy the place is. If it makes you feel any better, you can go around shooting all the mannequins, which tumble apart into their component limbs.
This is a great example of the emergent gameplay in Far Cry 5. John Seed's territory, Holland Valley, is dominated by a giant white YES sign erected on the mountainside, very similar to the Hollywood sign in LA. While fighting in the area it can be a handy landmark but, once John is deceased, it's time to take the thing down.
There's no mission marker for this but if you start to damage the sign, like in a helicopter gunship as I did, you'll get a mission and a damage meter. Pour some lead and rockets into the sign, take it down piece-by-piece, and you'll get some cash and other rewards. I'm not far enough in the game to check yet, but I bet there's a similar mission for that big Joseph statue you fly by in the intro…
In what seems to be a cute way for Far Cry 5's designers to let you know they're aware of how creative their players are, there is a little hidden "Hello" in the prepper stash titled Long-Distance Lockpick. Seems some players had the idea that they didn't have to shoot the lockout at all, and thought the skinny chimney sticking out of the roof the shack was a clue.
Skinny Santas only, please.
Looks like whoever designed this stash figured players would try to circumvent shooting the lock from across the lake and stuck a white foam mannequin head into the chimney which can only be seen if you're looking down in your cheeky attempt to break the quest.
Previous Far Cry games have gone to great lengths to create believable isolated locales for their ridiculous power fantasies. Rook Island and Kyrat in were separate from the rest of the world by the ocean and the Himalayas, respectively, whereas Blood Dragon and Primal were set in their own kinds of dystopias. Hope County, Montana isn't physically isolated from the rest of the US, and there are plenty of characters who are planning to or already have fled the embattled area, but there are clues that the world outside isn't much better.
One of the two radio stations you can hear while driving in the game isn't functioning as a cult propaganda station and seems to be relatively unbiased. The picture it paints of the US is pretty brutal, however, discussing the US Government being unable to pay its police officers, among other hints that the Seeds may not be entirely wrong about The Collapse being upon them.
Far Cry 5 isn't as egregious in its masses of useless, tiny collectibles as other games in the Ubisoft catalog have been, but there are still a lot of tiny things to pick up in Hope County. A missing comic book collection, milk crates full of vinyl records, grizzly bear bobbleheads, and little league baseball cards, are all there to check off as you rampage through Montana.
At least one of these lists is a little easier to fill in than the others: vendors will sell you a map of the location of the missing comic books, adding icons to your map in Holland Valley, though you still have to zoom in for them to show up. The map is easy to miss: it's at the very bottom of the "Items" section of the store.
Anyone who played Horizon: Zero Dawn got used to crafting arrows, traps, and ropes, on the fly while dodging like a maniac. I thought this mechanic would be a pain but Horizon's slow-mo while crafting make it an essential tactic in combat, especially since some of the bigger dinos take a ton of hardware to bring down. Far Cry 5's system isn't as essential, you can't make bullets or arrows, but you can craft certain throwables on-the-fly from components you've picked up.
Why you can make dynamite by hand but not pipe bombs is beyond me.
There's a perk that speeds this up and reduces the number of materials you need as well. One handy tip, you can hold down the throw button to cook most of your throwables. Watching the wick go down on a stick of dynamite is pretty hairy- make sure you throw it before it gets down to the bottom.
Nick Rye, your pilot companion, is one of the only companions I found truly useful, outside of Boomer, of course, the best video game dog since Fable 2. Nick is most useful for taking out Cult airplanes, which get sent after you once you've gotten your resistance meter up to level 3.
Nick is also handy for one specific task: he's the best way to blow up the supply trucks, armed convoys, and silos, you'll see as you drive around. Instead of going out of your way to take them on yourself, just tag them for Nick and he'll strafe and bomb them until they're smoldering wreckage. Hopping into a plane or helicopter gunship yourself is always an option too- unlocking one of the weapon-equipped choppers should be a mid-game priority.
Zelda: Breath of the Wild was rightly praised for the majesty of its open world, a game design choice that left most of the discovery up to the player and whose rewards were beautiful views and pure satisfaction rather than any kind of 'real' gameplay benefit like a new weapon. While it's likely the Zelda and Far Cry 5 felt that now was the time for open world games to change, they have this player-driven exploration in common. Also, their 'dungeon' design is exactly the same.
In principle, I mean. Not literally.
Both of these games have small puzzle rooms, usually underground, that revolve around iterating on a specific mechanic, like climbing or swimming or using your tools. Sound familiar? Far Cry 5 would have been far along in development before the release of Zelda. I think this is a synergy of trends rather than Ubisoft seeing what worked and running with it.
It's not just the more recent Far Cry entries getting references in Far Cry 5. This may be a move to unify all the different games in a series that hasn't been afraid to make big changes to its tone and locations. Far Cry 4 had the character of Longinus, a survivor of the civil war central to the plot of Far Cry 2, and 5 has a cute nod to the most difficult game in the series: a book about how annoying malaria is, a dig at the oft-maligned malaria attacks in that game.
True immersion is remembering to take your pills on time.
Appearing for a series-record third time is Danny McBride impersonator Hurk. Hurk was a quest giver in 3, he represented your co-op partner in 4, and he's a fully voiced companion in 5.
So begins the long list of other games referenced in Far Cry 5. While most of the easter eggs present in the new release are nods to other Ubisoft titles, I guess the devs at Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto just couldn't resist driving this nearly ten-year-old gag just a little further into the ground.
There's nothing coming out of this STONE.
The inexplicable hatred for the old Skyrim line "I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow in the knee," is ostensibly a critique of the limited random dialogue options in that game and, fair enough, you do get sick of hearing "Curved Swords" after a while. Far Cry 5's modified "until I took a bullet in the knee" is like the pot calling the kettle black.
These ridiculous side quests are surprisingly easy to miss, considering they're marked in-game with fireworks and rock music. On the map, "Chuck Nixon" looks like any other named NPC. In the world, though, the markers lead players to memorial plaques that, when interacted with, launch the most ridiculous thing in the game.
Legend in Heaven.
Seems Chuck Nixon was a legendary stunt performer (there are posters of him all over Hope County) who was famous for pulling off insane stunts while horribly intoxicated. The player is tasked with creating these stunts, like flying a plane through a canyon, while a truly excellent heavy metal ballad about Chuck plays underneath someone doing a deliberately terrible Ronald Reagan impression (who also narrates your actions). It's the skewed perspective on American macho nonsense of Far Cry 5 taken to the extreme and it's a delight.