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Title: Far Cry 5

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC

Cost: $59.99

Rating: Rated Mature for blood and gore, intense violence, language, sexual themes

Score: 9/10

Eschewing the series' normally exotic and far-flung locales, Ubisoft chose fictional Hope County, Mont., as the setting of its latest venture, Far Cry 5. It's a bold choice, especially in the current political climate, but it appears to have paid off.

Hope County is ruled by a charismatic doomsday preacher, Joseph Seed, who -- along with his family -- has a fanatical, militarized cult called Eden's Gate ready to carry out all sorts of gruesome tasks. It is the player's job, as a deputy sheriff, to put a stop to the Seed family's lawlessness.

It would have been easy for the developers to bash militias, religion and rural folk in a game like this; instead, they took the high road to create a game where common ground can be found, regardless of political affiliation. While the bad guys do indeed have their own militias and radical religious beliefs, the "good guys" -- a Resistance that you, as the deputy, help create -- is also chock full of Second Amendment-supporting, U.S. flag-waving people who stay pretty rough around the edges.

Far Cry 5 feels like the offspring of Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto 5 and Red Dead Redemption -- a modern-day Wild West adventure on a massive free-to-roam map.

The game's open world is beautiful and life-like. It's simply amazing how good the game looks, actually. It would be easy to mistake screenshots of this game for actual photographs. In addition to showcasing the wilds of Montana -- from wooded mountains to hay fields and small towns -- Far Cry 5 also sports incredibly detailed interiors. There are hundreds of buildings to explore, and every one seems unique, with its own layout and decor.

The main plot involves first taking down the three lieutenants in Joseph Seed's doomsday cult. Each controls about one-third of the county, and building up a guerrilla militia in each of those sections allows for a confrontation first with those leaders, and then, finally, the main leader.

The Seed family's atrocities are limitless. They've gone around seizing land and kidnapping people, forcing them to join the Eden's Gate cult -- a process helped by getting everyone hooked on a mind-altering drug called "Bliss." Anyone who resists is gunned down.

You're not alone in the fight. There are nonplayer characters (NPCs) that will battle alongside you. There's a dog named Boomer, Peaches the cougar and Cheeseburger the bear, as well as half a dozen human companions. I like the granny who flies an attack helicopter, machine guns blazing.

There's more to do in Hope County besides just shoot bad guys. Hunting and fishing are also options. Certain animals can be harvested for their pelts. The lakes and rivers are full of various kinds of fish. That's also a way to make money -- the fish and pelts can be sold at shops.

There are helicopters and planes, and the player can equip a parachute or squirrel suit to glide through the air or drop in on enemy camps from the sky.

One of my favorite moments was cruising down a picturesque country road in a '70s-style muscle car while listening to Creedence Clearwater's "Bad Moon Rising" on the radio -- and every so often swerving to run over cultists standing close the road.

A feature I'm grateful for is the inclusion of cooperative play in the main story mode. Some online modes can handle up to six players at once. There's also a Season Pass available -- at some point in the future, a zombie mode will be added, along with additional campaign content. Already at least 100 hours of entertainment are available in the base game.

Ubisoft went all-out with Far Cry 5. It created a 30-minute, live-action short film titled Inside Eden's Gate -- available on YouTube -- that serves as a prologue for the game.

The game features 98 fake brands, 52 animal species and 96 voice actors (it would take 75 hours just to listen to every line of the dialogue in the game).

It seems to have been a hit with fans; estimates are that the game sold almost 5 million copies in its first week. For comparison, Far Cry 4 sold 8 million copies in its first year.

This is definitely a game for mature players only, though. There are visceral depictions of violence and torture, and seemingly every character possesses a vocabulary that would make the saltiest sea dog blush.

Overall, Far Cry 5 offers outstanding value, with hundreds of hours of play plus online modes and a built-in mapmaker so players can create their own single and multiplayer maps.

Far Cry 5 was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.

ActiveStyle on 04/16/2018

Print Headline: Game On

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