Content of the article: "My Thoughts On FC5 (tl;dr loved it), very light ‘spoilers’, I guess, if you have never heard of the game or seen an image or something to that level of newness"
Earlier this year, my gf and I played our first game together, start to finish, "A Way Out", on my PS4 Pro. This is neither the subreddit or the place for it, but I'll say the reviews weren't wrong imo!
Then we tried ARK. I love sandbox and open world. I can forgive a lot. But after trying it for 5-10 minutes alone… I thought, "I can barely hang with these interfaces (console, I know!) and UI… I can't expect her to bother with this in the midst of not being comfortable with 3d gaming in general yet". But… we gave it a go with some coffee one morning and that's kinda the "rest is history" portion of us gaming together constantly now, but there's more.
ARK suddenly went on the fritz when their big content drop came earlier this year… playing split screen on one machine, as the host, most of the time I had multiple layers of her shading textures overlayed on my half of the screen, so it was like I was always in 'tall grass' if you will, just wandering around. It would get considerably worse depending on what she was looking at or doing. But we really wanted to play ARK. So… with Covid looming and keeping us inside, we decided to try to find her an inexpensive, used PS4 to play on.
Welp, we ended up just buying a brand new PS4 Pro because I felt it was not the right battle for penny pinching… "penny wise, pound foolish" and all that. If we are going to potentially sink hundreds of dollars and hours into it… what's another $100 or so to (hopefully) ensure it's as nice as it can be?
We kept consuming games after that. It was incredible. LAN PARTY EVERY DAY. Ethernet going at like 75/15 for both of us. But one thing kept ruining our fun: bugs.
Bugs. Bugs everywhere! Some games being worse offenders than others, but it started to get to be like a 'boogey man'. We stopped having 'fun' and started wondering when something was gonna show up and break our immersion, force us to reload (potentially dozens of times in the case of RDR2O), etc.
We tried FC5. And the angels did sing! Or, that was probably Joseph talking about it, but whatever. It was pretty glorious. There have been next to no bugs, and the only ones to speak of have been of the goofy variety.
I've always liked stealth games, joking that "there are two kinds of people in the world: those who love stealth games, and those who have not tried them yet". I consider it a universal (ish) appeal akin to James Bond, spies, ninjas, 'special forces', etc. Welp… Turns out she likes stealth, too. And, UNLIKE ME, she loves rocking a sniper rifle. I can't describe the joy it brings me to watch her explore all these 'game-isms' so earnestly, and make these comments along the way that demonstrate her interest and attention is more than just passing, and that the gears are turning, in the way I think is the most beautiful part of being human. In the span of ~9 months, she's become the only person I consistently want to game with, on an "I'm down for whatever. Rocket League? Red Dead? FFXIV?" type of level. She's been a good and eager sport about anything we've tried so far.
But FC5 really took the cake, imo. Here's my take on it, and some of the things I came across as we played.
"Great game but the story" was the general premise of some article I read, which I mostly agreed with. I won't get into, and I'm not talking about, the actual writing, artistic, or political merits at all. The author of that piece was irritated by the way the story 'interferes', so to speak, with just playing the game. If you are playing alone, or paying very good attention with another person, it might be 'seamless'. But I think I am far from alone when I say that I loved every minute of the game except when I was being kidnapped for the half-dozenth time, just after, say, losing my guns-of-choice to a serious design flaw in controller mapping. Somewhat off topic, but a couple months ago I had started wanting to play that old 'Mercenaries' (if that's what it was called) game, and FC5 really scratched the itch and then some!
- It really wasn't that absurd, tho. I saw several people suggest it's something akin to a 'plot hole' that you are… sat down… as many times as you are. I think these holes are preemptively blocked by the fact the cult clearly navigates its obstacles with a can't if you don't approach focused on making sure Joseph stays 'correct', which will in turn mean his 'prophecies' were 'true'. I guess. Or another way to look at it, and this is where the story has a trump card… trying to discern the rationale of a cult might say more about you than the cult! hehe
- If it didn't interfere, it would just be one more thing to 'tediously' (it's not in this game, but you know what I mean) navigate to and track. >! The fact it happens 'passively' is a blessing in disguise. !<
- Somewhat 'off topic', if there even is one, is that the main strike against New Dawn, as far as I understand, is that it is 'more of the same', or something. Well, I loved FC5… so, sign me up? I will wait for FC-Craft… a procedurally generated, infinite landscape of outposts to liberate and roadblocks to laugh my way through more ways than you can skin a cat.
Specialists VS Fighters. I ended up reading a lot of posts, comments, etc., on the general topic of Guns for Hire (or Fangs, but I'll just say 'GFH' from here out). All I can say is, with a playful smirk, "I disagree". I disagree with you… Internet! But the extent of the 'disagreement' I perceive is both armchair in nature, and complicated in the sense that I will agree with some here and there, to seemingly, but I don't know for sure, disagree with most overall.
- I didn't find any of the specialists especially useful, except when it came to conspicuously coming up with a scenario or plot with which to use them, a la "I'd rather use my blank instead of my blank this time". Or in other words, I never found them tactically necessary beyond the fact I was trying to masterfully execute an agenda of entertainment. This may speak to a difficulty setting thing that I might ramble on to later, but 'nonetheless'.
- Sorry, but Nick Rye sucks, and needs to STFU or have a CD on 'notifications' … he does.
- The Fangs in particular felt like their main utility was to facilitate vaguely RP-centered gameplay, e.g., "an assassin accompanied by animals". Early on, and their placement in the overall UI is no wonder or coincidence imo, I found the first Fang to be very beneficial when I was too 'poor' to eat homeopathic tracking enhancers like candy. And please don't even get me started with NPC AI when it comes to vehicles. Nothing short of suicidal, and the Fangs won't get in the back of the truck, so RIP in peace, Fido. Beyond that, I am definitely glad they are there, and do use them from time to time, for the purpose of enhancing the fun factor of a particular strat, or because Boomer bears remarkable similarities to my gf's (my? lol) dog, so we like him to roll with sometimes just cuz of that.
- Perhaps this is due to patch/update or platform differences, but I think the generic GFH "Fighters" are incredibly underrated or misunderstood, at least in comparison to the 'specialists'.
- One thing, at least for me, right away is that they are a bit of a hidden 'lottery' or RNG-based-game, that you have absolutely no real obligation to take part in, so it can't be argued as a design slight against people who hate RNG or something like that. It just happens to be there, if you wanna play it. I personally find the process of locating, hiring, and training/testing generic GFHs to be a lot of fun in of itself. I don't use any 'tricks' to do it, although I would be the first to understand the meta-game enjoyment of power-leveling NPC helpers just to see how fast you can do it.
- Going back to the Fang thing… a generic GFH can 'learn' to spot enemies for you, and get in the back of the damn truck. Or, if you'd rather nom nom those homeopathics like I do, they can also passively gather you the ingredients for those while you wander around, and get in the back of the damn truck.
- They seem to 'scale' with difficulty, disproportionately, in a good way. My gf set her campaign on Easy, I set mine on Normal. I 'messed with' the GFH system a lot more than she did at first, and there were times when I would be playing as her 'coop helper', and be giving her tips on how to manage them… and the outcome would have me scratching my head. Hers just seemed more obstinate, stupid, or something… idk. But we had a lot of, "well, idk. I thought that would work" type of situations. Then I got to NG+, and set it to Infamous difficulty and the difference is BEYOND night and day. It's more like dark side of the moon and surface of the sun. While it's true the enemies spot me … a bit sooner, while my GFHs are now picking up enemies with jaw-dropping quickness, and actually capable of handling the machine guns on the vehicles with precision when hostages/civvies are present. On a decently active road, a 'fresh recruit' can learn both of their skills in the course of a couple of minutes. You know those roads where 3-4 trucks seem to show up just as soon as you rekt the last ones? Two new recruits will let you afk in the middle of it on Infamous/NG+, and be fully 'trained' in a matter of minutes. (although I normally train them more naturally than this, js it's possible)
- I can't think of another game in which I could facilitate or engage a play style I can only describe as Stealth Commander. While I think nearly everyone can appreciate the stealth aspects of FC5, I haven't seen a lot of celebration for the fact the GFH system allows you to beat a large portion of the content without directly engaging a single enemy … if you're into that sort of thing. Hanging back with binoculars and spotting/calling targets is a special kind of fun in an open world that seems mostly catered to explosions and getting hands-on in one way or another. Sure, there are lots of games based on commanding a team, in which you can employ stealth, but I enjoy the unique experience of being an unseen commander of a dude with a baseball bat and his gal pal Ms. Rocket Launcher. Who both know how to get in the back of the damn truck!
Far Cry 5 was, without exception, the best two player coop experience my girlfriend and I have had, and continue to have, after trying a pretty good range of titles/genres. No game can be perfect, but I just have a really hard time believing that any two friends out there looking to have a good time can't have a great time just picking up and playing this game. Whether you are talking about beating a campaign, doing Outpost Master on a cleared map, arcade maps, whatever… there is so much dumb fun to be had with this game.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to all the many redditors who represent the reason why I always append 'reddit' to my google searches when I want the GOOD info the wikis never have <3
edit: and for posterity, I think I may add some bullets and sections here as I figure out answers to some lingering questions like, 'do certain fighter types tend to gain certain skills?'
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