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Far Cry 5 was a lot of fun, but not for the reasons I imagine it should have been.

Full disclosure, FPS games tend to not be my thing. I will play the occasional one here or there, but I tend to stay away. I just don't like nor see the appeal of gunning down enemies. Enemy AI by default is already really hard to get down pact, but it seems these problems are exacerbated in FPS games because the enemies make bone headed judgment calls when they are "supposed" to be simulating intelligent behaviors. It just hardly works, and at best in most cases, it turns into "peekaboo" or shoot the guy who is straight up in the middle of the area with no cover.

Other FPS games like DOOM work because they embrace this. Enemies behave more intelligently cause the backdrop in how they are operating is that they are berserked, frenzied demons who are trying to essentially overwhelm you with numbers and have little regard to their own lives in doing so. Thematically, it makes sense, and it's a lot of fun because it's less a FPS game at that point and an action game that just happens to use the FPS aesthetic. I really, really like DOOM for this, and the gameplay loop "is" all about killing demons as efficiently as possible and not much else.

Naturally, this is not the case with Far Cry 5. The primary function of the game, and the most important gameplay loop of gunplay, is married to the problems I mentioned earlier. Your enemy variety is lacking and essentially boils down to a bunch of bearded men whose clothes dictate their durability to gunshots. Pretty lousy all things considered. Every time it came down to gun skirmishes, which is what the majority of the game is, I just wanted to get through it as fast as possible to get to where the real fun is.

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Dude….practically every single side activity was the funnest shit ever. It's almost as if they phoned in the main gunplay stuff so they could get to where they really wanted to create stuff for.

Prepper Stashes: These are like little puzzle challenges where you ultimately are trying to get into bunkers for skill points and money. The rewards, while nice, were not the main reason to play these though. Each one was unique, and had interesting lore tied to it. Anytime the blue diamond logo denoting these challenges popped up, I would drop everything to seek it out because they were always fun and always interesting. I am struggling to think of any that felt the same.

Clutch Nixon: These challenges were tied to skill tests and time trials related to the various vehicles and tools you have. To the backdrop of an Evel Knievel inspired "hero" and their exploits, and what is arguably the most 'Muhrica song in quite some time blaring in the background, you have all these wild ass challenges to do that while difficult, are addictive.

Fishing/Hunting: These were fun just because they felt more akin to reality than a lot of games that include these elements elsewhere. If the enemy ai is terrible, that is only because they put all that effort into the animals who BEHAVE LIKE ANIMALS. Even the fish really fight you, but more importantly, animal reaction to being hunted is very engaging. If you injure them, you can track them down, and eventually they will pass out from blood loss or just succumb to their injuries in general. There are even side quests attributed to "boss fights" with certain animals that are a lot of fun.

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Traversal (flying, walking, driving): I have heard legendary tales about how bad the driving is in Far Cry games, but it didn't really feel all that bad. I enjoyed the driving. What's more, the reaction to driving through bramble and smaller foliage and having it crackle next to you and shower your face with vegetation is just *mwah. Parachuting is fun, wingsuit diving is fun. Fun fun fun. Love it.

Just the side quests in general: Now granted, you start getting into more samesy feeling ones at a certain point, but that's ok cause there exists so much variety within the rest of them that it balances out. What's more, The ones that rely on the shooting elements embrace the absurdity of the game under the hood where it feels a little more fun.

Basically, Far Cry 5 is like going to a burger joint, and finding that the burger isn't what it is all that cracked up to be, but the fries and sides are the best damn fries you have had in a hot minute.


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