Welcome to Level Up!, a regular column in each CSUDH Bulletin about video games and video game culture from someone who spends every second of her free time hours deep into a game, even if most of her time should be spent doing her group project.
By Beatriz Arreola
There is nothing like riding around the endless fields of Montana on a tractor while being chased by gun-crazy religious cult extremists. Just make sure you don’t get hit with the drug-filled dart because somehow, the crazies get even more crazier when you’re caught.
All this fun can be found in Ubisoft’s latest edition of its “Far Cry” franchise: “Far Cry 5.”
What makes this one so special from its predecessors is that it is the first time the series portrays the extreme right in the heart of the United States; previous entries usually took place in a jungle or primitive times.
Whether it was intentional or not, the game draws connections to a dark past in the United States during the 1960’s and 1970’s when cults were prevalent. It would make no sense for me to talk about this game and not at least mention some of the controversy it acquired with its launch.
With all the feelings around gun reform, racial insensitivity, white nationalism and other volatile issues heating up in our country lately, this game shows how dark and disturbing things could be if things really go downhill. It’s not too far a stretch from hearing extremist talk, and seeing white nationalist rallies like in Charlottesville last year, and into the fictionalized world of “Far Cry 5.” In the game, a religious cult in Hope County, Montana, convinced that the end of the world is near, is led by a charismatic leader lovingly called “The Father.”
There are some that felt the game didn’t do much with the politics they brought up.
A March 29 article written by Andrew Webster at www.verge.com, stated that the game didn’t adequately explore the topic of extremism.
“Far Cry 5 doesn’t have anything to say about race in America. It doesn’t have much to say at all. It’s a big, dumb action game with an artificial sheen implying depth. But it would’ve been better off if it was just a big, dumb action game.”
The conversation is already there and games take years to develop, so it’s not fair to expect a game to hit every conceivable target. When a player hops into a game its for escapism not politics being shoved down their throats. The game does a good job in showcasing crazy, but still staying away from the crazy politics.
All that aside, I think the game is a crazy fun time. Not only is the scenery beautiful, but Ubisoft has addressed some issues with patches, such as wild turkeys running around on fire and killing you. That honestly sounded like a nightmare that I never got to experience myself.
Even with all the crazies in the game, the experience is one I highly recommend. Plus, for all you “Far Cry” fans, there are no more radio towers you have to constantly climb!
That’s all we asked for.
Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 is now available for PC, Xbox One, and PS4 starting at $59.99 at any of your favorite stores that sell games.