My friend and I started a tradition of playing games that offer an online multiplayer feature or cooperative play ever since I joined the vast and wonderful world of video games. We have played everything from Borderlands to Overwatch. It’s quality time we look forward to scheduling every other weekend when we may not always see each other in person due to conflicting work schedules. It has made playing and finishing games easier and fun when you have another person uniting in your cause to seeing a game through to the end, or at least having a partner to fight a particularly hard boss. The latest game to be added to our small but growing collection of games we can and have played together is Far Cry 5.
The Far Cry series has always been known for being a first-person action adventure survival game set in different and sometimes exotic locales. While I’ve never played any of the previous Far Cry games, I already knew what kind of game I’d be playing if I ever got the chance to play one. Thanks to the same friend who I game with online, she gave me Far Cry 5 as a birthday gift back in April and presented the opportunity for me to get a real feel for the game.
After I had opened my friend’s gift, I was a little surprised when she said she couldn’t wait to play the game with me and to continue our online gaming tradition. I was confused by what she meant. Play the game with me? Isn’t Far Cry 5 a single-player game? As it turns out, Far Cry 5 has drop in and drop out co-op play. You basically can host an online co-op session and the second player can “drop in” on your game to play out the entire story campaign. Or drop out at any point without interrupting the host player’s progression. The only problem with drop in and drop out co-op play in this game is it will only save the story progress of the host person’s game and not the second player who is coming along for the ride. So if you’re on Chapter 5 of the main game you played with your friend, once you drop out of their session and re-enter the game as a solo player, you may actually have to start from Chapter 2. The only things two players in co-op mode share are the loot and perk points to level up your character when you do side missions or open world exploring.
Despite the disappointing nature of not really “progressing” the main story together, but really your host friend’s game, Far Cry 5 has lured me into its world of danger, blood, extremism, and cults with the backdrop of lake views and gently swaying fields of tall grass and wild flowers in the fictional town of Hope County, Montana. The opening scenes of Far Cry 5 already have the makings of a Hollywood action movie—suspense and high-octane adrenaline rushes to keep you at the edge of your seat. It starts with the intention of extracting and arresting Joseph Seed, a cult leader who, along with his Eden’s Gate cult followers, have overrun Hope County and will use whatever extreme measures necessary to secure their control over the area. This being a Far Cry game things go south and fast. You play a deputy sheriff who manages to escape the cultists after the law enforcement group you’re with either dies or are captured when the arrest of Joseph Seed doesn’t go as smoothly and quietly as planned.
The first time my friend and I played the game in co-op, we learned we experience the opening and intro of Far Cry 5 separately before we get to an area that allows one player to invite another one into their game. From what we have played of the co-op so far, I’m impressed by how smooth the gameplay is overall. There have been some minor glitches we have encountered but nothing too major to spoil the experience. My friend already played and beaten Far Cry 5 solo before presenting me a copy of the game for my birthday. She already knew where to go and what to do when we played together, however, she later told me that story and side missions that are harder to accomplish solo went by quicker and easier when there’s another person playing with you. This doesn’t surprise me at all considering the waves of cult followers, or Peggies as non-followers call them, that can sometimes overwhelm you either during world exploring or doing sidequests. We did die a few times in these instances but it’s mostly due to poor planning when we made the decision to go in guns blazing. Otherwise, there’s nothing we couldn’t handle when we teamed up. The only minor gripe I have with the co-op of Far Cry 5 is how it temporarily breaks the immersion whenever you have enough Resistance Points to trigger or start the next main story mission.
Although you and your friend get to play the entire story together, it’s pretty obvious that for the most part Far Cry 5 is a game meant to be experienced as a single-player. Whenever John Seed or any one of his family members addresses you directly and calls you “Deputy”, it’s a little odd experiencing it in co-op play when there’s technically two deputies in their presence but the Seeds act as if they’re talking to just one person in the room. This is why I say it breaks immersion for me in those moments. When my friend and I are not doing a story mission and we are picking up side missions instead, I always feel as if I’m more of a friend who’s assisting the Deputy in my friend’s game rather than thinking of my customized character as a Deputy too.
If you don’t mind co-op in Far Cry 5 hindering actual progress with the main story in your own game, overall, I think this online feature is a pretty stellar experience. With the beauty of Montana’s countryside as your backdrop and the thrill of taking back Hope County from John Seed and his clan, it’s fast becoming a game I look forward to playing with my friend during our every other weekend game nights. And who knows? I may take a stab at experiencing the whole game again solo.