I like Far Cry 5


Far Cry 5 came up again in the latest Radio ep and the fact that the story and ending really didn’t work for people. Weirdly it worked for me.

I think the biggest theme running through the game is Control. Giving control over your life to God, control being taken from you through various (unrealistic) means, and even down to the game taking control of the story and open world away from you by setting up the hunts that kick off after earning so many points.

I think it helped me to get past the marketing, and take in the reviews and discussion of the game, which meant i didn’t go in looking for a big “right-bashing,” or a huge political statement, but rather a statement on Control.

Has anyone else ever gotten more out of a game because they went in with different expectations?


Basing the entire look and concept of the game around just about every single right-wing American culture signifier in existence, down to nazi-ish symbols and preaching death cults was probably a bad idea if that’s all they were going for. Like, you don’t just to get to play with symbols and ideas that mean very concrete things and just not engage with any of those ideas in the slightest.

This is like the ultimate white person apocalypse game because it chickens out and refuses to actually talk about the bad things everyone is anxious over and just pretends like it’s the unavoidable Bad Thing without bothering to connect the extremely obvious dots. A game about collective cultural anxiety is kind of worthless when it purposefully captures a point in time and then just decides to not actually talk about anything literally everyone is talking about, and in some cases, have been talking about for decades.


I also went in having read reviews and such knowing it wouldn’t have the same pointed critiques that something like Wolfenstein II had or good writing, but hearing the gameplay was fun convinced me to buy it and good Lord Almighty was that a mistake.

I disagree with the game tackling the idea of Control for a bunch of reasons. One is because when I killed John, he basically did this monologue of ‘Well everything is fucked and Trump is the president so why even bother’.. I also played for about twelve hours and at no point does the game dive into the details of how Eden’s Gate gained control in Hope County, how its armed members gladly followed the Father outside of a throwaway line from the sheriff of ‘He’s not a man to be fucked with’ and ‘This lady was having a rough time and she found some weird mind control drugs she decided to pump into the river’

And ‘Hit em with the bliss bullets’ and you getting stoned out of your mind out of the blue just so the game can (poorly) justify running this cutscene they shot of this white guy with a beard saying utter nonsense for five minutes speaks more to how badly the game is written and structured than it is a message about Control.


I don’t think that the game is about control at all. The overarching theme is a collective anxiety about the collapse of American society that isn’t discussed or interrogated, which each of the Seed family deals with in their own way.

Joseph wants to return to a calvinist, agrarian society. Faith wants to retreat into childhood fantasy. Jacob wants to push everyone until they drop what he thinks is the facade of normalcy and start killing each other. John wants people to accept, as he does, that their suffering is actually their choice and that they like it. Not only are all they all contradictory, they’re not really about control.

Instead, they’re the exaggerated responses to the current state of capitalism that you might come up with in a writer’s room if you’re incapable of material analysis. If Far Cry 5 named the subjects it alluded to, talked about the systems that dictate our lives and their slow collapse, then maybe you could argue that there’s a theme about control running through it.


I’m enjoying the game and its setting a lot, but the cut-scenes and mandatory narrative don’t interest me or motivate me as a player at all. I do enjoy the evangelical-cult/militia themeing personally, but not the gruesome stuff. I like how the enemies are singing along to their religious songs that are playing and such.
Even though I enjoy the ambient NPC barks, I think all the game’s writing that involves a face-character is uninteresting and poorly executed. After whats-her-face the bow-lady told that story and ended it with “That’s why they call him ‘The Cook’” I wanted to start telling long-winded stories of debauchery and nonsensically finishing with “…and that’s why they call him ‘The Cook’” because I thought it would be funny. I haven’t actually done that in a conversation though. It would make a pretty good meme.
My appreciation of Far Cry 5 is (wait for it) …the emergent stories that occur through player-performance in this themed space (rather than the cut-scenes and quest announcements). One of my favorite examples so far is that I just a big area and me and Susan were driving out of the area with our van now that everything had been cleared. We heard some gunfire on the other side of an agricultural field so I decided to just go rootin through the field, broke some fences and a firing-range target. We get out of the van and it’s just some good-ole-boys and girls shootin at targets in their field. I was like “…sorry”.


Okay I’ve read a couple responses here so I wanted to dive a little more into why it all still reads on a statement of Control to me.

First off, yes, they completely whiffed it by using the imagery of white supremacy and their early marketing pitches weren’t great. However, i realize it’s a little reductive, but white supremacy is itself about control. it’s about a violent and inhumane belief that the “white man” will lose control they are entitled to if other races are given an equal chance. it’s fear that they will lose control that they forced on others for a long time.

arlo: your comment on what John says is just as much about control to me. He is giving up on the idea that he can control anything. and i think that also goes to the “collective anxiety” that keydemographics mentions. The Seeds are all trying to take control in their own way because the world outside of Hope County is completely and utterly falling apart, as seen in the ending.

But here, in Hope County, the seeds are using their tactics to control and the resistance wants to take control back. though I really wish the game had made its own comment on the idea that these people are fighting back and forth for control, and if the resistance wins (and the game ended differently) they would have to turn control of Hope County back to the state and federal governments, so what do they achieve by stopping the Seed family?

I am giving the impression that i believe the game is well written, it’s not. Again, as keydemographics says, they don’t actually go far enough to make these statements externally, it’s all in just what they are doing and again in that mechanic that you are not allowed to be in control of the story elements either. Jacob is using psychiatry, a practice we tell soldiers to use to deal with their PTSD, and turning people into more mindless soldiers. Faith is basically living out the “Fluoride is a mind control drug” conspiracy theory. John is using extreme self-help guru bullshit to get people to hurt themselves and then submit.

there’s a version of all these things that works much better, either from better writing, some tweaking to the resistance point system.