'Far Cry 5' Hands-on Impressions: A Horrifyingly Plausible American Dystopia

Far Cry 5 is one of the most frightening games I've ever played. While that's certainly by design, with creepy characters and danger lurking around every corner, there's an added layer of horror in the realistic portrayal of crazy cult members. It's one thing to have fantastical enemies like zombies and aliens and demons, but zealots in our own backyard who believe the world is ending tomorrow hits way too close to home.

Far Cry 5's Eden's Gate cult is armed to the teeth and ready to kill Ubisoft

Set in Montana's beautiful, sprawling frontier, Far Cry 5 puts you into the role of a rookie deputy investigating members of the Eden's Gate cult and their charismatic leader Joseph Seed. Of course, the cult members aren't so keen on their leader getting arrested and are in hiding at all levels of local law enforcement. It all goes downhill fast, and sets off a war between Eden's Gate and the U.S. government. It's basically Red State, but a game.

For the first time in the Far Cry franchise, players can create their own protagonist. Players can pick between playing as a man or woman, which won't impact gameplay all that much, but is a nice way to push aside some of the more grating and troublesome issues of past Far Cry games. Ultimately, it allows players to feel more involved in the action.

Players can also feel immersed thanks to the amazing graphics and small visual touches that add to the overall experience. Streams glisten in the sun, trees sway in the breeze and everything looks and feels like it should. Seriously, this game sings. The sense of dread I felt while playing is a major testament to how creepy the villains are when contrasted against this peaceful setting.

Far Cry 5's depition of Montana makes it look like a place I'd want to vacation in, except for the whole bloodthirsty cult thing. Ubisoft

One of the more impressive bits of design are the long weeds and grass. Crouching and crawling through the grass pushes it out of the way slightly. It's a small touch, but really adds to the feeling of being in the game.

Another first for a Far Cry game: there aren't any towers that unlock new parts of the game map. To reveal locations of outposts or other areas of interest, players must talk to NPCs, read maps and road signs, and explore the land to find new locations.

I'm a little torn on this, as I've always kind of liked climbing up high to reveal the map around me. It felt rewarding, if a little repetitive. The new system makes the world feel more alive and real, though. Getting a notice that the map had updated after overhearing a conversation or seeing a sign along the side of the road was a neat feeling.

Co-op is a major focus this time around. Players can pair up and tackle all of Far Cry 5's campaign together. Ubisoft has plans to ensure gameplay will be slightly different when there are two players, so don't go in expecting to wipe through enemies with a buddy. If you are a solo gamer and still want some assistance, many NPC characters (and even some animals) can be hired to join in on the action.

Action can get explosive when going toe-to-toe with Eden's Gate Ubisoft

Despite the handful of firsts and new mechanics, Far Cry 5 is still very much a Far Cry game. There's a huge wilderness for players to trek through and stumble on new and dangerous situations with regularity. There are still outposts to liberate, mountains to parachute off of, wild animals to hunt and plenty of side missions to explore. Things may look a little different, but if the last Far Cry game you played was Far Cry 3, you'll be able to jump into the franchise without missing much of a beat.

Far Cry 5 releases for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on March 27. Be sure to check out Player.One for up-to-date Far Cry coverage.

So what do you think? Are you excited to play Far Cry 5 when it is released? Are you curious to know more about Far Cry 5's Eden's Gate cult? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.