I’m torn about the game. While I was playing the open world stuff, I’d fully agree, five stars all the way, GOTY material. I also agree with Tom that the main story stuff definitely is pushed on you rather than sitting there waiting for you to stumble on things. I’ve noted elsewhere that I find the whole game a rumination on agency, or lack there of. I think Tom is better able to separate that awareness from the moment to moment gameplay than I am, at least, better than i can now that I’ve finished the game. While playing, I felt pretty much exactly as Tom did.
I think 4 is better overall, when you take into account how all the parts fit together, but 5 is I think more ambitious, and ultimately better art, largely because of the conflicting reactions it engenders due to the weird juxtaposition of its yin and yang bits, and because the main story IMO can actually sustain some critical analysis, unlike, well, any of the other Far Cry stories.
I gotta say, though, that a lot of the banter, interplay between characters, and local color in the game, while admittedly brilliant, sure reads as a ginormous parody to me; the game is poking fun at a whole host of American tropes, not without affection in many cases. But it’s still definitely parody.