Oh, yeah, that’s why I noted the affection. I still think it’s a parody of broad themes in American culture, but not a mean-spirited one. Things are exaggerated but not to the point you lose the essential humanity at the core of how these folks are making do.
I’d definitely agree that the problem with hunting for crafting is that you often don’t know whether down the road you’ll need X. If they just made the damn progression visible, then, you could sell those goresnout tusks.
It’s a shame there wasn’t any meaningful commentary or writing regarding the cult stuff. I recently watched the Waco miniseries, there’s that documentary on Netflix about the ashram in Oregon, and I’m fascinated by movies like Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Sacrament, and The Invitation. There’s a lot of opportunity Ubisoft missed, probably intentionally.
I like how Far Cry 5 just says “aw, screw it” and lets you dump everything with a single button press. At first, I was sure I was missing something. “You mean I only ever get money for these things? I don’t need to save them up later to make a hat or a bandolier?”
I see what you mean; there isn’t any overt commentary, it’s just put out there. But that, in itself, is commentary. They are giving you what I think is a fairly accurate version of how these groups think and justify themselves, without editorializing. It’s up to the player to decide what they think. To me, it ties in with the ending pretty well.
The biggest issue with the cult for me is how the bliss stuff is kind of a drug, but it’s also just magic. It leads to a bunch of situations that end up being bullshit.
In videogames and movies, mind control is magic.
Wonderful review, Tom! I loved the way you unpacked the appeal of sandbox-based gameplay in such a concise, descriptive manner:
Some people want their open worlds as smooth as ice cream, as consistent as a Slurpee, as familiar as a Happy Meal. They want sandboxes with less sand and more playground furniture.
Yeah, this was a bit much. Especially one of the endings…
That’s one way to look at it, but I think you’re being charitable. The cult stuff in Far Cry 5 is so kooky and over-the-top that I don’t think it has any real insight. Which, to be fair, might be difficult to do in a videogame where the requirement is just a bunch of guys to shoot at and a couple of boss fights.
But there are, I believe, right ways and wrong ways to represent the damage cults do to people, their families, their friends. The Waco miniseries is the absolute wrong way. It’s a reprehensible attempt to shift blame from the Davidians to the FBI that would have you think the Davidians were basically a Bible study group. Then there are basic horror movie approaches. Jackals is kind of interesting for what it does with the protagonist’s struggle, but it’s ultimately a pretty dumb horror movie. Leland Orser and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are in Faults, a strangely intimate look at a cult member and her family and the deprogrammer trying to help them. But it’s mainly going for a “gotcha” instead of meaningful commmentary.
I really like the parts of The Invitation that present the social tension and the different mindsets between people in a cult, and people who know them. But my favorite example of how to represent the damage cults do is, of course, Martha Marcy May Marlene, which manages to both show the allure of a cult and the lasting damage it causes.
Unrelated. I bought the first game based on your review and its been on sale frequently so wanted to know what you thought of it. Glad to know that writing didn’t disappoint you.
God of War’s best aspect, to my surprise, is now its story. And I don’t believe alot of reviewers critique that as well as you do, hence my curiosity regarding your review. Hope you review it in the near future.
Well. One of us rented it, and the other sucker went out and bought the $90 version because they had invested in the neighborhood of 500 hours combined in FC2-Primal and they were foolishly convinced that FC5 was going to be a great game.
I rented it again. My plan is to run away in a plane anytime I’m hunted, or marked, or blessed, or whatever. I’ve now been chased around every province and am curious as to if I’ll still be hunted when I go back.
I guess then it’s watching the drippingly melodramatic eyeball to eyeball cutscenes while I do other things for 5 minutes. Or push the stick forward, or push a button to do something trippy.
Now that I think about it 4 had all these trippy scenes where you shoot weird enemies and they puff dissappear, and your visuals are all time shifted.
You can’t run away. If you’ve been reading the thread, that’s part of what makes the capture such epic levels of bullshit. No matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, you will get captured.
Yeah, one of them will “sleep dart” you in a helicopter at 1km moving at full speed.
It’s quite possible I’m cutting them too much slack, for sure. Though I will say, while over the top it is, it’s not that far from reality. The stuff Joseph says in those vignettes between deaths of his lieutenants is more grounded than the rantings of John, Jacob, or Faith.
Clearly this is an area you are knowledgeable about far more than I am. I haven’t seen any of those programs you discuss, but I trust your judgment on them. My only frames of reference are watching things like Jonestown and Waco play out on TV, But I agree that video games perhaps are not the best venue for careful and nuanced analysis of cult behavior.
In this game, they almost go down that path with Faith’s story; there are hints and even some direct statements that suggest the possibility of a more complex treatment of her character. John or Jacob, not so much, and goodness only knows what bee got in Joshua’s bonnet.
Yeah, that’s fair. The over-the-top language definitely fits. I think my main issue is that it comes across as trite coming from yet another Ubi-villain leering into the camera. I’m also keenly aware that the language has been scrubbed of any direct reference to Christ or Christianity or even the Bible. There are bits from the book of Revelation, but that stuff about bowls and whatnot is all but public domain these days. In the scene with the pastor at Fall’s Church and the hidden gun, the game makes it abundantly clear that the cult is not using the Bible.
Yes, I’m so glad you called that out! I wasn’t sure I heard what I thought I heard, but I wished I’d heard it better. It was mostly drowned out in the cacophony of my ammo being firehosed into a bag of boss battle hit points.
Oh, also a movie called The Sacrament belongs on my list. A scaled down version of Jonestown with a chillingly avuncular Gene Jones (no relation?) as the Jim Jones character!
Yeah, I noticed that. I suspect it was a cop out, not wanting to offend or something. It does rather rob the whole thing of any gravitas.
As an aside, there does seem to be a sort of tradition of folks reworking scripture to their own ends. When I was in college, there were there itinerant stump preachers who would do their thing outside the student union. A hallmark of their spiels was their assertion that they had been given authority to “amend the scriptures,” which usually translated into being free to avoid any textual arguments with the legions of devout Baptist fundamentalists who emerged to do spiritual battle every time these guys came to campus.
Ah, but you can delay the kidnapping for a long while! At least, I did!
I got the message I was being hunted, so I fast-traveled to the SW portion of the map that I’d already freed and I was able to delay the sleep dart for about four hours of real time while I frittered around fishing, doing odd jobs, and generally just enjoying the open-world. The moment I popped back into Whitetail, I was knocked out.
Where is the “spit in cult leader’s face while they are spouting off” button?
Also if you’re on a story mission it can be delayed iirc.