Come for the gameplay, leave for the story

“Far Cry 5” is an open-world, first-person shooter game that will have you sneaking and firing through fictional Hope County, Montana in attempt to wrestle control away from The Project at Eden’s Gate cult. In the game, you’ll arm a resistance of locals to stop Joseph Seed and his family from using drugs, hypnosis and torture, turning peaceful Montanans into merciless killers.

The gameplay retains most gameplay from its previous incarnations with enough changes to keep it interesting. The whole map is open from the get-go, allowing complete freedom to tackle Eden’s Gate any way you see fit. Perks can be achieved in any order, which means there’s no more grinding for experience to get coveted late-game powers. This freedom gives you dozens of different approaches to missions, and encourages creative solutions right at the beginning.

You can clear out cult outposts by charging in with tons of guns, or you can spot enemies from a distance and send your new pet grizzly bear Cheeseburger to eat their faces. It’s fun to play around with all the weapons, gadgets, perks and partners, making “Far Cry 5” an excellent sandbox.

It’s a shame, then, that essentially every part of the story falls flat. Not in a “this is topical and controversial” way; the game doesn’t try to send a message or make a statement. It’s just not interesting.

The villains all have the same “crazy because God said so” behavior, which doesn’t make them compelling or unique. It also doesn’t help that the protagonist is now silent, which turns every conversation into an awkward monologue.

The important story missions are generally the worst in the game; if they aren’t repetitive, they’re forcing you into small corridors where shooting is the only viable strategy. Players hoping to ignore the story will find themselves literally hunted down by it and forced into story missions, whether they want to or not. It takes a long time to finally complete the story, and, without spoiling it, the ending is not worth the effort.

The game also has some unpleasant quirks. Audio and visual bugs are common, and can interrupt important dialogue. Your allies’ artificial intelligence jumps between “godlike omniscience” and “rock-like omniscience,” making them just unreliable enough to ignore when executing a plan. Enemies are much more aware than they should be, which can get annoying if you’re trying to play it stealthily. Nothing breaks the game, but they only get more annoying the longer you play.

“Far Cry 5” is a game where there’s no shame in dropping it before completion. The gameplay is solid and offers opportunity for experimentation, but the open world freedom means many goals and missions are repetitive. It gets boring once you’ve tried everything you want to, and the story is not worth grinding to see to the end.

“Far Cry 5” is worth playing, but not really worth beating.