Demos are always going to be an incomplete, unfinished representation of the eventual final product. Games don’t just go from the demo stage to Gold without significant changes. From indie Kickstarted games to the AAA fare we’re all used to seeing, a lot can happen between demonstration and release.
That being said, Far Cry 5 seems like one of the more incomplete big-name titles you can play at E3. Ubisoft will cop to as much if you get a chance to play it – you’ll pick up items from a dead wolf or bear only to be reminded that they haven’t worked out the details of the crafting system yet, so you’re basically picking up paperweights.
It won’t be the prettiest or the smoothest experience, either. Running and moving around will reveal a sub-optimal framerate, while wading through tall grass and other environments will make you notice a general grainy texture that makes Far Cry 5 feel dated in this early stage.
Then you’ll hop into a vehicle and suddenly you’ll leave Far Cry 5 and now be playing Ghost Recon Wildlands, which is to say that the vehicles handle like the person behind the wheel has had five too many. Driving a truck was Swerve Central Station, and it can be especially tedious if you try to off road at all. By a developer’s instruction, I attempted to drive the truck through a small wooded section. No problem, right? I’ll just avoid the trees. Only not every small tree can be run over with equal ease. Even some trees with the same or at least very similar models are inconsistent – some of them stop your truck like you just hit a concrete post, and others flatten out like paper. Not a whole lot of rhyme or reason.
The whole reason I was driving through this wooded area was to get to an airplane on the other side. After driving around in a truck apparently as a teenager running from Jason Voorhees, I was none too eager to hop in a plane. Turns out, I was right to be worried. Not only is handling this plane a chore, especially when you’re trying to target another plane, but the control scheme leaves something to be desired.
I thought we had all figured this out by now with regards to vehicles. Right trigger makes the plane go, and you use the analog sticks to aim. In Far Cry 5, you hold X to engage the engine (A on Xbox), and the right analog stick takes backseat while the left analog stick does all the aiming. It’s an oddly laid-out system that takes some getting used to, to say the least.
This isn’t to say that Far Cry 5‘s E3 demo was a disaster or anything, although the plane segment was incredibly frustrating because the enemy AI kept traveling outside the “demo area,” which would transport me back and require me to chase him again – also outside the demo area. Besides these hiccups and general unfinished feel, Far Cry 5 had a lot of good things going for it.
The buddy system feels well-developed and is one of the highlights of the game, allowing you to choose different people you meet throughout the world to help you out as companions during missions. I also had a grand time throwing meat into areas with enemies which attracted a grizzly bear that went all Revenant on their asses.
Suffice it to say that, although Far Cry 5‘s E3 demo had some genuinely fun moments and interesting mechanics, it won’t be winning any “Best in Show” awards.