After spending hours with the Far Cry 5 story campaign at a recent event and loving my time with it, I was given around 15 minutes to check out the recently announced Arcade mode. Functioning as the game's map editor, multiplayer mode, and more, Arcade attempts to be built by the community and for the community.
Players are able to create their own maps and levels designated for either solo, cooperative, or competitive multiplayer. These Far Cry 5 Arcade maps can be anything from a non-violent maze level to hunting down a target and so much more. The possibilities appear to be almost endless, helped by the fact that assets from previous Ubisoft games like Far Cry 4 are available.
During my brief time with Far Cry 5 Arcade mode, I had the chance to check out three levels that were designed by Ubisoft developers. These three levels were radically different in just about every way possible.
The first of these was Upside Down, a Gone Home-esque level where your simple objective is to escape. This was by far the most impressive of the three, presenting this bizarre and eerie landscape that was borderline psychological horror. The entire level featured no combat at all and looked like a completely different game. Navigating this upside down Lovecraftian house was a blast for the short three or four minutes it took for me to escape.
Next up was a totally different map type that revolved around killing a target and escaping as quickly as possible. While Upside Down was wholly unique and interesting, this Bounty Hunt level was the complete opposite. The map felt uninspired and didn't leave much room for stealth, even though every enemy except the target was optional. The level didn't offer anything interesting or dynamic enough to persuade me, feeling very bland and uninteresting in execution.
The same could be said for the third and final level that I played. While I played the other two solo, this final level was a multiplayer match on a beach-themed map, a throwback to earlier Far Cry games. In this map, two teams of six duked it out in a simple Team Deathmatch mode. Unfortunately, it felt way too small and narrow to allow for variation during the match. At one point, our team made our way to the opposite team's spawn point and just camped there, killing them each time they respawned. It became boring fast due to the map design and how Team Deathmatch was set up. Hopefully, Ubisoft will have a plan for curating this content, so that the most interesting and enjoyable maps aren't buried underneath the shovelware.
This left me concerned for Far Cry 5 Arcade mode. In trying to create a mode that is centered around players creating and playing community-made content, that could very well be the reason it might not succeed. I'm hoping that the community will be able to come up with much more inventive designs beyond the types that I played, and that players will be able to tweak PvP settings.
Quite frankly, Far Cry 5 Arcade will live or die based on its community. It is hard to say which route it will go down after only exploring the mode for a very short time, but I remain optimistic nonetheless. The thought of players generating engrossing experiences such as the Upside Down level and the possibility of endless quality multiplayer maps to enjoy has me hoping that it is able to thrive.