Saturday, March 31, 2018

Science and Belief in Video Games Part 1: Far Cry 5

Brian Joseph Johns
Warning: This content is intended for a mature viewing audience. Viewer discretion is advised.

Belief became a big part of the plot in a recent video game release from UBISoft called Far Cry 5, which continues their series building upon location based stories in which the characters and plot elements are unrelated to their forebearers in prior installments.

Every game in the series rings true with the plot being driven and progressed by exploration, discovery and liberation of some form most commonly achieved through combat.

Words do little to express the sense of adventure and exploration that arise from any of the games in the series and Far Cry 5  certainly expands and improves upon this formula in droves.

In Far Cry 5 as the protagonist, you're seeking to liberate the fictitious Hope County, Montana located in the U.S. of A. from the clutches of a dangerous cult who've taken to trap and enslave the local population in the dogma of their anti-charismatic leader know as The Father. Keep in mind that this game is entirely fictitious so any resemblance to any real cults is purely coincidence.

I'm sure that a game like Far Cry 5 which has some of the most magnificent and breathtaking scenery available in a video game is good for places like Montana. I'd certainly want to go there after playing this latest installment just to see that beauty in real life and for myself.

Just released on Tuesday March 27, 2018 players and streamers from far and wide have managed to get their hands on this latest release. Here are some of the features to be noted.

Character Customization

This time around Far Cry 5 players will be treated by the fact that they can customize their character from the beginning of the game including choosing as to whether they want to play as a Female or Male protagonist.

Improved Exploration

Gone from Far Cry 5 is the need to liberate towers from a regional power in order to gain access to newer parts of the open world map. Instead the player finds clues by searching abandoned houses in the region.

The Resistance

You can enlist help during your efforts to liberate Hope County through the way of tag along followers who pair up with you. Similar to the Guns for Hire of Far Cry 4 their primary difference being that they stick around with you much like the followers you'd find in other open world games.

Open World And Scenery

Far Cry 5 boasts a huge open world map (Far Cry's biggest yet) with some of the most breathtaking visuals and scenery in open world gaming which has certainly been one of Far Cry's many strong points. Mountains and hills frame the gorgeous scenery of Montana's farming communities, gas stops, trailer parks, small towns and residences. Exploring the deserted homes gives you a sense of abandoned cohesion, where residents were rounded up by the followers of the cult leaving everything they had as it was in their unoccupied homes.

Story Experience

What makes any Far Cry experience memorable is the array of characters you'll meet along the way if you should choose to follow the campaign missions. Each presents a portrait of these characters through great motion capture and voice performances coupled together with some pretty headstrong, heart felt and humorous writing. As the story progresses you'll be drawn into the politics that play out between them and the cult themselves with some twists and turns along the way.

Far Cry Arcade

An addition to the multiplayer experience Far Cry offers is Far Cry Arcade, which centralizes the multiplayer map making community under a match making service along with the tools to make custom maps in Far Cry 5. What makes this experience different is the massive amount of content that will be available to map makers spanning across all the Far Cry series and many other UBISoft franchises such as Assassin's Creed and The Crew. In other words mappers will be able to take many of the static and architectural objects from those games and put them directly in a Far Cry 5 map of their own creation. This will certainly make for some creative game play opportunities and all for overlap in single player mini-adventures.

The connection to belief that I've espoused in this article resonates around the concept of when a group of people iconify a single person to govern their thinking with regard to their beliefs for them. This is exactly the aspect which this Far Cry story explores through the eyes of those seeking to liberate. One of the liberators in fact is a Pastor (Jerome) whose internal faith leads him to make a stand against the presence of the cult.

In fact, for some a few of the characters having a particular belief is not the focal point of the concept of belief because what the resistance represents is the freedom of every human being to make that decision for themselves, whatever it may be and to where ever that may lead them. In fact while one anti-charismatic leader forced everyone to follow his interpretation the few who could have stopped such a travesty had not been paying attention and hence were thrust into a fight for their own and everyone else's independence of belief.

What unifies Pastors, Agnostics, Humanists, New Agers and Atheists or just about any belief? The fact that they all feel that their personal belief is and should be their choice alone. When it comes to belief, there is unity in agreeing to disagree.

Far Cry 5 is available from UBISoft, or your favourite retailer or online store.

For more on Far Cry 5, you can read PC Gamer's review.

Look forward to part two where I'll examine a game very much focused around science and morality.

Thank you very much for reading and of course to everyone who is celebrating this weekend, both a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter to you all, each and every one.

Brian Joseph Johns

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