Farcry 5: The First Region

Ubisoft, much like EA and some of the other big video game publisher/developers have had their fair share of mistakes made over the years. I don’t really purchase too many of their titles as a result, because quite simply their cookie-cutter game design that allows them to churn out titles year after year tends to lead to boring experiences. I’m talking about the Call of Duty‘s and Assassin’s Creed‘s of the world. However, I am not immune to their charms at times, having purchased a handful of Call of Duty titles, and though I don’t enjoy Assassin’s Creed, I’ve always been somewhat curious about the Farcry franchise. I recall people talking positively about it in the past, and I’ve seen a video or two that made it seem somewhat appealing, but until now I’ve not legitimately played a single one. That changed recently, due to a sale on the Playstation Store, where the fifth (and latest in the numbered series) game was on sale for only $15. There were options for complete DLC editions and whatnot, but not knowing if I’d even like the game, I managed my risk. I also have a little less disposable income as of late due to the purchase of my car, so I’m trying to play through some games I already own, and only pick up cheap options otherwise. Nonetheless, I’ve started the game and have played it pretty regularly over the last week, managing to complete one of the game’s three regions. I say complete loosely, due to the sheer number of things you can do in a given region, but I did a large portion of what was on offer, and I assume at some point later in the game I could go back and do some cleanup. So as I’ve pretty much gone into this experience blind, I’ll share what I’ve learned about the series, this game in particular, and my personal story with it.

I neglected to take any screenshots during the tutorial, but the set up is basically this: You’re a rookie in the Hope County Sheriff’s department in Montana, where a religious cult has been terrorizing the locals. You’re heading in with U.S. Marshals to take on this threat. Things go okay for a while, then shit hits the fan, and as you attempt to obscond with the cult’s leader, his people go crazy, climbing onto your helicopter and literally sacrificing themselves in the chopper’s blades to cause a crash landing. Some of your comrades are captured but you manage to escape. From here, this little island serves as a tutorial area, getting you used to the game’s mechanics. The above graphic describes the majority of activities that you’ll take part in through the rest of the game. I’m not sure if it’s really “emergent” AI, but things seem to happen randomly enough, and as you complete the above tasks enemies get even stronger, or more variety of enemies will appear. For example, you’ll start with roving bands of cultists that will attack if they see you, to then having actual hunters tracking you down, to then having airplanes gunning for you. It’s never to a point of being too hard, but it definitely can get annoying at times.

For the most part, if you’ve played any open world games, you’ll be familiar with what is on offer here. There is a character customization option, but you never see yourself unless you utilize photo mode — but there is the option to co-op through the game so I suppose there is a reason for all of the random skins and clothing articles. Everything can be bought with in game currency, some pieces can be found in the world, and of course there is a premium currency which seems unneeded but I suppose whales will be whales. The perk system has a lot to choose from, but some choices seem more obvious than others. Getting the grappling hook and parachute are great for getting around, while the lockpicking and extra holsters obviously make sense. Other options seem to be less useful and are just passive bonuses, but I suppose this depends on your playstyle. There is a limited crafting system that works pretty similarly to The Last of Us, and you’re really only making explosives with the materials you’ll collect. Weapons are varied enough, but the “customization” is the same set of scopes, silencers and larger magazines on every gun, and there are more pointless skins. It feels kind of hollow, but it works well enough.

You’ll spend a lot of time staring at this map, and this is zoomed out to the size of the region. There are two other regions that are equally sized, and it surely takes a while to get from point A to point B on foot. As you complete missions, rescue people and generally blow shit up, you’ll eventually get captured by a group of cultist hunters, which will introduce you to that region’s leader, in this case John Seed. The Seeds are the cult’s leaders, and they seem just unhinged enough to be “crazy” but are also composed enough to keep order over their people. After escaping the first time, you’ll eventually piss off John enough to get captured again, this time with a longer sequence carrying on to escape. Eventually you’ll fill up your “resistance points” bar and John will call you out for a confrontation.

The world feels big, and for the most part it feels lived in. There are some areas of wilderness, but there’s always someone wandering around nearby. As with most games of this type, there is a fast travel option, where you can open the map and instantly teleport to a previously visited location. I used this sort of option in games like Skyrim almost exclusively, as it eventually became tiresome to trudge about the map on foot. That feels the same way here, but fortunately there is a grand scope of vehicles that you can pilot to get around quickly enough. I do think that the inclusion of fast travel can be a sort of immersion breaking, but its necessary if you ever want to feel like you’ve accomplished something. I’m happy that the vehicles make it feel easier to get around without breaking that immersion… in fact there were points where I was in an intense firefight and the next thing I knew I was in a plane and facing off against aerial opponents. There are times when things feel mundane, and then others where the game gets its hooks into you. I’m not in love with it, but I haven’t grown tired of playing it either. So that’s something.

The main storyline is sort of drab and predictable, but some of the side quests were particularly interesting. One quest saw me hunting humping bulls for their testicles, which is a true to life delicacy in some parts of this country. Rocky Mountain Oysters as they are called, sound revolting to me, but apparently these people really wanted some balls in their mouth. Another mission I did for a kooky conspiracy theorist had me running around for these mysterious orbs that were supposed to be of alien origin, and in most cases made the animals around them aggro and strong. I was actually killed by a mob of turkeys and it was fairly entertaining. That same dude actually built some sort of teleportation machine using these parts, and I’m not sure if he actually went somewhere or was just vaporized, but either way I was able to grab a weird science weapon and his shoes after the fact.

There is a bit of force patriotism in the game, which I suppose would be okay if we weren’t quickly becoming the laughing stock of the world. The game also has its fair share of bugs, which I assume is par for the course when these types of games are churned out as quickly as they are. One bug in particular stuck with me, as I was supposed to destroy this cult truck that was causing havoc on the streets, and as I’m following it and shooting, it literally disappeared. After some searching I found it on the map, considerably further back from where it disappeared. Then as I waited for it to appear from around a bend, it was literally flickering in and out of existence. I just kept chucking explosives at it, and somehow it still exploded and credited me with the kill, but there was no physical evidence as it had flickered out of existence again. Not game breaking, but definitely not a great look. So far though, after defeating John seed and moving onto the next region, I’m ready to reload and check out more. I see myself finishing the game, but I doubt I’ll bother with DLC and the like. Farcry 6 is already on the horizon, set to release next February, so I don’t see myself needing more of this, when I could just jump into that. It’s likely it’s on next gen systems as well, so maybe that will be an improvement in more ways than one.

Borderlands 3 Complete

Somehow or another it’s been quite a while since Borderlands 3 was released, and I bought it upon release so writing this post several months later feels a little strange. I love the series, and as a fan who has played through the trilogy I can say that this game had the most bells and whistles, while still holding true the standard formula. The animation and gameplay felt smoother, the gun mechanics were on point, and overall the story was still pretty good. It wasn’t as good as the Handsome Jack story from the second game, but I don’t think you’re going to top “butt-stallion” anytime soon. Whatever the case, my friend and I started the playthrough together and also made a pact to not play it outside of when we played together, unless it was on another character. As such, we did get through a good chunk of the game, but for some reason we got distracted by other things, COVID happened, and well the game just sat. I finally brought it up that we needed to get together and finish the damn thing, but at that point he had let his Playstation Plus subscription lapse, and it turns out it’s required for online co-op play. He didn’t seem interested in paying for it again, so I resigned to finishing Borderlands 3 off by myself. During quarantine, it turns out he had the same thoughts and managed to get a bit further into the game and when we touched bases I had to do some work to catch up. So I did.

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I spent an evening rapidly playing through story and side missions, and before I knew it, I was nearing a similar point in the game as him, and I finally convinced him to resubscribe to plus so we could finish the game off together. It took two more sessions to finally beat the main story, but the game technically isn’t over there. As tradition dictates, completing the base game unlocks “true vault hunter” mode, which is essentially new game + and allows you to level up to the cap, though the original cap is 50 and we were like level 42ish when we finished, so I think we’d max out before beating the game a second time. There were a ton of other activities in this game though, mainly having to do with finding claptrap parts, radio logs, hunting rare creatures and then there’s mayhem mode to boot. You can also queue up for dungeon runs and things with people online, so I suppose we could spend a few more hours with the title. This isn’t including DLC, which typically adds new areas, a new story to follow and sometimes level increases. Two of those are already out and I think a third is coming soon. I’m not really thinking that I’ll bother, but if he wants to and time permits, maybe we’ll splurge on the season pass and have some more fun with it.

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I discovered photo mode late into my playthrough so many of my screen shots were less than perfect, but I managed to capture some cool moments. There were plenty of those, my favorite probably being the quest that dealt with “Pain & Terror” who were voiced (well, in Pain’s case) by Penn & Teller. This lead into a Max Max like sequence of following around a huge base on wheels, shooting at parts to disable it, and then boarding the behemoth and killing Pain & Terror. It was great fun and unexpected because I’ve literally not seen any spoilers for the game despite its age. Whatever the case, I had a blast with it and we’re likely to jump into it again before long, but I just wanted to commemorate the occasion. I’ve managed a pretty good streak of completing games as of late, and look to keep it going.

The Outer Worlds: Complete

So it wasn’t something I was expecting to do so soon, but The Outer Worlds was good enough to get its hooks into me so I played it through before I realized it. I didn’t really read reviews about the game so after completing it I had some questions. I should mention that there will be spoilers in this post, including my personal epilogue which vary from your own. With that said, I’ll continue with some generic screens from the end of my playthrough.

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So one of the screenshots in the above gallery shows the system map, which contains a cluster of planets and some other points of interest, and you’ll notice that there are some planets that appear with a lock over them. These never became accessible during my game, and that seemed curious. Why include planets you can’t eventually visit? I understand level gating or time gating things for the sake of story and wanting particular events to occur in a certain order. But having worlds that cannot be accessed, and then not having any sort of time table on DLC that might allow for visiting said planets is a bad look. Why wouldn’t you just leave those off, and instead add them to that map when said DLC released? Is this perhaps the sign of a rushed game? It’s clear that The Outer Worlds took inspiration from the Bethesda formula, but they instead made a fairly linear game with only a small amount of side quests. The story was engaging and I had fun playing it, and I can see the ability to play again in a different way in order to get different story bits but I don’t see how that would much change the overall narrative. As such, the 25 hour mostly complete time combined with places on the map you can’t visit screams to me that the game was pushed out before it was fully done. Or a DLC plan went awry, because you’d think you wouldn’t be able to go back and do the DLC if you already completed the game, as there is a point in the narrative where you can only move forward and aren’t able to do anything else after the epilogue screens. I’ll share my personal epilogue with you now.


I think I missed a screen or two but you get the gist. I appreciated the fact that the game wasn’t overly open-world, with planets having smaller maps that encompassed some larger areas and smaller ones too, with instanced dungeons and such. I feel like they still could have added a ton of quests and things to do though, that would have given the game more life. I suppose if you’re the completionist type you’ll go for all the trophies which will result in additional playthroughs, plus there are other difficulty levels that could make for more of a challenge (though there were some tricky parts here and there anyway). For me personally, I’m shelving it and will perhaps come back to it given DLC or sufficient passing of time to want to experience a different story in the same world. I’ve already picked Borderlands 3 back up and am trying to push through that one to the end, which will definitely take more time.

With all that said, I still recommend the game. It was a fun tale in an alternate universe and I enjoyed my time with it. It does have the flaws I’ve mentioned but I’d still say it’s worth the price of entry. It’s currently set to release later this year on PC if you’ve already waited this long, and would prefer that version.

Journey to The Outer Worlds

So Fallout is a thing. If we go back in time a bit, the third game in the series made the jump to the 3D space and turned the series into a first person affair, much like The Elder Scrolls series. This is partially due to the fact that at this time Bethesda bought the IP from Interplay, so it was their first game and they obviously used the TES architecture to design it. I played Fallout 3 but didn’t really enjoy the fact that you relied heavily on the VATS system to do well in combat so the game couldn’t be played in a fast paced style. Stealth didn’t make as much sense to me then either, though these issues were rectified for me come the fourth game in the series. Somewhere in between there, another Fallout game was made, but by a different company. This game was Fallout: New Vegas, and though it appeared at the time to be using the same engine as Fallout 3, it’s almost fair to say that Fallout: New Vegas was the “real” Fallout 3. 

Long ago a company named Black Isle Studios made some amazing cRPGs that I played and enjoyed. These games were distributed by Interplay, who would later go under and sell off IPs, hence the tidbit above. The studio itself would close down but was famous for developing the first two Fallout games along with Planescape: Torment. Later, a new company would emerge from the ashes, and Obsidian Entertainment would go on to work on similar titles like Neverwinter Nights 2, and Knights of the Old Republic 2. They came back around to Fallout with New Vegas and then I assume that they were no longer allowed (or interested) in pursuing more games in that world. Instead, we’ve gotten The Outer Worlds, which in itself is much like a Fallout game, but is set in its own world. I should also note that Obsidian went back to their roots for a few years developing the Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny games.

The Outer Worlds was on my radar early on, but I was skeptical after buying Fallout 76 on day one and being mostly disappointed with it. I wanted another Fallout experience but that wasn’t it, and I wasn’t sure that Obsidian would deliver something I wanted. The other issue was that while it was releasing on consoles and PC on day one, the PC version could only be picked up on the Epic Games store and I have whole-heartedly boycotted that platform. Later it was said that the release would come to Steam, but that it would be one year later. The Outer Worlds has been out since October of 2019, and here were are smack dab in the middle of that year. I saw the game on sale on the Playstation Store and decided I didn’t want to wait until October 2020 to pay full price for a year old game. That might not be the case, but I simply didn’t want to wait. So I picked it up, downloaded and started playing last night.

As much as I want to compare The Outer Worlds to Fallout, I’m going to try and leave the comparisons behind outside of those I’ve already mentioned. Yes, they are both first person RPGs that take place in the future, and have plenty of retro and futuristic elements but that’s about where it stops. Here, the story revolves around corporations that serve as factions throughout the universe. There’s also much more than just one world to explore, so I imagine if you put all of the maps together you’d get a similarly sized world. Travel on foot takes some time but there is a lot of detail put into each point of interest and the world feels alive.

As with most RPGs, you’ll start out by creating your character, which seemed pretty straight forward. I’m not sure how well I chose to spend my skill and attribute points, but I pulled from my knowledge of these style of games and assumed that dialog options along with hacking/lockpicking skills would be a good way to go. I’ve also focused on being able to use long guns so that I can take enemies out before they get to me. Overall it feels pretty much the same as most RPGs, but I see some little nuances that were interesting.

The story goes that you were frozen on a ship that was bound for a corporate owned colony somewhere in space, but something on the ship failed and so you (along with others) were frozen for 70 years. Apparently a lot has happened since then, but it seems that corporations control various parts of space and your faction standings will fluctuate as you participate in the story. A fugitive helps you escape, but then his ship is damaged so he sends you planet side to meet with a smuggler who is going to help you help the guy who saved you but then he gets squashed by your landing pod and you’re sort of on your own. I’ve only played through the first area and just got access to a ship, so now I’m able to travel the stars. But just the first portion of the game successfully introduces you to a number of characters, gets you some gear and experience (I believe I’m level 7 already) and even gets you your first companion. Apparently you can have up to two companions at a time in this game, so that’s something new.

Like most of these types of RPGs, you have an overarching story line and then a bunch of little side quests. At this point I believe my priority is to help get the rest of the frozen colonists free, but first I have to help the fugitive that freed me. From there I assume more will happen, but along the way a bunch of little stories will unfold. I love this style of game so I know that I’m going to have fun with this one, I just don’t really know what to expect.

Finally seeing the ship’s navigation makes the game appear that it will be huge. There are a lot of planets there to explore, however we didn’t do a whole lot on Terra 2, so I’m not sure that each place we visit will be that expansive. Whatever the case, I’m anxious to get back to it, so I’m gonna hit publish and play some more!

The Pit: Infinity

If you haven’t heard of The Pit: Infinity, I wouldn’t blame you. Perhaps you’ve heard of the series of games that spawned this, which despite using the same series name they aren’t really all that related. Sword of the Stars was a mid-2000s space strategy game that was compared to Homeworld. It spawned a sequel several years later, and then a game called Sword of the Stars: The Pit, which I ended up buying back in the day off of GOG.com. As I had a DRM free copy, it ended up never making it to my new PC and eventually the game made its way to Steam where I picked it up again. It’s a traditional style rogue-like game with turn based movement and a variety of systems that made it a rather fun title, which is also why I wanted a copy on Steam. With that said, the day that I saw it on the marketplace and decided to buy it, there was also a new game of theirs in production and there was a sale for buying both at the same time. I ended up buying the bundle but The Pit: Infinity was still in early access. I tinkered with it a little bit but decided I would come back to it after release.

Well, I’m here to tell you that early access has come and gone. The game officially released on Steam back in November of last year, which I mentally noted at some point but it took quarantine to have the time to start playing some games I’ve neglected for far too long from the backlog. I’m here to give some impressions after playing a few sessions yesterday. The Pit: Infinity is essentially Sword of the Stars: The Pit but in full 3D first person shooter mode. It’s literally the same style of game, though it feels a little more forgiving than the original. I should also notate that it appears they have dropped the Sword of the Stars moniker from the 2013 game, and it’s now just called The Pit. Whatever the case, they are the two ends of the same coin. Both have rogue-like mechanics and account progression systems. Both use melee and ranged weapons along with a slew of skills that affect how you approach each run. Your goal is to get to the bottom of the pit, which is something I’ve never done in either game. Regardless, they’re both a spot of fun, particularly if you enjoy one or both of genres, also if you prefer a slower and more methodical shooter.

There have been some changes from what I can recall from trying this game about a year ago. The textures and atmospheric effects are definitely improved, but it still feels a little janky. The developers, Kerberos Productions, have made it their mission to produce A+ quality games with minimal overhead according to their website, so you can see where there ambition meets the budget and concessions are made. It’s not a bad looking game by any means, but the animations aren’t the best and the environments aren’t very inspired. It does produce a sort of charm though, and because I enjoyed the source material, I still managed to find the fun in it despite it’s technological shortcomings. It’s just sort of hard to go from playing Doom Eternal to this and not notice the drop in quality.

That’s not to say it’s all bad. The first screen shot depicted the new character select at the beginning of the game, and that was a nice addition. I also enjoyed the fact that the put in a section at the start where you exit your space ship and actually have to fight some enemies before even entering the dungeon, which was a tribute to the original game. I also feel like the added animations for opening containers were a nice touch, though it doesn’t always seem to line up with how it would in real life. For example, when you’re repairing a broken cooker or other such crafting station, you kneel down and “do repairs” but the camera locks in a position where you are essentially staring at your knees while repairing delicate equipment. I don’t expect you to show exactly how I repair the machine but I should at least be looking at it to do said repairs.

Another low point for me is the UI overall. It’s pretty ugly. I appreciate my health/food/stamina bars being visible, along with ammo counts and my equipped items as well for quick reference, but it didn’t have to be so ugly. Parts of it seem like they’re trying to emulate The Elder Scrolls or Fallout with some of the menus, but it just doesn’t come across the same and I would have liked something a little better but it is what it is. I’ve played worse indie games. The gunplay isn’t fantastic, the movement is stuck between full FPS and the turn-based move-one-square-at-a-time gameplay of the orignal, and that feels weird, but after a floor or two it becomes less noticeable.

Eventually, you’ll go down floors, get new goods crafted and kill a ton of creeps. Some of these are obviously harder than others, and sometimes it’s a better idea to just jump down a floor rather than fight the thing that’s going to kill you, but you might miss out on needed supplies as well. I suppose it has all of the trappings of any rogue-like game you’ve played, but I applaud their dedication to moving their own game into a different space. Fans of the original will feel at home fast enough, but I’m not sure I’d tell you to start here, the original game might actually be a better place to start.

I managed to make it 6 floors deep on my best run, but ran into a little robot that did a fuckton of damage and I couldn’t seem to kill it despite using all of my remaining ammo. The rest of the run would have been difficult because ammo doesn’t come all that often, so it’s probably better I just died there. One comparison I have to make that is unfortunate is to the game Void Bastards which I wrote about last year. It does the same sort of thing, mixing elements from various successful rogue-like formulas from other games and puts its own spin on it, and I actually think it was a much better and more polished experience. I’d recommend it over this one, outside of die hard fans of The Pit.