Far Cry 5 places you, a deputy sheriff, into the thick of the action as a crazed religious cult tries to take over a rural county of Montana. Before you start looting the stashes of the game’s many doomsday preppers, here are some handy hints to help you prepare to play Ubisoft’s latest.

Loud or quiet?

Far Cry 5 continues the series’ tradition of huge, open-world games with a variety of approaches to causing mass violence. But while there are lots of weapons, your choice is pretty simple: do you want to rush in guns blazing or take your time?

If you feel confident with your aiming and cover-shooting skills, then it’s possible to charge in and wreck havoc with your assault rifle and explosives. However, you’re usually outnumbered and don’t have that much health.

Alternatively, stealth is pretty easy in this game. Just stay crouched in the thick grass and bushes until you’re close enough for an instant takedown, or use a silent weapon to pick off your foes before they spot you.

You can tell if someone can see you by the curved line that appears around the edge of the screen. It’ll point in the general direction of whoevers spotted you, and will gradually fill up from black to white, at which point they’ll open fire. Hiding and breaking line-of-sight will prevent this.

Most likely, however, is that you’ll combine the two approaches. You’ll sneak forward and take out a handful of Peggies (the nickname for the game’s kooky cultists), then someone will sound an alarm and you’ll be in full-action mode, then you’ll slip away to use a medkit or reload before planning your next attack.

Always use your binoculars

Even if you favour the loud approach, it’s worth scoping out a target before attacking. Spying on people with binoculars is pretty creepy in the real world but is essential in Far Cry 5. Use your binoculars, ideally from a hidden vantage point, and scan the area on which you’re about to unleash hell.

Any enemy you see will be tagged with a little red triangle above their head, allowing you to keep track of where they are during the melee, even through walls and trees. There’s a similar system in Metal Gear Solid 5 or Ubi's other recent games like Assassin's Creed Origins, and tagging foes means you’re much less likely to be surprised or ambushed once you wade into the enemy.

If you have a buddy (see below) you can use your binoculars to give them orders, such as telling them where to go, or selecting an enemy for them to attack.

Explore (and loot) everything!

Unlike previous Ubisoft open-world games, where you had to climb special towers to magically unlock all the things to do and find in the local area, Far Cry 5’s map is filled out in a much more organic fashion. As well as simply stumbling across things as you stalk through the woods, it’s important to read notes, pick up maps, check road signs and talk to Hope County residents after you save them. Doing this will provide the location of Peggie shrines and outposts for you to attack, stashes of weapons to raid and hunting locations for the game’s various wildlife.

Saving residents as well as tackling Peggie locations will reward you with Resistance Points. The map is divided into three main regions, each controlled by a member of main bad guy Joseph Seed’s psychopathic family. Gaining Resistance Points in each region will unlock story content and eventually allow you to locate and take down that area’s big bad. It’s a similar mechanic to the Chaos Points system in the Just Cause series.

Prepper stashes are amazing

Hope County is filled with Doomsday preppers, ready to take on the gov’mint or the Commies or whomever. Turns out they were right to prepare once John Seed unleashed his forces onto the residents. Heck, the first NPC to help you in the game, Dutch, is a prepper.

Unfortunately it seems some preppers didn’t reach their stashes in time, or already fled the county, meaning the map is dotted with stashes of loot for you to grab. There’s usually a simple puzzle attached to getting into these bonanza bunkers, such as finding a set of keys or providing power to some device

The first prepper stash you come across is on Dutch’s island, towards the west-side coast. You’ll need to turn on a water pump to empty the flooded bunker, but the switch is inside a locked boat house. I won’t tell you how to get inside the boat house, but it involves… swimming. Once you’re inside the bunker, there’s plenty of cash and loot, including possibly the best weapon in the game: the compound bow.

The bow is just awesome – it usually takes Peggies out in one hit, is silent so you can take out several targets without being spotted and is very accurate, with a decent range. It’s not so great against armoured opponents or in a mass gunfight, but that’s why you need to bring along your...

You and he were… buddies, weren't you?

I have a very important thing to tell you:

In Far Cry 5 you can unlock a pet grizzly bear called Cheeseburger who will maul your foes. You can pet Cheeseburger and he’ll give you an affectionate lick.

Far Cry 5 is now my favourite game of all time.

More seriously, the buddy system in Far Cry 5 is pretty essential. There are nine “Specialist” companions dotted around the map you can unlock, including a cougar named Peaches and a very good boy called Boomer. The missions to unlock the Specialists are all quite fun and should become your priority, as they’ll prove very helpful during the game.

The Specialists all excel in different ways, from sniping to close combat to being a bear, but all greatly complement your firepower and even the odds against the Peggies. As they accumulate kills, you’ll gain points to unlock perks for your character. Your companions can also revive you if you take too much damage during the heat of battle.

As well as the Specialists, you can recruit three 'guns for hire'. These are random Hope County civilians who you meet either after liberating an outpost or saving them from the Peggies. They can revive you and have unlockable perks based on their killcount. You can also get them to drive you to waypoints on the map if you’re in a vehicle. You can only recruit up to three, so will have to sack one of them if you make a new friend.

To start with, you can only have one companion with you at any time, but you can later unlock an ability to have two sidekicks. If a companion takes too much damage, they'll be sent back to their pocket dimension and become unavailable for several minutes, but if that happens you can always just open up your menu and assign another one.

With these tips you should now be prepared to go forth and have plenty of fun with Far Cry 5’s murderbox simulator.

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