The dark ending to Far Cry 5 has proven very divisive, but here's why it doesn't suck. The Far Cry franchise began with the original game in 2004, where players guided ex-soldier Jack Carver around a lush island filled with mercenaries. The open-ended gameplay and stunning graphics made the game a hit, and it later received a live-action adaptation starring Til Schweiger (Inglourious Basterds) as Carver.
Far Cry 2 was released in 2008 and was met with a more mixed reaction. The game's large world and dynamic gameplay were praised, but constantly respawning enemies and a focus on realism that leads to weapons jamming were cited as annoyances. The series came into its own with 2012's Far Cry 3, which featured the most refined gameplay to date and a classic villain in Vaas.
Far Cry 5 is set in Montana and involves a task force sent to arrest Joseph Seed, the leader of doomsday cult Eden's Gate. Seed and his siblings believe the end of the world is nigh, and after the task force takes him into custody, members of the cult fight back. Players take control of The Rookie, who must take down Eden's Gate and rescue the other members of the team. For the most part, Far Cry 5 follows the franchise formula of mixing shooting with stealth, recruiting teammates and liberating bases.
While the game itself received positive reviews, Far Cry 5's ending would prove controversial. The canon finale has The Rookie finally arrest Jospeh after killing his siblings - only for a nuclear explosion to go off in the background. It turns out Joseph's prediction about the end times were right, and after a frantic dash to a bomb shelter, The Rookie is knocked out and wakes up to Joseph declaring the world they know is over, and they will emerge stronger into a new one. There are two others endings to Far Cry 5, including one where The Rookie drives away with the team, only for their mind control to be activated by a song on the radio, suggesting The Rookie will kill the task force and return to Joseph. The other ending is considered the happiest, where The Rookie chooses not to arrest Seed in the opening, meaning no blood is shed.
Part of what made fans and reviewers angry with the ending is that it feels like a shock twist for the sake one. That said, Far Cry 5 teases this ending throughout, from Seed's many doomsday speeches to radio reports about tensions between America and North Korea. Another issue is that the game - which features shooting and violence as a central mechanic - essentially appears to be judging gamers for playing it that way. The ending suggests a lot of death could have been avoided if The Rookie had just backed down. It appears the nuclear conflict is inevitable regardless of the player's choices too, meaning their actions throughout are rendered pointless.
It's a bold message to package in a AAA game, and it feels similar to the one found in the acclaimed Spec-Ops: The Line. While Far Cry 5 could have done a better job leading up the blast, it does follow through with the core theme of the story. Seed and his cult are undeniably monsters, so even if Joseph is proven right in the end, it's only natural players would fight back against them. Far Cry 5's ending is intended to stick with players after the credits roll in an uncomfortable way, and confront the realization that there just isn't a right solution.
Far Cry 5's ending doesn't suck, even though the execution could have been better handled. The ending was followed up with Far Cry New Dawn, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic Montana 17 years later. The story also has Seed confronting that the world isn't a paradise after it was destroyed, and the weight of his monstrous actions come down on him; his final fate is left to the players.