15 things I wish I knew before playing Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5’s formula hasn’t changed in monumental ways: you shoot guns, clear outposts, and die time and time again to pissed-off skunks. But there are enough new wrinkles in Ubisoft’s open world FPS to disorient new players and series vets alike. Don’t worry though, take our advice and your trip to Hope County, Montana will be as scenic and relaxing as a game about killing thousands of cultists can be.

Always talk to captives after you rescue them

All over Hope County are residents who want none of this cult nonsense, but are being convinced by some extreme marketing tactics (being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint). You'll see them everywhere: on the side of the road, in the woods, at the banks of rivers. You'll see them so often that at times it hardly seems worth stopping to help them because you're busy trying to do something else, and after helping them out it's tempting to just jump back in your vehicle and be on your way.

Always make sure you talk to them, though, because rescuing someone has dual benefits: you gain resistance points (which move you closer to to unlocking the boss confrontation) and each citizen has a tidbit of information about the world to impart, like the location of loot stashes or spots of interest to check out that you otherwise may have missed. So after you save them, make time for chit-chat.

Unlock extra holsters as soon as you can

You begin the game with a melee weapon slot and two slots for guns (plus, you can carry a number of chuckables, from dynamite to grenades to proximity mines to throwing knives). Two gun slots just isn't enough for a game like this, however, and unlike previous Far Cry games, you can't craft additional holsters from animal skins.

So, save up your perk points to unlock a third and fourth holster as soon as you can. This will give you a weapon for every encounter: A sniper rifle for distance, a shotgun or SMG for close encounters, an RPG for taking out planes and vehicles, and a pistol for when you run out of ammo for everything else. Or do what Sparky up there does and carry a flamethrower.

Hunting and fishing are the best ways to make money

Fishing especially. There are a few good fishing spots with fellow fisherman vendors hanging out at the same spot. Get the Fisher King perk, practice some fishing, and once you get the hang of things you can turn around trout and bass fast enough to make $1000 in a couple minutes. Be sure you’re using a fly that make sense for the fish you’re going after! 

Check your challenges to see how close you are to getting perk points

If you've got your eye on a new perk that costs a lot of points, and you're just a few shy of unlocking it, take a quick look at your challenges tab (marked by a medallion). Scroll through the list: it'll show how close you are to completing the various challenges and earning points. Since you'll advance through challenges just by playing the game, you're probably close to a few already, and if you see, for example, that you only need a couple more grenade kills to complete the challenge, you can just walk into your next battle and throw a bunch of grenades to nab those points.

Open safes with perks, not explosives

A locked safe. There's nothing more appealing, especially when you can use explosives to open them. But I'd save your C4 for combat, because the safes you'll find at outposts and dwellings usually don't have much cash, and only occasionally have silver bars. Since most of your explosives come from crafting, and crafting requires scrounging resources from stashes, it's smarter to save them for blowing up cultists.

Instead, unlock the repair tool in the perk menu as soon as you can. You can use it to open safes at no expense except for a five second wait (plus you can repair your vehicles with it). There's also a lock-picking perk that can open safes as well as locked doors.

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Complete Nick Rye's personal quest as soon as possible

Having air support is super helpful, especially during an outpost mission gone bad. You can instruct your pilot pal Nick Rye to attack any marked enemy, so if a sniper is being a pain or someone is dug behind cover, you can have a bomb dropped on them or get them strafed with minigun fire. Just as useful is Rye's airstrip, where you can spawn an unlimited number of planes for your own use once you've completed Rye's personal mission. The planes come with a limited number of bombs, but since refilling your missile supply can be done in midair at a cost of $1,000, it's usually a better idea to just get a fresh plane from the airstrip.

Rye & Son's Airstrip can be found in Holland Valley, the western region of the map, so make a beeline once you're off the starting island. The downside of having Rye circling over head is that pal's plane will often attract enemy planes, which may lead to a lengthy dogfight every now and then. 

Ladders are bad

You don't activate climbing or descending ladders with a keypress, you just sort of stick to them when you get close enough. Occasionally that's good: when lots of things are happening you might want to just automatically climb, and no doubt it's saved me from missing a ladder and falling off a ledge. Usually, though, it's bad, and I've had so many accidental ladder encounters—almost all of them when I was on a ledge and trying to look down at an enemy below, at which point the ladder grabbed me and forced me into the descent animation, thus baring my butt to gunfire from the guy I was trying to peek at. Unless you really want to use a ladder, don't walk anywhere near it.

Don't forget that you can make super-potions

Without an explicit tutorial, it's really easy to miss out on the elixir crafting system early on. In the weapon selection menu (Q), press E and you’ll end up on a potion crafting menu where you can make and imbibe a handful of juices that buff your defense, speed, perception, resistance to damage, or just get you wasted.

How to open those loot trucks

There are a few different kind of cult vehicles cruising around Hope County, and while you want to destroy many of them, like convoys and drug transport trucks, for others you want to just cap the driver and stop the vehicle intact. One of those trucks is a loot truck, and for a while I didn't quite know what I was supposed to do with it once I stopped it. Finally, I figured out there was a control box (framed in yellow) just behind the rear wheels. Walk close to it and you'll get a prompt to interact with it. It lowers the truck's gate and opens the rear doors so you can loot it.

Get the Harvest Master perk early to double your cash gains

If you’re really trying to grind out cash for a new ride or skin for your flamethrower, be sure to get the perk that doubles the loot you get from harvesting animals and plants. Double the rewards means (approximately) double the cash.

Cycle between the regions  

Far Cry 5’s new take on progression is like a spoked wheel, meaning you can head off to any of the three major regions from the start. You’re encouraged to head west to start, but don’t take that as Far Cry 5 telling you the other regions are too difficult to take on right away. You can and should go anywhere you like, so if you’re getting a bit tired of the scenery in one region, head to another to freshen things up. You’ll find new characters, weird quests, and some interesting twists in enemy design. 

Vendors sell a map for those Vietnam-era lighters you might be looking for 

Eventually you might run into a side mission that requires you to find 12 lighters hidden throughout the world. That’s all you get, too—no map icons or leads whatsoever. Visit a vendor check out the miscellaneous items section where you buy health packs, ammo, and the like and scroll all the way to the bottom to find a map that points you in the right direction. It’s not that cheap, but worth every penny.

Bows can shoot through helicopter windshields

In a moment of pure desperation, out of ammo for all my meaner weapons, I (James) fired an arrow at the pilot in a helicopter. It went clean through, bringing the whirlybird down. So, don’t discredit the bow if you’re up against chunky metal obstacles. With decent aim they’re as easy to knock out of the sky as turkey vultures.

Guns for Hire will talk to one another 

Once you unlock the ability to have two companions at once, there’s a chance they’ll talk to one another, Mass Effect style. So if you want to get to know one of your unlocked characters better (or get them to stop saying the same damn lines they repeat nonstop when they’re without a buddy), bring them and another friend along with you and listen in. It’s not a necessity, but a nice little touch that makes them feel like a bit more than shooty one-liner spewing robots.

If don't already hate the song Amazing Grace, you soon will

I (Chris) already hated it: the hymn is in the public domain so nearly any film or TV show that needs a religious song can use it for free, and so they always do. Far Cry 5 uses it a lot, too, and holy shit am I double-sick of it now. I wish it had been written by The Beatles instead of John Newton because then the rights to use it would cost so much hardly anyone would ever use it again.