Meet George. He's a resident of Far Cry 5's Hope County and a former minor league baseball player. With his hometown in the grip of a murderous death cult, George is naturally deeply concerned about his missing baseball card collection, and asks you—the one person capable of defeating the thousands of lunatics engaging in bloodshed, kidnapping, and torture—to find it for him.
And I will, George, I will. In a minute. But first, how about we play a little ball? After all, you're standing in the batter's box at home plate on a baseball diamond, holding a baseball bat. You point out to left field from time to time, calling your shot like Babe Ruth (or Tom Berenger imitating Babe Ruth). You even put the bat on your shoulder and take some cuts while you're standing there.
And what's this? Sitting on the pitcher's mound is a baseball glove with a ball in it. Surely, Far Cry 5, which has not only given me my own baseball bat but the ability to throw everything from rocks to cans to grenades to shovels to hunks of meat, wants me to throw you a few pitches. Let's do that right now!
Only, I can't. I can't pick up the glove or the ball. I walk over them repeatedly, which is the time-honored way of picking things up in games. I punch and kick them, but unlike most objects in the game, they don't budge an inch. I know it won't work, but I set a remote explosive under them and attempt to blow them free of the earth. Nothing happens.
George is still standing in the batter's box, looking for all the world like he wants me to pitch one in. I can throw rocks—you can do that to distract guards—so I try that, zipping them in over the plate. George gets distracted and stops swinging to look around at what the noise might have been. It's becoming clear why he never went pro.
I try to time my rock-throwing with his swing, thinking maybe if he's already swinging and his bat connects with the rock it'll, I don't know, unlock the actual ball? Give me a hidden achievement? Clearly, I'm desperate here, because Ubisoft isn't exactly shy about telling you with prompts and icons exactly what you need to do in the game to accomplish whatever it is you want to do.
Well, I want to play baseball, so I try it anyway. Repeatedly. I don't think George's bat ever connects with the ball, but it's at least some dim facsimile of pitching.
Okay, then. I'll complete George's mission by collecting his nine baseball cards, and see if that changes anything. I visit a shop, buy a map they have that for some reason shows the location of each of the nine missing cards (kind of a weird retail item), and spend a night fast-traveling and helicoptering around the mountains, until I've got all of George's cards.
George is happy to have his precious collectibles back, and after a couple attacks by angry skunks, he returns to home plate and I once again wander around on the mound, trying to pick up the glove and ball. I still can't.
What else might work? I return to the shop and buy an aluminum baseball bat, along with hundreds of in-game dollars worth of skins, including a prestige skin, for both it and the wooden bat I already own. I try standing at the plate and swinging my bats, thinking maybe George will go out to the mound and pepper some pitches in. But he just remains at the plate, apart from when I accidentally hit him with one of my swings, at which point he attacks me. I punch him to the ground, revive him, and we're back where we started.
Desperate, I drive a truck onto the mound and fling cans through the broken windshield over the plate. Nothin'. I search the park for some kind of baseball sign-up sheet I can activate to alert the game to the fact that I want to play ball. I pitch hunks of meat, attracting bears and wolves which I then save George from. I angrily set a sign reading 'Welcome Baseball Fans" on fire with a molotov cocktail. I run the bases. I bash the glove and ball with my various bats. Apart from breaking a lot of wooden bats, nothing is accomplished. I even throw some of my bats over the plate.
Okay, I give up. If someone out there knows if and how you can play baseball in Far Cry 5, please let me know, because I feel like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, tearfully asking his ghost-daddy to play a game of catch, except in this version his dad is is like "Nah."