Screen Themes: Far Cry 5 vs Fortnite Season 5

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Video games have long been a cause of conservative hysteria and 2018 is no different. Entertainment editor and occasional gamer John Turnbull checks out two games that have sparked controversy recently: the religious-bating Far Cry 5 and the fifth season of the most expensive free game ever.

Far Cry 5 (Ubisoft)

Set in the fictional Hope County, Montana, Far Cry 5 tells the story of an unnamed deputy who finds himself (or herself) battling a deranged cult by blowing things up and killing everyone in their path. Why has this caused controversy, I hear you ask, aside from the obvious moral decline that video games in general represent?

It may be because the bad guys are White Christians, which some people consider a nice change from years of foreign villains and others argue is absolutely appropriate, as you’re far more likely to die at the hands of a gun-toting lunatic than you are a terrorist in Trump’s America. The White Christians in question are part of a cult called Eden’s Gate, which is fictitious but bares a number of striking similarities to Heaven’s Gate, including the physical resemblance of Eden’s Gate leader John Seed to David Koresh.

From a gameplay perspective, Far Cry 5 isn’t significantly different from previous games in the series. Your aim, as the nameless, faceless protagonist, is to create as much havoc as possible, thereby enraging Eden’s Gate cultists and galvanizing other rebels to your cause. Much like the GTA series, it’s a lot of fun if you’re in a nihilistic mood, but once you start working your way through missions, a lot of elements start to feel repetitive (particularly the long distance driving).

At the end of the day, there isn’t a lot to distinguish Far Cry 5 from the plethora of other first person shooters out there. It’s not a bad game by any measure, and some of the cut scenes contain hilarious digs at religion and American culture, but unless you’re a big fan of the genre you can probably save your money.

Fortnite Season 5 (Epic Games)

I’ll be honest with you, readers. I played the new season of Fortnite for an hour or so and was bored out of my mind. I found the Minecraft-meets-Grand Theft Auto gameplay repetitive and annoying, and the prevalence of pre-teen keyboard assassins meant I frequently got killed without knowing I was even in a fight.

So I spoke to someone who treats Fortnite like a religion and has been anticipating Season 5 for weeks. My son, Charlie Danger.

So what’s the deal with this Season 5 stuff, then?

“There have been a lot of changes to the new season. It’s called Worlds Collide and there’s a Viking ship and a whole new bunch of skins and emotes, which you need to buy with V Bucks, which is the in-game currency. I don’t know what the V stands for, but it’s like any other game in that you need to pay real money for V Bucks to spend in the game.”

That raises a very important point — while Fortnite is ostensibly a free game (aside from the Save the World subscription based option), it is designed to encourage players to spend money to level up, with 100 distinct levels to be reached in Season 5.

Keeping in mind that the average new video game costs around $90, I ask Charlie Danger how much he has spent in Fortnite.

“Too much… Over a hundred dollars, less than a thousand.”

Cough… excuse me?  A thousand dollars?

“No, no, less than that. Less than $700. Anyway, at the end of Season 4 someone launched a rocket into the sky and caused a big crack and this has opened up the barriers between worlds. I think we’ve also gone back in time or something, but I’m not sure.”

Right… Taking a step back, the most popular play mode of Fortnite is Battle Royale and it’s almost directly ripped off from the Japanese movie of the same name. Essentially, you and 99 other players are dropped onto an island, and tasked with being the last person standing.

Of course, this is just my noob perspective…

“That’s right. It’s last one standing. You can choose which region you play in. We’re in Oceanea, but you can also play in Asia or North America. Oceanea is the hardest server to play in because that’s where all the YouTubers play, but the servers are the least laggy.”  

Finally, the latest DSM has classified video game addiction as a thing, so does Charlie have any advice for people who might be addicted to Fortnite?

“Just don’t play after dinner, because then you’ll end up playing until like, one o’clock and then you won’t be able to go to sleep.”

Sounds like good advice. What rating would you give Fortnite season 5?

Fortnite (Charlie Danger) — 9/10

Far Cry 5 (John) — 7/10

Books by John Turnbull are available on Amazon and Kindle, including supernatural thriller Damnation’s Flame; action/romance Reaper, black comedy City Boy and travel guidebook Bar Trek: EuropeDamnation's Flame by John Turnbull is also available in paperback in the IA store HERE (free postage).

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