For some, including Goomba Stomp co-founder Ricky D Fernandes, this opened the door for plenty of co-op hijinks with friends and family members: systematically taking enemy down outposts, ambushing supply convoys, and generally wiping the stain of Project Eden’s Gate from the evocative Montana Wilderness in an orgy of gunfire and explosions.
Not so for me. I’ve played the entire game solo, with none but Far Cry 5’s roster of AI-controlled NPCs to help me bring the Seed family to justice. It’s a good thing, then, that these characters are actually pretty useful.
But with nine distinctive specialists on offer, alongside countless interchangeable ‘Fighters’, it can be difficult to decide who to use. So, to help those who’ve only just started their adventures through Hope County, I’ve put together this list ranking all ten of Far Cry 5’s characterful and extremely obliging ‘Guns for Hire’ – in order from least to most effective. Enjoy!
The Best of Far Cry 5
10 – Fighters
Fighters differ from the specialists in that, before they can utilize their two supporting abilities (each Gun for Hire possesses a pair of distinctive traits that provide a variety of practical benefits), they must first unlock them by performing a specific number of kills. Five for the first, twelve for the second.
This fact alone puts them at an immediate disadvantage to the likes of Hurk Jr. and Boomer who, once their ‘loyalty mission’, to co-opt a term from Mass Effect, has been completed, come fully equipped with everything they need to put down the members of Project Eden’s Gate.
Additionally, because these skills differ from fighter to fighter, it can be tricky to find one that matches your play style. Though local resident John Smith might possess a universally desirable skill like ‘Field Surgeon’ or ‘Spotter’, for instance, another might have the Hot Buckshot ability instead; giving them the irritating habit of starting indiscriminate bushfires whenever they fire their shotgun.
They’re alright in a pinch, I guess. I mean, they can always be called upon to act as cannon fodder, if necessary. But, given the choice between these faceless NPCs and Cheeseburger or Boomer’s adorable furry punim, I know which one I’d choose.
9 – Adelaide Drubman
When I first unlocked sultry, foul-mouthed cougar Adelaide Drubman, I assumed she’d be a valuable ally.
Patrolling the skies in her beloved helicopter, Tulip, I envisioned Adelaide raining death on the tougher enemies whilst I snuck into enemy camps to disable the alarms and snap the necks of the lucky few who were spared the wrath of her high-calibre machine gun. The perfect companion for a murderous stroll through the Montanan wilderness, in other words. Sadly, this wasn’t to be.
Manoeuvrable as her diminutive aircraft is, it’s far from bullet proof. And, if her semi-regular collisions with Hope County’s mountainous terrain is anything to go by, her acid tongue and raunchy commentary serve mainly to mask her inadequacies as a pilot.
No sooner have you asked her to take out a pick-up truck full of cultists than she’s plummeting towards the earth, shot down by an unknown assailant positioned four hundred feet below, and thus rendering her unavailable for the next twenty-odd minutes of game time. Leaving me to deal with the now alert fanatics, who’d like nothing more than to leave my bullet-strewn corpse on the side of the road as food for their drug-addled lupine companions, all by myself.
8 – Sharky Boshaw
Just as those fighters with the ‘Hot Buckshot’ ability have the uncanny knack of starting bushfires in the heat of battle, causing as much damage to the player as the enemy combatants, Sharky’s biggest drawback is his reckless use of incendiary weapons.
True, at times his pyromania can inject an enemy squad with a welcome dose of panic, disrupting the Peggie assault as the fire-engulfed cultists career heedlessly through their own defensive position looking for the nearest body of water in which to douse the hungry flames that threaten to consume them.
More often than not, however, what actually happens is the player, comfortably ensconced in the dense Montana underbrush, will be forced break cover as the surrounding wilderness suddenly ignites, creating a wall of fire between the protagonist and his foes. Or, if you’re especially unlucky, you’ll be forced to flee the charge of that one terrified soldier whose instinctive response to being set ablaze is to stop, drop, and roll – on the player’s face.
Sharky is, at least, probably the funniest of the game’s companions; breaking the tension with a timely quip about how his apparently generously proportioned penis is, frustratingly, an easy target for enemy gunmen. Okay, so it doesn’t do much to stem the Peggie tide, but it does help the player forget the screams of the virtual men and women Sharky has just incinerated.
7 – Peaches
From this point on, I find myself struggling to separate the wheat from the chaff. Which is why Peaches, the pink-collar-wearing cougar places so low on this list.
For anyone who prefers stealth over direct confrontation, Peaches is an excellent companion. Capable of taking down foes silently, without arousing the suspicion of any other nearby zealots, she’s perfect for assaulting large outposts. I’ve been content to direct her from the sidelines on more than one occasion, watching patiently as she picks off enemy ground troops one by one, giving me plenty of time to slowly and methodically take out any remaining snipers, alarms, or patrolling air support. Making it easier, in turn, to complete the mission without being detected which, in Far Cry 5, furnishes the player with some pretty handsome rewards.
Her one big flaw, however, is her relatively low damage tolerance. If she’s spotted too soon or finds herself surrounded by enemy troops, chances are it won’t be long before she’s out of action, forcing you (and your surviving companion, if you’ve unlocked both GFH slots) to either go it alone or risk exposing yourself to revive her.
She’s also a bit more aloof than Cheeseburger or Boomer. This doesn’t affect her performance in the field, of course, and is pretty standard behaviour for a cat anyway. But like The Lonely Island, I need love; and, unfortunately, I’m not sure Peaches has any to spare.
6 – Nick Rye
The other of Far Cry 5’s two maverick pilots, Nick Rye is almost the polar opposite of Adelaide Drubman.
Unlike Adelaide, Nick can deal out an impressive amount of damage in a short space of time when called upon, gunning down foot soldiers and enemy aircraft alike in a spray of bullets from his antique aircraft’s side-mounted machine guns.
In addition, he can absorb a far greater amount of return fire before succumbing to the forces of gravity. Though whether that’s because his plane is made of sturdier stuff than Adelaide’s helicopter, or because the straight-talking, self-professed GILF has other, more pleasurable activities to attend to than largescale homicide, I’m not sure.
Regardless, there are a couple of things that keep him from ranking higher on this list. Firstly, he’s next to useless if, during an attack, the enemy decide to take cover beneath in a reasonably-sized building. Secondly, the pause between aerial barrages can be a little long. It takes Nick a good minute or two to prepare an attack run, leaving the player to fend for themselves while he plans his next assault which, ultimately, makes him less useful in a clinch than some of the other Guns for Hire.
5 – Boomer
If I was ranking these characters based on personality, appearance, and objective adorableness alone, then Boomer would unquestionably find himself in the top two.
The thing is, although his ‘Spotter’ skill is perennially useful, once you’ve progressed past the first hour or two, his secondary skill – pilfering weapons from Peggie corpses – becomes somewhat redundant.
With a few quests under your belt and a bit of money in the bank, it’s more than likely you’ll already have a versatile arsenal of weapons in your possession, along with an array of handy supporting skills guaranteed to help you get the most out of your chosen loadout. A basic sidearm really won’t increase your chances of surviving a cultist onslaught all that much.
Nor is he a particularly durable companion. Like Peaches, he’s easily downed, which is a problem in and off itself. However, it’s extremely difficult, emotionally, to leave him to bleed to death on the cold hard earth whilst you rampage through a compound of armed fanatics; only heartless monsters could ignore those pitiful yelps for help. Because of this ability to tug the player’s heartstrings (read: his penchant for emotional blackmail) I’ve found myself dashing recklessly through the battlefield time and again risking any dangers to save my canine friend. And that’s not exactly conducive to bringing down a murderous cult.
That being said, for such an endearing little pooch, Boomer is a surprisingly efficient assassin, hence his relatively high placement on this list, and has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. He really is a good boy, all things considered.
4 – Cheeseburger
Considering Far Cry 5’s three animal NPC’s are my undisputed favourites, it pains me not to include any of them in the top three. However, as the purpose of this list is to rank each Gun for Hire based on their practical efficacy, I honestly don’t think I can justify placing Cheeseburger any higher.
It goes without saying that a highly-intelligent grizzly bear, roughly the size of a small tank and with enough power to rip a person’s arm out of its socket should he decide (diabetes notwithstanding) it’d make for a tasty snack, is a damn useful companion. Able to soak up countless enemy bullets, drawing attention to himself as only a 9-foot-tall mass of fur and muscle can, he’s an invaluable companion for anyone who prefers to eschew stealth and tackle encounters head-on.
The problem is, he’s a bit of a one-trick pony. So if, like the majority of players, you like to alternate between play styles, adapting to the situation rather than going in with a specific game-plan in mind, he’s certainly not an automatic choice.
Still, he’s called Cheeseburger, has his own line of in-game bobble-heads, and, when he’s not disemboweling the heartless cultist bastards who wanted to turn him into a weapon, receptive to the occasional cuddle. Need I say more?
3 – Hurk Drubman Jr.
Series regular Hurk Dubman Jr. is a bit of a polarising character for me.
While his signature rocket launcher is perfect for taking down Peggie air support, he’s not exactly subtle. In the same way, Cheeseburger’s presence is almost guaranteed to alert enemies to the player’s impending attack, so too does the report of Hurk’s inconspicuous bazooka, taking stealth well and truly off the table for as long as he’s in your employ.
In addition, high-yield explosives tend not to distinguish between friend and foe, and, as such, you’ll often find yourself cursing Hurk when, all of a sudden, he decides to decimate an Eden’s Gate transport lorry – with the hostages still inside.
Nevertheless, you can’t overlook the value of his assistance in the first two-thirds of the game.
Before the player is able to apply the heat-seeking attachment to their own RAT4 rocket launcher, encounters with aircraft are often difficult (unless you happen to be near a mounted turret). But with Hurk by your side, the tables are turned. The well-meaning, if somewhat slow American patriot requires nothing more complicated than a simple nod in the direction of the offending plane or helicopter to carry out his duties, leaving you free to continue your attack on the nearest Cultist stronghold unmolested, saving the player a considerable amount of hassle over the course of the game.
2 – Jess Black
After completing the harrowing mission to win her services – frankly, I don’t know if there’s anything darker in the entire game than the story of the infamous ‘Cook’ – Jess Black quickly becomes one of Far Cry 5’s most useful companions.
Jess is wonderfully adept at surreptitiously eliminating enemy soldiers from any range, thanks to the combination of her trusty bow and ‘Concealment’ ability (allowing her to move silently through the wilderness). Moreover, though random animal attacks aren’t quite as frequent or intrusive as they were in Far Cry’s 3 and 4, with her ‘Feral Friendly’ secondary skill, Jess is ideal for keeping errant grizzly’s and nosy cougars at bay while the player stalks through the underbrush looking for unprepared cultists to off.
Consequently, she’s a viable option for both stealth and close-quarters combat; a true all-rounder capable of forming a formidable team with just about every other GFH in the Far Cry 5 roster. Looking as cool as Robert Goulet’s voice sounds all the while, it must be said.
In fact, she was a mainstay for the majority of my playthrough, right up until the moment I gained the services of my number one pick…
1 – Grace Armstrong
The last companion I unlocked, due to the order in which I toppled Joseph Seed’s Lieutenants more than anything else, Grace has been a firm favourite ever since for one very important reason: her unerring accuracy.
No matter how distant her target, if given the command, Grace seemingly never fails to find her mark; and for players like myself whose skill with a sniper rifle can be categorised as mediocre at best, this makes her a priceless ally in the war against Project Eden’s Gate. Simply position her at a safe distance, sit back, and relax as she picks off one fanatic after another, raining a slow but deadly hail of bullets on the unsuspecting cultists. She’s no stranger to a hand-to-hand scrap, either, and is just as comfortable placing a bullet between the eyes of a Peggie from twenty yards as she is from two hundred.
Team her with Peaches or Boomer, and the player has at their disposal a silent, unstoppable force capable of bringing down any outpost or squad without so much as a whisper of protest from the soon-to-be-dead zealots.
If I had one complaint, it’d be that Grace is hardly the warmest individual you’re likely to meet during your travels through Hope County, but her disdain for the ‘Preppers’ – you know, those people who fervently believe in and prepare for the world’s imminent demise– won me over instantly. Huh. Maybe it was a subconscious bias that won her top spot and not her martial strengths, after all.
What do you think? Is Grace Far Cry 5’s best Gun for Hire, or do you prefer another?
Either way, along with Chris Underwood (whose excellent review went up on the site last week) and Rick, I’ve had an absolute blast playing Far Cry 5 and would relish the opportunity to discuss this, and any other related topic, in the comments section below.