Warning: this post may contain spoilers
TLDR at the bottom
I played Far Cry 5 some time ago, and remember it as a good, albeit conventional, open-world FPS which freshened up the Far Cry formula and simplified it, for the better of the game. I also remember that while I enjoyed myself through it's entirety, the endings (as I immediatelly replayed the final mission to see the other ending) left such a sour taste in my mouth that it ruined the rest of the game's experience for me. I immediately uninstalled it and promised myself to never touch the game again. Both endings had completely ruined it for me. I wasn't there for the story, I was there to enjoy myself while hunting and exploring in rural Montana and occasionally killing people who deserved it (the cult is evil, the game makes this very clear).
Then you get to the end, after dispatching of Joseph's lieuteants; Faith, John and Joseph in missions, that were started through terrible scripted sequences of you being hunted down. And as it turns out, no matter what you choose (engage Joseph in combat or walk away), you can't save your friends (in fact if you walk away it is implied that you kill them yourself because of sheer bad luck) or kill Joseph, for that matter. Your silent protagonist listens to his boring and frankly infuriating monologues after locking you into cutscene, even though you came to the mission wielding an array of very deadly weapons, ranging from assault rifles to rocket launchers to a shovel. But Far Cry 5 doesn't care, you get locked into a cutscene and you are disbarred from shooting the prime antagonist, the man that admitted to you personally that he smothered his infant daughter, the man who leads the cult which kills, kidnapps, tortures and most likely rapes the inhabitants of Hope County. And you don't even get to shoot him in his fucking arrogant face, you just get to listen to his monologue. You totally could! You still have your guns, actually, you pull them out immediately after the cutscene if you choose to engange in a boss fight! But it's a game and nothing makes sense.
So Joseph shows you that he somehow captured your allies again, even though, to even engage him, you have to liberate the entire county from the grip of Eden's Gate, so realistically, there shouldn't be anyone left to capture your friends. The cultists are all dead, killed by bullets or your shovel.
Ultimately, you get to pick between taking three of your friends, leaving the rest behind and driving away, only for the driver to turn on the radio, where it just so happens to play the song which was, during the story, implanted in your brain to send you on a murderous, uncontrollable rage. Or you fight Joseph, who, after the fight ends (WHERE YOU STILL DON'T KILL HIM) reveals, that he was right all along, just as atom bombs start falling from the sky. And even then, Joseph, on his own, manages to overpower all your friends and kill them, because for some reason he's the only one not affected in any way by the atom bomb that just detonated in the distance (it is implied that it was another country that dropped the bomb, not Eden's Gate, but then, who would bomb some random county in Montana in the US without any strategical value?), locks you and himself into a bunker (which had a very capable, armed to the teeth, inhabitant living in it, which Joseph somehow kills off screen even though he marched in there unarmed) probably to brainwash you. Of course, the only right choice would be to take the secret ending, but that means not playing the game at all, and still puts the atom bombs into question and if they would still explode, and all the inhabitants of Hope County at the mercy of an evil doomsday cult.
As it turns out, in the world of Far Cry 5, the world is on the edge of starting world war 3, however, no one tells you this, there are only tidbits you hear on the radio if you drive to areas you've liberated. So everyone who turned off the radio didn't hear those. You could say that the world itself is a bit of foreshadowing, considering that everyone and their grandmother were building bunkers, but I thought that was another jab at the classic US rednecks the game parodied a lot, I missed that entirely. Apparently when you take drugs in the game, the hallucinations also hint at a looming world war, but I didn't take the drugs at all, so, barring the bunkers, the hints were too small to be noticed and gave the player something to think about.
The ending sparked a lot of discussion and speculation(one even going as far as claiming that the protagonist is Jesus) on the internet, mutiple discussion on Reddit and other sites, most people seemed to very much dislike the ending because precisely it felt that everything you did in the game was for nothing, which is an ending you can pull off (See Spec Ops: The Line) but the game has to earn with a very good plot and fitting gameplay. My major problem with Far Cry 5 is that it didn't feel earned at all. There was too much of a disconnect between gameplay and narrative (narrative which on it's own wasn't good enough for such a conclusion) to warrant such a bleak ending and pull it off in a way that didn't send the player into a salty rage. There are also theories floating around the net saying that the entire atom bombs ending was one big hallucination, considering your (and your allies) exposure to Bliss at the start of the boss fight. Honestly, I think Ubisoft could've saved some grace if the post-launch content and the DLC were maybe more focused on apocalyptic content (perhaps one big DLC which turned Hope County into a Fallout-esque desert), I actually thought that such content was part of the game, considering that the main menu changes massively after the atom bomb ending. It would've really saved the game: A classic WTF into oh no you just did not! into Oh they actually didn't. You could've even had most of the characters survive, because there were bunkers everywhere in Hope County. Instead we got lackluster post-launch DLC and content, as all three of the DLCs had a very mediocre reception.
The pcgamer article I linked makes a lot of points about how to make the game better, and ultimately I agree with them. It would've made a lot more sense if the entire plot had more gravitas from the beginning, if it were pictured more clearly that the world is in fact going bonkers, but also if the characters were a bit more realistic, both the villians and allies. You can't make a parody of rural America, structure the entire thing as a fun, wild, action-packed ride and then suddenly start dropping atom bombs and declare world war 3 at the end. People will feal cheated.
I'm interested in what the community here on Tildes thinks of Far Cry 5 and if we could get a discussion going.
TL;DR: Summing up, I don't think Far Cry 5 did enough to pull off the ending it gave us. For me and a lot of other people, it even went so far as to ruin the entire game, as everything I did was completely invalidated, all the time I spent on the game and with the characters I've grown to like (they were caricatures, but lovable ones) felt wasted, because there wasn't a single thing I could've to save anyone (except get the secret ending and don't play the game at all and even then, everything is still open). What are your thoughts?