A firefight in Far Cry 5 looks like any other modern shooter. It’s a first-person perspective with obsessively detailed guns, red barrels that explode, and lots of bodies flopping on the ground. But during my time with the game, there was one big difference: a floppy-eared mutt playing fetch with a pistol, waiting for a good scratch after the battle is over.
For all of its thematic and narrative issues, the newest Far Cry still manages to add a few very welcome features to the long-running open-world series. My favorite is called “guns-for-hire.” Essentially, this lets you have a computer-controlled character or two tag along and help you out throughout the game. Each character has their own skills and strengths, whether it’s a former military sniper who can pick off enemies from afar or a pilot who can call in airstrikes and decimate cult strongholds. The different options lead to a greater array of tactical choices, which can be especially important for some of the game’s bigger battles.
But even though he wasn’t always the best-suited or the most powerful, Boomer never left my side.
Boomer is a dog that you rescue early on in the game and, for me at least, he became an invaluable companion throughout my quest across Hope County, Montana. There are the practical benefits, of course. Boomer is surprisingly deadly, able to take out most common enemies with a powerful lunge. He’ll also fetch weapons for you, which is perfect for those times mid-fight when you need to swap out your sniper rifle for a shotgun, and he’ll highlight enemies so you can spot them more easily behind cover. Crucially, he’s also relatively quiet. All of the other people you can hire chat constantly about their lives, but Boomer will simply growl or bark when there’s danger near. He lets you enjoy the beautiful Montana wilderness in peace.
The only bad thing you can say about Boomer is that he is disturbingly unaware of his actions. He can kill a dozen people in a fight and then bound toward you excitedly as if you just came home from a long vacation. By the time I finished the game, his body count had totaled more than 150. Yet he never lost his charm. I’ve spent time with a lot of virtual animals, including The Last Guardian’s hard-headed beast Trico or the often-confused Dogmeat from Fallout. Boomer might just be the best I’ve encountered; he’s helpful but knows when to give you some space, and he’s always down to be pet.