Far Cry 5 may be a game of many parts, but its animal companions are undeniably one of the best. Unlockable from almost the very start of the game, Boomer the dog, Cheeseburger the diabetic bear, and Peaches the cougar/mountain lion/puma/big cat/what have you are all both incredibly useful in battle, and fantastic companions who'll stick by your side no matter the fight.
However, that same unflinching loyalty can sometimes be a bad thing. Though Boomer, Peaches and Cheeseburger are never afraid to jump into the action and take an enemy down for you - or see off another angry cougar (either the animal, or the middle aged woman) - they also don't seem to worry all that much about putting themselves in danger for you. And as we all know, running into a firefight is dangerous enough for a human - yet alone when you're trying to run up, grab the enemy's gun in your mouth, and then leg it back to your master, with bullets whizzing all around.
All of which raises the very important question:
Can Boomer the dog, Cheseburger the bear, or Peaches the cougar die?
The answer to which is: yes and no.
While Boomer is a pretty resilient little pup, he's not completely indestructible. Nor are Peaches or Cheeseburger, although the amount of damage they can take varies wildly from beast to beast. If your animal pal gets shot, ends up being attacked by a wild animal, or gets run over by your car (it can happen), they will take damage. If they follow you through a field of explosions and flames, they can even catch fire (luckily, someone's taught them to stop, drop and roll). If they take too much damage, the poor little chaps will collapse on the ground with a whimper, and lie there panting heavily, with a countdown timer above their head. Get to them in time, and you can revive them - but if you don't, they'll be gone. As Far Cry 5's battles can be pretty challenging at the best of times, there may be moments where you simply cannot reach Boomer, Peaches or Cheeseburger in time - and despite his timer giving you a good 30-60 seconds to get there, sometimes, it just isn't enough.
Does Boomer, Peaches or Cheeseburger die permanently?
Happily, the answer is no! The Grim Reaper is nothing more than a minor setback for these resilient rovers, as though they may technically be dead, death is only temporary for animals as strong as these. If you don't manage to reach them in time, your animal pal will simply vanish from the field, only to trigger a countdown timer in your hired guns menu. If you open the game's map, and scroll along to Roster, you'll see what we can only assume is the (somewhat solid looking) ghost of your newly departed pal, with a timer ticking down, counting down the long 15 minutes before you can call on their assistance once again. As soon as it hits zero, Boomer, Peaches or Cheeseburger can jump right back into the mix again - just make sure you look after them this time!
Can I have more than one animal on my team at a time?
We're glad you asked - yes you can! And the best bit is, all you need to do is unlock all three animals first.
Boomer, Cheeseburger and Peaches all technically operate in game as "fangs for hire", working as a kind of mercenary companion. As soon as you've unlocked three of the game's nine mercenaries for hire (sadly, only three are animals), you'll unlock the "Leadership" perk, which lets you have two (but sadly, only two) of them join you on your adventure at once.
How to unlock Boomer, Peaches and Cheeseburger
Thankfully, it's not all that tricky to unlock the Far Cry 5 animal triad, with all three initially marked on the map with big pictures of their faces. For Boomer, all you need to do is head to Rae Rae's pumpkin farm, when you'll find poor old Boomer caged up in the front garden. Let him out, and not only will he see off any cultists nearby, but he'll also join you once he's done. Next on the easy list is Peaches the Cougar. To get her, you'll want to head to Miss Mabel at Peaches Taxidermy, where Miss Mabel explains that her beloved pet cougar has been chased off by cultists. Being sure to pick up some of Peaches' favourite treats before leaving, you'll find Peaches doing her best to keep the bad guys at bay in the woods nearby. All that's left to do then is to throw her some treats, and, much like a cat with some Dreamies, lay a trail to lead her back to her home - at which point she'll join up with you anyway.
The hardest to unlock, by quite a margin, is also the most powerful - Cheeseburger the bear. Able to take one heck of a beating in battle - and kill most enemies in one bite of his powerful jaws - it's perhaps not surprising that Cheeseburger's so hard to unlock, as he can easily turn the tide of any battle. In order to get yourself a Cheeseburger, you'll first need to head to the F.A.N.G. Center in the North of the map. Unlike the other two, this is actually an enemy stronghold - so you'd best be go in ready for a fight. While it is possible to just march straight in, kill everyone, and march out with your bear, you may well be best working your way through the whole area slowly first, weaking the cultist's grip on things as you go. In our run, not only did we encounter stiff resistance from heavily armoured cultists on the ground, but we were also attacked by a chopper from the sky! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled.
Base liberated and bad guys defeated, the normal folks of the town will move back in and tell you about their celebrity bear, Cheeseburger. Let loose just before the F.A.N.G centre was taken over, they tell you you'll be able to win Cheeseburger over to your cause if you just give him his favourite food - a salmon. Luckily, there's a river nearby, with the mission objective leading you straight to a plinth and a ready set up fishing rod. Though the game's fishing system can be a bit tricky, it shouldn't take you too many attempts to bag your salmon. Then all that's left to do is to find the sleepy bear, hand him his fish, and reap the rewards as he joins your team!