Earlier this month, the next installment in the Far Cry series arrived. It’s been about 17 years since the first installment arrived and managed to blow people’s minds. At that time, the things Far Cry did were revolutionary. However, while enjoyable the sequels all seemed to follow the same recipe. Can Far Cry 6 break the mold? Or is it yet again more of the same?
Let me start off by saying that I’ve always really enjoyed the Far Cry series. I’ve played the very first one and after that played them all except for Far Cry 5 and Far Cry: New Dawn. The latter two were the past two games, so I’ve taken a break from the series for the past 7 years. Because at that point, I felt a little burned out with the copy and paste gameplay Far Cry offered. Far Cry 6 arrived at just the right time, as I felt the urge to play another game in the series and was about to play Far Cry 5 if it hadn’t arrived when it did.
Different yet the same
So of course, the burning question on people’s minds is: Does Far Cry 6 innovate and offer something fresh? My answer is: Yes it does. However, I am not convinced it does so in the right way. It’s essentially still a Far Cry game as we know it and still brings the same vibes from the earlier games, but I personally would’ve liked to see different kinds of innovations.
The first thing Far Cry 6 does differently than its predecessors, is the story’s premise. Pretty much everytime you play a character who’s new to the region and gets involved in a plot to face a local army of sorts. However this time, the game takes place in Yara, which is basically a country resembling a specific country in Middle America. You play as Dani, who is actually a resident of that exact country. Dani has plans to flee the country and make for the United States to live out the rest of her life there. But as events unfold, she finds herself fighting for a guerilla army trying to wrest back control of Yara from the dictator Antón Castillo. While it may seem trivial that the protagonist is from the country where the game takes place, it offers a different narrative perspective from the usual “Bad-ass stranger comes in and saves the day” and I’m all for it.
Dani or Dani?
The protagonist can be either a male or a female and that is the first choice you’ll make in the game. Dani has been promoted as a female protagonist in all the promotional material, so I played as such. Apart from that, there’s not much you can customize about her looks (Not counting gear and weapons obviously) but that doesn’t really matter as Far Cry 6 is played in First Person View.
As I mentioned before, the Dictator’s name is Antón Castillo.While this name might not ring a bell, he will almost certainly look familiar to many people. The character is voiced and modelled after Giancarlo Esposito, who many people recognize thanks to his roles as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian or Gus Fring in Breaking Bad. It was hard to miss, as he was the center of the marketing campaign. He does a terrific job bringing the character to life however he doesn’t really have as big of a role as you might expect, given how much the focus was on him.
He is the main antagonist of the game however, as the story revolves around freeing Yara from his grip. As I said earlier, due to certain events Dani becomes involved with Libertad. A guerilla movement whose only goal is to take out Antón’s regime and make Yara a free country again. Under Antón’s leadership, Yara has transformed into a country where a cancer drug is being produced. This fills up Yara’s treasury, however at the cost of the local population. People are being enslaved and environments destroyed to produce as much as possible. Libertad wants to stop this from happening.
The perfect tutorial
You start the game on a separate island from the mainland, which basically serves as a big prologue. This island offers all of the activities you can expect throughout the game and teaches you the basics step by step. It’s an excellent new-user experience and one many games can take note of. Once you complete the prologue, you’re off to the mainland and the entire game opens up to you. Where most Far Cry games before had you go through a linear storyline, Far Cry 6 gives you a lot more freedom.
The endgame is to take out Antón Castillio. But before you do that, you need to liberate three separate regions. Each region has their own subplot and storyline, where you meet a new group of guerilla’s and face a new enemy. These individual plots are well written in my opinion, with interesting characters and definitely some plot twists and turns. However, this fragmentation also leads to the overall story carrying a lot less weight. These subplots feel like their own confined stories and apart from some cutscenes in between focussing on the larger story, it is mostly shoved to the background. This is the biggest pitfall with this kind of mission structure and the Far Cry 6 writers fell right into it. It also reminds me of another Ubisoft game, called Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Which had the exact same structure and flaw.
Get lost in the jungle
It is worth mentioning however that these regions are truly massive and offer hours of fun and activities. The world of Yara is incredibly well built and Ubisoft once again prove they are the masters of open world building. It delivers a perfect Caribbean atmosphere. It’s filled with bigger cities, wide jungles, wildlife and military installations. Citizens on the map interact with you all the time or with each other. And allies and enemies wander the map and engage in conflict whenever they meet. As with all Ubisoft games, Yara is filled with all sorts of collectibles as well. Maybe the most awesome part is the varying wildlife. Far Cry games generally feature a lot of wildlife. Some are harmless but some are deadly. Be careful of Jaguars or even Bull Sharks in the water. Yes, the waters are filled with wildlife too!
Now, we’re pretty much used to Ubisoft open worlds giving us a map filled with markers. These markers show us collectibles and activities to undertake. There’s a twist this time around. Most of the map is covered in fog of war. And in order to discover these markers and landmarks, you need to find intel. Intel can be found in enemy bases, by talking to allied guerilla’s or by bribing enemy soldiers. Once again, this reminded me of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Because it’s exactly the same. While it may seem better at first, as it makes exploration more meaningful, eventually it becomes a chore to continuously scour the map for leads on collectibles.
Content, everywhere you go
And exploration is great in this game. Personally, I’m a completionist and try to do all of the side content I come across. For people like me, Far Cry 6 offers loads of content. Every few hundred meters there’s something to be found. Perhaps you’ll encounter an enemy outpost to conquer, which transforms into a friendly base and fast travel point. Or you’ll find a chest with a new weapon or gear. There’s also Yaran stories, which are basically side quests. Some are comedic in nature while others offer really great side stories. And I can go on and on. Checkpoints to conquer, ambushes with allies, mythical animals to beat, races to compete in, upgrade materials to find… In short, it’s a lot. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed, just focus on the story.
Now, with such a big map and so much to do, you may wonder about traversal. The good news is, there’s a lot of ways to travel on the island. Besides walking, you can go on horseback which gets you basically anywhere. Then there’s obviously cars and trucks. You’ll even get your own car early on filled with customizable weapons. Or perhaps you want to go by sea? There’s plenty of boats found in the game too, from small row boats to large boats stacked with guns. And if you want to take to the skies, there’s also loads of helicopters and planes. All over the world, pickup points are placed where you can call various vehicles. They are never far away. Maybe the best part is that for fast travel points, you get the option to airdrop. It’ll place you hundreds of meters in the sky which allows you to parachute or glide with a wingsuit. It’s not only efficient but really fun.
Play it your way
Wrestling control of Yara from a totalitarian government is something you can’t do empty handed. That’s where gear and weapons come into play. This is one of the ways Far Cry 6 tries to do things differently than its predecessors. There are five gear slots. One for the head, wrist, leg, chest and foot. For each slot there’s dozens of options. They range from realistic to comical. However, it’s not just about appearance. Every gear piece offers a special advantage, such as improving headshot damage or offering more defence from specific attacks. If you match a set ,there isn’t a set bonus as we know it. However the individual pieces match up to a specific playstyle.
Then there’s weapons. There’s a lot of different types of weapons, such as the traditional rifles, pistols and shotguns. But there’s also bows, grenade launchers and resolver weapons (I’ll touch on this in a moment). Every weapon type handles very differently but that’s not all. You start out with a handful of weapons and collect weapons on the open world map. But each category has multiple weapons to collect. There’s standard weapons and unique weapons. Unique weapons are special and rare weapons which are pretty powerful with specific effects. Standard weapons might be less powerful but they can be fully customized with mods.
And mods are what really make the weapons system shine. There’s a lot of different mods which even differ per weapon type. You can also change up your ammo, from regular rounds to fire rounds or poison rounds. There’s so many combinations that pretty much every playstyle is catered for. This can make life hard sometimes, as the first part of the game I struggled a lot to find weapons I am personally comfortable with. Although this isn’t specifically critique on the game, but rather my own skills. It is something to take note of however, don’t give up too soon. Eventually you’ll find a weapon that just clicks with your playstyle. All in all, it’s something that makes the Far Cry games better but once again it reminded me of another Ubisoft game. Can you guess the name?
Super heroes or super weapons?
There’s also a very specific type of weapon I touched upon earlier. Supremo weapons. These are basically over the top weapons, made by your companions on a workbench. Like a custom made flamethrower, deadly nail gun and so on. What’s more, these very powerful weapons also give you special abilities. There’s a lot of special abilities, such as using dynamite, throwing knives, EMP grenades and so on. The cherry on top is some sort of ultimate ability which allows you to do massive damage in a short time. While it works from a gameplay point of view and it adds a lot of options to your arsenal, in my opinion it’s a bit over the top for a Far Cry game. And that’s saying something.
If you combine everything I’ve said above, you’ll see that Far Cry 6 does a very good job in making it fun for every playstyle. If you’re all about stealth, you can sneak into bases, assassinate enemies and use all sorts of gadgets. Is going in with guns blazing your thing? Go right ahead, no problem. Want to drive a tank in the middle of an enemy base and tear it up? Also no problem. Combined with all the various weapons options, I can’t imagine there’s a playstyle which isn’t covered. And that is an impressive achievement no matter how you look at it.
Feel free to get side tracked
There’s also a few mini games tucked into the game, such as a cockfighting minigame where two roosters duke it out. It’s like an arcade fighting game, with roosters. Something PETA recently got furious about. It offers something else to do, but isn’t really all that interesting to be honest. Then there’s also Bandido operations, which work like some sort of SIM game. You sent out a group of guerrillas on a mission. After a set time, you get to decide their fate through text based choices. In the end, it nets you some rewards. A fun little side activity, for in between missions.
Maybe one of the greatest things about Far Cry 6 is the multiplayer aspect. The game can be played co-op with one other person from start to finish. The co-op partner joins the leading players game and every activity can be done together. Progress is only saved for the main player but it’s one of the most fun co-op games around. If you’re stuck at a specific segment, friends can literally help you out. Then there’s also special operations. Specific challenges on huge maps that you need to complete. These can also be played together. There’s no cross play however, so you’ll need to find co-op partners yourself or through the public parties feature.
Stunning game, but not without issues
As I said before, the island Yara is masterfully crafted by Ubisoft. This also applies graphically. The island is absolutely beautiful in 4K resolution. Everything seems colorful and sharp. The game only sports 30 fps, which personally doesn’t bother me one bit. However it does matter for most people, so keep it in mind. The soundtrack of the game is well done too, with latin american songs keeping the atmosphere going.
Technically there are some glitches and bugs however. I’ve had one instance where my game crashed completely. Then there’s also a certain unresponsiveness when it comes to entering vehicles. It works, but you really need to stand in a very specific spot. And I’ve also encountered one of the most horribly designed boss fights in a long time. Because I lacked a specific loadout, I needed to cheese the encounter in order to pass it.
Far Cry 6 is a great new chapter in the series. It’s an incredibly fun game in my opinion, which should satisfy long time fans of the series. It’s not just more of the same. It does actually try to innovate. While it works well in some cases, such as the gear and weapons system, it doesn’t always work out well. Instead of really doing something new, it’s like they just borrowed aspects from other Ubisoft games, mainly Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Sometimes, I really felt like I was playing a first person Ghost Recon game mixed with Far Cry. While I really love both Far Cry and Ghost Recon: Wildlands, in my opinion it’s way too lazy to just look at other games in your franchise. I would’ve liked it if Ubisoft did something really new, because I’m somewhat afraid this is the start of a melting pot of Ubisoft games. Where every Far Cry, Ghost Recon and Assassin’s Creed game ends up with the same type of gameplay. Something Ubisoft already gets a lot of flak for regarding their individual series.
Does this make Far Cry 6 a bad game? Definitely not. As I said, it’s an incredibly fun game. And there’s tons to do. The regional stories are interesting enough to make you want to keep playing, even though the overall story is kind of weak and predictable. The way all systems come together, makes it so there’s something for everyone. You can even alternate between playstyles whenever you want. But if you’re looking for something revolutionary, this is not it. But I’m not sure if anyone ever really expected it to be. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the game myself.
If you want to get a feel for the game or just want to experience the story, I’m currently also doing a gameplay walkthrough of Far Cry 6 on my YouTube channel. You’ll find the entire playlist right here. Be mindful of spoilers though.
Pros / Cons
+ Beautifully crafted open world
+ Great customization, caters to every playstyle
+ Interesting characters and stories
– Melting pot of Ubisoft games
– Overall plot suffers from mission structures
Review Score: 8