It may come as a disappointment, but no, I don’t have a clickbait-friendly proclamation about how I couldn’t bring myself to play Far Cry 6, about how it was just too much. Yes, this is a game review. And do you know what, the game happens to be a lot of fun?
Again, I think this may come as a disappointment to anyone coming here expecting an expose on how Far Cry 6 is all that is evil and wrong with gaming. Still, when you get past all the discourse, there is a lot of fun to be had on Yara when you wind yer neck in and enjoy what’s on offer.
To be clear, though, Far Cry 6 is another Far Cry game; it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel or redefine the series; instead, it does a pretty excellent job of refining what makes the series fun and entertaining. The result is the best instalment in the series since Far Cry 3.
Ubisoft has learned its lessons from previous titles in the series and has focused on what makes a Far Cry game work and how it can improve in this latest entry.
This series has struggled to shake its reputation as the harbinger of “open-world fatigue”. Since the runaway success of Far Cry 3, the focus was to create a sequel built around the appeal of having an eccentric and dangerous villain, as opposed to simply expanding on the open world and making it fun.
Far Cry 4 got away with this approach, but by the time “5” and “New Dawn” arrived, yeah, the criticisms being aimed at it were justified. But, it is clear to see Far Cry 6 gets it right where its predecessors went wrong as they keep the focus on creating an entertaining experience that retains the core elements of what makes Far Cry great.
So yes, expect a charismatic villain, a vast and gorgeous map, and a cocktail of violence and objectives to make your way through. But expect these core elements to be more refined and balanced this time around, delivering an entry in the series that hasn’t been this good for almost a decade.
Viva La Revolution
The mayhem of Far Cry 6 is set on the Caribbean island of Yara, which Cuba heavily inspires. Returning to a more tropical and vibrant environment does wonders for the overall tone of the game. It is so much more inviting than the cold mountains of Kyrat or the mundane scenery of Montana.
You will take up the role of Dani Rojas, a young guerilla fighter who joins the resistance against Anton Castillo, a dictator and brutal ruler of Yara, played expertly by Giancarlo Esposito.
The setup here is simple, and it doesn’t take long to get you right into the thick of the action. In the opening hours, you will get a steady drip of available activities, keeping things from getting overwhelming.
The cinematic presentation of the story adds some much-needed depth to the characters, and instead of them all having a ‘crazy for crazy’s sake’ vibe, we get a slightly more restrained and considered tale this time around. Your allies certainly have a more endearing brand of annoying here instead of try-hard eccentricity.
One big difference here is that the central character, Dani, will be shown in the third person during these story interactions. It’s a minor tweak, but it helps you connect more with this character in the game. Over time I came to love how to-the-point and deadpan Dani could be, and she has quickly become my favourite protagonist in the series.
If this story and presentation is the future direction of the HBO-inspired ‘Ubisoft Original’, then I look forward to seeing more in the future.
Many Ways to Start A Fight
To take down Castillo’s forces and liberate Yara, you are going to need some serious firepower. Luckily, you won’t be short of options when it comes to building your arsenal.
Far Cry 6 will constantly incentivise you to find, earn or purchase new weapons to give you plenty of options to experiment and try out something new.
An astonishing amount of customisation is available with each weapon, including tiered attachments, perks, and camo. This all comes as part of the new ‘Resolver’ system; building on the Guerrilla fantasy, you will collect resources throughout Yara and use what you have to create your weapon of choice. You will even be free to make ‘Supremo’ weapons, effectively an ultimate ability strapped to your back, and they can be the difference if you get overwhelmed in a firefight.
At first, I wasn’t so sure about the system, but as one of your allies correctly points out early in the game, customising your weapons can get addictive, and it does. Again, an improvement that isn’t reinventing the wheel but is very much welcome here.
Expanded playground paradise
Far Cry 6’s Yara boasts the most extensive map in the series, and at first, it can seem a little daunting, but navigating the vast terrain soon becomes a breeze thanks to the Guerrilla paths knitted throughout the map.
These paths offer alternative routes off the beaten track and open new ways to explore and get from A to B. More importantly, it can put you out of view and avoid conflict where needed, something needed in previous instalments.
While the enemies are less aggressive while you mind your own business and holster your weapon, they pack a wallop when you do get on the wrong side of them. It made me feel a lot more in control of the action and delivered some moments of relief in between gunfights, as opposed to being on guard for a fight at every turn.
When you choose to take on some of Castillo’s Army, though, the combat is tight and responsive. I always felt capable in these moments, and changing up my arsenal from the pause menu played a massive role in this. No longer being restricted to changing load-outs at weapon stores is another small change that goes a long way and invites players to experiment in conflict.
More of the same?
There is no getting away from the fact that you will be spending a lot of your time in Far Cry 6 gradually clearing its vast map, taking over enemy bases and making your way through a chunky story to take on the main villain eventually.
It is more of the same tried and tested formula that has made the series a success. Players expecting something radically different should temper their expectations; however, if you enjoy the Far Cry series and want an improved version of that experience, you’re in for a treat here.
Planning your attack and taking out enemies without being detected, landing those headshots at a distance and seeing that progress built on your map delivers just enough of that dopamine hit to feel satisfying and keep you coming back for more. It is a cycle of comfort, and this game specialises in it.
Whether you choose to go it alone or with a friend via its drop-in co-op option, there is just so much enjoyment on offer here. At this stage in the franchise’s life cycle, Ubisoft knows precisely what works and what the audience expects.
Your enjoyment of Far Cry 6 will boil down to your appetite for another open-world adventure. Like any other mainline series in a specific genre, I think a game like this has been created to cater to its fans and audience first and win new fans second.
Far Cry 6 is ultimately a game that is comfortable with its identity and aims to give players an experience that improves what has come before it. It is one of the best entries in the series and should be the template for future entries. Unlike Far Cry 5, I walked away from this latest instalment looking forward to what is to come in the next adventure.
Note – Review code provided by Ubisoft (Platform – Xbox Series X)