From Micronesia and Africa, to the topical Rook Islands and the mountainous countryside of Montana, Ubisoft has taken us on quite a trip around a digital world with its Far Cry games. No setting has ever been the same, and each one has stood out for different and positive reasons. Hell, some were so unique that they were unforgettable, such as the world in which Far Cry: Blood Dragon exists.
Last time around, Far Cry 5 kept things closer to home and centred upon a strange cult residing in backwoods Montana. The result was a very fun game that allowed us to enjoy almost everything that such a rustic setting could offer, from picturesque mountains to (sometimes) relaxing fishing trips. Of course, those were just some of the idyllic parts of a rather dangerous, violent and sometimes surreal adventure through beautiful countryside. After all, there were lots of gun-toting baddies to deal with, in addition to cult members hopped up on all sorts of things.
Fast forward to today, and Far Cry 6 is offering a new adventure. One in which the player will travel to a fictional version of Cuba called Yara, wherein a group of rebels is attempting to fight back against a horrid, fascist leader named Anton Castillo. Just the latest in a line of Castillos to take office, the Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) portrayed villain is doing a terrible job of living up to his once impressive promises. In fact, he’s enslaved a large portion of Yara’s poor, and is forcing them to work in tobacco fields. Not just any normal field, though. In Yara, the tobacco plants are being covered in a strange red poison, to create a cure for cancer called Viviro. However, as you’ve likely guessed, the people who are forced to work in those fields are becoming sick, and are also being killed if they resist.
Simply put, Anton Castillo is an asshole, and an evil one at that. This is why Giancarlo Esposito was the perfect person to play him. After all, he portrayed an incredible villain in Breaking Bad.
This time around, the player controls one Dani Rojas; an orphan who never knew or grew up with her family. Dirt poor and just getting by, she’s made friends with other lone wolves and has formed quite the small familial group with them. However, good things aren’t always meant to last, and this is Far Cry after all.
Side note: Dani can be male or female, but it’s always seemed like the suggested choice is female. That’s what I went with.
Dani’s story begins on a patio high above ground, as she and her friends both celebrate and discuss escaping Yara by boat. It isn’t long after it all begins that the shit hits the proverbial fan, when Anton Castillo and his goons start causing chaos on the streets below. Dani’s good friend gets himself killed after mouthing off, causing the two remaining women to run for their lives. This acts as a tutorial of sorts, but folks who’ve played any of the other Far Cry games shouldn’t have any sort of an issue jumping right into this one.
One nice thing about Yara is that it was once the location of a revolution, during which the rebels built many tunnels throughout the island nation. These come in handy as Dani and her friend attempt to escape, and play a role in later portions of this lengthy campaign.
In fact, the game actually yells you that this 1967 revolution caused Yara to remain stuck in time, so to speak. For that reason, it sometimes feels like you’re running, gunning, exploding and flying your way through a place that isn’t up to modern times despite a few technological amenities. This is part of the reason why some of the cars you’ll see look dated, and include ones that a North American would identify as being from the 50s. Then again, I’ve heard lots about how Cubans still drive 1950s vehicles, because they’re cheap and don’t deteriorate as much due to their warmer climate. Or something like that.
If you’ve played any of the numbered Far Cry games, you’ll know what to expect. This is a large, open world game, and it’s one that will take you a good amount of time to complete, especially if you try to do everything. There are enemy blockades and outposts to take over, Castillo billboards to destroy, races to be won and secrets — some of which deal with the island’s caves and ghostly folklore — to discover. Hell, there’s even cockfighting, which will likely bother some.
The cockfighting isn’t a necessary thing, but it is available at camp(s), during which the viewpoint changes from first-person to third-person as Dani explores, talks to allies, upgrades the camp’s amenities or buys, equips or retools things. It’s also kind of like a game of its own, because it’s presented in a Street Fighter kind of way. You pick your combatant, and use face buttons to either perform different types of attacks or evade incoming attacks.
You can even find something like 12 hidden birds throughout Yara. That is, if you choose to. I was honestly a little taken aback by the existence of cockfighting, myself, but I then realized that it’s just a video game. No matter how many cockfights I entered (and at this point it’s only been one), it would never make me a fan of real-life cockfighting, nor would it harm any innocent birds. After all, this is all fake.
We’re also talking about Far Cry 6, which is a game that tasks you with killing tons of human enemies in various ways, be it up close and personal with one-hit machete take downs, with a myriad of different guns, by vehicle or with explosives. Hell, you can even befriend animals — such as a tame crocodile, a metallic robo-dog, a large white cat or an incredibly angry rooster — and tell them to kill enemies for you.
Then there’s all the hunting, which is once again a part of this adventure, as it should be. You can buy and discover special hunting areas, hunt special creatures or kill animals you come across for meat, which can either be traded for cash or used in one of numerous different, buff-awarding, recipes. These must be unlocked, though, by building a chef’s hut in camp and then upgrading it, using scrap and other items you’ve picked up along the way.
The small, introductory islands that border Yara are where you’ll first cut your teeth and learn the lay of the game world. You’ll also meet a woman named Clara, who heads the rebel alliance and orders you around; not to mention one of her colourful, ex-military friends. Clara will be quick to trust Dani, and will soon make her the number one mercenary. Thus, the player is given all of the hard and dangerous tasks, which seems to suit Dani just fine.
That colorful and drunken friend goes by the name of Juan Cortez, and he’s an ex-KGB badass who likes to create unique and dangerous weapons. He’s the ‘resolver,’ and his weapons are legendary. They’re essentially backpacks that each serve different purposes, be it emitting several homing missiles (which are great for taking out the many helicopters enemies will call for support), spilling fuel everywhere and then lighting it on fire, or something else outlandish.
Dani can carry four different weapons, plus Juan’s supremo backpack of choice. You’ll want your first two weapons to be whatever suits your play style, be it an assault rifle, a light machine gun, a shotgun, a sniper rifle or something similar. Then, the third will be your resolver weapon, which is another special tool. I recently bought one that shoots saw blades, but I prefer the stealthy crossbow that I received earlier. Why? It fires powerful, steel bolts, which can take most enemies out in one shot and from a distance. It’s incredibly helpful when I’m trying to sneak into camps and other enemy areas, of which there are many different types, from airfields to anti-aircraft guns, scientific outposts and more.
The fourth weapon is the trusty pistol. There are multiple to choose from and, like most of the other weapons, they can all be customized with different paint jobs, trinkets and mods.
New to Far Cry 6 are weapon mods, perks and ammunition types. Whereas the player could wreak havoc with whatever they wanted in previous games, Ubisoft Toronto’s latest introduces a system that allows you to tailor weapons to different types of foes. For example, one mod provides extra damage to soft targets who aren’t wearing body armor, while another lets you equip armor piercing rounds. You can also add different types of silencers to your guns, and if you shoot too many rounds in a row you’ll hear that silencer burn away, leading to louder shots. That particular sound effect is downright incredible.
This wasn’t necessary, nor does it make the game better. Sure, it sounds interesting on paper, but when you’re in the thick of battle it’s hard to remember which weapon is for which enemy, especially when you have a few coming at you. Of course, you can still kill any enemy with any gun; it’s just harder if you don’t have the right type of ammunition equipped. All this system does is add annoyance into what was a fine formula.
Weapons aren’t the only part of the player’s arsenal that were changed. In fact, everything Dani wears now has a purpose and a perk, be it her clothes, armor, shoes, gloves or hats. Along the way you’ll pick up, unlock and discover different clothing items in chests, and will be able to change your outfit to fit your personal style. It’ll sometimes also be helpful to do so before certain battles, because the gas mask can limit the amount of poison damage you receive as you blow up tanks of it, certain armor can protect from certain types of attacks and so on. Wearing every item in a set also has its advantages.
I don’t know who asked for this stuff, but I certainly didn’t, and I wish it wasn’t a part of Far Cry 6. None of it makes for a better experience, outside of being able to personalize your character for co-op play, which is something I also don’t really give a shit about. I’m a solo gamer through and through, and I don’t put a ton of time or effort into making my character look unique, because it’s just not that important.
I will admit, though, that it’s interesting seeing what Dani looks like when the viewpoint switches to third-person during time spent in camp.
There’s actually more than one camp, because the first couple you’ll unlock are on the outer islands. When you make your way to Yara proper, you’ll be given three main objectives, each of which involve going to a different part of the island and helping/befriending a unique group of people. One is the Montero Family, who’s lived on Yara for hundreds of years and doesn’t like outsiders. Another is a group of veteran from the previous revolution. Lastly, there’s a duo of rappers who use music to spur the rebellion on. Each one has its own unique region, and theirs, plus every other region around them, has a level requirement attached to it.
Needless to say, the more you do the more you’ll level up, allowing you to enter those areas without as much trouble as before. The allies’ regions are level four, if I’m not mistaken, and then it goes up from there. If you’ve played Far Cry 5 or the recent Assassin’s Creed games (dating back to Origins), you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Missions run the gamut from taking over outposts, destroying anti-aircraft guns and freeing potential allies, to stealing tanks and blowing shit up. There’s also lots of destruction of tobacco fields, missions featuring some player choice and Yaran stories that add some extra colour and creativity to the campaign. Once again, a lot of it is like what you saw in previous Far Cry games. For better or worse, this is very much just another game in this series, which you either love or hate. I’ve always adored it, although I missed out on the first game and am very regretful about that.
Please remake or remaster the original Far Cry, Ubisoft. I’d also love to revisit the second one, which was great.
Yes, Far Cry 6 is pretty much just more Far Cry. It’s as simple as that. Yes, it looks better and has more things up its sleeves, but it’s pretty much the same formula. You shoot guys, blow shit up, drive around beautiful countryside and have fun, while attempting to help the good guys. It’s not the most unique or original series out there, nor is this tenth (is that right?) entry in the series very different from most of its predecessors. That’s okay to me, though, and it likely will be to other fans. It’s fun, and this is one of my favourite video game formulas.
That said, even a super fan like myself sees the rough edges. Far Cry 6‘s changes don’t necessarily make it much better than its predecessors, and the core formula is starting to get kind of repetitive. There’s also less craziness in some areas, leaving the world to occasionally feel a bit empty. It’s still a beautiful blast, though.
One other change comes in the form of only two difficulty modes. When you start the game, the narrated menu (which is one of numerous appreciated accessibility options for those who need them) asks you to choose between Action and Story difficulties. The former is for veteran Far Cry players, and those who want the true experience, whereas the other is for folks who’d prefer to take it easy and enjoy the story.
Now, I can’t attest to how difficult Story mode is because I obviously didn’t choose it, but I can admit that Action took me by surprise. As a longtime gamer and someone who’s played a ton of Far Cry — not to mention many other first-person shooters — I expected this game’s base difficulty to be a breeze since there are only two options available. However, it’s turned out to be challenging and occasionally frustrating. It doesn’t help that you can’t collect different coloured plants and make your own medkits like before, which is something I always enjoyed and found both calming and addicting, though maybe I’m weird. Now you can only heal once, at least for the first while, and it regenerates over time. The same is true of your health, if you find cover and wait for it to regenerate all the way from nothing to full.
There was one specific Montero Family mission, in which I was tasked with stopping an execution. Well, the shit hit the fan again, and I had to carry a dying man as he bled out. My AI ally was supposed to cover me, but she led me in circles while he died. The second time I tried it, I ended up shooting more enemies than she did, before we got into the back of an apple truck and sped away. I thought this was where the frustration would end and the fun would begin, but that mission got even more annoying, because numerous enemy vehicles with near perfect aim started following us. While I’ve completed many such missions in other games, their perfect aim and my lack of cover made this difficult and frustrating, because they’d kill me easier than I’d kill them, even with dynamite in hand. I eventually beat it, but I died three or four times and did not enjoy myself during this particular mission at all.
Far Cry has never had the best artificial intelligence, though, and that carries forward here. The game is simply so big, and has so many moving parts, that it’s likely impossible for it to be perfect or even near perfect. Thus, there will be times where you’ll see computer controlled characters do something stupid, notice them glitch or end up pissed off by one as I was there. It kind of is what it is when it comes to open world games, and it’s far from anything game breaking! The same goes for the amigos, those animals that follow you around and can be ordered to kill enemies. They’ll often get downed, and you’ll have to go rescue them, provided that you can or choose to.
Needless to say, Far Cry 6 has some issues. As much as I was looking forward to this game, I’d be lying if I said that it’s perfect or everything I’d hoped it would be. Still, I’m really enjoying my time with it, for the most part, and love being able to shoot my way through another exotic location. The colourful characters may not be as crazy as before, especially given that Hurk apparently isn’t included, but that’s okay. There’s still lots of colour and personality to be found within this game. Even a slightly different version of Far Cry is still crazier than a good portion of the other games on the market.
There are lots of open world things to, from using the wingsuit and parachute, jumping out of planes and helicopters, and going fishing or swimming. Boat races are a thing, as is horseback riding, which provides a nice new option for traversal, except when bad drivers run your horse over on the highway and scar you for life. On top of these things, there are mini-games like dominoes, exotic hunts, and special missions you can undertake with friends in order to earn money to spend on the black market. Not to mention the whole campaign being playable in co-op, if that’s your thing.
Far Cry 6 is also full of secrets, some of which can be found by talking to NPCs and bribing guards who are only in it for the paycheque. That and a separate board, wherein one can ask soldiers-turned-allies to complete missions for them. This ends up resulting in earned coins, scrap or whatever, and concludes with a choose-your-own-adventure type of system. You’ve done this type of thing in other games, including ones made by Ubisoft, and it’s just a tertiary mode in which you can recruit new people and earn extra stuff. It’s not that big of a deal, nor did it interest me much.
With all that having been said, it’s time to bring this review to a conclusion. We’ll do so by talking about how beautiful Yara can be, especially during daylight and twilight segments, at which point the lighting and details can be phenomenal. There’s tons of colour, lots of attention to detail and some impressive looking character models. The lighting is what really stood out most to me, though, along with the rain and lightning storms.
All of the above ran very well on our review Xbox Series S, with beautiful visuals and a near constant sixty-frames-per-second. I did see some dated textures and the odd weird glitch, but for the most part things ran well and looked great.
It was easy to tell when a rainstorm was coming on, because it would get windy and the trees would start to move and shake. This attention to detail really impressed me, especially the first time I saw it, and I’ve loved it ever since. Driving during a rainstorm also brings with it unique sounds that feel lifelike, much in the way that many of the game’s other great sound effects do. Ubisoft Toronto’s sound design department deserves commendation, because they’ve created an incredible virtual soundscape. Hell, Dani’s footsteps change depending on what she’s walking on, and if someone’s wearing flip-flops you can hear the telltale sound of that type of footwear.
Cars, horses and other vehicles all sounded realistic to me, as did the animals I faced off against or befriended. On top of this, the voice acting was really good, and the soundtrack was fittingly Latin. Ricky Martin even makes an appearance, with ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca.’
Dani is also an interesting and likeable main character, not to mention a badass, who helps an eclectic and somewhat memorable supporting cast. Giancarlo Esposito, on the other hand, continues to be as great as usual after branching out into a new medium. He’s excellent as evil asshole Anton Castillo.
At the end of the day, though, Far Cry 6 is mostly just more Far Cry with a new location, some new content and a new coat of paint. Whether or not this is something that excites or interests you is up to you. I’m a big fan of this series, so I’m pretty happy with what I’ve received, although I will admit that I don’t quite love it as much as I’d hoped, because some of the changes they made aren’t the best. The core formula also needs a bit of a good shake-up, which will hopefully happen before Far Cry 7. Speaking of which, here’s hoping this game will get a side release, like Far Cry 4 did with Primal (which deserves more credit than it received, as it was a blast) and Far Cry 5 did with New Dawn.
That said, I’m having a lot of fun, and can’t wait to spend more time in Yara. I still have quite a bit to do, as I’ve yet to fully complete the game. It’s massive, and although I’ve put a good amount of time into it, it hasn’t been enough.
This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of the game, which we were provided with.
- Tons to do, and lots of ground to cover
- More Far Cry fun, which looks and sounds great
- An interesting story with a very good villain
- Mostly more of the same
- New ammo types and armor requirements are crappy additions
- Doesn't feel as cohesive or finished as some of the previous games, but is still very good