Far Cry has consistently been one of the marque sandbox games, offering players a vast amount of freedom when it comes to gameplay and combat. Far Cry 6 re-examines the bombastic DNA that the series has been so heavily built upon, but provides unique changes, adding flavor never seen before from the IP.
Developed by Ubisoft Toronto, Far Cry 6 treads on familiar ground, keeping the inherent moment-to-moment gameplay fairly structured so that returning fans know what they’re getting into. Though, it’s the evolution of in-game systems and weapons, one far greater than the incremental differences seen between the previous iteration, that makes it stand out.
Of course, a Far Cry game is only as strong as its central antagonist. By billing famed actor Giancarlo Esposito as the villain, Ubisoft wasn’t pulling any punches. Whenever Esposito’s Antón Castillo made an appearance on screen, he commanded complete attention.
Far Cry is a series that I’ve felt struggled with not coloring outside the lines in the past. Although the framework still remains, Far Cry 6 offered enough new elements to hook me all the way through to the credits. While pacing issues did create some bumps in the road, Far Cry 6 sits in the upper echelon of Ubisoft’s long-running series.
Far Cry 6 takes place on the fictional Caribbean island of Yara. Under the fist of the dictator Antón Castillo, Yara has become a landscape in dire need of help. Antón and his empire have begun developing Viviro, a cure for cancer grown in tobacco as a means of leveraging political gain. Through slavery, fascist rule, and unrest, Antón guides his young son Diego in hopes that he will one day follow in his footsteps.
Having Esposito in the role of Anton is a big deal. Esposito is known for his work in Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian, and a number of other films and series, and he certainly knows how to command a screen. Moreover, Anton’s relationship with Diego is fully fleshed out and layered. Anytime Anton began a monologue, I was glued to my screen.
Players take on the role of Dani Rojas, who raises arms as a guerrilla soldier fighting for Yara’s freedom after a run-in with Anton’s forces. Players can choose between a male or female version of Dani. This decision won’t have an impact on how the story unfolds. That said, I played the female Dani who was voiced by Nisa Gunduz, and was enamored by the character.
Far Cry 6, while a traditional FPS, switches things up and goes for a third-person perspective in cutscenes. Dani is fleshed out and makes you care about them as a character. There are also some very charming moments sprinkled in. Whether Dani waswise-cracking or singing along to the radio while driving, it made her all the more human. Dani also has a sympathetic cause. She urns to see Yarans achieve freedom by any means necessary.
An empire falls brick by brick
To dismantle Anton’s rule over Yara, Dani is tasked with building a guerrilla force strong enough to fight an army. Across the island of Yara, Dani must gain the trust of three factions and convince them to band together. This ultimately means players will have to run missions alongside these characters and slowly dismantle Anton’s empire away from him. This includes killing his most trusted lieutenants across Yara.
This structure of taking out a series of henchmen before reaching the villain is familiar territory for long-time Far Cry fans. Fortunately, the stories experienced along the way are compelling and so is the cast of characters you meet. They offer diverse perspectives on South American culture, the effects of war, and the high and low roads one will take on their quest for freedom.
Though, there were some missions where I felt pacing could have been improved. In one specific case, all tension was lost as the game forced me to travel to multiple areas across the map to rescue a friend. By the third area, the stakes were long gone.
A big part of how Far Cry 6 differs from previous iterations is how the open-world is laid out. Yara is a sprawling sandbox and features new ways of taking over enemy territory. Far Cry 6 does not feature towers of any sort, which had become a tropey element in the series. Additionally, there are areas of the map that you won’t be able to take over at all. Instead, you’ll have the option to take over enemy checkpoints to create fast travel locations.
There are also Air Traffic Control centers that inhibit your ability to fly over certain areas of the map unless destroyed. Dani will also have the chance to steal supplies, destroy convoys, and otherwise cause chaos.
The right tool for the job
The most impactful and noticeable differences in Far Cry 6 are the changes to the weapon loadouts and the emphasis on character customization. Dani features a level ranking system, which dictates the player’s effectiveness during combat across each area of the map. Weapons and gear also have their own unique level ratings, which play into their efficiency.
Far Cry 6 expands on the number of weapons obtainable by the player. Found in crates throughout the map, each gun is given a weapon rating to highlight its efficiency, with deeper stats showing stealth, fire rate, mobility, and so on. Each weapon can be modified using supplies gathered throughout the map.
You can really dive into the minutia of customizing your loadout. If you prefer a stealthier approach, silencers can be equipped. If you prefer to go loud, you can use armor-piercing rounds or lethal poison rounds. There are also unique mods you may use that’ll give you bonus perks.
Gear is also treated in a similar vein and grant perks rather than a skill tree. Gathering new pieces of gear – like boots, helmets, and gloves – provides unique buffs with each piece. Some gear can offer better protection from fire, or explosions, while others can simply improve stamina. With so many options, you can really tailor your gear to however you prefer to play Far Cry. Though, I did feel that once I had found my preferred set of gear, there was little reason to continue seeking out others.
A big addition to weapons and combat is the introduction of Supremo and Resolver weapons. Supremos can be treated as an ultimate ability. For example, one of my favorites shoots homing rockets. Another will set fire to the surrounding area. Resolver weapons are high-tech armaments, providing alternatives to standard assault rifles, snipers, and other conventional weapons.
Never going alone
It’s time we talk about what everyone wants to hear more about: Chorizo the dog. Chorizo is one of the many Amigos you can unlock and lean on for support in Far Cry 6. Yes, Chorizo is as adorable as you are probably expecting. I have to hand it to the creative team here: a loveable Dachshund on wheels makes a great mascot to the game.
Chorizo isn’t just a looker either. This furry freedom fighter can distract enemies, making it easier for you to sneak up behind them.
Each of the Amigos included offers unique ways to support you along your adventure. Guapo the stylish crocodile and Chicarron the punk-rock rooster are both more combat savvy than their wheeled friend. Though at the end of the day, Chorizo is the best boy that we must protect.
Stylish and substantive
Far Cry 6 has a lot of style, both from a visual perspective as well as audio. From its title sequence, the game begins with a visual treat created by Patrick Clair, famed for his work on True Detective. Far Cry 6 helps make Yara a wonderful world to take in thanks to its performance. From the lush forests to the more urban townships, Yara holds a lot of diverse environments.
While not as remote as Far Cry 4’s Kyrat or as lived-in as Hope County from Far Cry 5, Yara is a truly interesting and welcoming environment to take in. Whether I was traveling by vintage automobile or by helicopter, I always enjoyed the views around me. Much of this was made possible thanks to the game’s 4K HDR optimization. Supposedly the game can reach upwards of 120FPS, but I was only able to test its 60FPS performance on Xbox Series X and my current display.
The improvements within Far Cry 6’s systems and combat were just enough to breathe new air into a franchise that has been playing it too safe in recent years. Having customization and freedom in loadouts was welcomed and helped give me ownership over how I chose to play, even if loot went unnoticed once I found my preferred gear.
I found the story and worldbuilding in Far Cry 6 to be an entertaining endeavor. However, there are moments when I wish the creative team cut out some of the fat. An open sandbox game of this magnitude doesn’t have to always reach that 60+ hour investment. Tightening up some mission objectives or supplemental content could have strengthened the overall experience.
Far Cry for me has always been junk food, but not in a negative way. Sometimes you want to polish a trench of Oreos, knowing full well what you’re getting into. Far Cry 6 offered more than what I was expecting from the blockbuster series. Ubisoft Toronto elevated the tone in its narrative and let Giancarlo Esposito rightfully steal the show. The game also allowed Dani to be a fleshed-out character that I cared about at the end, rather than another faceless protagonist. I’ve not had a Far Cry game resonate quite this strongly with me since Far Cry 3.
Far Cry 6 is available on Oct 7 on PC, Stadia, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
*A Far Cry 6 code was provided by the publisher for review purposes*