The Far Cry series is one of my favourite franchises from Ubisoft. Having this latest title set on a fictitious island of Yara, allows for a self-contained gripping revolution narrative, while also allowing players the ability to have a blast riding around in a tropical paradise. This setting gives a much-needed balance to the series, with the game bringing back fun elements, while still consistently providing the serious stuff at the same time. Although Far Cry 6 isn’t visually what I had expected on next gen consoles, the gameplay, story, and experience more than make up for it, and with these ingredients combined, Ubisoft deliver the best Far Cry title made so far.
Players take on the character of Dany Rohas (you can choose to be either male or female) and in this role you must try to find a way off the island to escape and be free to live the ‘American Dream’. While a certain trail of events effectively derail this plan, Dany must survive the island and band together with local rebels to take back control from ‘The Tyrant’, Anton Castillo, who is motion captured and voiced by the incredibly talented Giancarlo Esposito. This title, however, has an introduction that will raise more questions than answers about the region. You are immediately in the middle of a war zone in Esperanza, the hub of Castillo’s dictatorship. Dany has been chosen by the military to die on a plantation as a military abandoner. The state has found a cure for cancer called Viviro, the catch is that it is created by using toxic chemicals that cause a lot of people to die during the process.
While you run and crawl through the urban space, evading the military and tanks that attempt to capture you, Dany manages to get through the city and onto a boat heading for the USA. Not all goes to plan though. Through one of the more depressing and shocking escape sequences seen in a game to date, Dany ends up on a tropical island ready to join the fight against Castillo and his militia, populating military checkpoints all over the island and surrounding areas.
After a couple of hours of walking around the first island, you really get an idea of what is happening in this region. As the map revealed itself, I was in awe, and boy, is it huge. The world of Far Cry 6 looks to be the biggest area in a Far Cry title to date, with access to boats, jet skis and other watercrafts that allow you to travel between islands. You can also access a wide range of cars, trucks, tanks, planes, and horses to travel across the sprawling landscape. The biggest addition here are the horses. It feels like a long time coming but seems to fit perfectly in this tropical setting. Although the vehicles are fast and loaded with weapons, it is much easier to whip around on horseback. It is worth noting that the horse riding is also done in first person view, with interesting camera angles and haptic feedback on the PS5 controller to immerse players into the experience.
Usually, the story is at the forefront of Far Cry games, so I was thoroughly impressed that Far Cry 6 allows for exploration, leaving players with the ability to dip in and out of the story as much or as little as they like without forcing interruptions. While many games do this, I feel that Ubisoft have found the right balance with Far Cry 6, and I hope this is something that is utilised in future sequels.
As you travel from island to island, there is a central hub to uncover, and this is your resistance base. These bases are expansive with many different merchants available to unlock abilities, call your stored vehicles, upgrade weapons, and take on different side quests from the locals that are part of the resistance. You can also build expansions at your base offering things like improved reward opportunities, more loot and new merchant shops. You are restricted to two, so make sure you choose wisely. You can however upgrade them as you progress and level up in the game.
Speaking of levelling up, your character follows a progression system. As you level up, the world level also increases, making things more difficult for you as you travel around. If you are waiting to level up before going back to a mission, the mission will get harder as your character grows. So, I found it was easier to find alternative ways to approach it. You can collect many items and ammo as you complete missions: when you kill soldiers, you need to walk over their dead bodies to collect ammo (oddly morbid). You also collect gasoline, metal scraps, gunpowder, animal meat and skins. These items can all be used at workstations to upgrade your weaponry and gear with no lack of options. The biggest surprise, however, is a backpack called Supremo, which can be customised with various functions such as healing abilities for you and your team, deploying a fog to confuse surrounding enemies, or my personal favourite, a bomb-filled pack that deploys missiles which can take down helicopters, tanks, and large numbers of enemies around you. There is a cool down period between uses, so make sure to use this only when you really need to.
Dany’s appearance can be customised also, with gear now offering various degrees of protection. You can get things like blast-proof pants, which stop you from dying quickly when you are blasted with gunfire. I found it easier to constantly check gear I collected to make sure that I was using the right kind of gear for the right mission.
The performance everyone will be talking about in Far Cry 6 is Giancarlo Esposito as Anton Castillo, and his relationship with his young son that he so desperately wants to follow in his footsteps. His intimidating presence and unpredictable personality can vary depending on the situation: from calmly choosing to listen to a vinyl record while pouring a glass of something strong, upon learning the death of a close friend, to becoming extremely violent, volatile, and physical. The most intimidating and frightening enemy is one who is unpredictable, and Esposito delivers this performance flawlessly.
Dany on the other hand can be a little jarring as the game is played in first person but switches to third person during the cut scenes. While I understand why they did this, it just pulls you out of the story when things get too real. The scene though, is always stolen by Chorizo, the incredibly cute and daring dachshund puppy who will steal your heart. There is also a pet crocodile who will be with you from the start of the game but will constantly be taken out mid-battle without much effort from the enemy. If you do get enemy crocs sneaking up and attempting to take you out, having your pet croc intervene is really the only benefit of having him around.
Graphically, the game did drift below my expectations. There is a HD texture pack to download, however, ray tracing is restricted to PC versions only, which is quite disappointing considering how great games like Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla looked on next gen consoles. The island is beautifully detailed though, with the water effects showcasing a dramatic improvement from previous titles. Performance wise, the game does run well, with dramatically short loading times as you fast travel around the huge map.
Far Cry 6 is a welcome improvement from its predecessors, with a gripping family tale involving a war-torn nation that is crying out for change. The game carefully displays incredible performances with its lead characters, accompanied with talented voice-acting and impressive motion capture technology, which I believe combined, is a huge part to its success. Bringing in new fighting mechanics and allowing players, both new and old, the time to settle into these changes was the right call to make for the newest instalment of the Far Cry series. Overall, Far Cry 6 is the most fun I’ve had with the series yet. I can’t wait to continue delving into all the side missions and unravel the mysteries and excitement of the main story.
Far Cry 6 is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.
A copy of this game was provided on PlayStation 5 for the purpose of this review.