Far Cry is back with its sixth main game outing following an initial delay which for me was a welcomed delay to apply more polish to the game, something that you can feel right away as you play. The real question is with Far Cry 6, would Ubisoft stick to the tried and tested formula of the series or as they have with Assassin’s Creed, attempt to refresh the series to show that it can carry on as a long running and popular series. Well, I can say that not only does it achieve the same chaotic playground fun fans will expect from it but there are a quite a few improvements and gameplay changes that I never considered being something I would enjoy and yet, Far Cry 6 has really become my favourite installment since Far Cry 3!
Fry Cry 6 introduces us to the charact of Dani Rojas (no not the character from Ted Lasso) and a character that the player can decide which gender they have, the first of many borrowed mechanics from recent Assassin’s Creed titles. Once the player has chosen their Dani, the opening prologue will see you fleeing from a military attack on the city, running to a boat with the hope of escaping to America and the opportunity it may bring them. Two major moments happen in this opening, first the player takes the role of Dani and secondly, we are introduced to the game’s big bad and for me the greatest villain yet for the series in Anton Castillo, more on him a little further on. The escape fails however, and Dani is left washed up on the shores of the island of Yara, alone in a place heavily under the dictator boot of Castillo with little options other than joining the rebellion force of Libertad who want to put Dani’s military training to good use.
This is only the second Far Cry entry that I have played on PlayStation, the first being Far Cry: Primal on PS4 but I will say this uses the features of the PS5 very well indeed. Far Cry 6 has a massive playground for players with coastal and jungle environments to urban towns, villages, and former tourist locations now all captured and used by Castillo’s military. The speed of the new generational console SSD’s provides the quick loading you want for a large map using a fast travel system, something I suggest players utilize once further into the game and missions begin to venture deeper into the varying areas of the map. The haptic feedback and adaptive triggers of the Dualsense controller add more than you would expect with the triggers of different weapons using the adaptive triggers and anything from the rocking of a boat you are using to the force of being knock down by an enemy, explosion or the wildlife using it to bring extra immersion to the experience.
Visually Far Cry 6 is stunning with vibrant colours and land stretching as far as the eye can see which invites players to go exploring as any good Far Cry game should do. With Yara being controlled for decades by dictators, something clearly inspired by real world Cuba, you will see that it is a place almost stuck in time with many cars being classic models with only the military having more modern vehicles to drive and fly, showcasing how oppressed the people are and how completely in control the line of rulers has been with Anton Castillo perhaps being the most ruthless of them.
I do want to bring attention to the abundance of Accessibility options, continuing Ubisoft’s focus on making gaming possible for everyone, and the options available are full of features available to everyone that I advise taking the time to look through them to see if they can help your experience whether you feel you might need them or not. Subtitles that can be modified and applied to give sound queues for action as well as conversational dialogue to being able to change actions that would require holding down a button or stick can be turned into using a toggle system instead and visually changing the colour scheme and lay out of the player hud are fantastic to see and all available before you even get into the game. I have degenerative arthritis in my hands so I can have pain using my fingers to hold down buttons and doing thumb clicks of sticks, so for me I have the weapon wheel on L1 (Left bumper for Xbox) set to toggle instead of hold and sprint set to how far I push the left stick forward instead of clicking it. Having this integrated as options and not highlighted as Accessibility Options also makes them feel more natural choices instead of in their own group on the menu. I applaud Ubisoft for being one of the leading developers and publishers who are at the forefront of putting Accessibility in their games first rather than as an afterthought.
Back to the gameplay itself and whilst so much of this game will feel very familiar if you have played a Far Cry title in recent years, Far Cry 6 changes quite a lot of well-known mechanics. For example, your character Dani, now features in the cinematic cutscenes for the story whereas before you would only be seeing an event from a first person view and often having very little dialogue it at all in response to other characters. This helps the story telling for me especially now when you are accepting a mission or being offered one, the game will switch to a screen where the character giving you the mission, lays out the briefing directly to you away from the world. In the world other character’s and NPC’s will respond to previous actions you have completed as well making you feel even more part of the story and the world.
That world itself now feels far more grounded as well than previous games with the formerly standard radio towers being the way to reveal areas of the map now gone, instead the map will be revealed simply by exploring it, which does take some getting used to at first. Military locations have replaced the former Outposts, and some can be taken over as previously by removing the enemies there so the Libertad forces can take control but there is less fan fare in doing so such as you can get a bonus for doing it undetected and without triggering any alarms but even if you do that now there is less of a feeling of accomplishment other than just getting it done which is a shame, it was something I really liked to do in previous games and now it feels like it matters less if I do it all Ninja style or all guns blazing.
Perhaps the two biggest changes come in the way the crafting and skills systems work in Far Cry 6. Starting with the skills system and you will quickly notice that Far Cry 6 no longer uses one, in fact Dani will have many abilities right from the start such as the chain machete take downs right away, which previously would have taken skill points to unlock the different stages. Dani is capable of so many talents and skills that would have taken hours to unlock in other Far Cry games with instead the focus of improving what Dani can do is now based on a system borrowed from Assassin’s Creed. Weapons can be modified with different types of ammo to take down specific types of enemy and vehicles for example, and you can immediately carry three main weapons and a side arm of choice which again, would have been something you had to unlock via skills or crafting to do so. Whilst you are still able to change your loadout on the fly, the workbench’s did encourage me to try to use one loadout and adapt to any situations with it rather than the standard “oh now I need a rocket launcher, luckily I have 5 in my pocket” style. Now that is just a personal playing style for myself but it does make the gameplay feel more purposely for me, equipping weapon to see how they work and experimenting with the mods to tailor it to what I may find in the world.
Crafting itself is also very different as no longer do you have to hunt wildlife or find plants to make potions and equipment. If you want to heal you just use medicine or a medicinal capsule from your inventory. Materials are used to create mods for weapons, but perhaps the big new element is the “Resolver” gear that can be created. Resolver gear is very much in the sense of guerilla tactics of creating something from what you have so these are weapons which are of the “more out there” style compared to more conventional weapons. Introduced to Dani from the man I wish I could say is my actual uncle in Juan Cortez comes the Supremo backpack system, a pack that strangely enough, goes on your back all Ghostbuster proton pack style, with different types all having special abilities such as launching rockets at targets or firing an EMP blast to knock out security and alarm systems to blasting off causing massive damage like a jet pack. Each can be modified with throwables you want and modified to give extra abilities like more stealth or a bonus for getting headshots for example. Essentially the Supremo system makes Dani a one-person guerilla group and as you will unlock many types, you can tailor your surpemo like your weapon loadout for the mission or area you are about to go and do or visit. Early in the game this crafting system can feel a little out of reach as you will lack the materials, mainly depleted Uranium for the Supremo crafting or Gunpowder from FND crates for weapon mods, but once you are in the game a bit more, these become more than available allowing you to create the tools you need to take the country back from Castillo.
Missions will come in the standard main objective style to move the story forward Operations to the side quest style Yaran Stories and as always, once you are in the world there will be plenty of distractions to provide things to do and with a map the size of this, there will be plenty of things to do. Now without a skill system requiring XP, the reward from doing all the side stuff and Yaran stories as compared to the obvious main campaign operations, will be the shops will offer more weapons the higher level you are, and more crafting options made available. As you explore you will start to find more Gear for Dani to wear which is again taken from Assassin’s Creed’s more recent titles. Gear sets will have a head piece, chest, legs, feet, and gloves and can have different bonus elements for Dani such as quieter movements or increasing defence against certain ammo types for example. Now as with all games, often the best gear will also be the ugliest which is why thankfully, the AC style of being able to equip an item but change its appearance to anything else you own allows you to have the cosmetic look you prefer but the best bonus from the gear you have collected. A rather nice touch.
Naturally we should talk about the Amigos, the pet companions that in previous games would take the completion of a mission midway through the game to obtain but here you are given your first amigo in the first hour of the game in the form of the crocodile Guapo. Amigos will have their abilities as well depending on what you need your companion to help with such as Guapo having the ability to heal itself and even self-revive but they can also be a hindrance in that people can be scared or alerted by your Amigo. They can be ordered to a location or can be sent to take down an enemy and they all have enhanced abilities that can be unlocked just by having them perform certain tasks like a certain number of enemy take downs or by having them loot bodies for you. Other animals in the world can be seen as always, some friendly and some not so friendly but thankfully no Honey Badgers but there are evil git Roosters so be on your guard.
The main selling point of the story must come in perhaps, well certainly for me, the most fun big bad villain in Anton Castillo, played by the incredible Giancarlo Esposito. Anton Castillo is an absolute bastard of a character, a quiet man who has complete and utter dominance over his believers and supporters. As the President of Yara, he believes in force to keep the people down and under his thumb and he has a vast military to maintain that control. His presence in the cut scenes is Goosebumps level brilliant, such as the opening prologue which saw Dani trying to escape by fishing boat only to have the boat seized by Castillo’s forces because his very own son, was hiding on the boat trying to get away and to make an example to his son, he had everyone on the boat slaughtered to dissuade his son from ever trying to escape again. The story will see Anton teaching and grooming his son into becoming the leader Anton believes he must be to continue the brutal dictatorship of Yara. The performance by Giancarlo Esposito is electric, the animation is so good that combined with his voice performance, a mere look to his subordinates is all he needs to do but when he raises his voice, you can feel the characters tremble before him. It adds so much to the story to have this performance which along side perhaps the best voice cast yet for the series, just makes this a must play game even if you are not a regular player of Far Cry games.
Far Cry 6 is a successful continuation of the long running series which is smart enough to keep the very elements that bring players back to the series time and time again but aware enough to start making changes to that formula, changes that work well. The map is huge so there is a lot to do and whilst some of the side activities may feel repetitive, the variety in how you can take on the world with the Supremo system and different weapons means there will always be a fresh way to play. The story is strong and tackles many difficult themes of what it means to have a country and people completely under the rule of a tyrant and dictator which in 2021 is still very much a real scenario in some parts of the world. The Cock fighting mini game is very on the nose in terms of what it represents and though it is a legal activity in Cuba, the inspiration for this game, the novelty of it wears off very quickly to the point where you can play and complete all you need to do with it in a few minutes and never go back to it.
This is just more of what makes the Far Cry series so much fun to play, a chaotic world with crazy random events and fun missions that can all be played solo or with a friend in co-op, there is even additional side stuff to do co-op with the Expeditions which will be expanded over the life of the game as well as the Season pass content that will bring all the previous big villains into Far Cry 6 in a fun way for fans. It plays incredible on new gen consoles for those fortunate enough to have a PS5 or Xbox Series X/S in your setup and it feels like a celebration of everything that has come before along with new aspects to keep it fresh and fun for veteran players and newcomers.
All I ask is that you look after Chorizo, he is just the best boy and deserves all the nose-boops, yeah I said it, in a game where violence is the key to victory, Chorizo the little sausage dog on wheels, is the cutest thing you will see in gaming today, so look after him for me ok!