There’s a reason Ubisoft games are nicknamed “gaming comfort food”. They’re unashamedly consistent in what they do. Whenever in doubt - both in gaming and life - you can count on a big old bowl of Ubisoft open-world gameplay to warm your soul.
In the same vein, you can be sure that Far Cry 6 doesn’t do much to shy away from tradition. In fact, it doesn’t do anything at all to reinvent neither the series formula nor the DNA of Ubisoft titles. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
If you’re like me and Far Cry is a game you’ve played sporadically, then this sixth entry will be an absolute blast. It’s a game that takes the concept of over-the-top, no-holds-barred fun and sends it to the stratosphere. A dull moment I didn’t encounter throughout my playthrough.
Veterans of the series will likely be split, though. If you love Far Cry and just want the same flavor again and again, then this title is the best one yet. However, if your last birthday wish was for Far Cry to finally do something radically different, then I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.
It’s a massively self-aware game. It’s got a big open map, a laundry list of missions and tasks to complete, a dictator as the main villain, and tons of different ways to engage with it all. There’s just nothing new to the table, but that’s okay if innovation isn’t your primary directive with buying Far Cry 6.
The game’s story of rebellion is familiar in tone and structure with an entirely brand-new setting. You are Dani Rojas, a citizen of the island of the Caribbean island of Yara that strikes a close resemblance to Cuba.
The entire country lives in fear of the iron grip of its ruthless dictator Anton Castillo, played by the incomparable Giancarlo Esposito. If, like me, you’ve been hoping to see Esposito play the perfectly chilling villain, then you won’t be disappointed. Even as a finely detailed computer model, his presence retains that collected yet menacing presence he has in real-life TV. Equally as well, he communicates his grand ambition of “rebuilding paradise” to bring Yara back to its former glory.
He aims to accomplish this by leveraging the miracle, cancer-curing properties of the island’s locally cultivated tobacco. And his poor, defenseless citizens have to pay the price, either by the sweat off their brow or the blood pumping through their veins.
At the same time, he’s attempting to groom his reluctant son, Diego, into one day becoming his successor. This father-son juxtaposition lies at the heart of the game’s story as the youngster refuses to become the living embodiment of cruelty his father is.
What stands in Castillo’s path is Dani Rojas and the rebellious guerilla group called Libertad. Dani begins his journey by attempting to flee Yara and live a hopefully better life in the US.
However, his American dreams are dashed when Castillo and his army intercepted the boat he and his best friend Lita boarded. Dani being the lucky one, ends up washing up on the beach near where Libertad has set up camp and strikes a deal with their determined leader, Carla Garcia, to help take down Castillo once and for all.
Every central character you come across in this game brims with personality and flair. My personal favorite is the annoyingly brash yet wise Juan Cortez, with his rules for guerillas and his knack for creating the “right tool for the right job”.
As one would expect, the roads, valleys, and towns of Yara are often teeming with soldiers looking for Dani and the other guerillas. Compared to past Far Cry games, though, this title doesn’t force you into a fight around every corner. By holstering your weapons, you can make yourself look like a regular civilian and walk around wherever you like without your foes peppering you with bullets.
It’s a welcome mechanic because it allows you to take a breather from the intense combat so you can take in the scenery around you. Yara is a truly beautiful place to explore and admire. Its lush vistas and Caribbean design look spectacularly detailed on the PlayStation 5. The tropical locales add a relaxed air in an otherwise bleak and hopeless situation.
One of my favorite mechanics in the game is bribing. Scattered across Yara are soldiers who are just looking to feed their families. Loyalty and allegiance come secondary, opening up a chance for you to pass them some money in exchange for intel. That is if you approach them with a holstered weapon.
Come to close with your rifle at the ready and these corrupt soldiers will attack you just like any other enemy in the game. Aside from being another way to get more missions and materials, this mechanic adds a layer of realism to the game that speaks to its close resemblance to real-life dictatorships.
I’ve already mentioned how Far Cry 6 does nothing to reinvent itself and that holds true for its gameplay. If you’ve ever played more than one or two Far Cry games, you’ll find yourself straight at home with this one. You take on missions, you fulfill them, get your loot and move on to the next objective. There are no two ways about it, save for how you choose to approach each mission.
Missions exist in a variety of familiar flavors. Story quests will have you tackling big objectives that open up new features and mechanics. Scattered about you’ll find other NPCs with smaller yet rewarding tasks that give you more baddies to shoot at and them more freedom to expand Libertad’s influence.
Finally, Far Cry 6 has the series’ signature outposts, called Checkpoints. These enemy settlements can be attacked and once all soldiers in the vicinity are eliminated, the checkpoint becomes Libertad’s territory.
Tackling all of these missions is as open-ended as it gets, thanks in no small part to Far Cry 6’s impressive arsenal. You can storm the gates either on foot or with your own set of wheels, guns blazing and rockets flying. If you’d rather take a discreet approach, you can pretend you’re playing Metal Gear Solid and clear out the area like a silent assassin. Or you can use any combination of approaches as you like.
The beauty of Far Cry 6 is that it doesn’t force you to choose how you play. There are no consequences for massacring your enemies with your gun prowess. At the same time, there are no true accolades for taking the sneaky approach either. The fun is in the middle, where you don’t have to commit to a specific playstyle.
What gets in the way of this freedom is the weakness and scouting system that the game seems incredibly fond of. Far Cry 6 has implemented a sort of rock-paper-scissors system where enemies are defined by the armor they have. In order to make your life significantly easier, you need to find them with the right bullets. Armor-piercing bullets, for instance, will make quick work out of armored enemies. Ignore the system, though, and Yaran soldiers will turn into bullet sponges.
This isn’t fun because it forces you to stop and change things up. What’s worse is the game pushes you to scout with your phone the area you’re about to attack. Doing so admittedly reveals enemy weaknesses so you can adjust your loadout accordingly at conveniently placed workbenches.
The problem, though, is that I just wanted to use the weapon I enjoyed playing with and not what the game forced down my gullet.
Guns there are plenty in Far Cry 6 and it’s easily one of the game’s strong points. There’s a massive arsenal consisting of sniper rifles, assault rifles, pistols, shotguns, and sub-machine guns, each of which can be customized to suit both your playstyle and taste.
At any workbench, you can add Mods that allow you to upgrade your guns with new attachments and capabilities. It’s here where you can also change the bullet type your weapon fires but this can also be the system’s most restrictive factor. You can’t have multiples of the same weapon so that you can equip each with a different bullet type.
Instead, you get one of each that you can then swap damage types at workbenches. Admittedly, this would have likely made inventory management difficult but I just don’t like the bullet-weakness system so I’m adding this to my short grievance list.
Early on in the game you also get your first Supremo, a type of gadget backpack that effectively gives you a super attack. By killing foes and completing objectives, your Supremo meter is raised. Once it’s full, you only need to hit L1 and R1 together to unleash mayhem.
The first Supremo, for example, fires a barrage of rockets that feels oddly similar to Boba Fett’s special attack in Battlefront 2. It’s an inventive way of giving Far Cry a Destiny mechanic, but I’m honestly not complaining. Hitting up enemy camps and checkpoints and clearing them out with a spectacular Supremo attack is incredibly satisfying.
Far Cry 6 is a gorgeously built game, the best looking out of any past titles in the series. All characters look realistic with powerful expressions that give them charm and charisma. Clara looks strong and determined. Dani has that perfect blend of wanting to escape but also feeling the need to stand and fight.
Castillo is, well, Giancarlo Esposito and the devs have done a spectacular job bringing the man to life in a video game. If there’s one notch on their belt they deserve, it’s this one.
Performance-wise, the PS5 version of Far Cry 6 ran as smooth as butter on my 1080p monitor without a single dip in frame rate during gameplay. It’s during cutscenes where things got a bit weird. Through any amount of particle effects from big explosions and the game won’t even flinch. Start a 2 minutes cutscene, though, and you’re cruising at 30 fps.
I am not sure if this was purposely done for cinematic purposes. Whatever the case, it felt a bit jarring going from one frame rate to the other.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind at this point that all the big open-world Ubisoft games are built with a specific strategy in mind. Give the world an increasingly gorgeous world to explore and forget about changing things up. I can see how it would be cause for fans to burn out at some point.
At the same time, though, there is nothing in this game that isn’t fun to do. Shooting is snappy and exhilarating. Completing objectives and blowing things up in spectacular fashion is satisfying. Experiencing its well-executed, if only familiar, narrative is entertaining.
Does it deserve a perfect score? Absolutely not. And that isn’t just on account of its misplaced weakness system. Doing the same thing over and over - as a Far Cry character would say - is the definition of insanity.
So, for those who aren’t itching for more of what the series has to offer, this may not be the right title to buy. For the rest of us, it’s a treat that puts the fun of first-person shooters front and center.
Pros & Cons
- Stunning graphics with incredible performance during gameplay on PS5
- Intense and addicting gunplay
- Engaging story that allows characters to develop
- Plenty of room to roam about without needing to get into a fight all the time
- A wide array of weapons and upgrades to customize your playstyle
- Showstopping performance by Giancarlo Esposito
- Doesn’t bother reinventing the formula but not a deal-breaker if you don’t play Far Cry often
- Enemy weakness system feels out of place
- Frame rate dips during cutscenes