The Far Cry series is known for a combination of stunning visuals, big explosions and unbelievable storytelling. The last few, in particular, have been truly outstanding, introducing antagonists that are deep with purpose and emotion and Far Cry 6 might just be the best one yet.
From UII in Far Cry Primal to Joseph Seed and the family from Far Cry 5 or Pagan Min from 4 and of course the brilliant Vaas from Far Cry 3. The story of these characters and the talents of the actors portraying them keep you invested in the game from beginning to end.
That’s why we were really excited to hear that the master of “Villainy” , the one and only Giancarlo Esposito, is the antagonist for Far Cry 6. His work in Breaking Bad as Gus Fring in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul were some of the most powerful moments of television and when he was revealed as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian, it was breathtaking. Having him play the role of President Anton Castillo is an absolute game-changer. He brings depth to the character and his unique delivery of dialogue is frightening and yet oddly charming at the same time. He’s extremely believable as a fearsome dictator who creates your character's motivation to succeed further in the game.
Much of the game is built around Anton's relationship with his son Diego which is a powerful story of fathers and sons and one in which your character Dani Rojas stumbles upon and becomes almost a background character in several interactions. This dynamic is a conscious decision by the game makers to keep Dani almost unnoticeable (like a true guerilla). I can’t help but think of that line from Avengers Endgame where Wanda is blaming Thanos for taking everything from her and Thanos exclaims “I don’t even know who you are”. Dani is nothing to Anton, but it’s up to you to take the leader down and make her/him mean something.
When you first boot the game (on PS5) its starts with accessibility options which I thought was a really inclusive design for the game and one that should be applauded. One setting I would suggest for any player straight away is to enable the highlight of objects that you can pick up. There’s so much depth to the visuals that it’s easy to miss items and I didn’t feel like the highlight was too distracting to take you out of the game.
“The Right Tool for the Right Job”
You’ll hear that slogan a lot throughout the game as it’s a rule of the Guerilla and it fits really well with the fact that you’ll need to change your loadout depending on the situation. The game has made a major change in that there is no real “skill tree” for your character, instead, you are relying on your gear to play the part of levelling you up.
In most first-person shooters you can get by with equipping a machine gun in slot A, a sniper in slot B etc, but with Far Cry 6 it’s important to really scope out your situation, make a decision on how you want to tackle it and then equip your weapons and gadgets to match.
Some enemies are better when you attack with armour piercing versus soft rounds and you’ll get that information using your smartphone to survey an area before attacking. You might need to make a quick trip to one of the many crafting stations to swap out the ammo type in your favourite gun just to tactically get past a difficult objective.
The introduction of “Resolver Weapons” are reminiscent of the elite group of weapons featured in Far Cry: New Dawn, it borders on the ridiculous and paired with the unusual backpacks called “Supremos” felt more like an unbelievable game like “Just Cause” rather than a slightly more grounded Far Cry. There’s no doubt they have opted for the ridiculous before but it can feel out of place in such a hyper-realistic story environment. The explosions are big though and at the end of the day, that’s what you are coming for.
The Supremos have a few benefits, one shoots powerful rockets in all directions, others rings of fire and poison gas that brainwashes opponents to fight on your side. It’s easy to forget they are there at first but when you remember and get used to the playstyle they are a handy asset.
The enemies are vastly more complex than previous instalments in the series. Enemy medics can revive fallen teammates in just the same way that you can. There’s a real sense of a sizable army with different levels of expertise rather than just cookie-cutter soldiers and it creates a much more difficult situation when they are calling in reinforcements on your location.
Yara, the island country itself, is just massive and beautiful. Ubisoft has really nailed the jungle design over the years and adding the urban districts turns this into a world that feels alive. There is a crazy amount to do aside from the main story and you’ll find in the early stages that missions are popping up left, right and centre while you are still trying to find your feet. Once that initial learning phase passes though you’ll be able to regroup and go and explore the journal entries that take you to some wonderfully unique situations. The important thing to remember is to take it all in, don’t rush the game. It’s probably a 50 hour game at a normal pace so savour every bit. Especially feel good knowing there is some epic DLC on the way as well.
The game is let down on the console by not enabling the DirectX raytracing features for the Xbox Series X or PS5. That is strictly exclusive to the PC which kinda lends itself to the idea that this was not a game made with the nextgen consoles in mind. It’s lumped all the consoles into one big bundle and decided to make the game work as well as they can. This is disappointing as an owner of the newer consoles, but not unexpected considering the time the game was in development and the probable lack of access to those consoles. I reviewed the game on PS5 and it would have been nice to look into the rearview mirror of a car you are driving and see something other than grey. It’s not a game-breaker, but it could have been a game-changer.
When I spoke to Narrative Director Navid Khavri he mentioned the timeline they were on for getting the game out “healthily” and that is a big tick in my book. We’ve seen too many games released in recent years that were given to the public unfinished with loads of bugs and Far Cry 6 does not fall into that same category. The game is polished and runs very smoothly so it’s not going to crash out on you even when you are getting swarmed by enemies with explosions all over the place. I mean, your character will probably die in that situation, but the game will run fine.
Along your journey you’ll be assisted by animals called “Amigos” Guapo the Alligator, Chorizo the cute dachshund in a wheelchair and Chicharron the Rooster who comes with a Cockfighting mini-game that is basically a “Street Fighter” with chickens. It feels so wrong playing it, but apparently, it’s legal in that part of the world so it makes sense to include it culturally.
Other mini-games that pop up in the gameplay include things like building up and upgrading camps using the construction desk to improve your standing with a group and provide perks for your revolution. Another is getting involved in a game of Dominos in the El Este Guerrilla camp or deploying troops with Los Bandidos Operations to gain exclusive weapons.
A major feature that should get more love is the fact that Far Cry 6 is Co-op, so you can drop in with a friend or even use matchmaking. The entire campaign can be played multiplayer and there are many special operations missions that are designed for the two-player experience. They can be completed single player, but it's not an easy task or as much fun. During these modes, you can turn friendly fire on or off and if you stray too far from your companion you’ll spawn back to where they are.
If you’ve played a Far Cry game before and liked it, then you will love Far Cry 6. It’s bigger and better than all that has come before it and includes some interesting new mechanics that add rather than take away from the experience. The class of acting throughout the game is outstanding and I’m not just referring to Giancarlo who is of course the standout. The best thing about this and any Far Cry game is that you can approach any situation in your own unique way and it feels like a natural part of the game. It’s never cluttered to the point that you don’t know what is going on and most of all it's just fun.
Far Cry 6 is available now on PC as well as the Xbox and PlayStation family of Consoles
(images - Ubisoft)