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Platform: Xbox Series X
Time played: 50 hours
The Far Cry series has been in a bit of a slump this past half-decade. Far Cry Primal and Far Cry New Dawn proved middling spin-offs, while the promise of Far Cry 5 floundered in an uninspiring setting and the muddied politics of its story.
Enter Far Cry 6, which returns the series to its more exotic roots with the fictional Caribbean island of Yara. While Yara is an utterly gorgeous place to explore, rife with charming little towns, jungles and mountainous expanses, it’s very much under lock and key by ruthless dictator Antón Castillo – because it just wouldn’t be a Far Cry game without a comically evil head of state to overthrow.
With an emphasis on guerrilla warfare and makeshift weaponry, Far Cry 6’s good guys certainly feel like the underdogs here, which makes for a game that’s undeniably satisfying to play through as you work towards taking down the figureheads of Castillo’s regime one at a time.
Far Cry 6 definitely doesn’t reinvent the wheel, though, and can still very much grow repetitive during long sessions, but it presents the series’ gameplay loop in a more compelling way than ever before.
Far Cry 6 price and release date
- What is it? The sixth main entry in Ubisoft’s open-world shooter franchise
- When can I play it? October 7, 2021
- What can I play it on? PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC, Google Stadia
- Price: $59.99 / £59.99 / AU$99.95
Many a true Yaran
- Simple story with surprisingly great characters
- Secondary antagonists are disappointingly one-note
- Antón Castillo is the best villain in the series to date
Far Cry 6 puts players in the role of Dani Rojas (not to be confused with the Ted Lasso character of the same name), a native Yaran with dreams of escaping Castillo’s regime to the sunny shores of Miami, Florida.
After choosing your gender for Dani, they get the chance to escape during the game’s intro section, but after the attempt goes south, they wash up on a faraway beach as the sole survivor and are promptly ushered into the ranks of Libertad, a small army of freedom fighters dedicated to overthrowing Castillo.
It’s here where the game opens up, and Dani can disembark from the islet of Libertad HQ to tackle each section of Yara in whichever order they please. Each area has their own group of revolutionaries fighting against the powers that be, and each group of characters is surprisingly likeable.
One particular highlight is El Tigre of The Legends of ‘67, an eccentric old timer way beyond his prime who still clings onto the hope of revolution. Another is the explosives-obsessed Philly, whose excellent performance serves the character’s unpredictability superbly well.
The goons on Castillo’s team are a little less convincing, unfortunately. Each of the big man’s underlings, including his nephew José and Canadian corporatist Sean McKay are cartoonishly evil. It makes them easy to hate, sure, but their one-dimensional nature falls far short of the much more well-realized Antón Castillo.
And speaking of the man himself, Antón Castillo might just be the best Far Cry villain to date. Antón’s cold and calculating demeanor is a refreshing departure from the series’ more eccentric baddies like Vaas or Pagan Min, and is done justice by Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian) who lends his face and voice to the character.
Esposito clearly enjoyed playing the role, his every line of dialog dripping with contempt for everyone around him save for his son, Diego, who also becomes one of Far Cry 6’s most fascinating characters – walking a thin line between embracing his father’s wishes and sympathizing with the revolutionaries who want to end the dictator’s reign.
- Huge selection of fun weapons
- Supremos are wonderfully chaotic
- Some “Resolver” weapons are better than others
It’s fair to say that Far Cry 6 turns the series’ sandbox style gameplay well up to eleven. The game’s emphasis on guerrilla warfare encourages players to use makeshift weapons (and whatever they can find in the immediate environment) to get one over on Castillo’s forces.
While stealth is still a viable option, as it has been since Far Cry 3, it’s easy to get the feeling that Far Cry 6 absolutely doesn’t want you to take this approach. Not because slinking around a military base picking off guards one by one isn’t fun (it certainly is), but more because Far Cry 6 presents a vast arsenal of weapons that are extremely tough to say no to.
The biggest addition to combat in Far Cry 6 is undoubtedly Resolver and Supremo weapons. The former are makeshift weapons, thrown together with everyday objects. For example, one Resolver weapon is a literal nail gun that’s highly effective against unarmored targets. Another appears to be a slot machine converted into a firework launcher, with which you can fire one at a time or a whole stack of nine to completely decimate vehicles like tanks and helicopters.
Sadly, these two examples are probably the best the Resolver weapon system has to offer. Others are novel, Saints Row-esque weapons that have very situational uses, but somewhat lack in combat viability. Some Resolver weapons are flamethrowers, which we found to be strangely underpowered in Far Cry 6, with even basic unarmored enemies shaking off the flames like we’d just waved a lighter in their faces.
More impactful to combat are the devastatingly powerful Supremos. These backpacks essentially act as Dani’s ultimate ability, and recharge over time after use, or by killing more enemies. Supremos are always great fun to use. The default Supremo fires a salvo of homing rockets that’s perfect for taking down aerial threats. Others generate healing fields, EMP blasts or a literal ring of fire that’s fantastic for crowd control. Supremos are not only a superb addition to Far Cry, but they can seriously help turn the tables in the game’s most hectic assaults.
Dani can carry up to three primary weapons into battle, along with a sidearm, Supremo and a handful of throwables like pipe bombs or knives. As such, Dani is no slouch when it comes to combat, but they’ll also have access to Rides, vehicles that can be outfitted with various turrets, countermeasures and defensive options. Oh, and your weapons, Rides and Supremos are all customizable with different paint jobs, charms, dashboard items and more, allowing you to usher in the revolution in style.
Rounding out your combat options are Amigos, unlockable animal friends that make a return from Far Cry 5. There are only a handful of these to obtain, and while the likes of Chorizo the sausage dog and Guapo the alligator are fun additions, they’re sadly not massively helpful beyond the early game, past which Dani is packing enough heat that a comedy animal sidekick can’t hope to match.
Dani brings a good amount of defense to any given battle, too. You can equip gear to head, chest, arms, legs and feet, all of which provide unique perks that help to give Dani an edge in combat. Some pieces of gear allow you to increase your default movement speed, for example, while others will boost your resistance against specific damage types.
Mixing and matching gear perks to suit the situation can grow a little tiresome, but you’ll likely find a build that works for you across all encounters once you’ve racked up enough pieces of clothing. You can also change the appearance of gear to your liking, if you want your guerrilla warrior to look as fashionable as possible, something that’s very welcome in the game’s third-person segments when you visit a camp – or with Far Cry 6’s excellent photo mode.
- Yara is the best Far Cry map to date
- Tons to explore without feeling overwhelming
- Side tasks can still grow repetitive
In true Far Cry fashion, the island of Yara is simply drop-dead gorgeous. Its beautiful vistas and plentiful flora betray the rotten core of the Castillo regime, making the place a joy to explore no matter where you begin your journey to revolution.
Yara is split into several sections, each with its own difficulty determined by how high of a Rank is recommended, similar to the scaling difficulty of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Each section is filled with secondary objectives to seek out. These primarily come in the form of military bases and checkpoints for Dani to overthrow, which will unlock a fast travel point to that location as well as some bonus rewards like a new weapon or cosmetic for you to equip.
While taking out bases and checkpoints can grow samey, it does give a satisfying feeling of reclaiming Yara from Castillo bit by bit, and the best part is that there isn’t an overwhelming amount of them. These locations, in tandem with smaller optional objectives like intercepting supply drops and taking out anti-aircraft guns serve to make the map safer while loading Dani up with resources to craft even more weapons and tools.
One unintentionally hilarious thing about checkpoints, in particular, is that once you’ve captured them, enemy soldiers have a wonderfully funny habit of showing up at the location in droves via cars, trucks and tanks. Stay at any checkpoint for a length of time and you’re almost guaranteed to witness a pile-up of epic proportions.
But there’s more to Yara than just Castillo and his forces. The island paradise is arguably one of Ubisoft’s most well-realized open worlds to date, and it really feels like there’s something new to explore around every corner.
This hunger for exploration is largely satisfied by objectives like Treasure Hunts. Returning from Far Cry 5, they act like miniature puzzles in the open world, many of which send you down some surprisingly immersive rabbit holes.
Far Cry 6 is also very good at getting you to explore off the beaten path. Nearby collectables show up on your minimap, meaning that your next favorite weapon or piece of clothing could literally be just around the corner.
We’re suckers for fishing minigames, so we were pleased to see that fishing has been carried over into Far Cry 6, as well as animal hunting in general. While strictly optional, hunting and fishing can generate resources that can be traded at camp for more useful materials which will in turn help Dani craft even more powerful gear.
Now, while Yara is probably one of the developer’s most tightly designed open worlds to date, it’s still easy to succumb to a classic case of Ubisoft fatigue. Ticking off objectives across the huge map can grow tedious during longer play sessions, often turning the game into something of a checkbox simulator.
Far Cry 6 is a bit like fast food in that sense. It’s immediately satisfying and filling in shorter bursts, but prolonged exposure can lead you to feeling burned out. However, regardless of how you play, Far Cry 6 certainly gives players a ton of bang for their buck.
Jewel of the Caribbean
- A visually stunning game
- Excellent soundtrack and sound design
- Fantastic, robust accessibility options
Far Cry 6 is a visually stunning title. As mentioned, Yara is an incredibly beautiful place to explore. No matter where you are on the island paradise, you can easily turn your immediate surroundings into a gorgeous screenshot (which you can do literally via the game’s photo mode).
As ever, Far Cry 6’s particle effects are excellent. Explosions pack a punch both visually and audibly, although fire effects do seem to have been toned down somewhat. More impressive are the game’s smoke effects which are some of the best we’ve seen in a AAA title, especially when emitted from barrels of poison which emit a mesmerizing plume of crimson smoke.
Testing the game on Xbox Series X, Far Cry 6 performed near flawlessly at 4K resolution and 60fps. While we did note the occasional hitch in performance, and one occasion where the game froze still for a few seconds, such instances were rare enough to not present a major issue.
We did run into one strange performance bug on Xbox Series X, however, which involved the game dropping to roughly 30fps upon fast traveling to a camp. The issue even persisted when leaving the camp, but restarting Far Cry 6 was enough to fix the issue. Here’s hoping this bizarre problem gets patched soon after launch.
Sound design is equally fantastic across the board. Weapons sound satisfyingly loud and punchy, and vehicles like planes and tanks can be audibly identified, lending an intensity to high stakes battles the series has rarely seen up to this point.
Far Cry 6 also features a great soundtrack, with a great range of original music mixed with a licensed soundtrack that plays through stereos and vehicle radios throughout Yara.
Finally, we have to mention the superb array of accessibility options offered in Far Cry 6. The game not only features one of the most robust colorblind settings we’ve ever seen, but you can also choose from a selection of presets across vision, hearing, motor, cognitive and motion categories.
These presets can be manually adjusted by the player, too, so we have to give Ubisoft huge props for making Far Cry 6 as accessible as possible to gamers from all walks of life.
Far Cry 6 doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel of the long-running series. What it does do, however, is present Far Cry’s open world gameplay loop in a manner more fun and accessible than ever before. Side objectives are plentiful, but don’t suffocate the map or overwhelm the player in their volume. Instead, you get a reasonable sense of progression as you take back territory across Yara.
Leaning into themes of revolution and guerrilla warfare perfectly suits the Far Cry series, presenting a story and cast of characters more compelling than has ever been seen in the series so far. This serves to make some story beats genuinely involving and surprisingly emotional at times.
The game can often lean a bit too heavily in the series’ trappings, and it’s not quite free from that tried and tested Ubisoft level of repetition. When enjoyed in short bursts, though, Far Cry 6 is simply some of the most fun we’ve had with a shooter in all of 2021. If you’re looking for a first-person adventure that could potentially last you months, you can certainly do much, much worse than Far Cry 6.