Ah, the all too familiar Far Cry series. Since its inception, it’s remained one of the top dogs in the first-person sandbox space. Me personally? I’ve played through every mainline game since the third installment and enjoyed them considerably. With that being said, Far Cry 5 arguably began to show the series’ age. The formula had been used a tad too much, and New Dawn did little to change that idea. Now, with Far Cry 6 available, does its return to a remote island cut off from the rest of society do enough to help it stand out? Find out in my review of Far Cry 6!
The Humble Beginnings of a Revolución
Far Cry 6 begins with a fairly complex premise. In 1967, the president of Yara was assassinated, leading a power struggle that lasted a grueling 47 years. But in 2014, that all changed when the president’s son Anton Castillo came into power. After being elected leader, things were mostly good. Seven years later though, Anton’s methods have brought the Yaran people to a breaking point. Thanks in part to a “draft lottery” to garner workers for tobacco farms, a male or female Dani Rojas prepares to escape a chaotic Yara. In their efforts though, things don’t go quite to plan. With their back against a wall in a world that’s run by a ruthless dictator, it’s up to Dani and their allies to free Yara and bring about an era of freedom.
Anyone who’s played Far Cry 5 gets the basic idea of what comes after that. You take down the villain’s main lieutenants in a few continents and help those resisting to free their lands. As it worked there for the most part, with the Seed family being fairly compelling as villains, the team felt that’d work well here too. I’m happy to say that with some exceptions, it does. The local resistance groups are considerably more memorable this time around, with more well-rounded characters and deeply defined motivations than “Anton is bad, I want to kill Anton”. It’s a clear effort to get them to resist, but it’s helped with some solid characters that you come to appreciate. I can’t say I loved everyone, but the few standouts helped to carry each story and garner a few laughs.
The villains arguably felt more serviceable this time around though. Sure, they added things to the story in a literal sense, but much of this felt inconsequential in the long run. This was especially true of the villain of Madrugada, who in the end feel forgettable despite their short-term impact. It doesn’t help either that many of the twists associated with them are seen from a mile away. I’m not saying this didn’t happen with Far Cry 5, but with my Far Cry 6 review, it feels much more notable.
What I found most disappointing though was the villain of Anton Castillo. Previous Far Cry villains have all had a particular strength to them. Vaas was an expansive character surrounding the concept of insanity, Pagan Min had power in being a controlled maniac, and Joseph Seed managed to create a dangerous cult around his absolute devotion to god and believing he was a gift. Castillo feels a lot more difficult to sympathize with, as pure devotion to making his country a player on the global stage at any cost doesn’t feel like the strongest motivation for slave labor.
Mind you, this isn’t entirely at the fault of Giancarlo Esposito. I think given the material he was given, he didn’t do half bad. Not perfect but far from terrible, especially since he was brought on as a selling point. This is more on the way the character was written, without much sympathy to be on his side excluding out of fear of being killed or enslaved.
At the end of the day, I’d argue from my Far Cry 6 review that the writing/narrative team didn’t do terrible here. They could’ve done better for sure, but the villains and allies were good enough to keep things endearing and fuel the desire to see more. I’ll also never forget El Tigre, the absolute drunken madman he is.
Tearing Down a Dictator Brick by Brick
Now, this is likely the main point of contention for you all. Far Cry villains being good is great and all, and aesthetics are a nice touch, but has the gameplay changed enough to be meaningful? Well, if you were tired of outposts, then I’m happy to tell you that system has been partially replaced. Now, scattered around Yara are some outposts, but mainly the new military installations and checkpoints. Most of these when captured give you a new fast travel location, but also give some other tangible benefits (more on that in a minute).
While I’m all for reinventing outposts though, I’m not for the idea of kneecapping the level of challenge in the process. What made outposts so much fun to capture in previous games was the increase in difficulty as you progressed through the game. You had to think about how you tackled the various locations and the different guards, making that progression so endearing. Meanwhile, in my Far Cry 6 review, I maybe had one or two military locations out of the entire map that provided a genuine challenge. The checkpoints are nothing more than watered-down outposts, with five or six guys at most at each location. Only one alarm as well, so you can end any chance of difficulty before the fight has even begun. I can applaud the attempt to take a risk here, but that risk feels half-baked.
The other major change from outposts is the new anti-aircraft cannons. If you’re like me and just flew helicopters all over the map, you’re going to hate what I’m about to say. These anti-aircraft cannons are littered throughout Yara and will shoot any airborne vehicle out of the sky after a short time if you stay in their radius for too long. With considerable overlap too, you’re not avoiding these. Trust me, I completely understand why the team chose to do this, but it detracts from a lot of the fun flying from place to place. With these anti-aircraft cannons frankly overdone too, you’ll likely just resort to driving from place to place. As you’d expect, that isn’t anywhere near as fun and is much, much slower.
Less impactful than these other changes are the modifications to sniper rifles. Again, if you’re like me, you probably ran around to outposts with a silenced .50 cal sniper rifle and picked off targets one by one. That was a fun way to play, and you could arguably run in guns blazing if you’d like, but it seems that needed to be kneecapped too. Now, you need a particular type of ammo to pierce armored helmets. And the best part? Having this ammo hurts your damage to unarmored enemies. No, that doesn’t make any sense, but it’s what the team wanted to do.
It feels like so much of this installment was spent dampening what most players resorted to doing, and trust me I get the reasoning behind it. Again, your players focusing on one mode of play and only that isn’t healthy for making the game feel diversified. But there’s a big difference between decreasing the power of those tactics, and outright nerfing them to the point of being a chore to make work.
For what it’s worth at least, the rest of your arsenal has seen a decent upgrade. Throughout my review of Far Cry 6, I used a host of weaponry that all feels a lot tighter than it did before. Assault rifles pack more of a punch, shotguns feel beefier, and rocket launchers…well that’s a hard one to improve upon if I’m honest. The new Supremo weapons make an excellent addition as well, with their unique traits making great use of any arsenal. Easily the strongest tool in your arsenal though is the new Supremo abilities. These can be unlocked through a vendor and can let you have an ultimate of sorts, charged over time and by scoring kills. These all felt great, even if I mostly used the rocket backpack to make helicopters a breeze.
The fresh vehicles felt great as well, with the tank being an obvious standout of the bunch. There’s nothing like a massive chunk of metal storming a military checkpoint just blasting away at the foes within. While slow for obvious reasons, the sheer firepower is not to be messed with. Some of the other vehicles, while focusing more on speed than strength, feel like nice additions as well. Nothing to write home about, mind you, but I loved the attempts to freshen things up here.
In terms of gameplay, I’d say Far Cry 6 does great with some of its new additions. But with many of the additions being focused on nerfing the meta tactics into the ground, I can’t help but feel it harms the game as a result. Again, these needed to be tweaked somehow, but the way they were tweaked is heavy-handed at best.
Yara’s Beautiful Coastlines and Lush Jungles
With the game set in a region resembling Cuba, it’s no surprise that I enjoyed the visuals in my Far Cry 6 review. The differences between the rolling hills, lush rainforests, and mucky swamps added a sense of flavor to such an expansive world. Each region of the game felt distinct, from both its character and its charm. And with the team breaching into the next-gen territory, the visuals have a fairly stronger place to shine. Especially when playing on higher settings, I was impressed by just how strong aesthetics were with this installment.
I can say the same for animations, with some new machete kills and reload animations properly spicing things up. Each brutal machete kill gives that wow factor at just how nasty they can be. From a chop to the neck, head, or side, the crunch is felt and ultimately feels satisfying if a bit disgusting. I was a bit saddened to see this didn’t transfer to the bodies, but for the work on the animation side, this can be ultimately forgiven.
Audio felt like it had more passion than usual put in this time around, with weapon sounds being a particular standout. Thanks to the new set of Supremo weapons, the team went a bit crazy with the audio quality and various sounds each gun makes. It all serves the satisfaction in one way or another, and I can’t say I’m walking away displeased by any stretch. Oh, and major props to whoever made Dani sing along to your vehicle’s radio. It’s such a minor touch, but it’s a nice addition nonetheless.
What I can’t say the same for is the polish, which felt abysmal. There were more than a handful of crashes throughout the whole thing, I clipped through the world a few times, AI couldn’t path around a fence laying on the ground, and worst of all, ray-tracing completely broke the lighting of cutscenes. It all feels like it lacks a sense of finishing polish that you’d expect from a day one patch and ultimately harmed the experience. Most of these crashes occurred in cutscenes too, so I had to watch parts of those again more times than I’d like.
I have to say that while I enjoyed my time with Far Cry 6, I was saddened to see what had become of it at this point. There are some great things the team has done, with heightened visual/audio quality, the new Supremo weapons, and improved companions, but so much feels in an effort to dampen the series’ standouts. The under-developed villain and destruction of the game’s most fun tactics hamper the overall enjoyment. While I’d argue new fans of the series won’t dislike what’s here, my review of Far Cry 6 ultimately tells that the series may need its own revolution.
- Strong side characters.
- Supremo backpack and weapons are an excellent addition.
- New vehicles help to spice things up.
- Solid performance by Giancarlo Esposito.
- Beautiful, varied locations.
- Great animations.
- Solid audio suite.
- Main villain lacks the depth of previous titles.
- Side villains are serviceable at best.
- Strips away the viability of the most enjoyable tactics.
- Doesn't change up the formula enough.
- So. Many. Crashes.