Over the years the Far Cry series has become a staple for gamers around the world. Having first arrived in 2004, it didn’t take long to gain a critical reception, as well as a horde of fans who began to love the open-world nature and fun first person shooting gameplay.
But things soon improved and became more enhanced with the second game proving to be as hard as nails, as you were left to cope with an onslaught of malaria. It was in Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4 though where the series really moved on as the jungle islands and mountains of Nepal took the series towards its apex. It was helped by brilliant base takeovers and even more brilliant villains. The the Far Cry series then ventured into a BC world, before running to Colorado. They certainly weren’t as popular, but still sold a bucket load.
Now it’s time to go deep into Far Cry 6 – a game which, while familiar at times, sees more open-world craziness and deep fun begin to shine through. Oh, and that’s without even mentioning a wheelchair-bound dog called Chorizo.
Prior to the release of Far Cry 6, it was felt that I had heard everything there was to know about the game, teased through trailers, videos of gameplay, and interviews with the main stars. I was worried that I knew what to expect. Here and now, some many hours invested into Ubisoft’s latest, it has surprised me – albeit still managing to provide comfort and familiarity at times. It’s certainly a game that takes a while to get going, but once you begin to throw in the hours, you’ll discover Far Cry 6 is a blast, continuing to have that pull which will see you saying goodbye to anything else in your life.
The story is focused on the fictional island region of Yara, which is run by a mad dictator played by the always excellent Giancarlo Esposito. It could be based in Central America or it could be somewhere off the coast of South America, as it borrows a bit from everywhere. You play the part of Dani Rojas – him or her, you decide – but they are essentially a rebel with a cause. Your main job is to take down Esposito as a one-person army – but as always with Far Cry, you can’t get by without your friends and comrades. You’ll want to take him down too as the reason the dictator has so much power is that the country produces a wonder drug for cancer, but he is keeping all the wealth the country produces for himself so most of Yara is in poverty. There are executions, imprisonments, and general misery that you have to put a final stop to.
Along the way, you meet a very varied and interesting bunch of characters; all of whom occupy different regions of the map. You have to unite these regions by taking on quests, all so that you can take on the main man himself. The writing and story are a weird mixture of fun and some deadly serious drama, and at times I’m not sure the two worlds mix well. In one breath I’m escorting an angry rooster who wants to destroy some files in the government offices, yet in the next there is a serious cutscene about power and slavery going on. But then it’s so much fun and there is some great writing included, with some brilliant characters to meet and interact with. It’s so well done that the main narrative will come from your own exploration and how you move through this massive open-world, slowly creating your own stories.
At the start of Far Cry 6 – pretty much for the first hour or so – I found the experience underwhelming. The first island makes you feel like you have done it all before; shoot this, collect this, take over this checkpoint here. If you’ve played any Far Cry previously then you will know the drill and it will feel quite familiar. It’s not helped that the new menu system can get quite messy with loads of options available, letting you make your weapons more interesting by adding attachments like armor-piercing bullets. It’s a system I never quite embraced and because you’re given some great weapons, I never felt the need to change things too much once a best fit was discovered. What works great though is you have basically a multiple rocket launcher situated as a backpack and this acts as a special timed attack that will take out helicopters or massive tanks. It’s a brilliant special to have and is delightful to activate.
You may also be underwhelmed in the opening moments, but very soon as the map begins to open up, Far Cry 6 will dig its claws in, leaving you to want to do everything; to take in every mission, every side quest, every piece of loot, and discover every corner of the map. It’s an addiction and discovering it all becomes tremendous fun. The gameplay itself helps here as it is delivered via exciting moments of shooting, explosions, and a ridiculous number of different ways to approach a mission. Do you go stealthily, taking out the enemies one by one? Or do you just blow everything to bits while smoking a cigar and cauterizing your bullet wounds? The choice is yours in Far Cry 6.
Vehicles can be customised too – cars, helicopters, planes and even horses. You can parachute, drive boats, wingsuit, and climb mountains using your grapple. But you also have the best companions ever, ranging from a t-shirted crocodile to the cutest dog in the world – our wheelchair-bound friend, Chorizo. Each of the companions has different skills in helping you as well; some are more attacking, whilst others work as a distraction so you can be more stealthy. Yes, sometimes they can be annoying, steaming in when you want them to stay back, but again, you’ll grow to love your favorite, ensuring they keep safe, attempting to revive them even if it means you’re going to die yourself.
Most of Far Cry 6 looks very pretty, with amazing sunsets and a brilliantly crafted open world. On the Xbox Series X it has provided a seamless transition from being on a plane, jumping into a base, killing everything, swapping between interiors and exteriors without any framerate issues or tearing. The developers know how to do a big open world well, with great attention to detail in the towns, camps, and forests. It feels lived in as well, with soldiers patrolling, mini-fights happening around you, and animals going about their business. I’ll admit though, the visuals don’t have the wow factor I was expecting of a new-gen game, but it still looks good enough. The cutscenes however do have issues, with jarring framerates and stutters.
Audio-wise it is also a delight, particularly a host of brilliant Latin American music which plays on the radio as you drive around. The soundtrack is fantastic, as are all the performers, with some great characters brought to life by the actors. Of course, the main villain played by Giancarlo Esposito is another superb addition to his rogues catalogue.
Far Cry 6 is a slow burner, but once it gets going it really sinks those hooks. Fans of the series will have a blast, whether alone or through the cooperative options, and whilst some may well think there is too much to do in this world, I say that’s something to appreciate. Granted, the menus can sometimes over complicated things, and the cutscene stutters are annoying, but the main point to take away is that if you love open world games, especially those which provide fun, excitement and the freedom of choice, then come to Yara. It’s not a huge revolution, but it’s a fun one.
Take a trip to Yara with Far Cry 6 from the Xbox Store