Booting up Far Cry 6 for the first time, I was looking forward to seeing how Ubisoft would reinvigorate the Far Cry series. Would the tedious aspects of previous games be improved? Would they abandon the crazy weapons and nutty side-quests?
But as soon as I opened it up and had to grapple up a cliff, I realised I was definitely playing a Far Cry game.
Creepy bad guy. Check. Lots of explosions. Check. Outrageous combat crocodile. Check.
The question remains: is Far Cry 6 a successful revolution of the series—or a failed coup?
I’ve played Far Cry 3, 4, and 5, but haven’t finished any of them. There’s something telling in that—I’m usually a completionist and have got close to the end with each of the games. But there’s always been something lacking to drive me to the end. Perhaps it’s how repetitive they become; the Ubisoft tower is, well, ubiquitous.
Enter Far Cry 6. I’m about eight hours into the game, and while there are some reasonable updates to the mechanics of the Far Cry series, it feels like a re-badged version of Far Cry 5 in the Caribbean, so similar is the story structure and mission types. Depending on how you feel about previous games, this could be a good or bad thing.
Far Cry 6 Story
You play as Dany, a guerrilla with the revolutionary group Libertad on the island of Yara. And in making the protagonist a local, Far Cry has eliminated the political issues with previous games around white saviour narratives.
You can play as male or female, although you’re not given choice over her appearance as with Far Cry 5. But part of this has to do with one of the more notable updates—cut scenes. I really like the addition of cut scenes here; the issue with FPS games is that you feel stupid interacting meaningfully with people when all you can see are your hands. It makes the story more interesting and personal by including cut sequences.
One of the biggest issues I’ve had with Far Cry games in the past is their zero-sum game storytelling, particularly in Far Cry 4, where your choice between brother and sister seems like a needless no-win situation. I’m hoping that Far Cry 6 will make the choices more realistic, but already I get the sense that I’m going to be making some kind of Hunger Games style choice here: to either meet the new boss, same as the old boss, or keep the old boss. Or burn everything down. That’s an option, I guess.
Firearms of the Caribbean: Far Cry 6 Gameplay
As I’ve mentioned, Far Cry 6 doesn’t bring much new gameplay to the series, but it improves on several issues from previous games.
For those of you looking to explode a lot of things in outrageous ways, Far Cry 6 still has you covered. There are a lot of explosive barrels around the place, and with the addition of Supremos, your ultimate wacky guerrilla weapons, you will set things on fire in no time. And for those of you wanting to relive your Goldeneye days, you can even drive a pink spray-painted tank around town blowing up propaganda billboards. I’ve heard Far Cry described as a chaos generator, and this is exactly that.
All your base are belong to us
But I appreciate improving the challenge of these missions. Each target is different; whether that’s a construction site or a tobacco farm. Your sniper rifle early in the game is less effective, and so is the bow, which used to be my go-to stealth weapon. One shot and everyone was down. To my surprise, Far Cry 6 is challenging in parts. Capturing the bases were some of my favourite aspects of previous games and increasing the diversity of these challenges these means the game has more longevity for the player.
Where Far Cry 6 has improved on previous games is in the ‘capture the flag’ style missions, taking out enemy bases for your revolutionary group Libertad. No longer are they the same looking outposts where you eliminate the alarm with a sniper rifle, then methodically take out each soldier one by one. Oh no. The first surprise of the game came when suddenly, there were bullet proof alarm systems. The cheek! It’s like if the Death Star workers finally realised that they should put a cover on that massive hole in their defence system.
It also means you’ll need an excellent strategy to infiltrate these bases. Your phone provides the handy enemy tagging and alerts you to cameras and alarms. But it’s worth taking the time to scope out the target all the way around. Not every enemy is visible, even from a high vantage point. And by scoping out the bases, you’ll inevitably find a back entrance.
Amigos! Also, side-quests.
To assist you in combat, you can also equip an ‘amigo’, a handy animal friend, to help you take out the establishment. Early in the game you’ll get Guapo, a combat crocodile, and despite what the game says, it’s possible to stealth with the endearing croc. In stealth mode, guards will simply say to him, “You should be in the water”, while I’m sneaking past. And when all out fighting begins, Guapo is a handy sidekick to distract enemies while you mow them down. Guapo is life.
You also get to run a variety of side-quests and mini-games out of your guerrilla bases. Multi-player, cock fighting, treasure hunts, and sending your guerrillas out to collect supplies are just some of the game-in-game missions here. You can also improve your bases with a variety of shops enables you to get necessary tools such as the wind suit and hunting bow.
Thankfully, one of my least liked aspects of previous games has disappeared: slicing up the animals you’ve hunted down. Hunting is still present in the game, but it’s very bloodless. And as an animal lover, I appreciate that.
And there are the handy but same-samey looking people to rescue out in the wilds, who conveniently let you know where caches can be found through the world. Or you can just spend the money and buy the map markers. I liked the NPCs more in Far Cry 5—the ‘Merica vibes and eagle t-shirts provided a much-needed laugh.
What doesn’t work in Far Cry 6?
One of my least loved features of Far Cry 6 is the horse riding. I would rather run 700m than ride a horse. Where other FPS slip into third view when riding horses (think Skyrim), Far Cry keeps the first-person view, and it’s enough to make anyone seasick. The constant bobbing of the horse makes it impossible to get a good shot in while riding.
Other aspects of the game just don’t work. When you steal a vehicle, the game will tell you that you can take it to a vehicle station to register it for future use. I’ve done so with a helicopter, only for it to disappear again. Am I meant to go down to the DMV and register it as well? Clearly, something buggy at work here.
There’s also been moments where a character has told me the mission is over, so I’ve fast travelled out of the area, only to find the mission wasn’t complete. Word to the wise: wait until you get the big green mission complete sign before you leave the area.
Oh, and finding resources, the way they flicker in the game, just annoys me.
But the biggest problem with Far Cry 6, is that it’s so similar to previous games. There’s no innovation here. I asked the same question about Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. Where to from here? There are places that Far Cry can go, but can we just expect a re-badged game every couple of years in a new location? If there’s no reason to innovate because people are still willing to buy the games, why bother?
Far Cry has always struggled to balance its liberator of the people storylines with its zanier elements. It’s never really known what sort of game it wants to be. I appreciate the more serious take on the storyline here, but Far Cry is never really going to escape its past. While Far Cry 6 is a fun FPS with some new variety in the game’s traditional missions, it’s nothing revolutionary.