Since its inception, the Far Cry franchise skyrocketed in popularity due to its fast-paced, literal run-and-gun gameplay that always managed to add something new with each installment. Graphic improvements were par for the course; so additionally, Ubisoft treated us to new gameplay elements, compelling characters, and an ever-growing shared universe, complete with its own culture and lore. It was always a question of where the next scenic location was, and who’d be the next villain we had to put in the ground.
Hope County, Montana was the last place we had to decimate in an attempt to liberate. It was a vast, somewhat quaint, rural countryside full of deranged, gun-toting cultists. Yara is its equally vast, somewhat loud, tropical island paradise younger brother; with the deranged, gun-toting cultists being replaced by a fascist dictator with an entire military force at his disposal. Boys and girls, we’re toppling the regime, and we’re going to have time of our lives doing it.
Come for the good story, stay to help start a revolution
As we say farewell to the nameless, silent protagonist shtick, we welcome the orphan-turned-Libertad guerilla Dani Rojas into our homes, and into our hearts. You’re given the choice between a male and female character, and while there are some subtle differences between the two in terms of dialogue and story, the change is mostly aesthetic and not at all game-changing. This was understandable in Far Cry 5, given the deputy was mute, but it would’ve been nice to see more differences and nuance between Dani boy and Dani girl.
The story itself is simple and linear enough. Starting from the bottom, amassing a good enough fighting force, and overthrowing the despot has been a common trope and it’s great to see it being used effectively in how it paces the game. It actually makes you feel like you’re doing whatever you can to get stronger in preparation for war. Areas on the map and journal quests have their respective ranks on a scale of 1 to 10 that directly reflect your own, with 1 being easy breezy, and each rank above constantly flicking the kill switch on your enjoyment. Attempting a rank 7 mission on a rank 8 area of the map while being at rank 4 yourself is not a good time, I tell you.
I’m not saying it’s impossible, though. While the game will punish you for your audacity, it won’t force you to slow down. If you’re the sweatiest of sweaty try hards, a speed run could be feasible if you’re good enough. You don’t have any “perks” this time around, but you do receive all right tools for the job, and a few compadres to help you get that job done.
Packing an entire arsenal of Latino Heat
The good old armory is open, and we have something new on the menu. The word “Supremo” might paint a multitude of images in your head, but I believe Far Cry 6 managed to add “weapons of mass destruction for any kind of situation” to that long list. The Supremo is a fully customizable, self-charging, one-button tap death machine introduced early in the game, and makes your backpacking trip of violence across Yara way more efficient.
“Resolvers” are handheld, but still ridiculously lethal weapons that pack a hefty punch in spite of being crafted out of homemade appliances. From a makeshift nail gun to a compact disc launcher that plays the Macarena whenever you fire it, there’s much fun to be found in your enemy’s demise.
The workbench will be your best friend all throughout the game. All the weapons and armor you’ll purchase or find need to go through the workbench to be customized, modded, and tricked out for battle. Just make sure to pick up those materials lying on the side of the road, or that corpse. You can’t miss them.
Instead of guns for hire, we have Amigos! While earlier Far Cry games made use of a few animal companions in a roster of mostly people. Far Cry 6 gives you five furious critters, basically gearing you up to be the Yaran Pokemon trainer of death (the very best, like no one ever was).
Each Amigo has their own set of perks and playstyles with three being available early on in the game through a few simple missions. Guapo the crocodile is tanky, can hit hard, and has a very nice self-revive. Chorizo the half-dachshund might not be the best attacker, but he can charm enemies with his toy dog cuteness, giving you enough time to land a couple of headshots. Chicharron is just insane: insane and angry. I need not elaborate. Choose Chicharron every time you can. He’ll do the mission for you, whether you like it or not. The last two Amigos are a bit more difficult to acquire, and one might be a bit familiar, so I won’t spoil the surprise. Either way, you’ll have a solid team by your side as you fight your way across Yara.
Scenery beautiful enough to breathe in, tear gas included
The Far Cry franchise has a collection of enormous, sprawling open worlds that are an absolute joy to explore. Yara, while no different, boasts a rich, multi-layered, cultural nation inside a vast sandbox that is very much alive. You really can’t expect much from the NPCs, though. Like in most games, if you stick around for too long, you’ll notice character model duplicating and voice lines repeating. That aside, the environment you’ll be traversing is what takes the cake. Yara appears so eerily realistic and very similar to what you might actually see in a real country. Nothing too over the top, just grounded, very real turmoil.
Moving from the outer isles, to the modest countryside, into the favela-inspired outskirts, and deeper into the Yaran “Lion’s Den”, Esperanza, you see how the landscape and overall vibe slowly changes. You witness the carnage. You feel the terror of the military watching your every move with patrols and checkpoints steadily increasing in number the further you go into the story, and farther you venture into the city.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. You still get that enjoyable island vacation in between those bouts of wanton destruction. Traveling is so much easier with an abundance of both common and combat vehicles that you either spawn in guerilla camps, or hijack from the locals. If you’re not interested in automobiles, then get a horse. They’re fast, nimble, and strangely enough, can hit as hard as a truck. I swear, if that’s a glitch, I want it to stay.
The guerilla camps serve as your upgradeable home bases where you can get new tools, purchase new items, and do side missions with a pool of guerilla recruits that you rescue from military capture. Lastly, we have recreation in the form of car racing and cockfighting. Yes, you heard me: cockfighting. The latter is straightforward. Win a race; unlock new items and upgrades for your personal car. The latter is where the Pokemon mechanics go full throttle, complete with fighting game mechanics. It’s basically Rooster Tekken, plain and simple. There really is no other way to describe it, and I totally love it.
Compelling, compassionate comrades, and a villain who’ll give you nightmares
You can more or less tell by now that the odds will be heavily stacked against you. With an entire nation’s military trying to commit an extrajudicial beating on your face, what do you have to rely on aside from your weapons and Amigos? Well, it’s about time we talked about Libertad. Meet Clara Garcia and Juan Cortez.
Both the leader of the cause and the guerilla legend, respectively, will be by your side through the whole game, showing you the ropes and guiding you through every mission. The entire “tutorial” section and first chapter focus on building a relationship with these two, and earning your stripes to become a full-fledged Libertad guerilla. Clara runs the operation, while Juan introduces you to a whole new world of guerilla warfare through his Supremos, Resolver weapons, and the ever-reliable workbench. Just make sure you have enough Yaran pesos and depleted uranium on hand.
You’ll meet different factions on your journey, all with their own grudges and scores to settle. While rough around the edges, they all want they same thing you do: freedom from oppression. They’re all willing to join your cause, but you’ll have to prove your worth to them first.
Now, let me just acknowledge how great of a decision it was to cast Giancarlo Esposito as the maniacal tyrant Anton Castillo. He’s barely on-screen for the most part of the game’s first half, but he always steals the show. His minions who control the other regions of Yara are fine, but borderline on comical mustache-twirling levels of villainy. Anton might have ridiculously evil ideals and methods of leadership, but it’s the demeanor, and overall portrayal that prevent him from going over-the-top. If he says he’ll murder everyone with poison disguised as pesticide and mount everyone’s head on a spike, you’d actually believe him; and fear him.
One thing’s for certain, though. He’s not as one-dimensional of a villain as you’d think. Anton Castillo can definitely give Vaas Montenegro and Pagan Min a run for their pesos.
A far cry from a perfect game, but still damn good
Far Cry 6 is a fast-paced, adrenaline-pumping experience that only really has downtime when you force it to have some. The soundtrack is immersive, the car radio tracks are actually great, and the auto-drive to destination feature helps a lot in getting that forced downtime. You’ll find yourself occasionally lost in the polished, beautifully rendered scenery; both inside and outside of the city.
In terms of mechanics, aside from the removal of perks, while adding the Supremo and rideable horses, the game doesn’t add or change much to what we’ve already experienced before. The voice acting was decent, especially for the supporting cast. Dani boy and Dani girl’s performances were lukewarm for me. They’d handle casual conversations and banter naturally, but whenever there had to be a sense of urgency or a call for hard emotion, I never really felt it. There are also a few bugs that need fixing, like sudden lag around anti-air cannons, and my horse suddenly teleporting a few hundred miles into the air. A day 1 patch is already scheduled, and I’m hopeful that more fixes down the road will help improve the game overall.
That being said, it’s not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Adding some new tires, shiny rims, and some hot pink iron spikes can usually do the trick. Sure, there might be more of the same from previous installments, but the elements carried over were the good ones; and they’ve been improved even further. The combat has gotten smoother, seamless weapon control and the character mobility also acquired a significant buff, as I’d rarely find myself trying to brute force my way onto ledges and rocks a-la Skyrim.
I have to commend the quality of life features in-game, such as the auto-drive mechanic where you’d usually just follow the road like in RDR2 and The Witcher 3. But here, it takes you right to the exact waypoint that you made on your map. Accessibility options in the menu are also a tremendous help to those who need them. Lastly, the optimization for lower-end hardware is a true Godsend. My hot potato setup handled everything like a champ.
Final Verdict – 7/10
All the aforementioned bugs and shortcomings aside, Far Cry 6 is a solid experience. The story, visuals, character and sound design, and the gameplay itself, just meshed so well. With two game modes plus co-op play available upon release, you’re guaranteed a good level of replayability and shenanigans with friends. If you’re looking for a brand new game that overflows with ingenuity and brings never-before-seen mechanics to the table, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But if you’re looking for a good balance of bombastic exhilaration, tropical paradise chill vibes, and a story worth investing in, then allow Far Cry 6 to be your own personal action-packed getaway.