When Vaas Montenegro, the charismatic psychopathic bad guy from Far Cry 3, talked about the definition of insanity, there was a certain irony that he was a creation of Ubisoft, the publishing behemoth behind such series as Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and Rainbow Six. We’re all well-used to their tried and tested formula built on open worlds, more map icons than you can shake a stick at and a mixture of main missions, side missions and busy work that are designed to keep you playing their games for close to a hundred hours.
The thing is, we really like the Far Cry games and with Far Cry 5 being something of a masterclass in this genre, we had high hopes for their newest entry. Of course, you’d be silly to expect anything particularly new from the series but there’s something about the sweet gunplay, compelling characters and believable open worlds that had us feeling quite excited for the series’ PS5 debut.
As expected, the story here is very much hanging on the actions of another psychopath. This time it is Anton Castillo, the President of Yara, a fictional Caribbean country who is played by the ever-menacing Giancarlo Esposito. Having ruled the country with an iron fist, he’s now using his people as a slave labour force, using them to manufacture a miracle cure for cancer by having them work in highly toxic tobacco fields. And if anybody doesn’t like it, they’ll face imprisonment, torture and death.
Like all good bad guys, Castillo thinks his actions are justified and so acts without any mercy at all and when he makes a personal appearance to execute a boat full of civilians trying to leave the country, he makes an enemy of you, Dani Rojas (who can be male or female depending on your choice). After a little bit of ‘will you join the resistance or leave’ exposition, you eventually start taking on tasks that soon become missions which lead you to take out the various high-ranking officials that enforce Castillo’s cruel rule.
At that point, it’s business as usual. You’ll meet various resistance fighters and leaders and you’ll earn their trust by doing the usual activities which is to say you’ll steal things, blow up stuff and kill people. In addition all of the story missions that you’ll work through over dozens of hours of gameplay, you can also choose to take on various side missions and activities. The usual array of hunting missions, treasure hunts, races and so on are all available.
As with Far Cry 5, Ubisoft have chosen to make these activities show up organically. Instead of climbing up a tower and scoping out a bunch of tasks for your to-do list, now you need to read notices, steal intel and talk to people who will then point you in the right direction. And there’s always something to do. Even the simple act of going to your next story mission is subject to diversions as you spot an anti-air missile base here and a military compound there. Ubisoft have always done that kind of thing well and the lure of these simple side missions is hard to ignore.
Initially we weren’t sure about Far Cry 6. We’ve been putting some time into GTA Online recently and so the feel and controls of Far Cry 6 were initially a little unintuitive but after a few hours we were fully in. There’s a slow progression to the game at first. You’re given shitty guns and not much guidance. The game alludes to various customisable weapons as well as special ‘Resolver’ weapons, giving you more choice than you could ever need. But if you follow a guide on Google, there are plenty of really good special weapons to go and grab early on that’ll make life a lot easier. We particularly recommend the quest that gives you the La Varita weapon and its associated ‘supremo’ weapon.
Okay, we’re already layers in here but ‘supremo’ weapons are backpacks that offer you new weapons or abilities. The first one you get is basically just a homing rocket launcher, a very handy bit of kit indeed, but the one we like lets you see and shoot through walls. Yep, Far Cry 6 isn’t afraid to give you all the toys to play with. Pistols, crossbows, rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers and everything else. And most of it is customisable visually or modifiable with additional boosts. You’ve also got six types of bullets (such as armor-piercing, flame, poison and so on) and also a wardrobe full of gear with additional boosts and perks.
Initially it’s all a bit much but once you find your feet, you realise what the game is. For all of its drama, exploration and spirit what we’ve really got here is the spiritual successor to Mercenaries. A true sandbox that puts you up against an all-powerful enemy but then gives you all the tools you need. You want guns? You’ve got them. Vehicles? Planes, choppers, tanks. It’s all good. You even get pets that will stalk and kill enemies for you. It almost feels endless and the true charm of the game is how it gives you the freedom to approach each battle however you want.
Do you want to stealth kill your way through a base? Cool. Or maybe you want blow everyone up or send in a ghostly panther to bite out their throats. Whatever. You do you. The game will just be there for you and your choices. Do you want to run, swim or drive to a mission? Or maybe take a chopper? Maybe you just want to fall out of the sky and wingsuit there, the choice is yours. It all just works and it feels natural, organic.
So while we were doubting the game an hour in, we’re now obsessed with it. It feels like the sort of game you can dip into for a quick bit of chaos, maybe liberate a base or destroy a checkpoint, or one where you can spend hours at a time with it. It’s all just so slick and playable.
The game also looks fantastic. We have to admit, we were disappointed to be back in a disfunctional country with no real infrastructure (believe it or not but Far Cry 5’s Montana did feel like a real step forward) but the game looks splendid on the PS5 with a huge draw distance, tons of detail, great use of colour, decent lighting and good character models. The sound is also as good as it gets with great voice acting, plenty of local music and just fantastic sound effects that bring a huge amount of realism to the game.
So while Far Cry 6 doesn’t revolutionise the genre at all, the series continues to be the standard bearer for open-world action games. It’s huge but full of things to do and it has a story that is compelling enough to keep you interested. It’s bold, bloody and brutal too but an absolute blast to play.
+ Visually stunning
+ Great acting and characters
+ Unparalleled use of sound
+ Tons to do
- Setting feels like a step back from Far Cry 5
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