Far Cry 6 Review

October 13, 2021
Also on: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series
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Do you know the definition of insanity?

It feels weird to be apathetic about the release of a new Far Cry. The original three instalments were cutting-edge games that garnered tons of hype, and even the more recent releases of Far Cry 4, Primal and Far Cry 5 were marketed to the point where pre-order hesitant players still picked the game up on launch day. But after a decade of shooting dictators in third world countries, Far Cry has finally realised Vaas’ definition of insanity from Far Cry 3. The franchise has done the exact same fucking thing over and over again while expecting that shit to change, but Far Cry 6 doesn’t change shit at all. 

Like with every Far Cry game that’s released within the past decade, the premise of 6 is simple: There’s an isolated island with a comically evil dictator that needs overthrowing, you as the protagonist need to do that while also teaching various resistance groups the power of friendship, and there’s tons of side objectives spread across a huge and diverse map to turn a 10-hour shooter into a 30-hour one. There are outposts to liberate, guns to find, companions to recruit and radio towers to climb.

And here I thought that getting drunk and watching fireworks was just an American thing

Gameplay-wise, then, it’s the same exact game that Ubisoft has been making since 2012. There are a few new twists this time around, like the inclusion of “supremo” weapons that act as ultimate kill-everything abilities, and how passive perks are now acquired through equipping certain clothing items instead of them being earned through a skill tree. There’s also the ability to go incognito by holstering weapons to scout out enemy bases without getting shot at, horses to ride, and an Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood esque-minigame that lets you send out NPCs on dynamic missions for loot.

But despite these changes, Far Cry 6  still feels identical to Far Cry 3.  After I completed the lengthy prologue, I searched the map for the a set of armour that granted healing buffs, equipped the same exact loadout I use in every Far Cry (a silenced shotgun, an MP5, a 1911 and a bow), and then proceeded to not notice any of the new mechanics in the game. To be fair, it’s still fun to drive around a huge map liberating outposts and doing drive-bys on wildlife, and the shooting feels great as soon as you get the silenced shotgun that instakills the bullet sponge enemies. But the problem is I’ve been doing that for the past decade, which makes playing Far Cry 6 tiring in the same way that playing the new Call of Duty does. 

At least Boomer can ride in cars this time around

This is a feeling exacerbated by the fact that the plot of Far Cry 6 is almost identical to stories of previous games. This time around, Vaas/Pagan Min/Joseph Seed have been replaced by Giancarlo Esposito (who in-game is called Anton Castillo), and Rook Island/The Himalayas/Montana have been replaced by Cuba (which NPCs call Yara for some reason). Esposito, like villains before him, is an evil dictator on an island that’s long since been cut off from the rest of the world. He’s a guy that needs to die because he’s oppressing his people with chemical weapons and forcing them into slavery, while he lives in a palace isolated from reality, just like every other Far Cry villain has.

The 30-odd hour main quest to kill him, then, goes exactly as expected. There’s death, betrayal, comedic relief from a CIA-esque character and a portion of the game that exclusively features characters who aren’t straight, grizzled and smart heroes of the resistance. You kill NPCs, NPCs kill your friends, and eventually you kill Esposito with a token “but at what cost” speech.  While there are one or two interesting twists throughout the story, and main protagonist Dani is easily the most likable that the franchise has had in a decade, the plot ultimately suffers from the same problem that the franchise always had. Giancarlo Esposito doesn’t get nearly enough screen time, the annoying zoomer-age side characters get way too much screen time, Dani’s story is cut off just as things get interesting and the main story itself goes on way too long.

This wouldn’t be especially bad, after all I’ve been buying and enjoying these games since I was five years old, but the problem is that the tone is way too inconsistent. This is something that Far Cry games have long since had a problem with, but Far Cry 6, it’s especially apparent. While the main story deals with serious issues relating to suicide, family, gender identity and the importance of history, the gameplay is comedically absurd.

One mission specifically involves liberating a zoo-turned-torture camp, and all around the camp there are notes from the torturers and the torturees describing the horrors that happened there. This should’ve been a serious moment in the game’s plot, especially because it touches on how not-Cuba’s military treats LGBTQ+ people. However, to liberate the camp, I used an attack crocodile as my companion, gunned down baddies with a light-up neon machine gun equipped with fire bullets, and when the mission was done, I rode away on a zebra. This was just one of dozens of similarly serious missions that take place within a game that lets you use a wheelchair-bound puppy as an attack dog. These moments pull you out of the game, and when considering that the plot doesn’t do anything unexpected, Far Cry 6 tells a story that’s hard to get invested in.

I have never related to a character more than I did in this scene.

It’s also hard to get invested because there’s no map editor this time around. While previous games were able to be enjoyed post-launch because of the abundance of free content made with a 3D editor, here there’s no ability to make your own scenarios or enjoy ones made by anyone besides the developers. This makes progressing in the end-game feel useless, and although there is a fair amount of post-launch content available, including a mode where soldiers retake captured outposts, the lack of an editor is seriously disappointing. 

Fortunately, though, that disappointment doesn’t extend to the game’s technical performance. If nothing else, Far Cry 6 looks, sounds, and runs great. While playing the game on a dated PC, I experienced almost no bugs or crashes, and was able to achieve a constant 60 FPS on high settings. The game looks good too, it’s no In Other Waters, but there are some seriously great viewpoints to enjoy. The music is phenomenal as well, with various sing-a-loud worthy tracks that even the protagonist headbangs to while driving around in an assortment of area-appropriate vehicles.

But the problem is that good music and good performance are hallmarks of the franchise, so it’s hardly worth noting. Then again, “it’s hardly worth noting” is a good summary of Far Cry 6 for anyone who has touched the franchise before. While there are a few tweaks to the Far Cry formula in 6, this instalment is functionally identical to Far Cry 3-5. The gameplay still feels satisfying, the plot is enjoyable in its own right and the graphics are great, but that’s true for every post-2011 Far Cry. There are worse games to play if you’re looking for a fun way to kill a weekend, but there are also way better ones including previous Far Crys. For a game set in a revolution, there’s so little evolution in this sequel that it makes it hard to recommend for anyone besides people who are insanely bored or those who are looking for a good introduction to the franchise. 

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For a game all about revolution, Far Cry 6 does little to evolve the aging series, but at least your dog can ride in your car.
Derek Johnson

Somebody once told me the world was going to roll me, and they were right. I love games that let me take good-looking screenshots and ones that make me depressed, so long as the game doesn't overstay its welcome.