When a Video Game is the 6th numbered installment in a franchise, there is no great mystery as to the sort of gaming experience on offer. With that in mind, I was not looking forward to Far Cry 6 at all. I haven’t been interested in a Far Cry game since the brilliant Far Cry 3. I’m happy to say Far Cry 6 has grabbed me in a big way and it is great fun.
Far Cry 6 is still a FPS open-world action game. Exactly like all those that have come before. This time round it is set in a fictional Caribbean archipelago called Yara, which for all intents and purposes, is Cuba. Ruled by the ruthless “El Presidente” Antón Castillo played by Giancarlo Esposito. Yara is controlled by his military and as expected, there is a grass-roots resistance movement. Which it turns out needs my special ‘Guerrilla’ gamer skills to overthrow the “El Presidente”!
Welcome to Yara, stay a while…
Following a cinematic introduction and a first hand look at the brutality on offer by Antón Castillo, I washed up in Yara, after trying to escape to the USA by boat. Being ex-military, I was drafted to the resistance movement and my Far Cry 6 experience got underway. Like I said, think Far Cry 3, 4 and 5 in terms of mission structure and map design. So weird though, because as I type this, I am struggling to explain why this game has grabbed me so much, when Far Cry 4 and 5 did not. Guess I just wasn’t in the right ‘head space’ for crazy fun back then.
I do think some minor changes around the easing of player requirements to progress and the softening of the Ubisoft well trodden busy-work maps, has helped. There is no need to climb countless towers or clear countless checkpoints anymore. Sure, there are still map markers for hidden chests or treasure hunts, but Ubisoft have leaned further towards providing the “digital playground” and less on a map full of detritus to sift through to find the fun.
FarCry 6 shenanigans and fun.
The other major change I enjoyed this time round, was around crafting and particularly the weapon perk system. It certainly helped that this system gave very strong Destiny or The Division 2 vibes. Like exploring the map on the way to the next story objective, might reveal a hidden chest or a treasure hunt, which will give an exotic gun. For example, I was clearing out an anti-aircraft gun emplacement so I could then use my Helicopter in that area. I came across a chest in a base which had a pistol in it. It was an exotic. It glistened in ‘gangsta’ gold leaf and fired incendiary rounds, healed me on kills and dealt extra damage when firing from above. These types of exotic guns are all over the place, to be found and exploited to great effect on the unwitting soldiers of our dear “El Presidente”.
As per most Far Cry games the weaponry on offer is extensive. But the level of customisation through crafting is huge compared to previous games. Workbenches litter the island to equip and modify to suit. This is because scouting an enemy installation to establish what enemy types are about to be faced is key. The correct ammo types, weapons, character armour and mods can be fitted to ensure victory. The “Supremo” backpack is another big change. Essentially its a hashed together backpack that launches Rockets, Flammable Poisonous Gas…all sorts goodies. Once again, it’s like Super or Ultimate Skill in Destiny or The Division. The “Supremo” can also be modified to suit a scouted scenario as well.
No need for Tequila goggles
On my PS5 the game looks great. Not earth shatteringly beautiful, which was surprising to me considering the tropical setting, but still pretty. Up close textures seemed a tad blurred even at 4K, but the action at 60fps is pretty solid, with only the odd noticeable drop in frame rate. No doubt day one patches will sort that out though. Audio and Music lean well into the Cuba-esque inspiration with the appropriate background NPC chatter and animal noises, as well as location appropriate music blasting from every vehicle I jacked…even on a jet ski.
In an early mission, I went with an NPC to burn a government plantation. As fire streamed from my Flame Thrower. Upbeat, swinging Latin music swelled and I found myself in a massive set piece gameplay moment. I could not help but smile to myself and think…”This is some shit hot game design, right here” (pun intended). The voice acting is brilliant too, with all the supporting characters and importantly my main protagonist, all fully voiced. Even when getting basic quests, the camera switches to a dialogue and mission screen, just like Destiny now uses.
It has to be acknowledged, that Far Cry Villains are now famous in their own right. Vaas from Far Cry 3 in particular is still a gamer culture high point for me. It’s pleasing to say that “El Presidente” Antón Castillo played by Giancarlo Esposito, continues this fantastic trend. Evil, intelligent, manipulative; everything you want in a bad guy.
What’s in the Hot Sauce?
I think what makes a good Far Cry game are bat-shit moments that come out of nowhere. Moments where the Developers have created an opportunity for fun within a mission, but how it all comes about was up to me. The game is massive too, and I must admit I have not finished it yet, but with 20hrs under my belt I can sum up what I enjoy in just a few lines:
Mission- “Go blow up some big chemical tanks”.
Me – “I could parachute in and plant C4, drive a truck into them, use an Army tank, use an attack helicopter, wingsuit from a plane and go ‘Rambo’, shoot them with a mortar from miles away, use an mounted gun on an attack boat, shoot them at range with an incendiary sniper rifle or even just use a ‘Supremo’ rocket attack”….choices, choices choices!
Overall, Far Cry 6 feels extremely familiar, but if it ain’t broke etc…etc…. The underlying, well-trodden Far Cry formula has not changed, and for the life of me I cannot nail down exactly why 6 has enthralled me so, when 4 and 5 did not. Either way, I have found Far Cry 6 to be excellent. It has fun at every turn, great characters and at times gave me proper laugh out loud moments at the craziness this game had to offer. Love it.