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Far Cry is a franchise synonymous with two things primarily: chaos and villains. Without a doubt, the announcement of veteran-star Giancarlo Esposito as the primary antagonist in Far Cry 6 was cause for excitement. As Anton Castillo, the ruthless dictator of a fictional, tropical country named Yara, how would he stack up to the notorious villains that came before him? And why did his son feature so prominently in the lead up to the game? Let’s get to it.
Before beginning your journey in Yara as Dani Rojas (you can choose a male or female Dani, each of which is canon according to Ubisoft), you are greeted with a wealth of options and menus, starting with accessibility. You can customize your experience extensively, and while I can’t attest to the effectiveness of the accessibility options, it’s great to see more developers focusing on it. You are also able to choose between Action Mode, representing your standard Far Cry experience, or Story Mode, which is noticeably easier for people who simply want to focus on the narrative.
Far Cry 6 wastes no time in preparing you for your journey as you are immediately thrust into a life-and-death escape run and introduced to Anton and his son, Diego. Then, similar to Far Cry 5, the opening act is spent on a contained area of the map which introduces you to key elements, mechanics, and a few main characters. This opening area is well-implemented as it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It provided me with all the tools and information I needed while investing me in my journey as Dani and the eventual alignment with Libertad.
Libertad is the name of the rebel alliance you will work with for the majority of the game as you and various individual rebel groups look towards revolution. The main story elements revolve around three separate groups, each of which contain several individual tales and the types of characters you expect in a Far Cry game. As Dani, you are tasked with collaborating with each of them and helping to bring unity to those oppressed by Castillo’s regime.
To do so, you’ll have to assassinate high-ranking members of Castillo’s regime who are spread across several regions of Yara. While familiar in structure, you have nearly complete freedom in when you tackle each. And in case you’re wondering, save for one specific, story-driven scenario, you are not forced into any elongated missions where you feel trapped, a la Far Cry 5.
I really enjoyed the story elements of Far Cry 6 and believe it to be the most cohesive narrative in the franchise to date. Working with the various rebel groups, building those relationships and experiencing the highs and lows along the way, provided more emotion than I expected out of a Far Cry game. I particularly enjoyed the Rebels of 67 as they shared their histories and stories of their own revolution decades prior which had assassinated Anton Castillo’s father. By the end, I had grown to love Dani as a character and truly felt as though I had claimed my part of Libertad and the revolution.
Meanwhile, Esposito doesn’t disappoint with his performance. It feels more indirect and hands-off than someone like Vaas or the Father’s family, but that’s to be expected given the setting. Far Cry 6 paints a broad picture of a country struggling with identity while undergoing a decades long civil-war due to tyranny. While it doesn’t speak to a specific real-world example, it presents a dictator drunk with power, slave labor, oppression, and more issues that we’ve seen across the world for millennia. While you are challenging Castillo, it’s less about direct confrontation and more about the battle for Yara as a nation.
Esposito, as Anton, speaks with conviction and authority. He’s intelligent, ruthless, commanding, and you get the sense he could have been a real dictator. During your playthrough, you’ll witness first-hand the atrocities being committed by the regime to produce Viviro, a cancer-curing medication that is only produced in Yara globally. In this vein, Far Cry 6 does a remarkable job of making a political statement while not necessarily pointing to a specific real-world example. Also notable is Diego Castillo who not only plays a larger role than I expected, but does so with excellent scripting and voice-acting. They both provide very memorable performances.
Yara itself presents the type of sandbox experience you know and love from Far Cry. It’s a beautiful, tropical landscape filled with items to discover and tasks to undertake. These range from rebel-specific tasks such as taking out anti-aircraft guns, checkpoints, and of course, bases, to recreational activities like fishing, racing, hunting, and even cock-fighting. You can go about most of these in nearly anyway that you choose, and you have access to a wealth of weaponry, vehicles, and gadgets to do so. As for the cock-fighting, you may be asking yourself, “How would Far Cry approach that?” The answer, naturally, is with a fully-featured, 2D-fighting game with an announcer and best-of-three round approach akin to Mortal Kombat.
As you build relationships with each rebel group, you’ll gain access to their hideouts which act as you home bases throughout the island. These locations provide access to activities, unique characters, vendors, workbenches, and more. These also contain the ability to manage Bandido missions, a rebel-management game that uses the rebels you rescue in the wild, as well new shops which provide even more gear and activities. In these areas, you now navigate in the third-person perspective which, while different, provides a little more intimacy with Dani and the friends you’ll make along the way.
The amount of customization for your character is substantial. Your loadout consists of three main weapons, a sidearm, five pieces that comprise your outfit, and your “surpremo,” all of which you can change at any time. Outfits have set-specific focuses which compliment your style of play or even individual activities, and you’re able to equip full sets with a single button assuming you have all five pieces. I like the ability to mix-and-match here while being able to specialize a little more to your personal style of play than past entries. No matter your approach, from guns blazing, sniping from afar, or silently taking out enemies one by one, there’s equipment for you.
Weaponry, meanwhile, is as wild as ever. You’ll find a huge range of weapons around Yara, either in chests, or for completing specific tasks. These can be upgraded at workbenches with many attributes, tuned to your liking. The most rare weapons are uniques that come with set mods and bonuses, and they can be truly devastating. It is an absolute joy experimenting with these and seeing what chaos you can unleash with each. Though, by the time you find several of them, it feels as though the workbenches become redundant as the standard weaponry feels less interesting. Let me quickly say: find the Impact Driver LMG as soon as possible. You can thank me later.
Using a unique currency, uranium, that you find throughout Yara, you’re also able to buy special weapons called “Resolvers” as well as several supremos. Resolvers consist of the “because why not” weapons, including the CD launcher, EMP blaster, pyrotechnics shooter, and more. They’re fun to use, powerful in the right situations, and they give you a good laugh in the process. As for the supremos, you may recall one of them from the original gameplay showcase as the backpack that shot a load of rockets to take out a tank. They have a range of powerful capabilities that can change the course of battle including rockets, fire, poison, and even healing. Using your supremo acts as an “ultimate” ability that has a cooldown timer. So, while they’re great fun, you can’t use them endlessly. And I’ll just say, taking out tanks, boats, and helicopters with a barrage of rockets never gets old!
I’d like to quickly praise the UI team(s) at this point as the presentation, even in default settings, is remarkably uncluttered. A minimal amount of the screen is used for UI elements, and thanks to an excellent use of a radial menu, you can switch between weaponry and throwables nearly instantly. This allows you to take in more of Yara’s beauty while enabling you to quickly optimize for combat scenarios in parallel. Bravo.
The sandbox and customization carry over to the vehicles as well with the ability to unlock four dedicated vehicles that you can summon at any time. The ability to customize these vehicles with weaponry, ramming gear, adornments, and more, adds another layer to personalizing your experience. There’s something to be said for being able to flip any car in your path with what is affectionately a snow plow on the front of your car, and you can do so accompanied by a range of music tracks that can be discovered on USB sticks throughout Yara. Additionally, on the island you’ll encounter everything from motorcycles with sidecars, to hovercrafts, jets, tanks, and a lot more. And the game does a good job of incorporating these into missions as well with an admirable variety of gameplay experiences.
Far Cry 6 welcomes back companions, affectionately known as Amigos, and they’re just as comical as you would imagine. Chorizo stole the show after the game’s debut, and he is joined by Guapo the gator, Chicharron the champion fighting-cock, and more, including a dog named Boom Boom (a throwback to Boomer in Far Cry 5). Each has different capabilities and can align with your playstyle depending on how you approach situations. They don’t have a large impact on gameplay necessarily and seem to be primarily for your amusement more than anything else. Though, I will admit, seeing Guapo grab an enemy by their torso and proceed to shake them back and forth violently always provided a laugh.
There are a few grievances to mention. While playing on the Xbox Series X provided a beautiful and fluid gameplay experience (which seemed to be targeting 4K/60fps) along with some excellent sound design, the frame-pacing of cut-scenes was lower which made them feel disjointed, and it could be a little jarring. It felt as though the gameplay was enhanced for current consoles, but cut-scenes were designed for old hardware. Gameplay itself is generally excellent, but for some strange reason clambering is very hit or miss. The game seems designed to only allow you to clamber onto specific objects or ledges, which often leaves you frustrated that you can’t easily navigate the environment. Being an open-world game in nearly 2022, I hoped we were past those types of issues. And lastly, while I take no issue with resource gathering and trading, you are picking up items far too often. I think I might have worn my X button out over the past several days.
Far Cry 6 is a large game and reminiscent of other Ubisoft experiences which provide a massive map and loads of points to discover. The main story, should you choose to do all of the Libertad recruitment (which I highly recommend), will run you approximately 25-30 hours. Outside of the core experience, you’ll still have a vast amount of areas to explore, activities to partake in, and challenges to tackle. After completing the main story, you are also presented with “Insurgency Events” which are weekly events offering timed tasks and new enemy leaders to assassinate. Combined with a healthy roadmap and planned expansions, Far Cry 6 will offer fans content for a long time to come.
I’ve truly enjoyed my time in Yara. It provides the familiar Far Cry experience you know and love along with all of the craziness that comes with it, but with a more engaging, cohesive narrative, and a fantastic antagonist. If you’re a fan of the series, or simply enjoy action-sandbox type titles, it’s sure to put a smile on your face. Now, it’s time for me to head back to the island.
Final Verdict : 8
Fun Factor : 8.5
Technical Prowess : 8.5
Time Investment : 30-60+ Hours
Replayability : 7.5
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