*Disclaimer: Far Cry 6 review code was provided by Ubisoft UK for the purposes of this review. That being said, all opinions expressed in this review are entirely that of the author.
Odds are, you’ve played a Far Cry game before. You know how this all works. Get your guns, destroy some evil faction’s camps, make some friends along the way, roll credits. Far Cry 6 knows that you know, and wastes no time at all by showing you the ropes again. After a brief 15-minute intro, you’re thrust onto your first island. From the bat, you have access to a sidearm, two primary weapons, a parachute, grappling hook and a decent size map. Rather than take the first few hours to hold your hand through shooting a gun or driving again, this latest entry trusts that you know exactly what you’re doing and instead offers some of the most enjoyable gameplay the series has ever had.
This Ain’t Our First Rodeo
Within an hour you’ll be storming Spanish forts, blowing up AA guns and petting stray doggos on the roadside. Where other Far Crys have felt like a bit of a slog in their first few hours, Far Cry 6 gives you all the tools and none of the constraints, making the introduction to this new entry a memorable one.
Another pleasant change of pace that’s immediately noticeable is the lack of crafting. Don’t get too excited (or dissapointed?), crafting is still here, and we’ll talk about it a little more later, but it’s much less essential now. Rather than having to grind getting various animal pelts to upgrade your wallet size or holster limit, it is only weapon, vehicle and camp upgrades are affected by crafting. You can carry unlimited weapons and swap them freely whenever, which gives you so much more freedom in how you approach the surprisingly varied missions the game throws at you.
That’s not to say that there’s a lack of satisfying progression in Far Cry 6, quite the opposite actually. I believe the progression in this entry is the best in the series, offering to drip-feed you new upgrades, areas, weapons, Amigos, vehicles and characters in an organic way, rewarding you for exploring and spending your time in a, frankly, more enjoyable and tactile way. It isn’t Breath of the Wild in terms of personal exploration, but it is a definite step up for the franchise.
A (Predictable) Performance Powerhouse
So, I’ve played the majority of Far Cry games, except that one on the Wii and that weird Xbox Arcade one, but I rarely sit through the game’s cinematics. I know that’s bad, I know a ton of extremely talented people spend hours hand-crafting these scenes, but I’ve just never found them engaging enough to sit through them properly. But I sat, and I paid close attention to every cutscene I witnessed in Far Cry 6.
Let’s start off by saying that Far Cry 6 doesn’t have the most original story. You’re a guerrilla fighter. Apparently the best one. Like, the Luke Skywalker of Yara, and you’re tasked with liberating your home country from a fascist dictator. The only way to do this is to unite the three rebellion clans that just can’t see eye-to-eye. This stuff is storytelling 101, but it is absolutely perfect for this game. There’s nothing that gets you immediately on board to slaughtering countless soldiers like labelling them as fascists. This isn’t a game that wants you to think about the morality of your abhorrent actions, it wants you to blow stuff up and feel good about doing it.
But it’s what this game does around its cliché story that kept me invested. There are some really fun characters in this game, from Juan, the loveably crass middle-aged guerrilla that’s been in the fight forever, to Philly, the unlikely genius inventor with a disabled dog called Chorizo. And again, these characters are pretty archetypal, but the stellar voice work and the fairly witty dialogue is enough to set them apart.
The voice work across the board is genuinely excellent. From my man Giancarlo Esposito delightfully hamming it up as the villain, to Juan, Dani and Clara having immediately palpable chemistry, the voice (and motion) performances carry this game’s narrative higher than I ever thought possible from a Far Cry. That’s not to discredit previous entries, they each had their stand out performances obviously, I just mean that literally everyone here is doing a stand out job. Combine the first-class performances with the game’s creative camera work and you have some truly engaging cinematic cutscenes, and I do mean cinematic.
Far Cry 6‘s tone feels like what the series should have always been (and occasionally was); tongue-in-cheek and funny, with a sprinkling of poignancy, all set against a natural and dark narrative and thematic backdrop.
Putting the “Evolution” In Revolution
Far Cry 6 makes some really neat little, but effective, changes to the series’ now-standard gameplay loop. Enemies are now a little tougher, with a few varied types that each boast their own weaknesses and strengths. The vast majority of these boil down to which type of bullets kill them faster: armour piercing, soft-target, or blast round. It doesn’t add too much depth but it’s a neat little change that makes each combat encounter feel a bit more tactical, encouraging you to use a variety of weapons rather than just your trusty bow or silenced sniper.
The variety of mission environments have also been improved in a pretty noticeable way. While the majority of missions will still have you carrying out the “clear out area” objective we’ve come to know so well from Ubisoft titles, the change in background, scenario and level design will keep you invested well into Far Cry 6‘s very lengthy runtime. You’ll be sneaking or blasting your way through Spanish forts, hotels, oil rigs, construction sites and so much more, each posing a slightly distinct challenge.
A perfect example of this is the mission “Libertad Rises”, which acts as the finale to the opening of the game. The mission’s objective is simple: clear out two ships full of enemy soldiers. As has been the case since day one of the franchise, you can go in stealthy or you can go in guns blazing. If you choose the latter, the mission quickly turns into a full-on action movie; bombastic music starts to play as soldiers surround you, your guerrilla friends come to your aid with mortars and aerial support, and it all comes to a head when you escape just as the ships explode behind you. On the other hand, picking the stealth route sees you sneaking through the various corridors and control rooms of each ship, methodically disabling alarms, cameras and eliminating each soldier in a specific order, using the ship’s multiple levels and grappling points to manoeuvre your way around. While not every mission in Far Cry 6 reaches the heights of “Libertad Rises”, quite a few of them do, and even the ones that don’t will still have you using the environment in unique and creative ways.
As mentioned earlier, the upgrade system in Far Cry 6 is also pretty new. Wherein previous titles upgrading yourself and your equipment was the be all and end all, here it is not quite the case. For a start, this game has no skill tree. Instead, when you level up, you unlock new unique weapons and weapon upgrades. Crafting has been boiled down to its bare essentials, opting to only have a handful of crafting ingredients that can be used universally for weapon, camp, Supremo, and vehicle upgrades. This definitely isn’t going to be for everyone, but I personally really enjoy this new streamlined system. You won’t be spending any more hours picking flowers.
Far Cry 6 also introduces a gear system. Here, you have your classic head, chest, lower, hands, and feet slots, each coming with a wide range of apparel that has its own unique buffs and mods. The thing is though, you won’t use this. Hell, I played the game for 15 hours before I even added anything about this system to my notes. The buffs given to you just aren’t felt during gameplay, and thanks to the slightly clunky and unresponsive cursor/menu system, equipping them is more hassle than it’s worth. Thankfully though, the lack of a grind attached to finding new gear keeps its inclusion inoffensive, especially when compared to the beauty the rest of the game has to offer.
I played Far Cry 6 on a PS5, and found it elevates it to a height I didn’t think was possible. The DualSense’s adaptive triggers and haptic feedback are far from just a gimmick here, feeding into the gunplay and making it exponentially more enjoyable. The resistance felt by the triggers when aiming down sights and firing makes your weapons feel weighty and responsive. Automatic weapons cause your triggers to fight back at you, vibrating frantically and matching the chaos on-screen. Vehicles require a firm and constant push of the triggers, feeling like you’re pressing down a pedal on something big and heavy.
Visually, Far Cry 6 is ridiculous. Draw distance is a thing of the past, with individual trees being visible on an island hundreds of miles away with no noticeable fog or blur at all. Colours are vibrant and naturalistic and the level of detail is unparalleled, with individual leaves and bricks appearing realistically shaded. Light reflections on the water are constantly mesmerising. It sounds cheesy to say but honestly, it’s crazy to see how far games have come in even just the last ten years. This game feels like what we all remember Far Cry 3 was.
The framerate is also consistent and smooth, for the most part. Occasionally, in cutscenes, the framerate will dip quite a bit. Talking of which, the facial animations within cutscenes are phenomenal, except from when they talk… things gets a bit messy and disjointed when they talk. Aside from that, though, character models and animations in general are outstandingly clear and detailed. From the little pupper Chorizo and my main croc Guapo, to the inside of cockpits and cars, everything in Far Cry 6 has been polished to perfection.
Sound design, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. While explosions make a tremendous bang, gunshots make a visceral whip, and reload noises sound slick and mechanical, some sound effects can sound a little tinny. Sliding, opening a car door, climbing vines, and opening your parachute all sound just a little off, a little too bass-y. Nothing a patch can’t fix though.
Despite one or two shortcomings, all of the painstaking work that has gone into this game is clearly evident in every single aspect of the game’s design, all combining to make this the best feeling/looking/sounding Far Cry to date. Regardless of how repetitive you may have found the previous entries, the sheer level of polish on display here is enough to make even the most mundane Far Cry formula feel brand new and exciting.
Far Cry 6 is far and away the best entry in this near two-decade-long franchise, with unrivalled visuals, some first-class performances, and the tightest gunplay I’ve played all year. Far Cry 6 sets itself apart from its last few predecessors in some subtle, yet key ways and delivers an extremely polished, exhilarating journey through some unique and varied playgrounds.
While some gear mechanics may seem a little tacked on and redundant and the narrative may have you predicting its every move hours in advance, there’s too much to discover, stab, and explode to really care.
Final Verdict: 9/10
Words By Cameron Swan