Because of pandemic-related delays, Ubisoft has several big releases lined up for the holiday season, which they’re kicking off with Far Cry 6. Out now for PCs, Xbox and PlayStation – complete with native versions for next gen systems that run at a 4K resolution with 60 frames per second. We tried out the PlayStation 5 version.
Set on the fictional island of Yara, which feels heavily inspired by island nations like Cuba, Far Cry 6 features a high profile antagonist in the shape of Anton Castillo – adding to a long line of memorable bad guys in the Far Cry universe. Castillo is played by well-known actor Giancarlo Esposito, who is a household name for fans of Breaking Bad and also features in The Mandalorian. Here, he’s a ruthless dictator trying to groom his son into taking his place, but the younger Castillo isn’t so sure he approves of how his father deals with matters.
It creates an interpersonal dynamic that is a narrative highlight in the game, though it’s also one that you as a player are mostly just a spectator for. You’re Dani Rojas, part of the guerilla movement that is rising against the Castillo regime and their tendency to exploit the working class. Your actions help you to grow your standing in the growing uprising, eventually coming face to face with the island’s leaders whom at first seem like distant targets.
Yara is a gorgeous environment to explore and play in, with an absolutely massive map that will take dozens of hours to explore – and even then you won’t uncover all of its hidden secrets. You will, however, see how diverse it is, with dense vegetation in one area and urban locations in the next. You can also explore Yara through “Yara stories”, which are side missions that don’t focus on Castillo but rather the background of the main island and surrounding islands. These add to the lore of the place, and make for a richer and more immersive narrative experience when you finally decide to push on with the story.
Other optional activities stray further from the island and main story, and include hunting expeditions, races and treasure/collectible hunts. There’s even a beat ’em up minigame in the shape of a cock fight – which totally feels like the developers couldn’t resist the opportunity to do it and makes for a fun but short-lived diversion.
Despite the new setting, the story treads familiar ground for anyone who’s played a Far Cry game in recent years. You’ll gradually be taking over military installations on the island and you’ll upgrade weapons with new attachments as you progress as well. One new weapon of note is the Supremo though, which feels futuristic in nature with its ability to be used in a multitude of ways – from launching grenades to sending enemy soldiers into a killing frenzy through neurotoxins.
Another interesting way of dealing with enemies is bribery. This doesn’t recruit them to your cause, but often reveals interesting stashes of supplies that you then get access to. As such, you’ll have plenty of unarmed meetings with your adversaries, though combat is eventually a necessary step on your way to overthrowing Castillo. Taking the fight to them always means picking a particular avenue of approach, and you can change strategies mid-fight as well. You can go in guns blazing, pick off enemies one by one, or send one of your pets in. That may sound pretty harmless and some animals will merely act as distractions, but you also have an alligator who has something else in mind when he’s set loose.
Camps are areas of rest in Far Cry 6, which is where you can customize your weapons and vehicles. The camps themselves can also be upgraded over time, which is done by collecting enough of the aforementioned resources. This ultimately has a cascading effect, as growing a camp means more access to guerilla warriors, who in turn can be sent on mission that then give you more resources again. In a way, it’s a key to having a powerful guerilla economy up and running.
We played Far Cry 6 in solo mode, but supports playing the entire game in online co-op as well – though apart from a few specific missions that were designed for co-op play this won’t change the campaign in a significant way. And if you’re coming from Far Cry 5 then major changes aren’t what you should be looking for anyway, as the sequel follows a very familiar pattern. It’s one that some may have grown tired of by now, but we felt that the delays for Far Cry 6 helped the game in this regard – enough time had passed to make this not feel like a drag at any point. Of course it helps that this is the first next gen iteration in the series as well, which makes for a gorgeous island nation to explore with some beautiful lighting effects, where the only blemishes are occasional screen tearing and the fact that the frame rate resets to 30 frames per second during cutscenes even though they are rendered in-engine. Minor issues if you’re looking for a familiar Far Cry experience though, which is exactly what this delivers.