Originally published at: https://xboxera.com/2021/10/06/review-far-cry-6/
Far Cry 6 is the 7th game in the series by Ubisoft, which actually started with Far Cry 3. It’s been a long, and sometimes difficult road to get here, but 6 is a triumph for those of us who like the classic “Ubisoft game”. The map is enormous, but the game is tightly paced. The action is over the top like always but running at 60fps on a Series X it feels incredible. The writing is just as over the top, yet the emotional beats and comedy hit this time. The mission structure is never overly punishing, and it still feels rewarding. Here is my incredibly positive review, of Far Cry 6, Viva La Revolución.
Big, Yet Intimate
Since Far Cry 3 Ubisoft has slowly been working to try and perfect their formula. Exotic, outside of 5, locales featuring local disputes where your heroic savior helps lead the country to freedom against a violent oppressor. For me, the series has always been hit or miss. I loved 3 and Primal, but 4 and 5 left me feeling unimpressed. Far Cry 6 though, has stood above them all. It is not only by far the best playing, despite having the biggest map ever it somehow is a far more focused and intimate feeling. The writing is better as well, helped along by fantastic voice-over work from the likes of Giancarlo Esposito’s intimidating “El Presidente” Antón Castillo.
The country he presided over, and your guerilla Dani Rojas’ homeland is called Yara. You were orphaned young and grew up poor. After entering the army in your teens through conscription you left with dreams of reaching America. Yara is a fictional island set in the Caribbean and is mostly based off of Cuba. The game does a wonderful job of representing a true Spanish-speaking culture from that region, and even tactfully handles delicate issues such as having one of the main characters be a trans man. It does not define their character, but it is an integral part of their backstory that you learn as they begin to trust you. Overall the writing held up well as I worked my way through Yara attempting to gain allies for my revolutionary group Libertad.
Things start with a short stealth section, which sounds awful, but it’s roughly a minute long and nearly impossible to fail. From there You run a lot, watch a haunting cutscene, and wake up on a beach with only a pistol. Fans of the series will be happy to see that unlocks that normally take forever to get are handed out quickly. The grappling hook and parachute are yours within an hour of starting up, which felt great. The gun and gear system is pretty different from the past. You find each in marked crates or unlock them through specific missions. The code provided to us by Ubisoft was for the Ultimate Edition of the game, which gave multiple outfits and guns that were quite powerful, but not so much that I didn’t still use things I found early on. The selection of weaponry is pretty standard with a much easier-to-use attachment and modification system on hand. The resolver weapons are where the chaos really comes from though.
This is Far Cry, so you’ll have a bevy of Amigos to join you. Early on you’ll unlock an angry alligator that can self revive, find a cute puppy that can distract your enemies, and even get an incredibly violet rooster that flies towards your foes. Each of them has a short unlock process that gets you three unique abilities. My favorite was a dog that could mark my enemies without me having to take out my smartphone and do it myself. If you know the series this game still plays very much like the old ones in structure, but it all feels more refined and responsive.
Resolver weapons and backpacks (known as Dynamos) are the lovechildren of Juan, a member of Libertad and inventor of crazy gadgetry. If you’ve seen any of the preview coverage these are the weapons and gadgets that make everything go BOOM. From rocket launchers that work off of fireworks to a modified buzz-saw that shoots CDs (which play Macarena), there is a trove of hilarious and powerful gear here. The Dynamo backpacks come in a large variety and feature a “Super” move that is unique to each, they are also how you unlock your four gadget slots. These are your consumable/throwable items. To unlock them you’ll need hard-to-find consumables like gunpowder, which are littered throughout the land. The system overall finds a good balance between being useful, deep, and not too grind-heavy.
The gunplay itself feels amazing in comparison to every single prior game in the series. The move to 60fps along with improvements on aim acceleration had me popping off headshots faster than I could ever do before. Movement feels great, and the vehicles drive better than ever. This was a series I always enjoyed but never loved, and the controls on console were the main reason why. Having them feel this good has been a dream come true.
A departure for the series is the lack of a distinct skill tree. Upgrades instead are handled by building up 6 different huts around your main encampments. These each have 3 tiers where you’ll unlock things such as the wingsuit, a cantina to cook food for buffs, and even a fishing hut to become a master angler. The fishing is relaxing and enjoyable and I am not ashamed to admit that I spent quite a lot of time doing it at the various drop-dead gorgeous locales. Something that is carried over from Far Cry New Dawn is that enemies have health bars. At first, I was a bit sketchy about this, but none of the enemies I fought on foot were ever bullet sponges.
There are multiple damage types, soft-bodied, armor-piercing, blast, poison, and incendiary. The soft-bodied ones take out nearly anyone who is not armored with one headshot, and the armor-piercing are the same for those who are heavily suited. The balance is that each of these is significantly weaker against the other, so you’ll want to have multiple options on hand at any time to deal with the wide variety of enemies that the game throws at you. Blast is great for vehicles and the poison ammo can drive targets mad and have them fight their friends. All of these tools work in the service of helping you dominate the incredibly large, but not icon-bloat-filled, map.
Thankfully, like 5 and New Dawn, this game features full co-op for the entire campaign experience. While it wasn’t active during pre-release there will be a matchmaking system available as well as being able to invite a friend.
Stunning Vistas & Auditory Bliss
That map looks incredibly daunting at first glance, but with the bevy of fast-travel and vehicle options, you can hop around it in no time. On the new generation of consoles, the load times for me rarely felt longer than 5 seconds on fast travel, and it did wonders for helping me quickly jump from mission to mission. You start in one small section but quickly gain access to the entire country. There is a basic rank system that lets you know what you’re geared enough for, and after reaching rank 5 I was given the option to go attempt to finish off the main story if I wanted, though it was Rank 9 and had a skull next to it indicating that it would be incredibly difficult to accomplish. As you visit each area you’ll work with the local resistance groups to try and get them to join your cause.
The storylines and locales are all varied, with the west featuring long red tobacco fields, and the south is a marshy swamp, etc. On Series X the game is fantastic looking. Running at what felt like a rock-solid 60fps and also offering up an additional 20+gb high-res texture pack it is a fantastic looking game when you take in the scope of it all. Some games may look better up close, but few can offer such a gigantic world for you to go through while maintaining such fantastic performance. There is also a photo mode which offers up a bevy of options for those into them. It’s well made and features a wide variety of poses, facial expressions, and cinematic tools for making an already beautiful game that much better looking.
The voice acting is pretty uniformly great, and it is matched by an even better soundtrack. A mix of real-world Caribbean music and a fantastic cinematic score is used to great effect. The sound effects help make everything feel weighty in a way that most Ubisoft shooters generally don’t. Playing with headphones I could tell where enemies were without having to look at my radar very often, and overall it was damned impressive.
Accessibility Options Galore & A Few Minor Quibbles
One key area of improvement is the variety of accessibility options that are built into the game. Not only are they available but they are at the forefront of the options menu. You can choose from a variety of presets to help tailor the best experience for you, or you can go in and change things about the sound, graphics, or controls at a direct level. The options are Vision, Hearing, Motor, Cognitive, Motion, and Colors with a large variety of choices in each.
I had a refreshingly bug-free experience on the whole, but I did run into a few issues. The only major issue was with quick resuming the game too often. This is listed in their patch notes as being fixed at release, so hopefully, it’s not an issue. What would happen is that if I quick resumed more than 3 times it had a chance of sending me back to the main menu instead of letting me just pick up and play. Thankfully this only happened twice, and I did use quick resume a ton during my review. The experience on Xbox One at launch should be “ok” based on the early patch notes, but I do not have the older generation anymore, so I was unable to play it there. The other one is that upgrades for your vehicle can be locked behind races, which I didn’t find particularly enjoyable.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Far Cry 6. I’ve loved and hated the series (I’m looking at you Far Cry 5’s ending…). This game is a triumph in every way. They have fixed so many of the issues I had in the past. Gone is the map bloat, the resource grind, the terrible feeling of gunplay on a controller. In its place is something truly special, and a game I can easily recommend to anyone that has ever been a fan of the series.