What is it? Open world action FPS set in the fictional Caribbean island of Yara.
Released October 7, 2021
Expect to pay $60/£50
Reviewed on Intel i7-9700F, RTX 2070 Super, 32GB RAM
Multiplayer? Two-player co-op
Link Official site
The fictional island of Yara is as beautiful as it is predictable. There are sunny beaches, friendly locals serving street food you're somehow not allowed to buy, and sharks in the water that want to take a bite out of you. The music you hear blasting from homes and cars is upbeat, there's a constant party vibe in the air and there are wild horses you can actually ride.
That's where Yara's uniqueness ends and an uneasy sense of parody begins for me. While Ubisoft is determined to make Giancarlo Esposito's despot, Antón Castillo, feel like a real and credible threat, he's more of a satirical mash-up of Franco and Castro. He's definitely a bad guy with a vision for his country that he holds above all—even family, as he often reminds his son and protégé, Diego—but there's a two-dimensional vibe I just can't shake. We'll come back to him later.
Curse or cure?
Far Cry 6 is a quintessential Far Cry game. You begin as an underdog who quickly ends up with the moniker of Hero, fleeing some tyrannical bastard who's wrecking the lives of the locals to make his dream a reality. In this case, he's made a smokable cancer cure, Viviro. Viviro is farmed and produced by slaves from Yara—Castillo labels them as Outcasts and Fake Yarans, setting the us-and-them tone in the game's opening sequence.
Much like its predecessors, you can grapple your way up cliffs and buildings—truly revolutionary stuff, I know—use your phone to track enemies and their weaknesses and, for the first time, simply holster your weapon so you don't look super sus running around with a sniper rifle. Ubisoft has borrowed the cloaked mechanic from Assassin's Creed in the sense that as long as you and your holstered weapon don't stand too close to guards or act in a suspicious way, you can pass through checkpoints with no violence. It also works as a stealth mechanic, where you can saunter up to a vehicle, quickly whip your pistol out and assassinate the driver before stealing a prison truck.
You'll also want to destroy anti-aircraft guns when you find them, otherwise, you won't be able to fly around Yara—or progress the story in some sections. There are still the usual animal hunting missions, too, and new Criptograma Chests that lead to unique gear.
Much like Far Cry 5, you can choose whether you want to play as a female or male Dani Rojas, though you can't customise their appearance—not unless you get the same bug I did after using the photo mode, where Dani was stuck with an unfortunate wink/cheeky tongue out combo in cutscenes for an hour or so. Dani is an orphan who was previously conscripted into Yara's military, so is familiar with the people fighting for El Presidente and country—and knows that not all of them are bad guys.
She begins as many underdogs do: unaware of what she truly believes in. As she comes to understand the plight of the people and Diego's suffering at the hands of his father, we see her alliances shift and her core beliefs strengthen. Family—whether through blood or friendship—is a core theme in Far Cry 6 and one Dani struggles to reconcile given her history.
In the first few hours of Far Cry 6, you'll hear the word "guerrilla" more times than you'll be able to count. Juan Carlos, a veteran guerrilla, will school you on his guerrilla rules on how to be a guerrilla and succeed in guerrilla warfare. It's repetitive, yes, and typical of how the game treats its revolutionaries as caricatures, but he does at least give you one major gamechanger: the Supremo.
The Supremo is like an ugly backbling that brings way too much power to a fight. You can combo it with a weapon to inflict terrible damage on your opponents as you see fit. You'll begin with a flamethrower and rocket launcher combo that's just as stupid and OP as it sounds. My advice? Pair it with the flame retardant gloves—much like in Far Cry 5, the entire environment can catch fire and I spent way too long dying in the blaze. Later on, you'll unlock another Supremo that unleashes an EMP attack that can take out security systems and vehicles. When you're being pursued by cars, trucks and helicopters, you can see why this would come in handy.
There are other silly yet effective weapons available in-game, too, like the CD Launcher that questionably blasts the Macarena. Overall, the combat is as good as it's ever been. You can sneak your way around and take out enemies with melee kills or headshots, or go in all guns and Supremos blazing. You can modify weapons at workbenches, adding better sights, suppressors and ammo types into the mix, as well as change their appearance and add little charms. There's also the season pass's Blood Dragon gear which is hilariously out of place in Yara, complete with the Kobracon sniper rifle—which is just as badass, by the way—and your friendly metal amigo, K-9000.
It's a dog's life
Speaking of amigos, there are no humans who will follow you around in Far Cry 6, but you will meet a healthy bunch of animal compadres. There's the loveable Chorizo, a little dachshund in a wheelchair who will distract enemies, allowing you to sneak past. Yes, all of my guns do have little Chorizo bone charms, thanks for asking. There's also Chicharrón the fiesty rooster and Guapo the crocodile, who will both fuck up your enemies. Amigos are effective in the field and add a welcome bit of comic relief to fights. It really is something to be headshotting enemies then turning around to see a tiny dog biting a guy in the face.
As I said earlier, you can also find and ride wild horses now, and are able to pet and feed all manner of wildlife around Yara. If riding horses isn't your jam, you can fly helicopters, drive a range of land and sea vehicles and even fly a plane. I crash most of my planes within seconds—I am obviously not destined to become a pilot—but it's still fun to tour Yara from above and imagine you're going on a nice Caribbean holiday after nearly two years of living through hell.
Sadly the vehicles are pretty terrible to drive—they don't turn left or right enough when steering, and it feels like your viewpoint isn't centred enough, as if your head was poking out the window a little. Every vehicle—even the horse—felt way too fast, even with the sensitivity turned down.
Playing on a 2070 Super, I experienced a few crashes and bugs, too, such as the weird face bug and a few floating NPCs. For whatever reason, the whites of the eyes around each character's iris wouldn't stay a solid colour, either, so unless every character was on drugs, something was amiss here.
There are also a few weird sections in camps that have you playing in third-person. It's like in Mass Effect where you can't jump, instead, you're just stumbling around with this giant, deadly backpack thing and tripping over dogs, roosters and junk. Speaking of the camps, there are new Los Bandidos missions where you can send a Yaran Leader to complete separate missions—sort of like how Dragon Age Inquisition's war table missions work. You can assign a leader to a mission, then after a set amount of time, you'll be able to choose what method they use to complete the mission, depending on the leader's perks. It wasn't very clear how it or the co-op mode contribute to the story, bar collecting more resources and Pesos, but they're a nice distraction nonetheless.
It wouldn't be a Far Cry game without a few twists, though I'll leave this review spoiler-free. Betrayal is at the heart of Far Cry 6, from Castillo's deception to the world about how Viviro is grown and manufactured, to the grievances within the guerrillas and Dani's own relationship with the regime. A lot of the betrayal is predictable—this isn't my first Far Cry rodeo, after all— but there are enough surprises to keep you happy. It's also difficult to separate Castillo from Esposito's stint as Gus Fring—both are charming, two-faced and, ultimately, Grade-A bastards—which, depending on whether you enjoyed Breaking Bad or not, will make his character more or less appealing.
There's less pomp and exaggeration with this villain compared to Far Cry 5's Joseph Seed; Castillo is just as committed to his cause, that's for sure, but he's much more traditional and realistic due to his seat of power. He shines an uneasy light on potential goings-on in the world—the 'politics' that Ubisoft seems keen to distance itself from acknowledging—highlighting that all the 'good' things we receive might be the results of modern-day slavery and corruption. There's little to laugh at with Far Cry 6's story, instead leaving a sour taste as you wonder about reality and the state of the world. And for that, I definitely recommend you play it. Well, that and the fact there's around a million wee dogs you can pet.