Review – Far Cry 6
I treat the mainline Far Cry games as some of my favorite dumb fun comfort food in gaming. I usually despise their spinoffs, with Primal being one of the most boring AAA games I’ve played this generation. Although, when it comes to giving me a sandbox full of guns, wildlife, explosions, and a charismatic dictator to murder, I always look forward to playing them, despite the shortcomings that usually come with a staple “open world Ubisoft game”. Far Cry 6 might actually be the culmination of this specific niche, being the dumbest, but also the smartest; the funniest, but also the most emotionally packed open world shooter the company has ever put out.
You might think that, just because Far Cry 6 is set on a tropical island, it is trying to be yet another Far Cry 3. That is not the case. We are in a tropical island, sure, but the island of Yara is easily the most diverse and best designed sandbox map the company has created in many, many years. There are forests, beaches, swamps, and the like, but this map is packed with towns, farmlands, outposts, and even an actually big capital city that adds a layer of urbanization that has rarely been seen in past Far Cry games.
Everything is centered around dethroning (and in a moral literal straightforward sense, killing) Antón Castillo, the generalissimo who runs Yara with an iron fist. Castillo is portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito, who despite not even being of Latin descent, delivers a phenomenal performance as a believable and threatening, albeit deeply flawed, Latin American dictator. He doesn’t show up very often, with most of his appearances being limited to campaign-related cutscenes, but when he is onscreen, he steals the show.
Far Cry 6 is a lot more story heavy than previous entries, and that’s for the best. This is a game with characters you actually care about. Despite being a really dumb fun game (more on that later), it knows when to deliver some serious punches, and even some social commentary. Yep, Ubisoft, the company that tried to convince us that The Division 2 was apolitical, isn’t trying to hide its messages this time around, just like how they did in Watch Dogs: Legion, another successful political take by them. There are clear nods towards transphobia, slave labor, being fooled by heroic figures, the true cost of freedom, heavy criticism towards binary political thinking, and much more. Surprisingly, it never feels forced. It also helps that Ubisoft is trying to deliver these messages via one hell of a fun murderfest simulator. It makes things easier to digest.
This game is mad. Mad mad mad mad mad. After an admittedly boring introductory chapter in a “tutorial island” of sorts, you are given an entire country to mess around with. One of the most annoying characters in the game, the ex-guerrilla Juan Cortez, sums it up in the best way possible: “you’re supposed to have fun”. And despite what you may think of Ubisoft’s open world games, with their side missions and progression systems feeling like busy work, Far Cry 6 ended up being a lot of fun. The game nailed the “play it your way” aspect in a way very few games have managed to in recent times.
As the tons of pre-release marketing campaigns have stated, Far Cry 6 wants you to go bananas with explosives and insane DIY weapons called Resolver Weapons. It gives you a flamethrower a few minutes into the storyline. There’s also a Jango Fett-like backpack that can unleash a barrage of homing rockets onto anything you mark with your phone. You get an old Chevrolet with machine guns after a few missions as well. As soon as you reach the main island, the world is your oyster. You will want to do story-based missions as soon as possible because they’re actually good and engaging, but fooling around with the multitude of weapons at your disposal is equally fun, in a PS2-era Grand Theft Auto kind of way.
Side missions are varied, but not all of them hit the spot. I love conquering bases, liberating checkpoints, and helping my guerrilla defeat an enemy in an ambush. However, I wasn’t a fan of stealing convoys or partaking into races, mostly due to the forced first-person perspective when driving a vehicle. To each their own, I guess. Even if I wasn’t a big fan of some of its side missions, I like how there are no radio towers or easy ways to unveil everything a province has to offer. You are a down-to-earth guerrilla, so you either have to discover new spots by yourself, or estabilish connections with the local populace. Hell, you can even bribe guards in order to learn more about the area around you.
Whenever I see a fascist military base down the road, I feel the urge to conquer it. Not for the rewards, but for the chaos I can cause. I actually like to experiment with my approaches. I occasionally like to go full stealthy with my modified compound bow, which can shoot arrows with an increased accuracy, killing everyone in a base without sounding an alarm. Other times, I like to mark down a base, return to my headquarters, spawn an Apache helicopter, then go back to said base and unleash hell from above. I also love to just say “screw it” and arrive with tank, eleven tons of explosives and modified weapons, and unleash my Latin American rage upon everyone in sight all while listening to the “Macarena“.
Yep, the “Macarena”. Far Cry 6 actually features a wide assortment of songs for you to listen to while driving, and while surprisingly varied, they all fall under the same wide umbrella of being Latin music. Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca“, Gente de Zona’s “La Gozadera“, Camila Cabello’s “Havana”, as well as tons of classic mambo, salsa, and merengue songs, are all featured in the soundtrack. They are way too shiny happy for a game as violent as Far Cry 6, but that actually makes their inclusion even more adorable. I don’t think I would have enjoyed this game nowhere near as much if it wasn’t for the idiotic paradox between the sweetness of its soundtrack when compared to the brutality of its gameplay.
This is a really pretty game, especially on the PlayStation 5. From start to finish, Far Cry 6 showered me with gorgeous tropical vistas, plenty of sunshine, beaches, vegetation, and color, all while maintaining a steady 60fps. Shockingly enough, considering the company’s track record, I never saw the game glitching or suffering with its framerate during gameplay. You aren’t even going to notice the lack of ray tracing, as the lighting itself is already gorgeous as is. I did get annoyed with every single cutscene running at half the framerate, though, with some noticeable frame pacing issues.
There’s very little in Far Cry 6 that I didn’t like. Most things were nitpicks or elements I just ended up not caring very much. I thought I would use the animal companions a lot more than I ended up using, for instance. I also did not care very much for the base building aspect of the game, which was as shallow as a puddle on the Atacama. Finally, one thing that bummed me a bit was the absence of what I considered to be the best feature in Far Cry 5: the arcade mode, which allowed you to create custom levels with a shocking degree of freedom. It would have been the perfect icing on an already tasty cake, had this feature been included in Far Cry 6 from the start.
A lot of people will shy away from Far Cry 6, dismissing it as “yet another open world game by Ubisoft”, but I won’t try to hide it, I had way more fun with this game than I could have ever imagined. I got it for the idea of raising hell on a Caribbean island with a tank and a jetpack, and stayed for the surprisingly well-written story and likable characters. Okay, and also for the aforementioned chaos you can cause with so much ease, all while listening to some delightfully happy reggaeton that doesn’t fit at all with the game’s level of violence, yet would make Far Cry 6 a lot more boring if those songs weren’t included in it.
Far Cry 6 looks great on a PlayStation 5, delivering a silky smooth performance with breathtaking visuals. You won’t even realize there’s no ray tracing in here. Sadly, cutscenes do not look nowhere near as good as the rest of the game, and they run at half the framerate.
Not only has the shooting improved since Far Cry 5, but the sheer amount of gadgets and gimmicks at your disposal puts its predecessors to shame. Driving vehicles is actually fun for once!
You cannot expect a game featuring Giancarlo Esposito to have bad voice acting, can you? Even if he doesn’t show up very often, he makes his scenes count. The rest of the voice cast delivers a good job as well. Not to mention the excellent licensed soundtrack… if you like Latin music, that is.
By raising the level of absurdity to eleven, as well as providing some of the best story bits and characters the franchise has ever seen, Far Cry 6 manages to stand out from the plethora of open world Ubisoft games by actually being memorable and addictive, even if some of its sidequests are boring.
Final Verdict: 9.0
Far Cry 6 is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and PC.
Reviewed on PS5.