The more things change, the more they stay the same. At the very least, Ubisoft‘s Far Cry 6 continues to solidify the foundations that the previous entry had laid forth, allowing a familiar formula to refresh itself in certain ways. Although you will be playing your part in bloody revolution, players will be able to find comfort in gameplay systems that are both familiar and new.
Set against the backdrop of a tropical paradise that has seen the rise and fall of charismatic leaders and hardened guerrillas at its head, alongside a growing wave of intense nationalism, the powder keg that is Yara is primed for an explosive end.
At the head of it all is the intimidating and brutally strategic Antón Castillo, played with great mastery by Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian). Elected on the promise of bringing back the glory days, this dictator has built his success on the back of Viviro, a miraculous cancer-treating drug that allows Yara to prosper. That is, if you are on Castillo’s side.
The production of Viviro comes with a great cost, with toxic production and harvesting done by the slave workforce that has been deemed fake Yarans. Giving their lives for the ideals of others and not being able to reap the benefits hardly sit well with the outcasts, and the oppressive rule is not exactly a welcomed sight either, and it is within such conditions that the revolution is born.
As an outcast yourself, you are thrust into this guerilla war as a survivor of Castillo’s savagery. Starting with nothing, your journey begins with Libertad and the oppressed people that have had enough. It is not merely just a narrative either, as one of the key features of the game is that you are fighting against an overwhelming force, and players have little to even the odds, at least at the start.
It all builds into the Resolver philosophy at the heart of Far Cry 6, where every possible advantage is explored using the tools on hand. Gone is the skill tree of old, and in comes a more customisable way of playing based on the equipment you have.
By placing the onus on the player to use the right tools for the right job, Far Cry 6 cuts a nice balance between giving you the power to effect change, but also making life more challenging on Yara. You have different gear to equip that can grant different bonuses, weapons can be optimised to fulfil various purposes, and enemies will have strengths and weaknesses that you must exploit.
Normal soldiers from the regime are more vulnerable to normal rounds or soft target rounds, while those packing armour and helmets need armour-piercing rounds to take down effectively. There are also poison and incendiary rounds to play with, and if you want to go up against vehicles, blast rounds are your best bet.
The kooky and interesting Resolver Weapons can also cause much trouble for the army, so if you ever wanted to set someone on fire or channel the power of electricity like Zeus, then you have your choices.
Add in the variety of pistols, rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, machine guns, and even bows which you can further mod, and you can become quite the killing machine. The caveat is that all of these gear, including the various gear pieces, needs to be found or earned. It pays to explore the colourful world of Far Cry 6, where sprawling nature meets urban life that is a sight for sore eyes.
The more you do to take down Castillo and his army, the more options open up to you. Completing missions, taking down checkpoints and bases, or even defacing posters will drum up support for the cause, and help you rank up. This allows for more access to better gear and weapons, which you will definitely need as the opposition deploy stronger reinforcement to deal with your insolence.
Once you accrue enough resources, you can make significant upgrades to selected sites in the game. It could be better gear for your fellow freedom fighters, a cantina that serves meals with buffs, or a guerrilla network for offshore operations. Every little bit counts in the fight for freedom.
The consequences can be dire, since you are a guerrilla going up against the establishment. Far Cry 6 features the Heat system, which will take effect once you stir up enough trouble. Soldiers tend to leave you alone when you have your weapons holstered and not doing suspicious things, but start killing enemies and destroying property, and you bring more attention to yourself.
It won’t take long before elite special forces come knocking, and you will truly find yourself trying to survive at all costs against waves of specialist soldiers, tanks, and even helicopters. That’s where your Supremos as well as Amigos can come into play.
The former is rare and powerful weaponry meant to give you a fighting chance, designed to create destruction or make you more proficient at your job. As you do more damage, you will build up the special meter that allows for its activation. This could be a barrage of rockets fired from your back, or granting you a buff to deal more and take less damage, the choice is yours once again to pick the Supremo that suits your playstyle.
The same goes for your animal Amigos, which are certainly one of the more memorable features of the game. Aggressive players will appreciate the sheer power of Chicharron the mad rooster and Guapo the crocodile, while those who prefer stealth can count on the adorable Chorizo and the familiar Boom Boom, who can distract enemies or reveal their locations to you.
As you get more well equipped and seasoned with the fight, you will start to make considerable progress across the five distinct regions across a gigantic play area. Home to scattered resistance movements, side activities, and official business, you are going to meet a diverse cast of characters and engage in all kinds of guerrilla warfare.
It may not always make sense to an outsider, but the mannerisms and the way these folks go about their business do add to the overall immersion of the situation players will find ourselves in, and the tough fight ahead. The clash between old and new ideologies provides more impetus for definitive action to be taken, and it is always great to have a convincing villain at the heart of it all.
Castillo’s presence as a villain adds plenty to Far Cry 6, where his views and actions are taken in reaction to your growing prowess as a guerilla. It is in these moments that we come to understand his motivations, and you cannot help but feel a tinge of pity for him at the very end. The prodigal son, Diego Castillo, and his complexities also make for great character moments that are unfortunately short-lived.
And when you are done with decimating the regime, there is still tons to do in Yara. There are races to participate in, you can duke it out in rooster fights, seek out hidden treasures, hunt or fish, play mini-games, and become one with the people with all kinds of Yaran stories.
You can also play the entire game in co-op, or get into Special Operations that are a beast of its own. These involve heading into instances where you are infiltrating heavily defended spaces to retrieve a special device that needs to be kept cool to prevent its explosion. Between tense battles and trying to keep things cool, it makes for a very different kind of entertainment that is immensely fun.
Then you have the flip of the script of insurgency once you have seen the main narrative to its conclusion, with the army now engaging in covert operations instead. Presenting players with a chain of objectives to complete in order to root out the new resistance, it is a refreshing take and gives players a peek into life on the other side. All in all, Far Cry 6 is a meaty offering, to say the least, and with more on the way as well.
When all of these systems work in tandem, it certainly allows Far Cry 6 to shine as a cohesive, entertaining, and rewarding experience. This is mostly the case for the early parts of the game, where you are living life on the edge in Yara. However, the more time you spent leading the revolution, the more cracks appear in the overall formula.
These are not necessarily new complaints about the series, but they are made more apparent due to the sheer size of Far Cry 6 and the main content. In the past, players tend to find their preferred weapons that can do the most damage and stick to them, which is both a good and bad thing.
This time around, the randomness of gear drops found in the caches littered around Yara can determine how much success you will eventually have. Get a good mix of destructive firepower and get your arsenal customised for all situations, and you are likely set for the entire game. Unless you are a completionist, there really is not much point in seeking out other firearms.
The clearing of outposts is also not new, although Far Cry 6 does include a nice selection of different locations and setups, which plays well into giving the player free rein in approach. What is lacking is simply a lacklustre AI that essentially makes it a cakewalk for players who plan well. Add to that the many security loopholes that are there to be exploited, and it almost seems like Castillo is begging to be toppled.
This is particularly obvious when it comes to many anti-aircraft sites, which are obviously important pieces of a nation’s security. Alas, little resistance is offered when players visit most of them, which is a boon in that you will be able to fly freely through these areas without the fear of reprisal the next time around.
Just like the people of Yara, there is certainly a degree of struggle for Far Cry 6. Embracing new ideas in the form of the Resolver mechanic and giving even more freedom to the player are great ways to elevate the experience further, while the sheer amount of things to do provide much longevity for those looking to prolong their time in Yara.
However, there is a case of too much to do when it comes to a series that has created a reliable, if not repetitive formula that can be inserted into all sorts of stories. The overall storytelling will require some leaps in logic, like most games, but it does not help when the opposition offers very little when it is meant to be a struggle all the way through.
Nevertheless, Ubisoft has managed to piece together a game that will surprise invested fans pleasantly in different ways, while offering new players plenty of bang for their buck. Far Cry 6 may be the newest kid on the block, but it is an evolution of systems and mechanics that are largely for the better. If you are able to let the gripes go, this guerilla movement is certainly one you will want to be part of.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
Following a legacy can be a hard thing to do, but Far Cry 6 successfully carves out a piece of the pie for its own with unique systems and gameplay experiences that largely succeeds.
Gameplay - 8.5/10
Story - 8/10
Presentation - 8/10
Value - 9/10