This could be nine straight weeks of lockdown talking, but I reckon my three-hour hands on with Far Cry 6 was the perfect vacation. The island nation of Yara is heaven. It feels just like the paradise which lured many of us to that first mysterious Far Cry of 2004. The fact that FC6 also includes shades of Far Cry 4‘s cliff-scaling shenanigans? Well, *extra chef’s kiss*.
I’m pretty sure this fictional Caribbean jewel gave me what the Beach Boys once called a ‘tropical contact high’. It felt so good to be out again. Oh, those sun-soaked boat rides, and steamy jungle hikes. Eep, the need to run away from fascist government death squads. Argh, that stop, drop ‘n’ roll feeling, when I got simultaneously choked and immolated by farmers spraying highly poisonous fertiliser and napalm on me.
You know what? Yeah—my cabin fever’s acting up here.
Pretty as it looks, if Far Cry 6 was to represent a postcard from anywhere, it’d be Hell. Ubisoft is flinging us into a modern day guerrilla revolution that’s taking place in a luscious Latin purgatory. Frozen in time for more than half a century, this holidaymaker’s nightmare is run by one Anton Castillo, a self-proclaimed leader played by Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, The Boys, The Mandalorian).
I’m not permitted to speak about the opening 20 minutes, where Castillo Jekyll and Hydes from a benevolent (figurative and literal) father figure into a turbo Jong-un. Maybe trust me when I say: Esposito gets his sociopathy on with chilling aplomb. Magnetic performance.
On the other side of the battle lines you get to play as Dani Rojas, a young military dropout playable as male or female (quick note: I tried male for my session, for an opportunity to compare against the existing promo material out there). That being said, I’m liking female Dani’s line deliveries a smidge more at this juncture. Bit more oomph to it.
Far from being the usual saviour type, Dani’s only desire is to flee this imploding paradise—to chuck a Scarface, and vámonos to Miami. Indeed my first few missions were more about paying Dani’s upkeep to bunk with the local Libertad guerrillas until such time as I could emigrate to less explosive climes. Their expected payment? Dinero’s walked, murdering government troops talked.
Nothing’s confirmed, but I do suspect there will be an option where the player can opt-out of this revolution altogether. Far Cry 4 and Far Cry 5 featured it. I’d be surprised if Ubi doesn’t go three for three here.
If you do stick around for the action, you’ll meet a colourful cast of weirdos – local pariahs, roaming international troublemakers and victims of Castillo’s version of a Great Leap Forward. The specifics of his master plan? To rebuild this impoverished nation with Viviro, chemical goop leached out of questionably biohacked tobacco leaves, but also purportedly a unique and powerful cancer treatment.
Basically, old mate’s trying to go bigger-than-big pharma on the global stage, but only if production can be done on the cheap.
Each region in Yara (carved up in a totally non-game-y way) plays a distinct role in the Viviro production, and all bear the scars of it (even before you rock up and no doubt wreck the place even more). Slave labour, crippling pollution, land appropriation and military brutality have torn apart what is an otherwise idyllic sandbox.
Gunplay-wise, there are a few new wrinkles that have largely cross-pollinated from Far Cry New Dawn. For starters, Ubi is leaning into longer enemy life bars that are affected by ‘RPG-lite’ ammo resistances, gear buffs and the like. A far bigger switch up to the formula, however, is the ‘Resolver’ guerrilla mechanics centred on some frankly insane weapons customisation. Apparently, in any dirt-poor nation with next-to-bugger all, everybody’s a MacGuyver. An effective freedom fighter relies, first and foremost, on a workbench to augment and shape their attitude-adjusters. I quickly found out (the hard way) that it’s imperative to scan and tag outpost denizens with Dani’s phone to read and adapt to a definite entry strategy. From AP rounds that punch through brain buckets to crafted suppressors for some Solid Snake action, it pays to have options in your four-weapon arsenal.
Quick note, though, don’t expect to simply tax a better gun off somebody you’ve perforated. Ammo collection is fair game. Their weapons? Well, they just vanish like magic.
If you’re looking to upgrade existing gats, build new ones or craft mods that can inch your arsenal towards a particular playstyle, you’d best become a kleptomaniac of everything else in this world that’s not nailed down (or bound by some sort of Hogwarts spell). A quick menu dive informed me that there are no fewer than nine resources to collect for gunsmithing, and three for upgrading your guerrilla camps. If you can’t find any of that crap in a junkyard, you can trade up to it using the hunting materials bloodily ripped out of 40+ types of huntable animals.
You’d best get to gussying up your guns quickly. I rode in cocky a few times with some stock firearms – rockin’ my SPAS-12, a sniper rifle, and an AK that I thought was more than adequate. I still got outclassed. My ammo, experience and tactical awareness weren’t in short supply, but my lack of DIY and ignoring my opponent’s stats effectively turned them into bullet sponges. I was flanked and outnumbered when the heavy cavalry arrived (literally on horseback) and dismounted on my head.
I’m of two minds about this. Initially, I felt slighted. Even a ‘basic’ sniper round or .50 cal from a mounted weapon, when well aimed, should horrifically maim or outright murder a human. Not chip off 15% health and trigger a token stagger animation.
I was forced to play smarter and invest in a Division-esque gear system that is critical for stopping power enhancement. Nail missions or visit a black market Best and Less, and you can swap out items for Dani’s wrist/foot/leg/chest/head. Each piece of gear belongs to a set (24+ by my count,) and is rated out of 5 stars and comes with offensive or defensive perks. If you want to be a sniper for instance, just find the right gloves and headgear to steady your aim. Or, maybe some tactical pants that deepen your ammo reserves for a beloved sidearm that looks more like an anti-aircraft weapon.
Finally, there’s your rank. Accomplishing missions gets you better street cred, which precipitates into better kit opportunities. The downshot: your success forces Castillo to use more desperate and brutal counter-tactics. I ran afoul of nimble attack choppers, but I also spotted what looked like a government branded T-34 tank tucked away in the ‘summon vehicles’ menu. Being on the wrong side of that’s gonna smart.
Dani feels great through a controller. They move with agility, machete kill with ferocity, and powerslide about like their arse cheeks have been sprayed with that shit Clark Griswold put on his toboggan in the Christmas of ‘89
My Ubisoft handlers told me that a conscious choice was made to build Dani around their arsenal and gear more than on their physical traits and aptitude. Everything impacts gameplay. Experimenting and having flexible strategies are a must.
Alternatively, just stick doggedly to your brand of killin’, but have a differently specced co-op partner who can shore up your weaknesses. Yes, Far Cry 6 will be fully playable in co-op with a friend or through public matchmaking. Everybody keeps their own character progression. Thank God for common sense.
I think it’s fair to say that the tone of this FC leans wackier than most. There’s an overall ‘don’t ask, just roll with it’, vibe here. Case in point(s): the way silencers seem to ‘heal’ during periods of disuse. Juan also gifts you with a Supremo Backpack (think L1+R1 special move) which, when it comes to ammo replacement, ‘just, uh, likes it when you kill baddies’. Alrighty then.
Dani feels great through a controller. They move with agility, machete kill with ferocity, and powerslide about like their arse cheeks have been sprayed with that shit Clark Griswold put on his toboggan in the Christmas of ‘89. Other extreme movement options include the usual ziplines, parachutes, wingsuits and the grapple hook plays a larger role than usual.
I’d have to say the most fun I had was goofing off in El Este, one of the three Castillo-controlled regions of Yara’s main island. That region is famous for its (seemingly) impassable mountains, dense jungles, coffee plantations, and random jaguar attacks. Speaking of crazy cats, it’s the home of El Tigre and the legends of ’67, a group of ex-guerrillas whose experience will be essential in the turmoil to come.
When I landed here, my UbiHandlers super-sized me in terms of guns, gear and resources. I also got to trot around (weirdly, in third-person) through the new guerrilla camp feature. Essentially, it’s an upgradable space that allows harder pimping of your weapons and the armaments on your summonable vehicle.
Honestly, I was overwhelmed with things to do: Yaran stories, treasure hunts, Spec Operations missions, timed supply drop securings, checkpoints and convoy assaults, saving hostages, defacing posters, and more. I also spotted mention of Insurgency Challenges that filter in once the main quest is felled.
Knowing I had very little time for anything structured, at one stage I opted to piss on some hornets’ nests. Y’know, test the response times of the local FND po-pos. My arsenal was as follows: a sniper with blast rounds, AK-47 with armour piercers, a 400 RPM nailgun, and a scoped, full-auto pistol with a magazine big enough to make it look like a right angle set-square. I also rode in an old Caddy turned into a technical. Oh, and my get-out-of-jerks free card was a Supremo Backpack that could explode a ring of fire out around me. Excuse the pun, but I had an absolute blast. Exaggerated fire propagation, armoured enemies that required specific gun selection, plus super responsive backup units – they all made for incredibly chaotic encounters.
In claustrophobic fort sieges where I tried to camp on doorways, I was taxed by multiple shotgun foes who’d blitz in, stagger me with a gun-butt attack, and one of their colleagues would just coup de grace my face off. I fared just as poorly in outdoor brouhahas where I tried to sideways strafe incoming enemy jeeps, yell ‘Toro!’ and cap the hapless driver. In FC6, kamikaze drivers will more likely roadkill your arse, or the dude behind the wheel will casually drive-by you with his sidearm.
Basically, go in expecting to use the old cheese tactics from FC5, and you may get a date with a death screen.
Couple those noticeable upgrades in AI aggressiveness with the aforementioned picturesque setting, magnetic antagonist, and a wealth of new progression wrinkles, and Far Cry 6 is a holiday worth booking. Whether all those things – and whatever else I haven’t seen – add up to a sequel that’s as revolutionary as the subject matter, remains to be seen. But this is a great start.
Numbered sequels (and half sequels every gap year) can sometimes have a debilitating effect on fans of a franchise, but playing Far Cry 6 went down like a mainline shot of Viviro to my veins. It’s a potent cocktail, mixed with the tastiest ingredients from yesteryear and some intoxicating new twists, topped with the prettiest umbrellas new-gen GPUs can provide. I’ve taken a speculative sip. Now I want to guzzle down the rest.
Far Cry 6 will release on October 7 on PS5, PS54 Xbox Series X&S, Xbox One, PC, Stadia and Amazon Luna.