Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5 (reviewed), Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Google Stadia
Release Date: October 7, 2021
Genre: Open-world FPS
Far Cry 6, like Ubisoft’s other open-world games, opts to iterate rather than innovate. In this action-packed first-person shooter, you’re once again let loose in a big sandbox to tackle a variety of objectives, such as capturing enemy bases, taking out anti-aircraft guns and racing to supply drops. This time around, there’s more than ever to do.
You’ll partake in this adventure as a guerrilla on the tropical island of Yara. There, you'll recruit other freedom fighters to push back against a fascist regime led by a merciless dictator. Far Cry 6's story of hard-fought revolution can be devastating and powerful when it has some room to breathe. But some strange tonal inconsistencies muddy the waters at inopportune times.
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As we'll discuss in this Far Cry 6 review, the game provides a thoroughly enjoyable experience, in spite of some overly familiar elements and bothersome story quirks.
Far Cry 6 review: Story
Far Cry 6 takes place in the fictional Caribbean country of Yara: an island nation inspired by Cuba, and filled with jungles, beaches and tropical settlements. Once a prosperous paradise, Yara is now an impoverished and isolated land under the rule of a dictator named Antón Castillo, played by the imposing Giancarlo Esposito. Antón wields his power to swiftly strike down those who oppose his unconventional ideas for reforming the country.
Far Cry is a series known for its larger-than-life villains. Esposito, who brought a number of heinous antagonists to life in other media, fits in quite naturally. He plays Antón with a calm and quiet malignancy, showing up during pivotal scenes to remind us of the oppressive stranglehold he has on Yara. His willingness to do whatever it takes to rebuild the country is chilling. But as Antón withdraws Yara from the rest of the world in a misguided attempt to empower the populace, the people's cries for revolution become louder and louder.
Meanwhile, we step into the shoes of Dani Rojas (male or female — your choice), a military dropout who is initially intent on ditching Yara to make a new life for herself in America. After a fateful encounter with Antón during their escape, however, she quickly finds herself teamed up with a group of freedom fighters who are eager to push back against the fascist regime. While Antón teaches his unwilling son, Diego, how to carry on their tyrannical legacy, Dani sets out across Yara to recruit more guerrillas and fight for a wholly different future.
Sadly, the game’s inconsistent tone regularly gets in the way of a poignant narrative. The serious story beats are often filled with shocking violence and emotional gut punches. But a constant stream of comedic dialogue and wacky gameplay overshadow these weighty moments at every turn. It’s a little hard to be moved by the barbarous death of an ally mere minutes after I was playing with a crocodile who wears a vest and acts like a dog.
We’re obviously supposed to care that Yara is in shambles, and that its citizens are being enslaved and murdered in the streets. We're supposed to cringe in discomfort as a dictator urges his young son to gun down an unarmed man in cold blood. But it all rings a little hollow when our one-dimensional freedom fighters constantly remind Dani that being a guerrilla means prioritizing fun. If Ubisoft expects us to invest in a tale about leading a brutal and bloody revolution, perhaps Dani and pals shouldn’t be having a blast and glorifying the experience.
As this is a Far Cry game, Ubisoft has put in a secret alternative ending. It's almost a cathartic 180-degree turn from the proper story and worth checking out. Read our guide on how to unlock the hilarious Far Cry 6 alternative ending. Just bear in mind an alternative ending doesn't redeem the main plot of Far Cry 6.
Far Cry 6 review: Gameplay
Thankfully, the moment-to-moment gameplay in Far Cry 6 is largely fun. The game’s main missions provide large-scale scripted action sequences as you work alongside your fellow guerrillas to steal vehicles, help break friends out of prison or deal blows to Antón’s production facilities. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but there’s a comfort in the game's familiarity. One early operation even sees you using a flamethrower to burn fields of tobacco, as a cool homage to a fan-favorite Far Cry 3 mission.
Unless you’re rushing to the finale, though, optional objectives will take up the majority of your time. You might run across a Mortal Kombat-esque cockfighting mini-game, or you could find yourself using a grappling hook to partake in light platforming as you explore caverns for treasure.
Your most important task, though, is seizing encampments and checkpoints occupied by Antón’s army. You can either roll in, guns blazing, or take a tactical and quiet approach, with some grotesque machete kills along the way. Whatever you choose, capturing the spot results in a fresh outpost for your freedom fighters, which translates to a fast travel point and a workbench for you.
That workbench comes in handy, too, as no violent revolution would be complete without modding out an armory. Far Cry 6’s massive collection of guns and makeshift weaponry is impressive. The game even lets you get weird, with weapons that fire discs or spew poison clouds.
However, the ultra-powerful Supremo steals the show. Dani wears this portable superweapon on her back, and you can customize it to fire rockets, send out EMP charges or even act as a jetpack that spews fire when you take off. The Supremo has a cooldown so that players can't abuse it, but it’s an essential part of your arsenal. It can get you out of many tough situations – and it’s fun as hell to use.
Unfortunately, while many of the guns and new toys are wonderfully innovative, an annoying vulnerability mechanic swoops in to steal away some of your joy. Each of the three guns in your loadout needs a variety of mods to make them effective against different enemy types. One mod might grant you ammo that does more damage to flesh, for instance, while another type of ammo can penetrate helmets and armor. It may sound fine on paper, but it ultimately becomes a chore any time things don’t go perfectly in a mission.
No matter how much prepping you do, once all hell breaks loose, you can't take time to formulate an optimal strategy. Instead, you'll fumble about, trying to kill each enemy type with the appropriate gun and mod combination. That results in a lot of cumbersome weapon-swapping, and also means you won't always pick the right gun for the job. Gunfights are still a good time, but the vulnerability mechanic still feels awkwardly restrictive in an open world that otherwise incentivizes being creative.
Far Cry 6 does a much better job with its wide selection of gear, which grants you worthwhile bonuses. A certain pair of gloves might help you do a bit more damage to tagged enemies. Maybe a piece of body armor can increase your damage aiming down sights, at the cost of reduced hip-fire damage. Unlike with the gimmicky weapon loadout system, these choices don’t usually make or break an encounter. Mixing and matching gear sets for their unique benefits makes you feel like the game respects your personal playstyle.
While you search out gear, you’ll also collect metal, gasoline and various other ingredients you can use to build out each of your camps. Maybe you’d like a cantina where you can trade animal meat for meals that give you temporary boons. If so, you could pair this with a lodge that reveals the map’s best hunting spots, and awards you permanent upgrades.
My favorite upgrade was the Hideout Network, which let me purchase a ton of hidden fast travel points. It also kitted me out with a wingsuit, which I used to subsequently airdrop onto the map and fly to points of interest.
If using a wingsuit to get around isn’t your thing, Far Cry 6 is also full of ground and air vehicles, ranging from basic trucks, to helicopters, to massive tanks. You can even mod your preferred ground ride with different types of mounted guns, armored plates or battering rams. Best of all, a quick button press can deliver a vehicle to your exact location, alleviating the dreaded garage system from previous games.
Far Cry 6 review: Visuals and sound
Screen tearing and a few minor visual glitches cropped up during my time with Far Cry 6 on the PS5. Thankfully, these were mostly harmless, such as people occasionally clipping through environments, or some wonky textures here and there. More impactful was when I had to restart a mission or two because a vital NPC got stuck in a loop.
Far Cry 6 features a substantial bump in visual fidelity over its predecessors. Yara is a gorgeous-but-antiquated island, brought to life with an exceptional attention to detail. Its dense jungles and sunny coastlines are a joy to behold. The game contrasts these with slowly decaying urban landscapes, decrepit rural housing and a general lack of modern technology, which give the island the feeling that it’s frozen in the 1960s. This environmental storytelling is often more effective than the script itself.
In terms of voicework, Esposito’s portrayal of Antón is spectacular, and he gives some of the game’s best monologues. Performances from other actors range from good to great, and the bump in animation quality helps sell their hard work. With a few exceptions, though, most of the people you meet along the way function as walking plot devices. There’s not always a lot of time to learn a lot about these characters, or to fully invest in their motives. But even if the game's brisk pacing is a curse for the story and characters, it’s a blessing for the gameplay, so we have to take the good with the bad.
Far Cry 6 review: Verdict
Far Cry 6’s captivating Caribbean sandbox offers all of the excellent gunplay and exploration that we've come to expect from the franchise. But the tonal inconsistency of its story, along with some poorly implemented gameplay mechanics, can bring things down a notch.
Even with these hiccups, anyone not yet burned out on the open-world Ubisoft formula should find Far Cry 6 to be an imperfect, but enjoyable, entry in the series.