Far Cry is always a series that has sought to out-do itself, to kick on to ever more extreme themes, more explosive action, and more memorable villains. None of that changes with Far Cry 6. You have the arch-villain Antón Castillo portrayed by renowned actor Giancarlo Esposito, his heavily militarised banana republic to overthrow, and all manner of over the top weapons and options for how to do so… but there’s more to this game that helps it stand apart from previous games in the series.
One of the first things that grabbed our attention when Far Cry 6 was announced last summer was its setting, with the capital city of the island nation of Yara providing one of the main focal points for the game’s action. It’s a significant shift for a series that has typically almost exclusively featured militarised wilderness with only a few pockets of civilisation. Now there’s the great big city of Esperanza that’s filled with Castillo’s best soldiers and technology.
It works conceptually, though, an “urban jungle” with secret passages for guerrilla fighters to use, rooftops for you to ambush patrols from, a density of buildings and man-made cover that allows you to hit and run. It makes sense, but it’s also not the only environment that you’ll be fighting in, with the rest of this Caribbean island featuring jungles, mountains, swamps and more to fight over as well. There’s still the more traditional Far Cry gameplay to be found here.
While there’s the road network, Yara has another web of secret pathways and passages through both the wilderness and the cities. The Castillo family rose to power 50 years ago, but with the country now crumbling, his militaristic iron grip squeezing the populace, and so the Libertad freedom fighter movement has started to use those pathways once more, creating secret bases from which they can strike. Some will be known to you from the off, handed down to you from veteran fighters, but others you’ll have to find for yourself, the rewards being different people to meet, caches of gear, and simply getting to avoid the checkpoints and patrols on the roads of Yara.
What’s new and interesting (for a Far Cry game) is that you play as a much more meaningful character this time around. Dani Rojas is a native to Yara, instead of an outsider, but there’s still plenty for them to learn as you play. At the start of the game, they’re a city-born military dropout who, to be honest, would rather head off to the United States, but is instead roped into the revolution. Most importantly, they’re not a blank slate for you to project onto in this game’s story, not a narrative passenger, but an active participant in cutscenes. They’re also a one-person army.
This is where Far Cry 6 takes a sharp left turn into borderline excessive silliness. Ubisoft has taken the Cuban ‘resolver’ philosophy of creatively reusing old things for new purposes and pushed it to an extreme. On a base level, you see the resolver attitude through the environments, with regular people driving classic 1950s cars that have been kept running through sheer stubbornness and necessity, and the like.
For your guerrilla movement, it means custom homemade attachments for your regular weapons, but it also leads to the resolver weapons. These are mad hodgepodges of second-hand items elements that can maybe, just barely make some kind of sense. Combine a motorcycle engine with some piping and bullet drums made out of an old food tins, and you’ve got a minigun, add things to soup up a CD player and you’ve got a CD-firing saw gun, there’s even impromptu nail guns, flamethrowers and fireworks launchers.
Then there’s the Supremos, weaponised backpacks that can be things like a downward firing rocket to lift you off the ground while the immediate area around you is burnt to a crisp, or a dozen rocket tubes strapped to your back to fire off and rain explosives down on enemies.
They’re all mad. It looks pretty fun, though.
For anyone wanting a more serious rebellion story and gritty guerrilla warfare, I doubt you’ll find too much of that here – you could always go and play the patched up Homefront: The Revolution, I guess? There’s still plenty of ability to customise the game to match your chosen playstyle. All of the 49 military weapons can be customised with suppressors, scopes (a resolver scope, even), laser pointers, and the like. You also have a handful of equipment slots for clothes and armour – Head, Chest, Hand, Leg and Foot (leg and foot), all of which can boost stats and give abilities. Marksman goggles can improve headshots, gloves that mean you never miss with throwing knives.
That’s before you get to the wild DIY vehicles you can drive around the island, classic cars kitted out with turrets, ramps and countermeasures. Oh, and the “Fangs for Hire” Amigos, which include Chorizo the sausage dog and Guapo the soldier-eating crocodile.
But you might want to be a little more discreet than usual, toning it down to get around the island without gunfights at every turn. Castillo has installed checkpoints along the roads – which is one reason why you might want to take the secret Guerrilla Paths, or at least holster your weapon so you aren’t overtly hostile – and place anti-air around the island to limit your ability to hop in a helicopter or plane. There’s also the series’ traditional Outposts, now known as FND bases, which themselves adopt the resolver attitude in converting schools, TV stations, museums and more into military strongholds.
Honestly, Far Cry 6 looks like a game that’s built for excess. Ubisoft say it’s building up a Guerrilla fantasy, that reality is stranger than fiction, but there’s plenty of things here that are straight up unbelievable and a bit silly. That’s fine, though. I’m all for games that are just wild and sensationalised fun, and Far Cry 6 looks like it’s folding in some of the tone of Just Cause’ explosive adventures with the gritty urban resistance of modern Wolfenstein or Homefront: The Revolution, and turning the already over the top Far Cry tone up to 11.