Far Cry 6 will feel unmistakably familiar for fans of the first person shooter series, and it would hard not to after so many iterations and spin offs. That said, as we went hands on for this gameplay preview ahead of its 7th October release, it’s clear to see the smart story and gameplay choices that Ubisoft has made to keep the formula feeling fresh.
Since 2012’s fantastic Far Cry 3, these games have been largely defined by their main antagonist, from the maniacal Vaas Montenegro to Far Cry: New Dawn’s twin sisters, Mickey and Lou. Much like that game, the most recent in the long-running franchise, Ubisoft’s upcoming sequel will shine a spotlight on two villains. Well… one and a half.
Even if you haven’t been following Far Cry 6, you’ve likely seen Anton Castillo. Portrayed by the incredible Giancarlo Esposito, he and his son have been front and centre in all of the game’s promotions leading to its release. Where Anton is an out-and-out tyrant, it’s unclear what path Diego will take and how his development as a character may influence how the narrative unfolds.
But what’s more important than the bad guy in every Far Cry game? The setting, of course. Over the past decade, fans have travelled from tropical islands to Mesolithic mountains and midwest America. Taking inspiration from Cuba, the nation of Yara is a great fit for Far Cry 6, juggling political upheaval with gorgeous jungle vistas, dropping players right in the middle of a revolution.
A brutal brush with Anton Castillo during those opening minutes of the games sets our hero, Dani Rojas, on the path to becoming a guerilla fighter. As a former soldier in the Yaran army, you aren’t just some jumped up tourist with a gun. Dani has a stake in this game and a personal vendetta against Castillo.
Bringing down his regime won’t happen overnight. In true Far Cry fashion, the sixth main entry in this series has you running quests on a small island as you get your bearings before unleashing you upon a much larger landmass. The map is unsurprisingly huge, displaying a wealth of activities players can explore, including hours upon hours of optional side missions.
At a glance, you might not think much has changed between Far Cry 6 and the last numbered game in the series. Ubisoft hasn’t thrown out their tried and tested open world blueprint. Everything you loved about those past entries is still here, but they’re supported by new mechanics and design changes to stave off fatigue and dial up the fun factor.
It isn’t long before Far Cry 6 begins to flex its more absurd side. Buddies are back, and after being introduced to your explosively eccentric guerrilla mentor, Juan Cortez, he hooks you up with his trusted companion, Guapo. A crocodile. Oh, and we haven’t even mentioned the adorable Chorizo.
Meanwhile, gunplay feels tighter than previous games with a wider array of weapon upgrades and attachments available. Enemies have visible health bars this time around which, when combined with the light loot system in Far Cry 6, shifts it ever so slightly into RPG territory. Dani will unlock new pieces of gear to equip throughout the game though instead of being tagged with raw stats such as a defence or armour score, they offer perk-like abilities to complement your playstyle.
Traversal has always been a big part of the experience and in Far Cry 6 it’s smoother than ever as you swim, climb, slide, drive, and even ride horses on the road to revolution. Given how dense and overgrown Yara’s wilder regions are, you’ll come to appreciate the vein-like blue lines that stretch across your mini-map indicating guerilla pathways to help with navigation.
One of the more bizarre new features in Far Cry 6 is the Supremo backpack. Somehow Ubisoft has managed to implement an Overwatch-style “ultimate” mechanic where players can unleash a devastating attack once they’ve killed enough enemies and stored up enough juice. As is series tradition, we see those more grounded, gritty themes contrast with how playfully chaotic the moment to moment gameplay is. And that’s without even touching on the sequel’s co-op which allows you and up to three fellow guerillas to complete the campaign from start to finish with everyone keeping their story progression.
Alongside Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft has been fairly relentless in pumping out Far Cry sequels and spin-offs over the last decade. With each one, Ubisoft has continued to twist and expand its FPS formula, and from our hands on time it’s clear that Far Cry 6 is introducing more refinements and new features than we’ve seen in other recent entries.