Far Cry has always been about freedom. The games give you a bunch of equipment, an objective and send you on your way. Whether you want to be stealthy, go in guns blazing, or just find a helicopter and drop it on the enemies, that’s completely up to you. Far Cry 6 keeps that core, but adds things like rocket backpacks and a gun that shoots CDs into that mix. It also takes things away and places new limitations in other areas.
This review is an updated and scored version of a review in progress posted on 6th October.
Moving away from the surprisingly distinctive setting of Montana, America, and back to an island of tropical jungles under the rule of a mad dictator, Far Cry 6 is the first game in the series to release on the new consoles. While Far Cry 5 still looks quite good to this day, the newer game isn’t quite the jump from that now three year old game you might hope for. Far Cry 6 just looks… nice. Part of this might be the return to a tropical island. The rustic Americana aesthetic was far more distinctive than yet more of the jungles we’ve seen in the the other games in the series, or in Just Cause, or Crysis, etc. At least this is partially made up for with a mostly solid 60fps on PS5, only really dropping during cutscenes.
It sounds great though, at least in part due to PS5’s spatial audio tech. It’s still really impressive how you can track a helicopter travelling over you just by sound, or hear a gunshot and know exactly where it came from. Then again, it’s not perfect. I’m not sure how well you’d be able to hear a passing helicopter whilst in a cave, which I’m guessing is not like you’re not even in said cave. Voice acting is good too, with the only things that really sound off being small, incidental lines from passing, nameless NPCs.
The moment to moment gameplay will be rather familiar to fans of the series, but Ubisoft has thrown in a few new ideas. There’s different types of ammunition, including things like armour penetration to take out armoured guards more easily or poison rounds to slowly damage enemies and turn them against each other. There’s new types of throwables as well, such as the incredibly useful recon grenade that spots nearby enemies for you and a sticky EMP for when a tank shows up out of nowhere. Then there’s the new cameras to avoid in enemy bases, and the security rooms where you can disable all the alarms at once.
The biggest additions are clearly Supremos and Resolver weapons, though. Supremos are backpacks with abilities, but they’re extremely situational at best. Using the Furioso to incinerate everything around you sounds great until everything around you is all on fire and starts to explode, while disabling nearby vehicles with an EMP blast is nice except that it only lasts a short while and you can get the exact same result by throwing a single EMP grenade and have something more useful/explosive on your back. Also, they look absurd. I know Far Cry’s tone is always pretty over the top, but seeing Dani with a giant metal backpack painted with red and yellow flames in a serious cutscene is next level.
Resolvers are inevitably kind of amusing to use – the CD gun plays the Macarena – but they take a holster in your inventory that could be better filled by an actual gun that you can customise to have the ammo type you need and things like sights, scopes, compensators, or silencers. You can upgrade the Resolvers, but I never really bothered as I didn’t really want to use them. I found them to be significantly less effective than regular weapons.
The best use I found from these two additions was that the Furiosa Supremo also lets you dash whilst in the air, which I use a lot in spite of the fact that it sets the ground immediately under me on fire. Yes, I’ve exploded myself a few times.
While it gives these new features with one hand, Far Cry 6 takes with the other. You can only carry four throwables at a time and they’re equipped on your Supremo, so you can only change this loadout at a workbench. That can feel quite limiting… except that you can swap all of your equipment (including your Supremo) at any time outside of a cutscene. In the middle of a firefight in an enemy base during a story mission? No worries, you can switch to another Supremo to change your throwables, etc. It makes no sense to have this limit in the first place, and just forces you to open an entire menu and navigate through your inventory, instead of having FC5’s quick menu. The restrictions on ammo types are just as annoying. You can’t change ammo on the fly and a gun with armour piercing ammo becomes useless in the face of a helicopter with bulletproof glass.
Also gone are the human Guns for Hire. There’s still a small selection of furry and scaly beasts, though. These are called Amigos and can tag along with you one at a time. They like to get spotted by nearby soldiers and attract attention whilst you’re scouting camps – and that’s assuming they don’t just wander straight in immediately. Compared to the human options of previous games, their level of help is somewhat lacking.
There’s also a move closer to the weird level system we saw in New Dawn. It’s not as annoying here – if you equip armour piercing rounds on your gun and go for headshots, you can still stealth most of the game without any issues – but there have been a few targets that have survived two or three armour piercing headshots, which is just flat out stupid.
This shift towards RPG mechanics feels muddled and at odds with the Far Cry shooter formula. You can’t pick up enemy guns off the floor anymore, and instead find them in chests like you’re playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla again, complete with a graphic showing up in the middle of your screen when you pick it up. Meanwhile, treasure hunts reward only resources and guns, so once you’ve stumbled onto a higher level weapon that you like, hunting them down feels unnecessary as they don’t reward skill points to unlock abilities anymore – these are unlocked through gameplay or by spending said resources on base upgrades.
And then there’s annoying quirks like travel between regions showing you a graphic as you do so. This can trigger mid-firefight and remove all your HUD elements including enemy markers, which is delightful when there are numerous checkpoints on region borders. Missions are often given on a static screen while the character repeats an animation as it speaks at you, or it would if you hadn’t skipped it because it feels so much like an MMO quest-giver that you’re almost offended it’s there.
The story of Far Cry 6 is pretty much what you think it’s going to be – a dictator doing terrible things that you must undo. The only place I felt it ventured into something that hadn’t been thoroughly explored elsewhere was the Legends of 67 storyline. This involved veteran guerrillas who overthrew Castillo’s father decades ago, but even this is mostly squandered as they quickly take a position in the background, behind the younger, more generic, and often stereotypical characters.
Castillo himself is almost captivating. He’s portrayed excellently by Giancarlo Esposito, but there’s so little of him through the game. You don’t even get to hear him threaten you over the radio, just his repeated speeches as dictator. It’s a fantastic performance, but he feels under-utilised.
I’ve talked a lot about things being removed and changed for the worst, but even taking those into account, Far Cry 6 is still pretty good. It’s a Far Cry game at its core, and while the changes made to the formula are either gimmicky or feel worse, it’s still a solid enough experience. It just isn’t the step up I was expecting.