Ubisoft Toronto’s crack at the franchise makes a number of compelling additions; the ‘Supremo’ superweapons you carry on your back are fun to use and look cool, the ability to holster your weapon introduces new gameplay opportunities, and Giancarlo Esposito genuinely steals every scene he’s in.
But otherwise, the latest game is very much an evolution rather than revolution of the existing series formula – which is hardly surprising considering Far Cry 5’s stellar sales performance – but for many, this is a series that feels like it very much needs the latter.
However, if you’ll forgive us for the downbeat opening, what’s here is likely more than enough to please the many fans who don’t mind a familiar template.
We were recently able to play around five hours from the start of the game on a PC via cloud streaming – which you can see in action, captured directly from the host PC, via our gameplay video below – and the most striking takeaway was the scale and detail in the world, which takes place on the fictional Caribbean islands of Yara.
Yara is the largest environment in Far Cry history, encompassing an entire country’s worth of biomes into a single FPS sandbox. There’s a large urban city called Esperanza (which we only experienced during a linear introduction mission), lush jungles and shorelines, busy docks, guerrilla camps, oil rigs and sleepy villages.
As expected, the variety and visual detail makes Yara a joy to explore. The environment is busy with wildlife, secrets and wonderful vistas, and inside the various guerrilla camps there are a number of activities such as fishing and dominoes, and you can even upgrade them by building additional buildings with your resources.
But when you get down to the meat and bones of gameplay, this is a defiantly traditional Far Cry experience. Missions will have you climbing a hill, scoping out the base you’re about to crash, and then choosing which way to either sneak in quietly or enter all-guns-blazing.
Animal buddies return from the last game and are definitely amusing – especially the crocodile who slivers around the battlefield, brutally dispatching baddies – but they also feel a bit throwaway and ultimately can be ignored.
The missions we played through had us extracting loot from a beachside fortress, rescuing hostages from a ship and sabotaging objectives around a secure facility; great fun, but incredibly familiar to anyone who’s dabbled in the series before.
As expected, one of the most compelling additions to Far Cry’s core scout-plan-attack loop is the ability to put your gun away and mix with the civilians.
This feature sounds a little dull on paper, but the ability to holster your weapon adds two things to Far Cry that weren’t possible before: one, you can explore the world, go fishing and gawp at the pretty vistas without any kind of combat interrupting you – an appealing prospect given that Yara looks set to be a stunning place to traverse.
Secondly, the player – and not the game – decides when the combat encounters start, allowing you to ambush and be a true guerrilla. You can drive right alongside an enemy vehicle without them noticing you as an enemy, for example, and at the right moment draw your weapon and expertly take out the driver.
Whether Far Cry 6’s small steps forward – and its stunning environments – are enough to entertain fans for another open-world epic will remain to be seen, but right now the game feels more like a guerrilla evolution than revolution.
Far Cry 6 is out on October 7, 2021 for consoles, PC and streaming platforms.