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For a game about overthrowing a dictator, absolutely nothing Far Cry 6 does is revolutionary.
In fact, it’s an incredibly dated entry into a series in desperate need of the same kind of franchise saving resurrection that Assassin’s Creed received a few years ago. The island of Yara is a visual treat, but it’s a facade that barely disguises a game that feels, from a gameplay perspective, like it could have been released nearly a decade ago.
Far Cry 6 feels like the last of these games that they can make like this. The series has shown so much promise in the past, but Far Cry 6 is a greatest hits of all of its worn-out genre tropes, that occasionally pause for a dull, nasty story and a wasted appearance by Giancarlo Esposito.
Far Cry 6 is the story of Dani, an orphan who finds herself alone on the island of Yara, a tropical paradise under the thumb of Anton Castillo, a dictator played by Giancarlo Esposito, who rules the island with an iron fist.
Through control of the media, a huge military presence, and a mysterious drug, Yara is on it’s knees, but in hidden camps and secret bunkers, a resistance is brewing, gathering supplies to one day storm the barricade. However there isn’t just one revolutionary group singing about empty chairs at empty tables, there are three. It’s up to Dani to unite their ideology and fight together against Anton Castillo’s army.
Far Cry 6’s biggest failure is that the things it tasks you to do are not interesting. Sure, they may be passably fun, as much fun as can be had slowly driving to a location and killing a few dozen of the same soldiers over and over again. It’s a fairly long game which took us around 22 hours to finish, but it feels like you’ve seen almost everything it has to throw at you within 5.
People fell in love with the Far Cry series because the earlier games managed to blend interesting gameplay and memorable objectives with villain characters that were so popular, Ubisoft is still dragging them out to this day. Far Cry 6 is cognizant of this, and seemingly intimidated by it, because within a few hours of the game, you’re standing in a field, burning plants with a flameflower while music plays. It feels like the game is doing everything to not have Dani literally turn around and look at the camera and say “remember Far Cry 3 guys? Dubstep?”
It also seems to forget that while that sequence in 3 was memorable, the rest of the game was fairly grounded, you were scavenging for arrows, skinning animals and doing everything you could to forge together a slightly bigger bag for your inventory. In Far Cry 6 you’re given a backpack that can shoot homing missiles out of it, and you’re stealing uranium within an hour.
Instead of building up to the wackness when you’ve already struggled through the progression of having terrible weapons and barely scraping fights, Far Cry 6 backflips into Blood Dragon territory from the off, rendering the game feeling less like Far Cry, and more like a first-person Just Cause game, without any of the anarchic fun.
“Far Cry 6 backflips into Blood Dragon territory from the off, rendering the game feeling less like Far Cry, and more like a first-person Just Cause game, without any of the anarchic fun.”
Open world games have expanded endlessly, without almost any of them bothering to fill that space with anything meaningful. Did Far Cry 6 need to have so many identical checkpoints littered around the map? Did it need the world to be littered with anti-aircraft guns that further restrict your already hampered movement? Or are these things, like so much in Far Cry 6, a hold over from when these games had maps that didn’t take 3 working days to traverse?
There are literally characters at almost every hideout that stand with a clipboard in their hand, pointing you in the direction of one of these distractions, presumably because it’s clear that if you didn’t have that, you’d spend 100 hours trying to find them all. If you require a context-less NPC to funnel the player towards content that’s not that rewarding in the first place, it probably could have been cut.
Not to mention the late game objective during which Dani literally comments about how annoying and tedious what you’re doing is. How that wasn’t a moment for the developers to stop and wonder if the game was a bit repetitive alludes us. This moment is closely followed by one of what feels like 600 “protect the computer” sequences, the team behind Far Cry 6 seemingly missing the meeting after Destiny where we all agreed that isn’t fun.
From the tops of hills and while flying through the sky, Yara is a stunning, colourful paradise. It’s like you’re playing through a rum advert. The colours shine through the environment in such a way that it can look like a completely different game depending on the time of day. But, when you’re actually driving through it, there’s very little personality.
Outside of a few towns that you briefly visit, it’s surprisingly lifeless for a region on the brink of revolution. The areas that are interesting are littered with guards that make exploring them a tedious task of sneaking around them, should the temperamental stealth system actually function as intended. More often than not, they’ll be alerted and soldiers will appear from all angles like they were hiding in the trees.
The gunplay is fine, but due to how easy it is to access weapons that would cause U.N. intervention if they were used in real life, like rifles that shoot balls of pure electricity, or a fireworks cannon that hits more like an atomic bomb, there’s no point using them. You so rarely get to the point where you need to pull out weapons other than your ridiculous ones, that we started forcing ourselves to use the bow, desperately trying to invoke the kind of Far Cry we were looking for.
The story is at its best when Giancarlo Esposito is on screen, but it’s disappointingly rare. For a series that makes their villains their mascots, to the point where the antagonists from 3, 4 and 5 are set to return in DLC for 6, Castillo ends up making the least impact of the group. The conclusion to his story is also incredibly disappointing, and wraps up far too quickly considering the tedious build up that preceded it.
Far Cry 6 was an opportunity for the series to grow up. After New Dawn, there was a consensus that the days of littering a map with cut and paste objectives, dull open-world fluff and annoying “quirky” characters were past us. But Far Cry 6 has all of those things. You could tell us that this game was released in 2014, and outside of the incredible environmental design and the stunning lighting, we would probably believe you.
The gunplay is fine, and what you’re doing isn’t offensively bad, it’s just all so, so bland. For a world that’s so vibrant, and starring an actor that can bring so much to a project, it’s almost unbelievable how little Far Cry 6 capitalises on it.
If you’re interested in another Far Cry game that does the Far Cry stuff the way it’s been doing it for 10 years, you’ll probably have a good time, but if you’ve already hit your limit with this kind of game, Far Cry 6 is the ne plus ultra of why open-world game design is so badly in need of a revolution.
- Visually stunning
- Giancarlo Esposito steals the show, when he gets the chance.
- Boring mission design
- Toothless story
- Open-world blandness at its worst.