Far Cry, as a franchise, especially since the third game appeared, has a certain formula; power hungry bad guy takes over land and fish-out-of-water hero has to fight to free it. Explosions, comedy side-kicks and capturing bases are the order of the day. The sixth game is no exception but ups the ante from previous efforts in size and scope.
Set in Yara, a fictional South American land which has seen its fair share of poverty and politics, leading to a takeover by despot, Anton Castillo, who is ‘just doing it for the good of the country’, Ubisoft have certainly taken some inspiration from real life here. As usual, though, the realism is only skin deep, these are movie characters who are larger than life and although they’re supposed to be ‘complicated’, all that comes across is that they’re buggers for keeping slaves, killing people they don’t like and..oh yeah, need to be stopped at all costs.
What elevates Castillo above the previous Far Cry bad guys is the performance. Giancarlo Esposito does a fantastic job of turning in an impressive character, dripping with ‘good intentions’ in the worst possible way. His cut scenes are always worth watching and feel like the main reward for pushing the story on. Castillo’s son is another interesting addition. He’s living under his father’s shadow, being taught the ropes in the hope he will one day take over the empire, but it’s clear from the outset that he questions his father’s methods and motives.
The hero, Dani Rojas (either a male or female version with no difference in story or character beyond that) is the standard archetype for the series, a reluctant player in the game of revolution who comes around to the idea of saving the country from the clutches of Castillo, mainly because they want to get to kill him themselves after he kills their best friend. But it’s the other characters you meet along the way that elevate this game beyond the usual cliches. Bembe, a drug dealer who is on no-one’s side and is snake-like in nature, Paolo, a believable trans character, played by the trans actor Xavier Lopez, surprisingly well written.
The Cuban, sorry, Yaran scenery is beautiful and set on several islands, allowing the developers to provide several different types of terrain, though it feels a lot like Ghost Recon Wildlands in atmosphere, especially when you’re travelling by helicopter, a mode of transport you get early on in the game. The world in general is well realised, especially on platforms which can make use of the high textures (Xbox Series X, PS5 and high end PCs) that need to be downloaded separately before you start. Some great lighting effects and the return of impressive fire effects that spread across the world helps to cement this as the best looking Far Cry so far.
With every Far Cry since the third instalment, the basic gameplay has remained the same with a few additional touches and 6 is no different. If you enjoyed the previous games you’ll love this one, it improves the animal companion feature, introducing your crocodile companion early on, and these play into the strategies you’ll use to defeat the waves of enemies that seem to be alerted to your location with a surprising amount of ease unless you plan your route well to creep around them. The fire physics also mean you can sometimes make whole areas impassable or at least do plenty of damage to a group of soldiers at a time and your weapons are, as expected, pretty extensive. One change that does stand out is that you’ll be levelling up using these weapons and costumes rather than just going through a standard skill tree for your character. It’s a nice touch that means you need to think about what boots, trousers, tops etc you wear for each occasion, though most of them will get you through a mission.
So, it’s more of the same but better as Ubisoft tweak the formula here and there to make Far Cry 6 the best entry in the series yet. The acting is great, the story is good, despite not really developing a lot of the interesting issues it raises, and the action is more explosive than ever. It’s not perfect but it is Far Cry.