Far Cry 6 Review — A Revolution for the Series
Far Cry 6
Xbox Series X
Review copy provided by the publisher
It’s been 17 years since Crytek originally released Far Cry to an unsuspecting gaming audience. Born from a tech demo to showcase the CryEngine, the game was eventually passed over to Ubisoft who strived to turn Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3 (somewhat successfully) into their next big mega-franchise.
With the introduction of Far Cry 6 and our exploration into beautiful and diverse Yara, we are seeing the peak of the series and an evolution of game design and revolution for the broader series. Why the history lesson? Well — it’s key to understanding what the series has done so right with the newest version of the game. Far Cry as a brand seems to always be looking for its footing, much like other games in the Ubisoft catalog.
Whether you are talking Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon, or Watch Dogs, few other series are on the constant search to establish their core principles. What is a Far Cry game; and what makes Far Cry 6 different?
It’s not an easy answer to nail down — sure, there is always the fast-and-fun FPS controls, a central villain that steals the show, and an undercurrent of dark humor that you don’t get in other titles. But then there are mechanics and key features that get dropped off and picked up at a whim. Radio Towers have been out of the loop since 2014, and the moral choice mechanics have been fleeting, at best. While everyone knows what a Halo or Battlefield game should probably include, Far Cry consistently tweaks the big and small stuff in the search for the perfect balance, and Ubisoft isn’t too coy to ever experiment in big ways.
While I’m not here to say that Far Cry 6 is the perfect reimagination of the franchise, it learns from the past and has evolved beyond its most fundamental shortfalls. Even better, Far Cry 6 is a no-compromise title — despite the ongoing pandemic, nothing feels like it was sacrificed over development.
Far Cry 6 Has a Story to Tell
Speaking of complete departures from the series, Far Cry 6 is the first mainline iteration that doesn’t have you play the role of a foreign invader, outside savior, or trapped vacationer. Dani Rojas (who can be played as either male or female) is a citizen of the troubled country of Yara, born an orphan and trying to flee the tyrannical government and their poisonous draft.
It’s a change to the series that actually offers more vibrancy and immersion than I expected. Side characters and allies aren’t simply trusting you because you are the protagonist with a hero complex; you have ties to the neighborhood and Yara. As easy as that, Ubisoft has sidestepped the standard suspension of disbelief.
…Far Cry 6 brings in some sweeping passion and emotion behind a host of side characters, the history behind disjointed revolutionaries, and laugh-out-loud dialogue to round out the package.
The introduction of both a male and female version of Dani isn’t a small task and is executed masterfully; Nisa Gunduz (as fem Dani) and Sean Rey (as male Dani) work to elevate the game beyond a collection of fetch quests and loosely tied missions. Where Far Cry 5 and New Dawn were content in bookending the character building for the protagonist, third-person cut scenes, voice acting, and actual dialogue offer depth and a coherent story that the series has been begging for.
[Side Note: After getting at least 10 hours in with each voice actor, I feel like I’d give the nod to fem Dani. But don’t let me stop you from living out your machismo island revolutionary headcanon.]
My only minor gripe is something I expected. After spending six hours earlier last month in a Ubisoft-led demo, one of my broader questions was how much the game would utilize Giancarlo Esposito in the grandiose role of Anton Castillo. I’m not sure if they hit the balance just right; though Castillo is broadcast on every speaker and TV across Yara, his interaction with Dani never fully utilizes Esposito as much as I may have wanted. However, it’s worth noting that his occasional torture scene or life lessons always steal the show — perhaps absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Thankfully, unlike in Far Cry 5 (which bookended interaction with Joseph Seed), Far Cry 6 sidesteps the problem of the mid-game malaise. Though the series has normally suffered from a lackluster core, Far Cry 6 brings in some sweeping passion and emotion behind a host of side characters, the history behind disjointed revolutionaries, and laugh-out-loud dialogue to round out the package.
Outside of the story beats, the gameplay rarely feels different from Far Cry: New Dawn. With a Standard and a Story mode (dedicated to those less accustomed to the occasional frustration of Far Cry), the actual sneak and gun gameplay are the glue that ties the game together. Meanwhile, the Guerrilla setting offers interesting quirks — players can ride horseback, enjoy their first urban environment in Far Cry, or stop bloodloss with a cigar. Most notable are the customized weapons and a uranium-powered ultimate weapon dubbed the Supremo. Literally, a blast.
Far Cry 6 — Playing on Next Gen
Far Cry 6 successfully manages to reinvent the formula into the best version of the series.
I’ve spent the bulk of my time playing through the game on an Xbox Series X. Without specialized capture equipment or being a savant on tech specs and framerates, I’ll note that prior to the Day 1 patch the game played incredibly. While I may notice a brief pop-in or frame drop in a cutscene, gunplay — even when explosions, tanks, and air support comes into play — was always consistently fluid. Load times were nearly non-existent, though not entirely missing from the experience.
However, DualShockers wasn’t able to test the game on the prior generation — if you are grabbing the game for an OG Xbox One or the standard PS4, it might not be the worst idea to wait for some initial impressions.
Your Fantasy Awaits
Far Cry 6 successfully manages to reinvent the formula into the best version of the series. If you have never touched a Far Cry game, or have been irked by some of the changes since Far Cry 3, this is your entry point. Even better, it is one of the few games that have come out since the launch of PS5 and Xbox Series X to deliver a full AAA experience that doesn’t feel rushed or unfinished. Along with the buttery smooth framerate from the Xbox Series X, this feels like one of the first games made with next-gen as a priority.
Far Cry 6 is an amazing journey in one of the most expansive iterations of the series to date. With explosive performances from the whole cast, it’s a game that old fans and intrigued wannabe guerrillas shouldn’t sleep on.