Stop crying your heart out
Far Cry 6 was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated titles of 2021, so it was a shame to hear it was being delayed after what seemed like months without a good AAA title.
You'd be lying to yourself if you said that you weren't interested in the fact that Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad's Gustavo Fring) was playing the big baddy in this game.
Far Cry has always been known for its sociopathic villains and storylines, placing players in a world where there are little to no rules. Ever since Far Cry 3, Ubisoft have leaned into that dark side of human behaviour and the audience have lapped it up. But, perhaps they've leaned into it, too much, for too long? The initial trailers will have had most players salivating, but it's always tough to follow up such a big promise.
Now we've reached the last quarter of 2021 and we've had a number of games arrive, with some still to come, how does Far Cry's latest title stack up?
Here's my review of Far Cry 6 for PC.
What Is Far Cry 6?
Far Cry has always been a gritty first-person shooter franchise with a particularly edgy style and disregard for normality. From Far Cry 2 onwards, it opted for an open world style allowing the player to explore what they want, when they want and how they want. Similarly to an RPG, there are main quests with optional side missions to complete. Players are able to loot, steal and kill their way to glory while upgrading their gear along the way. What's truly unique to Far Cry, in my eyes, is the gruesome healing animations and unusual weaponry that gets thrown into the mix.
FPS DIALLED UP TO 11: Far Cry is truly over the top and excels at breaking the rules
As for Far Cry 6, the game is set on the fictional island of Yara. Heavily inspired by Cuba, it's littered with clear water, sandy beaches, tropical trees and party vibes. While this sounds picturesque, it's overshadowed by a raging war and politics.
You play as Dani Rojas, who's gender you can choose at the start of the game. Dani is an orphan who was previously conscripted into Yara's military.
Yara is being torn apart by the powerful dictator Antón Castillo, who's made a smokable cancer cure called 'Viviro'. It's produced and farmed by slaves from Yara, who Castillo labels as "Outcasts" and "Fake Yarans".
One unfortunate evening, things go wrong for Dani and his friends, forcing them to escape the island only to barely make it out alive. Dani decides to fight alongside the Guerillas and take down Castillo.
BEEN THERE, DANI THAT: A very familiar setting awaits Far Cry 6 players...
How Does It Work?
You'll start off learning the basics, which if you're familiar with how Far Cry works and operates, you'll find a little on the tedious side. You'll learn to do the basic mechanics within the first 30 minutes of the game as you duck and dodge the authorities.
Once you wash up on a beach, you'll be introduced to new gadgets, weapons and tricks. It has some real Far Cry 3 vibes about it (being stranded on a deserted island) but it couldn't be further from the truth.
You'll meet up with Clara, the head of the Guerrillas, to teach you all you need to know about the game's new mechanics and how you can systematically assassinate those that oppose you.
Continuing on from previous Far Cry games, you'll complete missions for major characters, complete optional side quests for more loot, liberate enemy checkpoints and generally blow s*** up.
As you progress, you'll gain access to new abilities and gear that will enhance your experience and provide new options in combat such as the Supremo - a giant backpack that gives you a serious boost in power and can offer different things such as explosive missiles or EMPs.
THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND: Once an enemy of the Guerillas, you'll find new friends
While I've expressed my discontent at the way the tutorial works, once it starts moving it picks up a lot of steam. I particularly liked the way they isolated you on a small island that almost acts a tutorial playground, to get you used to the motions of Far Cry 6 before shipping you off to the main Yara island.
This actually took me by surprise initially, as I didn't know how I was going to get many unique interactions in such a small area.
The environments are beautiful to look at although can be a little crowded from a gameplay perspective. Yes, we're on a tropical island and you can expect lots of trees, but there weren't many paths to drive on which made it slightly awkward when navigating around the island. I suppose you can quickly burn this away with a flamethrower.
As for the island size itself, it was more than satisfactory with many areas to visit. While it would be wrong for me to kick up a fuss about the lack of unique areas, you could tell where some assets had been reused more than once, giving me a serious case of Déjà vu.
GO GREEN: The environments are visually stunning
While the characters are a little over the top in a lot of ways, it's one of the more redeeming aspects of the story, because there are a number of cool and funny amigos to meet. This has always been a strong part of Far Cry and while a number of them annoyed me profoundly, some were very entertaining.
One of the more frustrating aspects, was how they would repeat words and phrases so regularly - the word 'Guerilla' was used so many times it gave me a headache. I'm all for swearing, but it's not a particularly inventive way to develop dialogue between characters when F bombs are just casually thrown into sentences for no reason.
Bizarrely, you end up befriending a Crocodile named Guapo. Thankfully so, because he's an absolute BEAST and one of the best companions in the game.
GUAPO: That's right, your best friend is a Crocodile
The "tutorial" is really quite long and unimaginative. Firstly, the atmosphere in the opening sequences just felt too cheesy to really feel like there was anything to be worried about or to get the heart racing. Considering the tone the game was trying to set, it missed the mark here in my eyes.
Secondly, my first recorded kill was almost 20 minutes after starting the game. That's not an issue if the story is compelling, but it was really cut and dry with really over-the-top interactions between the characters. Most of this 20 minute period was filled with running away from the Police and watching cutscenes.
So it was almost 25 minutes before I actually got to go off and explore the island myself.
SLOW STARTER: The game can take 20 minutes before you can get into the action
Missing That Spark
When I saw the initial reviews for this game, it firmly set my expectations for it, because in truth I was rather excited for what it had to offer. In the end, it was exactly what I expected - another Far Cry game. Nothing that really took me by surprise or mixed things up massively, just Far Cry.
From the get go, something felt off about this game. It wasn't what I was used to in Far Cry games or even open world games for that matter. The messages and the method of what it's all about seem to get muddled up for me.
Far Cry is all about going out in a blaze of glory and letting everyone know about it. While there's an ample amount of that, it feels like Ubisoft are trying to cram stealth mechanics down your throat. Almost every mission wants you to scout out the area, slowly work your way through and quietly execute your foes. That's just not how I role in these games and it was far more entertaining to slaughter everyone in sight; far more effective too.
While there are a number of transport methods in Far Cry 6 (driving cars, riding horses and even fast travel) you have to do a lot of running to progress the story. It's not always as straight forward as it seems either, because on an island, there's plenty of water and trees blocking off direct paths. You can try swimming through it, that is if you enjoy being attacked by a Shark or a Crocodile.
When you weren't stuck in an excessively long cutscene or conversation, you will find yourself traversing the map for long periods of time, only to then slingshot back in the opposite direction. All of this contributed to a flat performance and an underwhelming time where I wasn't even invested in what I was doing; I was just going through the motions.
If you can get through the tough parts, it does get a lot better; that's if you make it that far.
TALK IS CHEAP: Seemingly endless cutscenes and transportation make tedious chores more tiresome
You Ok Amigo?
No game is without it's faults, there were a few occasions where the AI would comically lose the plot.
Driving was probably the worst. You'll be strolling down the street, in a car, only for civilians to stop what they're doing and dart straight in front of you. From time to time, I would spot people in vehicles get stuck on objects with no idea how to fix the situation.
What was slightly frustrating was some of the character interactions. When following and talking to certain NPCs, if you went to far ahead or lagged behind they would stop talking mid-sentence, stand still and wait for you to catch up. They'd then restart this sentence meaning you would slowly potter your way up to your objective. If you Fast Travel too quickly, you'd sometimes have a delay between completing a mission and it registering on the game, so you'd be standing in front of someone you need to talk to while talking to them on the phone!
SHUT UP AND DRIVE: NPCs could use some finetuning...
Graphics And Audio
The game's very attractive to look at even on low settings. I did have some frame-rate issues, particularly in the busier parts of the game. Oddly, my FPS dramatically improved once it got to night-time - perhaps as there was less to render?
The game would, strangely, force you into third-person mode in camps that dramatically impacted performance. It was a really strange decision to do that.
The sound was very nice to listen to. While the explosions and gunfire did its best to drown out the sound of wildlife and the breeze rustling through the trees, you could tell the time and effort that went into every sound. The directional audio was particularly solid allowing me to pinpoint where enemies were at all times.
MUSIC TO MY EARS: The audio in Far Cry 6 is spectacular with complimentary visuals
Far Cry was well known for including a traditional multiplayer section in its game, I particularly remember Far Cry 2's multiplayer and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, it wasn't the most polished mode and had to compete with the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield, but it was fantastic for what it was and something a bit different.
The franchise has slowly pushed that out of its games and replaced it with co-op campaign, first appearing in Far Cry 5. You can now play full drop-in, drop-out co-op play. Once you complete the mission 'Du or Die' you can embark on co-op adventures with a buddy or a stranger.
It's a nice way to explore the game, if you're not too keen on the story itself and wreak havoc on the island with a partner in crime; it certainly improves those dull moments of running across the map.
If you're just looking to run through the main quests in Far Cry 6, Dani Rojas' journey from outcast to legend, will run you about 20 hours. That's the longest of the mainline games, besting Far Cry 5 by almost 2 hours. The average time to complete for most via HowLongToBeat pushed the average time to 25-30 hours, due to the engrossing side quests. If you're a completionist, you're looking at almost 50 hours game time.
Fortunately, if you think that's still too little, Far Cry 6 is offering a Season Pass with more content on the way, including three unique DLC expansions; the first of which features Vass in November 2021.
Overall, there's plenty of content to come to justify the price tag associated with it.
STICK A FORK IN ME, I'M FULL: There's plenty of content to keep you going in Far Cry 6
Perhaps my opinion on the game is slightly bias as I felt I was going into it with a bleak outlook and that may have impacted my thoughts. But, usually, I'm always trying to find a way to prove the critics wrong and on this occasion found it hard to do so.
It would be wrong to say that Far Cry 6 isn't a good game, because it is a good game. But, I think that was my issue, it was just a good game. It didn't do much wrong, but it didn't have anything that blew my socks off.
The game is in many ways a carbon copy of Far Cry 3 and 4, to the point where if you played them all in quick succession you may not be able to tell the difference. Is that a bad thing? It depends on which side of the fence you sit on. Game franchises like Call of Duty, FIFA, Assassins Creed release games regularly, with little in terms of difference; but I suppose we're so used to it, it's forgotten about.
Far Cry 6 had the issue that it came out, guns blazing, with a sexy trailer and compelling storyline, only for the purpose of the story to get lost in the mix of the carnage. The game just wasn't quite as good as you were led to believe. Far Cry always has good ideas, but the follow through is never quite on par. Hopefully, the idea of the villains DLC and the nostalgia associated can improve upon its foundations.
If you're a true Far Cry fan, that loved the previous games, it's certainly a pick up. Even if you're not overly sold on it, it's worth a play at some point further down the line; especially as there is so much content available and to come. But, if you were expecting something to change the way we look at video games, you may be a bit disappointed in what you get.