I've been playing Far Cry 6 for 20 hours and I'm having to accept the revolution isn't coming.
Set on the fictional islands of Yara, a Cuba-like country under the tyrannical rule of Anton Castillo, you play a fighter in the rebel group Libertad. Your mission is to visit other rebel factions spread across the islands, complete missions for them so they join your cause and, together, you'll depose Castillo and bring in a new, better future for the nation.
It checks all of the Far Cry boxes: first-person combat and vehicles; a charismatic villain, this time played by Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito; animal companions, including a cute sausage dog named Chorizo; and even the obligatory drunk/hallucinogenic mission that's been included since Far Cry 3. It continues newer features, such as Far Cry New Dawn's settlements, and changes old systems, like the skill tree. But it doesn't stray too far from the path.
Yara's a huge world to explore, taking in multiple islands, and one huge landmass made up of farmlands, marshes, and mountains. There's a single major city in the north east where Castillo's hold is strongest. It's all verdant greens and rust reds, and makes for a very pretty backdrop for a revolution. Lining the roads that crisscross the island are billboards of Castillo propaganda, the towns are filled with attractive little bars and the coast is dotted with fishing launches. It's picturesque, as so many of Far Cry's settings are.
But, in many ways Far Cry 6 feels like a bland version of the games that came before it. I was able to approach every outpost in the same way. Find a high spot, scan the area with my phone to spot all the enemies and security cameras, and then snipe them with my silenced rifle. If a tank or helicopter turned up I could fire my Supremo, a back-mounted homing missile launcher, and that cluster of explosives would normally take the enemy vehicle out in one go. The AI struggled to put up much of a fight. Many times this would be because I'd not broken the rules that would let it notice me - I'd kept out of sight, I'd used a silencer, and I'd killed soldiers in one shot. Admittedly, it would have felt unfair if the AI had discovered me through some kind of omniscience. But, in later missions, I went in loud, firing off volleys of rockets, throwing grenades, blowing up explosive barrels, and still found that I could kill clusters of enemies on one side of the base and come across soldiers blissfully unaware of my extremely loud attack on the other.
This is a real let down, as in other Far Cry games, the design of outposts invited different styles of play and I don't remember stealth tactics being so ridiculously effective.
Perhaps the weapon I crafted early on was just too good. But a semi-automatic rifle with a basic silencer and a 3x sight shouldn't break the balance of the game. Yet, 20 hours on I was still using that gun more than any other.
It's an interesting choice to drop Far Cry's long-used skill tree in favour of equipment and weapon mods. Gear you find hidden in caches across the island provides things like quieter running and increased defense against fire damage, and you can fit your guns with different ammo types, such as poison or incendiary ammo - all the sort of perks that would have required skill points in the past.
You are encouraged throughout the game by the characters around you to study your enemy and pick the right tool for the job. I think the expectation is that you'd study an enemy base to find the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies and then go to a workbench to craft a load out specific to the challenge - countering armoured enemies with armour-piercing bullets, for instance. But, I never found the need, my trusty rifle and rocket launcher did the job against all my enemies.
Yara is littered with resources to collect. Scrap metal, fuel, medicine, fat stacks of loot that can all be spent at your settlements to build things like a canteen or hideout network. The latter is particularly useful, letting you open up fast travel locations around Yara, helping you cut down on the travel time between missions. But the former, which lets you trade in animal meats for limited time stat boosts, was something I never had any need to use. Again, because my basic gun was more than enough to meet the challenge of the Yaran military, without the need for one hour of extra health.
There's such a strong disconnect between the stakes of the story and the world it takes place in. You spend dozens of hours in the company of characters who are trying to topple a government, watching these fragmented groups find their heart, and come together with revolutionary purpose. Yet, in the game world, where you spend your time, so little of this is reflected.
As your revolution progresses, little about the island substantially changes. You capture the military checkpoints that segment the island's main roads and destroy the anti-aircraft guns dotted across Yara's landscape. This flutter of change removes minor blockers to your travel and little else. Drive through an enemy checkpoint without stopping and your car's tyres will be shredded. Fly within range of an anti-air gun and you'll be shot down. So capturing and destroying these installations means you can travel from A to B more easily, but it hardly matches up with the scale of change suggested in the story.
The effect of all this is that Yara never feels like a country in the middle of a revolution. The civilians bark lines of world-building at each other and dutifully try to get out of the way of your car, the soldiers drive up and down the roads of Yara waiting for an opportunity to react to you, and occasionally you'll run into fellow rebels waiting to react to soldiers that are waiting to react to you. But it doesn't feel connected to the developments of the story beyond the Yaran military getting better armour and equipment as you level up.
I really wanted Far Cry 6 to be more than the previous games. A shake up of the formula that accounted for the violence of its setting. You're leading a revolution, starting a vicious civil war between entrenched factions, this is something open world games can reflect so well as areas of its land change based on your actions. But, disappointingly, it not only does little with its premise but is a poor version of things Far Cry has done well in the past.
Pros: Luscious world, good vehicle handling.
Cons: Stale gameplay, minor glitches
For fans of: Far Cry, Just Cause
Far Cry 6 is available October 7 for PC (version tested), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Code for review was supplied by the publisher. Find a guide to GAMINGbible's review scores here.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read