It’s not wrong to want better for your people. You spend tons of money on research, and with the income from your cancer-busting crop, Vivero, you can change the lives of your fellow Yarans. So why do your people resist? Sure, some folks are forced to live as slaves, picking the valuable crop and transporting it to the capital. Of course, some folks might get hurt or killed in the process, but it’s all done in the name of building a Yaran paradise, right? And you made this possible, so why shouldn’t you take the lion’s share of the profits? After all, you made this happen! It’s not hard to empathize with Antón Castillo or his young son Diego at times as you can see what they are trying to accomplish, but let’s be clear…Castillo is a monster, and Diego is being trained as his successor.
Far Cry 6 takes place on the fictional Cuba-inspired islands of Yara. Castillo’s paradise is powered by the blood of the many men, women, and children sacrificed for his greater good. His family and trusted lieutenants control the entire island, with only a handful of rebels left to oppose his total domination. Far Cry 6 is a dark and grisly tale of a brutal dictator and the brave rebels who stopped him. Let’s get into the details.
Your first real decision is picking whether your version of Dani Rojas will be male or female. It has few voiceover implications, and no gameplay impact, but at least the option is there. Once you punch through roughly two hours of linear missions that double as a tutorial you’ll be set loose on the island of Yara proper, having left the starter island behind. How you tackle the rest is up to you.
Right out of the gate, while the formula is becoming somewhat visible at this point, there’s no doubt that the writing is better this time around. Greg Bryk was brilliant as The Father (you can check out our interview with him here, sorry about the audio), and Giancarlo Esposito matches and even exceeds his eccentricities. You really hope Esposito is a nice guy, because wow does he deliver a menacing performance as a villain. What’s great is that the side characters you interact with, and especially your personal weapons master Juan Cortez, are excellently written and deliver their lines perfectly with nary a bad accent in earshot. Matched with some brand new lip sync tech, there’s no doubt that story presentation hits its high point with Far Cry 6.
Not unlike the approach of Far Cry 5, with the Seed family controlling individual sectors of the game, the island of Yara is split into various wards. These lie in the grip of various family members and lieutenants of the Castillo family. As you do just about anything on the island you’ll earn experience points that will slowly level you up. You are free to go anywhere on the island, which is absolutely massive, but you’ll know when you are too far out of your lane. There is a number designating the overall level for the area, but your foes will let you know as they become just about immune to an entire magazine poured into their face. That comes from the largest change to Far Cry — gear.
The largest and most fundamental core pillar change in the core gameplay loop of Far Cry 6 has to do with loot. Moving away from the level focused approach, instead the game emphasizes having the right tools and gear for the job ahead. Boxes scattered around Yara contain guns and equipment that are ranked from 1 star to 4, each with two to four mod slots. For heading into a Vivero crop with a flamethrower, it might make sense to equip a makeshift mask to protect you from the poison, and firefighter gloves to automatically put out any fire that might splash back on you. Similarly, if you are tangling with a base full of heavies, you might want to equip heavier armor to keep yourself safe. There are five slots for equipment, and every set has a series of unique and often-helpful attributes, such as faster sprint, punchier headshots, and more. Similarly, the weapons you pick up will have a number of mod slots to build them out for the situation ahead, with scopes, stocks, and even ammunition types being interchangeable at any mod station. In practice, the ammunition matters more than the gear more often than not, so ensure you are bringing armor piercing and non armor piercing weapons or expect the enemies to be especially spongy.
Beyond your three weapons and sidearm, you’ll be given a Supremo. A resolvered (read: cobbled together out of junk) weapon, the Supremo is a backpack with all sorts of special attacks that can turn the tide of battle. The first one you get launches a volley of rockets, but there are others that will spray a toxin to make enemies turn on one another, emit an EMP pulse to disable security systems, blast out an explosive fire ring, self-revive and heal, launch into a machete-wielding berserker rage, or reveal and mark all enemies while allowing you to fire through walls to take them out. They all also have several mod slots to grant additional boons like explosives, a baseball launcher to distract enemies, throwing knives, and more.
Out in the world you’ll also find named weapons and gear. I didn’t find these uniques to be overly useful thus far as they seem to have less mod slots that match my gameplay style, though I can’t say I’ve found them all.
Like any Ubisoft game, there are a number of activities available to you once you get past the tutorial portion of the game. Fishing, dominoes, cock fighting, racing, and hunting, plus criptograma charts, roosters, USB sticks with songs on them, and the 143 hidden histories of Yara just scratch the surface of what you can do in Yara. Even if you stay on the narrow story path, you’ll find plenty to do here.
Once you’ve finally established a foothold in Yara, it’ll be time to build your base. With a nod back to Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, you’ll have several choices of upgrades, but only two can be selected. Each camp can have different upgrades, giving you access to the Hideout Network, Guerrilla Garrison, La Cantina, Bandidos Barracks, Fishing Hut, and Hunter’s Lodge. These upgrades provide your guerillas with additional gear, weapons, or permanent buffs, but it can also give you access to additional gear, reveal fast travel locations, fishing and hunting spots, and enemy hideouts, just to name a few things. Each of these can be upgraded three times, if you have collected the right resources. It can also give you access to the Wingsuit, as well as to a bow for hunting activities (be they animal or otherwise).
There’s no way you can take on Castillo alone. As you explore Yara you’ll find folks who need your help (Yaran’s Tales) who may join your crew afterwards. When you’ve located and recruited a lieutenant you’ll have the opportunity to launch “Bandito Operations”. Deploying leaders and troops, you’ll engage in deployment activities that closely resemble the missions from Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. And just like the minions in recent Assassin’s Creed Games, they’ll complete their missions in a specified amount of time based on job difficulty. Each mission will have a number of decisions that will impact their success. For example, the first mission is to recover a weapon from a FND cave. You can take the direct route which will net you 300 pesos, but you could lose up to 2 of your soldatos. Hidden guerilla paths are your second choice, netting you 31 gasolina, and reducing your losses to a maximum of 1, but at the loss of the peso reward. The last option is full camo which will net you 32 medicine, and also reducing your potential losses to one, but once again at the cost of your precious pesos. Balancing risk, reward, and potential impacts is your job. Fulfilling the first portion of the job, you’ll be presented with three more choices with similar rewards and risks.
Each Los Banditos mission has suggested useful leader skills like construction, a ghillie suit, sniper skills, or even being reckless. Each skill, plus some guerilla muscle, gives you an increased opportunity to succeed, but it’s ultimately your choices (and a little RNG) that’ll determine the outcome. Recruits can be added by freeing hostages, defacing posters, and destroying billboards, which has a secondary effect — it keeps you on the ground more often. In previous Far Cry games, once you unlocked a helicopter there was little reason to touch the ground. Here, you have missions abound that can help you further your guerilla agenda. It’s a simple trick, but a highly effective one.
On the ground, you’ll have a few choices to take your fight to Castillo and his army. Sure, you can steal their vehicles, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have some resolvered tools of your own. There are four classic cars you can trick out with two offensive and two defensive items like guns and bumpers that can shred tires. There are also dozens of cosmetics from the horn to what kind of hat you like resting on your dashboard. Any vehicle you find in the world can be brought back to an appropriate spawn location, allowing you to take them into the field later. Planes, choppers, jeeps, trucks, tanks, boats, jet skis, and more give you a wealth of options to play your way.
The buddy system in Far Cry 5 was a fantastic addition, so it’s great to see Amigos in Far Cry 6. You’ll unlock an alligator named Guapo shortly into the campaign, capable of doing a tremendous amount of damage to enemies, throwing them around. A little puppy in a wheelchair named Chorizo can distract foes by either nipping at them, or being extra cute so they pet him, aiding in stealth operations. Other creatures that I’ll let you discover will give you additional options, but they are most fun when you find them yourself. Just remember that “Chicharrón” is fried pork, not chicken — you’ll see what I mean.
Roughly two hours into the game you’ll be able to join up with a compadre to tackle the rest of the game cooperatively. I imagine it’s by design, but only the hosting player gets credit for completing story missions. You get to keep your levels, cash, and other rewards, but no campaign progress. It seems like it would have been trivial to store a yes/no value on whether both players completed a thing together or not, but it means once player A is the host, it needs to stay that way. This does mean that joining another player won’t suddenly jump you to the end, but it seems like there’s a better way. Regardless of how it works, online play does work well. It’s cross-generational, but not cross-platform, but I never ran into any issues other than being a clone of one another outside of cutscenes.
There are two quickplay “special operations” missions you can jump into, with four listed as “coming soon”. They are offshoot missions for fun, offering up such things as stealing a specific weapon from the visitor’s center of Mesozoic Park. In these missions you’ll earn “Moneda” which can be spent at the black market. That market seems to refresh every day, not unlike the special stores in recent Assassin’s Creed games so check back often. The items sold here can be weapons, tchotchkes, or even materials you can use to upgrade your Supremo, so it’s worth a stop.
We tackled this on multiple platforms, so let’s check in with David and Adam on the PlayStation 5 version!
David Burdett & Adam Moreno – PS5:
When it comes to playing on PlayStation’s fifth generation of console, things run extremely well. We certainly heard the sad news that ray tracing was out in order to make sure the console runs a steady 4K60, and while that sucks, it’s definitely the right decision. Far Cry 6 runs buttery smooth on the PS5, so it seems the choice to go for performance over fidelity was a good one. With the PS5’s SSD technology, all of the loading is nearly instantaneous as well, so this is definitely a premiere option for playing Far Cry 6 if you don’t have all the bells and whistles on your PC (or can’t get a hold of a newer graphics card).
As for the DualSense, I’m always down to talk about this feature many thought to be a gimmick, but actually changes the way a development team can immerse you in a video game. Far Cry 6 does a good job utilizing these new options, although some are more pronounced than others. With the haptic feedback, it’s literally nonexistent at the start. No foot falls, nothing when you run, nothing for jumping. Now, if you slide, you get some rumble feedback, but everything from there onward involves riding a horse or driving. It’s not necessarily the best utilization of haptics, it really operates more like rumble, but it’s an okay start.
The adaptive triggers… my Lord. The usual heft of the weapon changes the squishiness of the left trigger, but as soon as you go to fire an automatic weapon things go haywire. Not only do you feel it in the right trigger, but the left also fights you as if the weapon was jerking about in your hands. This led me to feeling the recoil as my gun climbed with each exploding bullet, and to a degree also made me feel like I was less accurate. Most will probably end up turning the trigger effects off as they can be a little distracting, but to me it was as close to holding an assault rifle as I may get in the near future.
For our Xbox Series X perspective, let’s hear what Anthony has to say.
Anthony Shelton – Xbox Series X:
Knowing we were working on a comparison between the three current platforms, I needed to buy a 4K monitor, and my goodness the difference in fidelity pays off in Far Cry 6. Ubisoft knows it too. They’re not shy of working the close-ups of Anton Castillo’s face during the opening cutscene and the Xbox Series X renders it with fidelity that looks comparable to a 4K powered PC. For the most part, the framerate doesn’t dip. I’ve replayed the first 7 hours multiple times and only in the wildest camera swings does the framerate noticeably drop, but even then, it’s not consistent. It seems file saving and online background action briefly affects performance because frame drops didn’t happen in the same place twice. After one of the Montero missions earlier in the game, there was a moment of screen tearing as I dropped down multiple cliffs to get back to camp, but that was an anomaly. Otherwise, the colors pop and most textures bring out the beauty of Yara, but Xbox is consistent with PC texture problems – some look noticeably awful, which you can clearly see on the woman’s shirt when I’m scouting the base in this gameplay video.
I had a few issues with loading that I’m not sure were a fault of the Series X or the game itself. A few times I had to restart the game in order to escape an infinite loading screen. If the circle started wrapping around the spinning logo, it glitched. I know that because the game didn’t take more than 5-7 seconds to load anything when it functioned properly.
My experience with co-op was shocking. It performed incredibly well, particularly since I played with someone on Xbox One. I did not anticipate how fast loading times would still be and how smooth online would be, as well. My partner loaded into the game slower than me, obviously, but it was only 10-15 seconds, and I didn’t have to wait for him to load into my game. Not bad considering loading times across some of the largest open-world and multiplayer experiences available on the Xbox One. We had no problem with lag, either. Since there’s no way to mark a specific target to your partner, we communicated our targets verbally and nothing was out of sync in the game.
We’ve prepared a three-panel comparison for the PC at maximum settings running on a 3080 Ti, a PlayStation 5, and an Xbox Series X, all running at 4K resolution. As you’ll see below, the differences between them are marginal at best. Realtime ray traced lighting looks gorgeous on PC, but it’s no slouch on consoles. This is one instance where you cannot go wrong, regardless of your platform.
There are a few areas that could use some improvement for Far Cry 6. Your AI partners are little help in the field. I had one instance where an AI partner rode up on a horse, dismounted, and walked around a bit. We were on a mission, trying to get to her familial home (and ultimately our first base hub), but she wasn’t having it. She wandered around confused until I shot her in the face, resuscitated her, and then nudged her towards a horse. Several minutes of stop and go nudging to get her going the right direction ultimately finished this escort mission, but not my frustration.
During another sequence I had to assault a base and liberate it from Castillo’s men while rescuing a hostage. The hostage and I could have escaped quietly, but he was more interested in running through the middle of the base half naked, pissing off the whole place. I jumped into a nearby truck and watched in frustration until he finally decided to wander his lazy tail over to get in the car…just as the tank shot us in the face. Rolling out of the car on fire, I expired on the ground, holding the spacebar to stem the bleeding. I died there as the prisoner stood on my corpse, being shot in the face repeatedly. Good times.
The final frustration for AI comes from fire. The Tostador weapon is a miniature flamethrower that you can use to burn Vivero fields en masse. It also works well on enemies, but those foes hardly react to being set on fire, running straight towards you while firing their guns or driving like “Yep, this is fine”. It’d be nice to see the AI have some sort of reaction to full-body immolation.
While the bulk of Far Cry 6 looks fantastic, even at Ultra settings, there are some ugly textures, especially up close. A nasty side effect of continued support of previous generation consoles, this means you’ll see blocky and blurry maps at point blank range. Character models look great at any distance, but you’ll see some objects with less detail than you’d expect. When you see games like Red Dead Redemption II, Horizon Zero Dawn, or even Ubisoft’s own Assassin’s Creed Valhalla which look fantastic and are from the previous generation, it leaves me wondering if there’s a bug in the HD textures pack.
Far Cry 6 introduces a grappling hook in the first hour of the game, and you’ll use it to get around during specific sequences, but it’s not as useful as it could be. There are many times where it would be useful to climb up a small rock face, but the grappling hook is only usable against specifically indicated points. Perhaps in our next outing we could see something more freeing.
I do want to give props to the Ubisoft team for bringing a goodie over from their upcoming Rider’s Republic or Steep games — the Wingsuit. Leaping off of a huge cliff only to zip through the skies like a murderous flying squirrel is an absolute blast. There are a few missions where you’ll be racing through the skies, and they are always a highlight.
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6 is the next iteration of the Far Cry universe, and you can see some of the blending from other Ubisoft properties here. While the formula may be a little more visible than we’d like, and the AI could use a shot in the arm, what is here is a thrill ride adventure sure to give fans of the franchise exactly what they are looking for.