Liberty, Equality, Monotony
Viva la repetición! Proudly touting itself as “a Ubisoft Original” (as the fourth Far Cry game this generation alone, this is a stretch) Far Cry 6 brings the series onto the new generation of consoles for the first time. What advantages does this leap bring?
Beginning with a generic pre-baked intro, you escape a despotic city takeover and wind up shipwrecked on a South American island, the fictional Yara. From here you join with a group of local revolutionaries to take down the tyrannical Gustavo Fring… uh, Giancarlo Esposito, a terrifyingly photo-realistic rendition of TV’s most consistently satisfying villain. Following his Better Call Saul co-star Michael Mando (Far Cry 3’s Vas) Esposito brings a level of class to the proceedings, a performance more suitable for a much less juvenile game.
Tediously childish and overwritten humour permeates this narrative to a numbing degree. Playing this, you’ll wish for the relative moral complexity of Woody Allen’s Bananas. That you’re trapped listening to AI companions gibber on in so many missions is hellish. The less said of the cock-fighting mini-game the better and some idiotic stereotyping is disappointing. The story is so disjointed that it feels like an afterthought, perhaps being let loose on Yaras without context may have been better? One can only dream of a Ubisoft game with the narrative flexibility of a Breath of the Wild. Coming off his work on Breaking Bad and with Spike Lee, it’s embarrassing what basic material Esposito was handed here.
Size isn’t everything
Initially, the map size is welcomely pared back compared to the usual open-world bloat; until you realise you haven’t zoomed the camera back fully. The long sigh that comes with realising you have numerous security checkpoints to clear and endless radio towers to climb is the curse of the genre. The endless list of repetitive side-content becomes exhausting, especially now that the series’ patented chaos has become so predictable.
The moment-to-moment gameplay is decently thrilling. Moving through the world is fluid, using a grappling hook to climb cliffs and a parachute to get down makes for a flexible way to traverse the vast landscape. Anything is better than using the vehicles, the first-person perspective actively impeding movement. Yara is a gorgeous environment but with minimal distinction between areas the size of the world becomes more oppressive than the fictional Fascists you’re slaughtering. At least the music is lovely, excellently flavouring the proceedings thanks to Pedro Bromfman.
Shoot to… thrill?
As for gunplay? Uninspired but blasting dumb AI goons will always be enjoyable. The Resolver super-weapons are showy but trivialise combat encounters. They’re unlocked way too early, allowing you to blast through enemy compounds almost effortlessly. That said, it’s a more enjoyable approach than the half-baked and utterly boring stealth approach. That you can now keep your weapon holstered to avoid some encounters altogether is a thoughtful touch, a pacifistic approach would have been an interesting avenue to explore further.
Speaking of thoughtful, the gear options are a nice surprise. Unlocking clothing options provide unique perks and avoids the equipment bloat of so many genre contemporaries. An early mission provides you with a gas mask and special gloves to protect against poison and fire damage respectively, far more interesting choices than the usual minor stat bonuses.
The game is bizarrely proud of having workbenches to customise equipment, seemingly ignorant to what a staple of the genre this is? If you drink every time they’re mentioned you’ll quickly be drunk as a skunk. Yet also somehow never drunk enough to find them interesting? A curious dilemma.
Although the animal companions are utterly pointless aside there’s admittedly a charm to having a crocodile buddy. At least until you’re expected to revive the forsaken creature for the hundredth time during a firefight. A croc pal is no substitute for being a lone wolf.
Far Cry is a series in dire need of reinvention. The formula has grown so stale that not even the typical stunt casting for the villain is noteworthy anymore. In order to go forward, the developers should look to the past. The actual spontaneity and danger of Far Cry 2 is totally absent from newer titles. The possible return of the style and humour of Blood Dragon (included with the season pass) would be a godsend. As for Far Cry 6? This revolution should not be televised.