Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
Reviewed on: PS5
Also available on: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.
Release: 6th October 2021
Price: $79.00 - Big W
The Far Cry series is one of my favourite franchises from Ubisoft. Having this latest title set on a relatively fictitious island of Yara allows for a revolution on an island while also being able to have a blast riding around a tropical paradise giving a much needed balance to the series bringing back the fun element while still being able to balance the serious stuff at the same time. While the game isn’t visually what I expected on next gen consoles, the gameplay, story and experience more than make up for this delivering the best Far Cry title made so far.
Players are inserted as Dany Rohas (you can choose male or female) in which you have to try and find a way off the island to be “free’ in the USA living the American dream. While a certain trail of events effectively de-rail this plan, Dany must survive the island and band together with local rebels to take back control from the tyrant Anton Castillo, who is mo-caped by the incredibly talented Giancarlo Esposito. This title however has an introduction that will raise more questions than answers about the region, you are immediately in the middle of a war zone in Esperanza, the hub of Castillo’s dictatorship. Dany has been chosen by the military to die on a plantation as a military abandoner. The state has found a cure for cancer called Viviro, the catch is it is grown and bought to health by using toxic chemicals that cause a lot of people to die during the process.
While you run and crawl through the urban space evading the military and tanks attempting to capture you, Dany gets through the city and onto a boat heading for the USA. Not all goes to plan and through one of the more depressing and shocking escape sequences seen in a game to date, Dany ends up on a tropical island ready to join the fight against Castillo and his militia populating military checkpoints all over the island and surrounding areas.
After a couple of hours of walking around the first island, you really get an idea into what is happening in this region as the map reveals itself and boy is it huge. This looks to be the biggest area in a Far Cry title to date with access to boats, jet skis and other water craft to allow you to travel between islands. You can also access a wide range of cars, trucks, tanks, planes and horses to travel across the sprawling landscape. The biggest addition here are horses, it seems like a really long time coming but it seems to fit in perfectly in this tropical paradise. While the vehicles are fast and loaded with weapons, it is much easier to whip around horseback. It is worth nothing that the horseback riding is also done in first person with interesting camera angles and haptic feedback on the PS5 controller to immerse players into the experience.
Usually the story is at the front of these titles so I was very impressed to see that Far Cry 6 has put the tutorials and allowing exploration to the front of this game, allowing you to dip in and out of the story as much or as little as you want to without forcing interruption. A lot of other games do this or go to the other extreme, Ubisoft have found the right balance with Far Cry 6 and I hope it is something that is utilised in future sequels.
As you travel from island to island, there is a central hub to unlock and this is your resistance base. The bases are expansive with many different merchants available to unlock abilities, call your stored vehicles, upgrade weapons and take on different side quests from the locals that are part of the resistance. You can also build expansions at your base offering things like improved reward opportunities, more loot and new merchant shops. You are restricted to two so make sure you choose wisely, you can however upgrade them as you progress and level up in the game.
Speaking of levelling up, your character does follow a progression system, like other titles the world levels increase as well making things more difficult as you travel around. If you are waiting to level up before you go back to a mission, the mission will get harder as your character levels up so I found it was easier to find alternative ways to approach it. You can collect many items and ammo as you complete missions, when you kill soldiers, you need to walk over their dead bodies to collect ammo (oddly morbid) You also collect gasoline, metal scraps, gunpowder and animal meat and skins. These can all be used at workstations to upgrade your weapons and gear with no lack of options. The biggest surprise is a backpack called Supremo, it can be customised with various functions like healing abilities for you and your team, deploying a fog to confuse surrounding enemies or my personal favourite a bomb filled pack that deploys missiles that can take down helicopters, tanks and large numbers of enemies around you. There is a cool down period between uses so use this only when you really need to.
Dany’s appearance can be customised with gear now offering various degrees of protection. You can get things like blast-proof pants which stop you from dying quickly when you are blasted with gunfire. I found it easier to constantly check gear I collected to make sure that I was using the right gear for the right kind of mission.
The performance everyone will be talking about is Giancarlo Esposito and his relationship with his young son whom he so desperately wants to follow in his footsteps. His intimidating presence and unpredictable personality to the different situations like choosing a vinyl record and pouring a glass of something strong upon learning of a death of a close friend, in other moments his reactions are violent and physical. The most intimidating and scary looking enemy is one who is unpredictable and Esposito delivers this performance flawlessly. Dany on the other hand can be a little jarring as the game is played in first person but switches to third person in the cut scenes. While I understand why they did this, it just pulls you out of the story when things get too real. The scene is always stolen though by Chorizo the incredibly cute and daring dachshund puppy who will steal your heart. There is a pet crocodile who will be with you from the start of the game but will constantly be taken out mid battle without much effort from the enemy. If you do get enemy crocs sneaking up and attempting to take you out, having your pet croc intervene is really the only benefit of having him around.
Graphically the game did drift below my expectations. There is a HD texture pack to download, however ray tracing is restricted to PC versions only which is quite disappointing considering how great games like Watch Dogs Legion and AC Valhalla looked on next gen consoles. The island is beautifully detailed with the water effects a dramatic improvement over previous titles. Performance wise it does run well with dramatically short loading times as you fast travel around the huge map.
Far Cry 6 is a welcome improvement on the previous few titles. The story stands out as a gripping and family tale that involves a nation crying out for change. Carefully choosing incredible performances from all of the lead characters is a huge part of the success of this story. Bringing in new fighting mechanics and allowing players new and old time to settle into these was the right call to make. Far Cry 6 is the most fun I have had with the series so far and I can’t wait to continue delving into all the side missions and fun that awaits when you complete the main story.
Far Cry 6 has absolutely forced its way into our GOTY conversation, with voting to take place soon. Available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC, grab it for yourself and see for yourself what were talking about.