Foxy Shazam have Feb. 14 circled on their calendar, so it's only fitting that the first taste of music from their upcoming album is titled "I'm in Love." The eclectic rock collective have put the final touches on their seventh studio album, The Heart Behead You, which is now set for a Valentine's Day 2022 release."I'm in Love" clocks in at just over a minute, giving fans a dreamy, horn-filled […]
Far Cry 6 on PlayStation 5
“When tyranny becomes law, resistance becomes duty.” This Thomas Jefferson quote is retorted by Far Cry 6‘s protagonist Dani Rojas at a significant moment in his battle against the game’s chief antagonist and Yara’s dictator Anton Castillo. It stuck in my head for two reasons: firstly, it perfectly sums up why you’re fighting in Far Cry 6. The members of revolutionary group Libertad, having been downtrodden for years are finally ready to reunite rebel factions across the country and overthrow the corrupt Castillo regime once and for all. Second, it’s a very profound quote to be uttered in a game where you’re also jamming CDs of the Macarena into people’s throats… literally.
That’s by no means a bad thing. If anything, Far Cry 6 feels as though the series is beginning to tackle more complex themes, while still retaining its tongue-in-cheek charm and undoubtedly satisfying combat, its sandbox open world, and its checklist approach to activities.
For fans of the series, Far Cry 6 is yet another triumph that you’re going to want to slap your hard-earned cash down on the counter for. But the double-edged sword of such an approach is that it doesn’t do quite enough to convert non-believers of Ubisoft’s sandbox FPS series.
Let’s set the scene a bit here first. You’re Dani Rojas a male — or female, dependent on your choice — guerrilla who is just learning the ropes of the ‘revolución’ lifestyle. After escaping from the Yaran capital of Esperanza, you awake on the beach of an isolated island and meet Clara Garcia, the leader of Libertad. She, alongside veteran guerrilla — and persistent wise guy — Juan Cortez show Dani the ropes of using their skills to help overturn Castillo’s army, before letting them loose on the mainland of Yara to reek complete and utter chaos.
Yara is ruled by Anton Castillo — voiced and mo-capped by Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian fame — who has vowed to help restore the country to its former glory by way of Viviro, a drug that can help treat cancer. Through the manufacturing and production process of this Earth-shattering drug to the market, however, Castillo has poisoned (from spraying the tobacco plants with a chemical required to create the drug), abused, and divided his people, leading to constant unrest and the inevitable uprising against him.
Anton Castillo isn’t alone, though. His son, Diego follows in his father’s shadow, always in tow, often mortified by the sights and sounds of his father’s own doing. But he also knows he must one day lead Yara, much like his father is, and so this provides an interesting dynamic throughout.
He’s a smart lad, and clearly struggles to come to terms with the moral dilemma of keeping his father happy, while acknowledging the horrors he’s unleashed. You never quite know how Diego’s story will pan out, and relatively frequent cutscenes portraying the fragile father-son relationship — elevated by Esposito’s fantastic performance — help break up the action and keep you hooked on the larger, overarching plot.
It’s this relationship with his own son that makes Castillo a villain worthy of the Far Cry series. Not only is he morally corrupt and cruel, but his constant attempts to mold his son into someone that deep down he isn’t reinforces the notion that he’s a nasty piece of work.
My only criticism is I wish I’d seen more of the Castillo father and son dynamic. While they did show up after major points in the story for a quick cutscene — many of which have lingered in my thoughts days after initially watching them — Diego’s character development, in particular, felt like it needed a little more time in the oven for the eventual outcome to really hit home.
As the Libertad’s newest recruit, you’re tasked with visiting the three main regions of Yara in order to help the rebel factions that reside there. Of course, each rebel group has its own opposite in a senior member of Castillo’s regime. In that regard, Far Cry 6 plays out much the same as its immediate predecessor based in Hope County. You’ll visit each of these areas, helping out the local guerrillas and rebels take down the local establishment, ultimately culminating in a battle against a mini-boss in each area.
I enjoyed this in Far Cry 5 and I like it here, too. It helps break up the monotony of the series’ tried and tested main mission formula — visit a base, kill a bunch of people either stealthily or all-guns-blazing, grab an item, and get out of there. It also makes a little more sense in Yara. After all, El Presidenté Castillo can’t run an entire country on his own, and so you’re tasked with taking down his head honchos in order to weaken his grasp on the country before taking him on.
This involves a lot of what we’ve come to expect from the series. Fetch quests to gather important items, vehicles, or other resources for your uprising efforts, and plenty of capturing bases and taking out enemy forces in any way you see fit.
Ubisoft has also thrown in some pretty fantastic missions in there to mix things up a little bit. In one I went out on a big celebratory bender with my guerrilla mate, staggering through the streets of a town before having a heart-to-heart on a rooftop. And, in another, I was the muscle for a live rap performance defending the stars from an onslaught of enemies, choppers and all.
These missions not only helped to break up the monotony of the usual story quests but also lend some more character to your ensemble cast. Too often have characters in previous titles been forgettable, but in Far Cry 6, most of them were memorable for one reason or another. Be it Juan’s hilarious antics, Paolo and Talia’s authentic-feeling relationship with its highs and lows, or the valiant El Tigré and his words of wisdom.
That being said, there were some fetch quests that felt as though they were really stretching out how far you had to travel across the enormous map in order to complete, just for the sake of padding out the game’s runtime. Given fast travel points aren’t always near to an objective, this can result in rather long, uneventful journeys from point to point, slowing the pacing down between bouts of adrenaline-pumping action or tense stealthy takedowns of entire groups of enemies.
But it’s Far Cry 6’s vast levels of customization and variety that help to keep things fresh, even when the mission format feels like it’s growing a little stale. With the addition of new Supremo weapons that offer up insane ‘super’ abilities such as a literal rocket launcher on your back, an EMP blast, or an unlockable one that allows you to shoot through walls.
When combined with the right gun, you can adjust your approach to suit how you’re feeling, going through silent stealth in one to crashing a helicopter into the middle of a base and Macarena CD’ing someone in the face, before sending your anti-social cockerel buddy Chicharron into the fray for good measure.
On top of that, Far Cry 6 differs from its predecessors in making your gear or clothing more important than ever before. It’s no longer just how your character looks, but each set of boots, pants, or upper body attire grants you different buffs. Some are more straightforward enhancing your defense against certain damage types, while others grant you a speed boost when reloading or make your footsteps quieter.
There’s an absolute ton of gear to find scattered across Yara in chests, but if you’re not interested in it, you won’t be hindered too much for ignoring it. These, combined with Supremo mods replace the skill trees from previous games and this limits the amount you can have equipped at any one time. I didn’t find this detracted from my enjoyment of the game, however, as it instead encourages you to try out different combinations and options to see what suits you best, and once I had, I seldom changed.
The other two main additions in Far Cry 6 come in the Guerrilla Base Camps you’ll establish in each of the three regions. Here, you’ll find a Workbench to customize all your weaponry with different scopes and attachments, a shop to purchase gear and weapons, and it’s normally where your rebel compadres will be found waiting to give you your next assignment.
Each one also has two slots for you to craft one of six different facilities. For example, you can build a Hideout Network that allows you to build the much-loved wingsuit and the ability to purchase Hideout locations for Fast Travel. A Guerilla Garrison supplies fighters with better weapons and training, and you’ll be able to use recon laptops at vantage points to scout FND Bases and get a better idea of what lies in wait.
You’re going to need crafting materials to build them, but these are so commonly found lying around Yara that you’re never going to be struggling to build any of them (or weapon attachments, for that matter) throughout the game.
You’ve also got the side activity of Bandido Operations, which sees you sending out AI leaders and bandidos to complete little missions to earn you additional crafting materials or Pesos. You’ll select a mission, wait 10-20 minutes and then select how to approach each of the three stages in the mission. Each one has a varying degree of success and has different costs attributed to it.
The issue is there doesn’t always seem to be a clear reason as to why the option with a 95% success rate that you selected decides it’s going to fail, outside of RNG. With little control over how these missions play out outside of picking the choices (often just going for the one with the highest chance of success), they’re very much take it or leave it kind of feature.
After dabbling in five or six of these, I left them. They’re not important nor are they all that enjoyable to actually partake in. The random wait time before you can choose your options also means you’ll often select the ones you want to take on and then forget about them when you go off and do some other, more interesting missions where you’re the one shooting stuff, not just picking some pre-defined choices.
Outside of the main missions, Far Cry 6 offers a plethora of side content to dive into. There are FND Bases and Checkpoints to capture, opening up fast travel locations, anti-air weapons you’ll need to take down to enable you to fly aircraft through dangerous areas, Treasure Hunts which see you diving into the historic lore of Yara challenging your traversal skills (a personal favorite), and Yaran Stories which often give you a chance to meet more of the colorful and eccentric citizens of Yara.
All of this helps to make Yara feel like a place just teeming with things to see and do. To accidentally stumble upon, like a guy who had been engaged in a long-term battle with a vicious mongoose, only for me to unintentionally free it and have to sprint through the seaside village to hunt it down, or following the clues hidden in a poet’s poems to find where his beloved lay with his treasure, or the legend of La Princesa in Blue Hole Cave. There are so many fantastic side stories like this that make Yara a joy to simply explore and uncover that it’s completely possible you’ll spend hours without even touching the main missions.
It’s this that makes those filler fetch quests in the main story arc feel that little bit more of a nuisance to me. The game doesn’t need filler because it’s jam-packed with explosive action and interesting tales as it is without it. I imagine these fetch quests might not be as irritating for those playing at a more leisurely pace than I was able to for the purpose of this review, but I still found myself rolling my eyes at the number of times they popped up.
I did also have a slight grievance with Far Cry 6’s difficulty settings. Shifting away from its predecessors’ Easy, Normal, and Hard, the game opts for simply Story and Action. The latter is the one you’re going to want to go for if you’ve played an FPS before.
It offers some semblance of a challenge, though I did find this a bit of a breeze. The ‘Story’ setting makes it incredibly difficult to die. As in, ‘tank blast to the face and you’ve still got a good chunk of your health bar left,’ levels of difficulty to die. I get Ubisoft wants to make its games more accessible for all players and I applaud that, but why the ‘Story’ difficulty couldn’t be added in alongside the usual options I’m not entirely sure. I found myself clamoring for a more challenging experience throughout most of the game, with things only getting mildly more difficult towards the end.
Far Cry 6 is yet more of what makes the series so lovable as an FPS fan. It’s a big open-world sandbox free for you to experiment in with outrageous weapons and eccentric characters. Yara takes this all one step further and brings it to life with fantastic environmental visions. The lush greens of jungles, deep blues of its oceans, and the dusty pinks and browns of its buildings make for a real feast for the eyes when playing on next-gen consoles.
That being said, it wasn’t without a few performance problems and strange bugs. In almost every cutscene, the framerate seems to chug and consistently jerk every few frames. I want to say this is down to the frame-time between frames being inconsistent every few seconds, but whatever it is, it doesn’t make for a pleasant viewing experience, which is a little disappointing given how great the game looks.
Elsewhere I had a few instances where I randomly blew up when flying an aircraft, or died when using my wingsuit (and no, I wasn’t in a no-fly zone), or my vehicle vanished less than a minute after hopping out of it. I also couldn’t open my weapon wheel at all in one instance, forcing me to head to the PS5 home screen, close the game entirely and load it back up.
Despite the bugs, the déjà vu I get from sneaking around an FND Base, and the filler, I still found myself having a blast in Far Cry 6, both literally and metaphorically (I’m sorry). After 40 hours in, I’m still eager to hop back in, venturing further off the beaten path, clearing out any lingering FND Bases and checking out the Insurgency post-game content to grind out additional weapons and rewards. With a solid story, an engaging cast of characters, and a plethora of enthralling side content, Far Cry 6 is an easy recommendation for FPS fans. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to head back out on the road with ma boy Chicharron.
Reviewer: Chris Jecks | Award: Editor’s Choice | Copy provided by Publisher.
- Solid story and interesting father-son dynamic between the antagonists.
- Strong voice acting all-round, headlined by Giancarlo Esposito.
- Fantastic side content that adds character to Yara.
- Excellent level design allows you to approach missions however you wish.
- Satisfying combat and swathes of customization keep things fresh.
- Lacking in difficulty settings.
- Some ‘filler’ main missions.
- Minor performance issues.
Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Milan
Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC, Google Stadia, Amazon Luna