STAFF REVIEW of Far Cry 6 (Xbox One)

Thursday, October 14, 2021.
by Peggy Doyle

Far Cry 6 Box art From prehistoric times, to Africa, the Indo-Pacific, the Himalayas and even Montana, the Far Cry franchise has always dropped gamers into beautifully crafted worlds full of charming villages and hidden wonders. Far Cry 6 may be the most beautiful entry to date as it drops us into the fictional country of Yara. Clearly inspired by Cuba, lush greenery, tropical landscapes and beautiful water really shows how Ubisoft creates some of the best environments in the industry. An island nation frozen in time, a charismatic dictator, a guerilla faction fighting for freedom, some of the most endearing NPCs I’ve met in game and wild weapons create the largest Far Cry game in the franchise.

El Presidente Antón Castillo, played by Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, The Mandalorian), is the fascist dictator of Yara and is training his son, Diego, to follow in his footsteps. The country is also in the midst of an uprising with the Libertad fighting for its freedom. Castillo has Yara in an ‘Us vs Them’ situation where he uses ‘fake Yarans’ to work as labour on his Vivaro plants. Vivaro is a type of tobacco that is chemically augmented and is a smokeable treatment for cancer. This is the primary source of income for Castillo and very dangerous for the workers as they often die from the poison used in the production of Vivaro.

You play the role of Dani Rojas, former Yaran soldier who eventually joins forces with the Libertad in her bid to get off the island. To help gain the trust and help of the Libertad guerrillas, you must help take over check points, capture military targets, destroy anti aircraft missiles, destroy and steal military supplies, bribe soldiers and destroy propaganda billboards - basically anything to disrupt Castillo and his military presence in Yara. Players have a choice to play as either male or female Dani, who are both canon. The story plays out the same regardless of choice, so feel free to pick whichever version you want to. You most often play in first person during the game anyway.

If you’ve played any of the Far Cry games before, Ubisoft has stuck with their tried-and-true map system. The map is broken into different regions, each with a hub, their own missions, collectibles and people to interact with. As you take over each section of the map, you get closer to ending Castillo’s reign over Yara. Although you can choose which area of the map you start with, making your gameplay more flexible and open, the game does feel like it wants you to start in the Western section of the map.

To help you along your journey you can recruit animal companions to accompany you. There are 3 main Amigos, a crocodile named Guapo, an adorable wheelchair dog name Chorizo and a feisty rooster named Chicharron. Each Amigo has their own sets of unique skills, and you can level each of them up to open additional skills. There are 2 additional Amigos you can open during the game, and another 2 only available with upgrading your version of the game. They come with other cosmetics in the Ultimate version of the game. Unlike Far Cry 5, you don’t have any human companions in Far Cry 6.

Even with all of the similarities to previous titles, Far Cry 6 also gives us some refreshing new ideas. In earlier games clothing was strictly cosmetic, but in Far Cry 6 your clothing and gear have perks assigned to them. Some strictly give bonuses while others give a bonus but also a negative to another component. Goodbye perk trees, hello mix and match for your perfect play style. You can also swap your gear and weapons on the fly. This is great for those times when you are caught in a fight where you need more protection against fire or explosions for example. Just swap out what you need. Each weapon also has a wide variety of mods so you can also customize them to your playstyle. You can add a specific type of bullet, like incendiary ammo, and when adding the gear that amplifies your weapon perks you can create chaos in any way you want. With a quick count, I saw around 90 different weapons to choose from. Dani can carry three primary weapons at a time, along with a sidearm, a variety of throwing weapons, grenades and a Supremo. Modification is the name of the game, and no two players will likely have identical loadouts.

Enemies also got an upgrade in Far Cry 6. There are a few types of them, each with their own weaknesses that you can see from scouting them. Speaking of scouting, gone are your binoculars, and you now scout using your smart phone. Your phone is also used to scan vehicles and horses to add them to your inventory. Yes, horses are now vehicles in the game.

Gameplay is very dynamic and there is a lot of variety, but Resolver Weapons and Supremo backpacks are where the wacky and wild side appears. Your Supremo backpack is your ultimate ability and can only be used once a gauge fills up, filled by killing enemies. You can add mods to your Supremo to give you additional ways to fill your gauge faster. Your original Supremo is a supped-up rocket launcher, and can take out anything from an anti aircraft gun, a tank or helicopter easily. As you find depleted uranium around the map, you can purchase alternative Supremo backpacks from Juan. These will all have a different main purpose, from self reviving, shooting through walls, jetpacks, etc.

Your Resolver weapons (used in one of your three primary weapon slots) can be acquired similarly through the game and also have really fun and crazy perks. There is a handgun that shoots nail rounds, an EMP cannon, a harpoon crossbow or an explosive sniper rifle, to name a few. Guerilla warfare focuses on DIY weapons and some of them were just ludicrous. While some weapons you’ll find in the wild are useful, Resolver weapons are probably the most powerful in the game but also the most ridiculous and fun.

While stealth is still a viable option in Far Cry 6, the game leans towards asking you to play the opposite. Why else would it give you all these crazy weapons? There was something satisfying about running in guns blazing like an action hero. Beyond the changes with weapons and gear, some minor mechanics have improved from Far Cry 5. Bodies no longer need to be looted, co-op has been updated so that both players have saved progress instead of just the host, and you can call for a ride wherever you are using your weapon wheel. Ubisoft has fixed a lot of the mechanics that made the last game slower while keeping much of what I love about the Far Cry franchise.

While exploring the beautiful island of Yara by vehicle, the radio plays upbeat music. Some songs you will recognize, like ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’, while others simply transport you to an island getaway. If you travel in a vehicle for awhile, Dani will also start to sing along to the songs. A small detail, but a nice one. The tropical vacation feel was something I didn’t realize I was missing quite as much as I am. If I closed my eyes, I was instantly pool side on a previous vacation locale, like South America or the Caribbean. I immediately searched out the soundtrack and added it to my favourites list of music. Sound design is fantastic across the board. Weapons are loud and punchy, and vehicles like planes and tanks can be identified easily by audio.

Antón Castillo might just be my favourite Far Cry villain to date. Antón’s cold and calculating demeanor is a change from the series’ more eccentric bad guys from the past games, like Vaas or Pagan Min. I would hazard to guess that Esposito enjoyed playing this role. Every line of his dialogue drips with contempt for everyone around him except for his son, Diego. Walking a fine line between wanting to respect and honour his fathers wishes and sympathizing with the guerillas who want a better future for Yara, Diego is also one of the more complex and intriguing characters in the game.

There are many great NPCs in the game, some with really interesting stories that I wish I heard more of and some who simply made me belly laugh with every ridiculous line that came out of their mouth. These two extremes are easily embodied by El Tigre, the eccentric old timer who is one of the Legends of ’67 and Philly, with his wild love of explosives.

While Yara is probably one of the best designed of their open worlds to date, it’s still easy to succumb to a classic case of Ubisoft fatigue. Far Cry 6’s map is easily twice the size of Far Cry 5 and ticking off objectives across the huge map can grow tedious during longer play sessions, especially if you are a completionist. There are 53 achievements in the game, quite a few involving collecting.

I did encounter a few graphical glitches when first playing Far Cry 6 on an Xbox Series X, however I am pleased to note that after the Day 1 patch I encountered far less of them. This review took a bit more time than anticipated because I really wanted to try and comment on co-op. I am pleased that Far Cry 6 allows progression of both players, not just the host, and also allows both players to unlock achievements. These were missing from previous games and were a deterrent to playing with friends if only one of you could get the achievements or progress your game. One flaw to co-op was that it was hard to see your partner on the mini map. In fact, they weren’t on the mini map at all. If you looked around the area you could find them, but if there were other friendlies in the area, they all had the same blue dot. I would like to have had my partner have a different colour or a name above them to make it easier to locate them, especially in battles.

Finally, I must mention the large array of accessibility options offered in Far Cry 6. The game features some of the most extensive colorblind settings I’ve ever seen, and you can also choose from a selection of pre-sets across vision, hearing, motor, cognitive and motion categories. All pre-sets can also be manually adjusted by the player, meaning there are many ways to customize the game for accessibility. I counted a little over 30 different visual options that you can adjust on your screen to make it easier to play. I was pleasantly surprised to find I could easily turn off motion blur and adjust a few other settings to completely remove the motion sickness that I often experience in first person games. I also adjusted the colour and thickness of outlines around collectibles in the game, making it easier on my eyes and helping so that I wouldn’t miss out on any of the supplies needed to craft weapons or gear. It also highlighted any collectibles so I wouldn’t miss them and have to backtrack. One of my friends also benefitted from changing ‘hold button’ to ‘tap button’ a quick tap was much easier for them with their hand pain.

Far Cry 6 may be my favourite entry into the series. The ridiculous weapons, wonderful Amigos, beautiful scenery and charismatic Esposito made it a fantastic experience for me. Although it doesn’t ‘reinvent the wheel’, it knows it’s audience and did improve and add some new ideas. If you enjoy the Far Cry series, you should definitely make some time to visit Yara.

*Far Cry 6 was provided by the publishers and reviewed on an Xbox Series X*

please make it easier to see your co op partner on the mini map/HUD and when looking around. A different colour or name would be very helpful

Overall: 8.7 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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