‘Far Cry 6’ is the series’ latest evolution of a decades old formula

Image of an animated older man and younger man in front of people rioting.
“Far Cry 6” recalls some of the best of the “Far Cry” franchise, but lacks in other areas —the game excels in player freedom but the narrative is wanting in comparison to previous entries in the series. (Photo courtesy of Ubisoft)

“Far Cry 6” is Ubisoft’s latest entry into the “Far Cry” franchise and a return to form as the first game since “Far Cry 3” to be set on a tropical island. After the franchise’s exploration around the world in its previous entries, returning to the ocean’s pristine and luscious views certainly brings nostalgia for older fans. Those jaw-dropping views, however, are not enough to hide the obvious problems littered throughout the game. 

“Far Cry 6” thrusts the player into the fictional nation of Yara, an idyllic Caribbean nation suffering from four decades of economic sanctions until the main antagonist, Antón Castillo (Giancarlo Esposito), who assumed power as a totalitarian dictator. You, as revolutionary Dani Rojas, are given the opportunity to liberate the nation along with the band of characters you meet that constitute “the Resistance.” 

For such an enthralling premise, the game’s narrative does not live up to its potential. The first hours attempt to introduce the player to the game’s conflict, characters and setting, only to rush through the exposition and leave the player with more questions than answers. Most of the time, it is just assumed the player understands why they are doing certain things. 

Dialogue, while genuinely humorous at times, is not always consistent in its tone and grows irritating at times. Some characters, such as Castillo, are utilized well and not prone to massive shifts in personality for a one-off joke or plot point. Others, however, are written like they were made from a dartboard of stereotypes or given dialogue that makes them insufferable. Seeing an important cutscene interjected with a random Spanish word or a quirky character erases the tension to an almost infuriating degree at times.  

Hearing the word “coño” or guerilla for the tenth time does not make me think I am in a Spanish-speaking country, it makes me want to put the game in its Spanish language pack or even turn the audio off.

Once you get missions from characters, the game delivers its refined combat onto a mostly bland assortment of mission types. In one series of missions, Rojas has to follow a rooster named Chicharrón and kill a number of soldiers in order to mark these places with Chicharrón callsign. It was quite entertaining initially and even got a chuckle out of me. 

The problem comes where after finishing the first mission, you are basically doing the same thing with a new coat of paint. While repetitive missions are not always bad, the fact that we are on the sixth entry and missions can still feel like something made 10 years ago significantly dampens the enjoyment of the experience. 

This would be less of an issue if you were given suitable rewards, but “Far Cry 6” did away with the perk system and player leveling in general. Now, your player rank determines the weapons and items you can purchase at stores located in and around your hideouts. These weapons can also be found through searching crates in mission areas, completely negating the need to purchase them. “Far Cry 6” also did away with enemy-granting experience points when you kill them, only awarding points when completing missions or through other non-standard or inconvenient methods.

With the perk system gone, certain skills and abilities that were normally skill unlocks are now relegated to clothing items, which are found randomly throughout the game world and can be bought. You can only equip four clothing items at a time, significantly reducing the amount of abilities the player can have and, with some abilities more valuable than others, leaving some clothing items useless and others essential.

Similarly for the weapons, I am still using the basic FAL the game gave me in the first hour of the game and am nearing the 10-hour mark, while the shotgun I randomly got from a crate does more damage on a consistent basis than a sniper rifle.   

While “Far Cry 6” definitely falters and regresses compared to past entries, it’s brilliant moments shine. Considering the breadth of the game map and the serene views that permeate throughout, it does not feel like a chore to trek across the map. Instead, it proves to be one of the most relaxing times I ever had in a video game as I admired the brimming blues of the ocean and the green jungles bathed in sunlight. 

“Far Cry 6” is a sum of weathered and polished parts. The narrative and dialogue show a lack of understanding in their use of complex political events when the studio is not committed to having a stern opinion or reflecting on the source material. The dumbing down of gameplay elements and streamlining of certain aspects also diminishes player flexibility and customization. 

On the other hand, rough edges in the game design are not enough to put a damper on the exhilarating exploration and joy-inducing free roaming the game gives to the player. “Far Cry 6,” for all its faults, still proves to be a great time. 

Author’s Note: “Far Cry 6” was reviewed on a PS5, copy provided by Ubisoft.