Release Date : October 7, 2021
Developers : Ubisoft Toronto
Publisher : Ubisoft
Platforms : PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Stadia
Since its acquisition from Crytek by Ubisoft, the Far Cry series has experienced some ups (Far Cry 3), as well as some downs, the latest episode, New Dawn, being probably the most dispensable. Caught between the will to offer a game service with content that will please everyone, and a story that is more than a pretext, Ubisoft tried to succeed in squaring the circle with Far Cry 6. Was it a successful bet? Find out in our review!
The content and the number of side activities have only increased in the last few years in the various Far Cry games, but Ubisoft has always had a hard time creating an antagonist strong enough to stand up to Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3. We recall that the latter was only one of the henchmen of a great villain whose name, if not existence, everyone has forgotten.
Far Cry 4 had been particularly disappointing on this point with Pagan Mihn who was actually rather nice and benevolent with his turbulent offspring (played by the player). Finally, the series found a new interest with the fifth part where the Eden’s Gate cult had a charismatic guru: Joseph Seed. Unfortunately, the twins of New Dawn did not have the aura of their mentor (yes, the game was a sequel to FC5). To avoid falling into the same trap, Ubisoft went to find for the first time in the series a very famous actor from the cinema. Giancarlo Esposito (Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, Thomas Hayer in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Jack Baer in Usual Suspects, or Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian) plays the terrible Anton Castillo.
Dictator of the Caribbean island of Yara, the man holds his population with an iron fist, promoting those who collaborate with the regime, while the others are sent to cultivate tobacco fields sprayed with particularly harmful chemicals. The goal is to extract a molecule capable of targeting cancer cells, allowing the country to market a revolutionary drug called Viviro to line the pockets of the elite. In this powder keg, the player will embody Dani Rojas, a guerrilla (we can choose the sex of Dani freely) who will put an end to all this, and liberate the population like a Simon Bolivar Eco+. After a prologue that serves as a tutorial while laying the foundations of the story, we meet Clara, leader of the Libertad group. She explains to us that to overthrow Castillo, we’ll have to gather all the existing groups on Yara, and of course, it’s the player who will do all the work!
Any news about Yara?
In fact, the whole thing is organized exactly like what we saw in Ghost Recon Wildlands, with several regions, each headed by one of Castillo’s key lieutenants. Each minion is responsible for a particular area, whether it’s weapons, propaganda, or the production of tobacco and its processing into Viviro. And in a very practical way, each region or almost every region will have its own dissident group that will have to be seduced and then attached to Libertad in order to lead the final assault against the country’s capital. There is no set order, so you can fight as you wish. For each Castillo’s lieutenant defeated, you’ll get the allegiance of the local revolutionary group, as well as a nice cinematic to move the plot forward. The problem is that if you do as yours truly does, i.e. go on missions left and right without staying with the same faction, it is quite possible to play 90% of the game without seeing any cinematics with Castillo.
We’ll also criticize some shady decisions, like the one to give nice revolutionary impulses to Dani, before she admits to doing guerrilla warfare only for the pure pleasure of blowing things up. It’s a pity, because overall the story is far from being the worst of the series, and we can even say that in our eyes, it is as good as Far Cry 5.
It should be said in our defense that the game is not very directive, and that nothing makes us understand that we have to squat with the same guerrillas to enjoy a good balance between action and narration, Clara sending us very regularly reminders to go and see what’s going on in other regions. Besides, if Yara Island is particularly vast (it’s really big), we won’t find much change of scenery, the environment being almost the same everywhere, with jungle, mountains, and only one big city: the capital. Don’t think about strolling through the streets to get a feel for Los Santos or Night City, since the city is emptied of its inhabitants and surrounded by military forces. The rest of the island is very similar to what we saw in the previous versions, with locals, and a military presence more or less strong depending on the sectors, the story, and our actions.
Among the new game mechanics, a research gauge has appeared. Basically, the more you destroy Castillo’s troops, the faster the enemies will attack you. And when you fill the gauge to the maximum (after blowing up a few vehicles on a road for example), the special forces will be at your throat. They suddenly appear very close to you ( yes, from the stupid and nasty spawn at 25 meters from your character), and attack you with the most deadly weapons of the game, and with a lot of air support via gunships helicopters. In short, to survive 15 enemies attacking you with RPG-7, you’ll either have to find a great hideout or steal a tank. Nevertheless, this avoids the feeling of being too invulnerable when you’ve nicked an armored tank from the enemy.
Far Cry 6 offers a particularly well-stocked armory, with among the new features homemade weapons (including the classic flamethrower, but also a CD launcher that plays La Macarena), and the famous backpacks called Supremo. The latter can be used once the right gauge is loaded, knowing that you fill it up by slaughtering enemies.
A highly sold feature by Ubisoft, the Supremo is in fact not very useful during the game, and after having gone around the offer to try everything, we are quickly back to the first one we get, and which turns Dani into a Stalin’s organ, with a volley of missiles. Similarly, if the armory is filled with lots of guns, in reality, the M14 rifle (obtained at the beginning of the game) as well as its big brother MS16 (an M14 with a long barrel), are so efficient that we didn’t let them go during the whole game, and several colleagues interviewed reported having made the same choice. It must be said that with any other weapon, enemies are real bullet sinks, while the M14 guarantees a one-shot from the beginning to the end of the adventure, as long as you hit the head. Too bad for the M60, the SVD, the PPSh, or any other shotgun that we would have loved to use.
This illusion of choice can also be found in the clothing system of our hero. We will be able to dress Dani from head to toe, knowing that each outfit has specific buffs such as resistance to AP bullets, soft points, fire, toxic gas, more bullets for the gun, etc…
Except that in reality, the variety of enemies means that whatever we choose, the gains are so marginal that we simply end up stripping Yara’s hero for appearance reasons, so that he looks good when we walk around the bases and enjoy the third-person view. It’s a bit the same with the large choice of vehicles.
There are 4 planes, 6 helicopters, and an infinite number of land vehicles and ships, knowing that the motorcycles have been replaced by horses (their physics was rotten). But still, we find ourselves sitting 90% of the time in the cockpit of a tank, or at the controls of the big combat chopper, to the neglect of the flock of 4x4s and shiny old American cars. This is always the problem with the amigos, these famous animals that accompany us, and where we finally squat the same one all the time (the fighting rooster in our case) since whatever your choice, the more you use an animal the more it will gain big bonuses in battle.
As always, the map is literally full of activity icons, with races, side missions, and tons of stuff to pick up, whether it’s crafting materials (to improve the camps with a better-stocked store, or to have the mercenary counter that allows you to send AIs to complete missions).
Numerous mini-quests are also available to learn more about the life of the islanders, or to unlock new pets. Moreover, once the main campaign is over, you’ll have substantial endgame content, since every week, Castillo’s followers will take over one of Yara’s provinces, which you’ll have to liberate again, which gives the title a virtually unlimited lifespan.
Far Cry 6 is globally a good game, even if it remains far from revolutionizing the series. We can find many known mechanics, and some inherent weaknesses of the series, such as the multiplication of the content, sometimes to the detriment of its quality, like the cockfights, or the vehicle races whose driving is still approximate. The tropical atmosphere with an evil dictator to defeat, and gameplay that largely favors brawling (even if stealth is possible) often makes us wonder if we are not playing as Rico Rodriguez in the new Just Cause. Fortunately, the added value brought by Giancarlo Esposito remains undeniable, and when we finally enjoy the cinematics, we find a little more of the soul of the series. However, we still deplore the fact that we are drowned under tons of content that is not very useful, like the clothing system that lacks impact and that we quickly forget about, or the arsenal where only two or three weapons are powerful enough.