My experience with the Far Cry franchise is admittedly lacking and Far Cry 6 is the first game in the series I have dug my claws into. Combining a relevant story of an oppressive South American regime being methodically taken down by a group of freedom fighters with explosive, open gameplay, Far Cry 6's first hours have been a sometimes intense, frequently funny, but ultimately head-scratching experience.
Far Cry 6 opens with a brutal city-wide purge of civilian dissidents by the maniacal, yet methodical President Anton Castillo. Taking the reins as Dani Rojas (you can chose to play as either a male or female Dani), you sneak and parkour across the city to escape the violence. Upon reaching a boat to get away, el presidente himself makes an appearance as one of the stowaways is his son, who he has been grooming to take over his regime.
Somehow Dani survives the massacre on the boat and the player begins their journey contacting cells of freedom fighters across the massive Yaran map, bringing everyone together to take down major targets of the Castillo regime and ultimately take on the president himself.
The game's opening is a tense, fantastic set-up that shows the wanton brutality of Castillo's regime while giving actor Giancarlo Esposito plenty of time to chew the scenery. He plays into every stereotype you would expect (he even has a gold plated pistol!) but his performance is extraordinary and throughout the game you can't help but feel the enmity the people of Yara feel.
But after this wonderful opening sequence the game starts to open up and you get a sense that the game isn't quite as serious as it led you to believe. You almost immediately befriend a drunken inventor whose pet crocodile becomes your companion. You get a rocket launcher backpack. The brutality starts giving way to a sense of over-the-top fun as even the characters crack jokes about one of the rules of being a guerrilla is having fun.
And with wingsuits, helicopters, tanks, and a bevy of animal companions at your disposal — fun you shall have. At the expense of any seriousness to the story being tossed to the wayside, the trek to free Yara is full of hilarious and exciting action that had me exploring just to find military targets to destroy just for fun. The amount of options to tackle each situation — from going in guns blazing to sneaking around to, in one specific case, commandeering an enemy tank just to raise some Cain — allows any playstyle to prosper.
That said, the most intelligent way to tackle each situation is prior planning. Using your cellphone in-game you can tag enemies, find out what type they are, and plan accordingly. As with any army soldiers have different specialties and prioritizing targets can make an assault much easier.
Even traversal has a lot of options with a grapple hook feature allowing easy vertical movement at certain points while on foot. Air travel seems like the easiest way to get about but you'll need to ensure all anti-aircraft weapons in the area are destroyed, otherwise you're going to have a little explosive turbulence during your flight.
Aside from the main story and associated side quests, you can also engage in the aforementioned free-roaming mayhem or invest in some of the minigames littered throughout Yara. I found myself spending more time than I care to reveal playing dominoes. There's also a questionable cock fighting game that I wasn't quite as into.
You can also engage in co-op missions that have you exploring a location to find a device that, if overheated, could explode. This means constantly hiding in shade or running to water while avoiding guards or actively engaging in firefights with them. I only played one of the two currently available missions which had me explore an expansive abandoned dinosaur theme park. It was awesome and I hope the creativity of the maps persists in future missions.
An adorable wiener dog and exploding backpacks are the least of Antón Castillo’s worries, but in the right hands, they can be the greatest threat to his regime. Prepare for the ultimate takedown when Far Cry 6 arrives tomorrow!— Far Cry 6 (@FarCrygame) October 6, 2021
Graphically this is a gorgeous game even on PS4 with only a few minor issues including some frame-rate drops during cutscenes. But my time with the game has been pretty much issue free aside from some collision detection and clipping that I'm sure will be improved upon in future patches.
In my short time with Far Cry 6 I've had a lot of fun. Comparisons to Just Cause will be rightfully made but it doesn't feel quite as free and silly as that series, though I don't know what Far Cry is trying to be. It tackles tough subjects, both cultural and historical, but has so much over-the-top schlocky action that it's hard to decide what exactly it's trying to be.
I will not give a final rating since I have yet to beat Far Cry 6 and expect to put another 20-30 hours into it before I can; but if the first ten hours are any indication, Far Cry 6 will definitely appeal to first-person-shooter fans looking for a game that lets them play their own way, and invests them in a cavalcade of funny and empathetic characters.
Far Cry 6 releases October 7, 2021.
Game played on PS4.
Review code provided by publisher.
Full review pending.