If you’re thinking of picking up Far Cry 6 and typically enjoy action-packed first-person shooters, you’re probably going to have a good time.
You might not care much about the game’s story, mind, or remember much about it when you’ve turned the game off. But in the moment, when you’re deep in Far Cry 6‘s fictional nation of Yara, you’ll likely enjoy yourself. It’s beautiful, it’s huge, and there’s so much to do that, even 40 hours in, you’ll be coming across new areas. But is such vastness a good thing?
When you first jump into Far Cry 6, you’ll find yourself on a small island. I say small; it’ll still take you about five real minutes to run from one side to the other which, for a game world, is fairly standard. But then you open up your map, and you realise that this island is in fact probably not even 1/100th of the full map. A sense of trepidation fills your stomach as you begin to comprehend the sheer size of the task you’ve signed yourself up for by installing Far Cry 6.
It’s a beautiful world, though. Yara is fictional, but if you’ve spent any time in a Caribbean country you’ll feel like you recognise its beaches, with their sparkling blue waters lapping over perfectly-coloured sand, its townships with pastel-shaded buildings, and its colonial-style hotel lobbies. I spent plenty of time in photo mode, ignoring the violence and brutality around me, simply pretending I was enjoying a picturesque vacation. Switching to the game’s camera mode drowns out the sound of the game with a wonderful Latin-inspired soundtrack; perfect for capturing beach vibes. Not so perfect if you’re snapping pictures of the pile of bodies you’ve just killed.
My main problem with Far Cry 6 is in its extreme tonal dissonance. Photo mode is just one example of this; the story is absolutely all over the place. At its core, Far Cry 6 deals with a serious subject matter: a President that believes in “true Yarans” who’s wiling to slaughter anyone who doesn’t agree with his extremist views. You play as Dani Rojas, the newest member of Libertad, a band of guerrilla fighters who want to bring down the president. Doing so means first recruiting more people to the cause and taking down the people closest to President Antón Castillo.
So, a fairly heavy narrative, then. Except: you’ll be fighting with a crocodile, or a sausage dog-on-wheels by your side. And on your back is a backpack-turned-rocket launcher that can decimate practically everything in sight at the push of a button. As cute as Chorizo – the sausage dog – may be, and as fun as blowing helicopters to smithereens with your ‘Supremo’ backpack is, it’s completely at odds with the gravity of Far Cry 6‘s core.
As an open world game, you of course expect a certain amount of unrealistic ‘badassery’, shall we say. Taking down an entire army single-handedly is nothing out of the ordinary for a game like Far Cry 6. But when you go from following a little dog around camp on a scavenger hunt to a scene where Dani is literally being tortured by the President’s henchman, or going from a joyous drunken bender to stumbling into an abandoned zoo where people are being kept prisoner and brutally murdered, it’s impossible not to get tonal whiplash. There’s nothing wrong with a serious game having some lighter moments of relief. But that’s not the case here; Far Cry 6 instead feels like it’s stuck in an identity crisis. Does it want to be the Saints Row 4 of first-person shooters, or tell a serious politically-charged story?
Ultimately, you’ll get more enjoyment out of Far Cry 6 if you assume the former and simply enjoy its more maniacal moments. Yes, the conflicting tone will catch you off-guard every now and then, but for the most part you’ll simply be making your way through a checklist of activities, most of which boil down to travelling to a destination and blowing stuff up. You canplay Far Cry 6 more tactically and stealthily if you like – and if you’ve opted for the game’s harder difficulty, then you’ll need to spend more time doing so. It is possible, and there’s some fun to be had in infiltrating enemy bases while remaining undetected, but come on – you’ve got a rocket launcher on your back. This game absolutely wants you to be seen by your enemies in the biggest way possible.
Combat, for the most part, feels engaging and fun. There’s a huge host of weapons to uncover as you play, many of which can be upgraded by using scrap metal that you’ll find dotted around the world. Upgrades are modest – things like silencers and slightly better scopes – though some of the game’s rarer weapons are a little more out-there. There’s also ‘Resolver’ weapons that you can buy; designed by the same guy who gifted you your Supremo backpack, they’re obviously completely balls-to-the-wall crazy, but fun to use.
Aside from guns, you’ll also have a selection of throwables at your disposal – grenades, molotovs and non-lethal distractions if you’re trying to be stealthy. And of course, that backpack. You don’t need to have the rocket launcher equipped if you don’t want – others are available. But that’s my favourite as it decimates helicopters and tanks in one fell swoop. Just don’t try using it indoors, because it doesn’t go well.
Outside of combat, Yara is essentially one big, open playground for you to live out your wildest guerrilla fantasies. Any vehicle is fair game; whether you want to take a jet ski out on open water, hijack a biplane or take a helicopter for a spin, you can. Tanks, army trucks, motorcycles with side-cars – almost any land vehicle you can think of is yours for the taking, too. Even when you’re on foot, you’ll find lots of ziplines or grapple points to ensure you’re not simply running or walking over straight terrain. Getting around is a lot of fun, then, but when the world’s this big, traversal has to be made as exciting as possible. You can fast travel to various points on the map, but you’ll still find yourself needing to hot-foot it on a regular basis.
I’ve been playing on PS5, and technically speaking, Far Cry 6 is competent. I’ve had a few instances of screen-tearing, particularly when driving vehicles but it’s hardly game-breaking. Considering it’s running on the same engine as Far Cry 5 it performs rather well, and seriously benefits from targeting 60fps. I barely noticed any frame rate drops, if any, which makes running around Yara a smooth and pleasant experience. It’s not completely free of issues, though. Interacting with objects can be a pain; you have to be really close to them. And sometimes the button to interact with an NPC simply won’t work until you’ve pressed it several times. If you’ve got the crocodile equipped as your ‘amigo’, too, expect him to get in your way and often prevent you from passing through doorways. Irritating? Yes. Annoying enough to ruin the game? Not quite.
Far Cry 6 is fun, there’s no doubt about that. Yara is a fantastic backdrop, and if you enjoy mindlessly shooting stuff up, you’ll absolutely be in your element. You probably won’t really care much for Dani’s story though, and the game’s tonal dissonance can be somewhat off-putting. But lean into the mayhem and you’ll have a good enough time, even if you don’t remember much about it once you’ve turned the game off.
Far Cry 6 Review – GameSpew’s Score