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*Disclaimer - This product is being reviewed on the Xbox Series X on "Action Mode" difficulty with the code provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review. Gaming Instincts is an Amazon affiliate and does gain financial benefits if you choose to purchase this product on this page.*
Welcome to Yara, a fictional island off the coast of Florida, but let's be real, this is basically Cuba or rather heavily inspired by Cuba. Yara is the new sandbox world that you will be spending the majority of your time in Far Cry 6 and you know what, I absolutely love it. The Far Cry franchise started off originally on tropical islands and in my honest opinion, it does the best when it stays on tropical islands, for some odd reason these settings and themes just tend to work really well for the series, and Far Cry 6 is no different.
So what's new and unique this time around with the new entry compared to the previous releases? Quite a bit actually, but the bottom line is that it is an aging formula that really needs a shakeup for its next big release. I know that is a contradicting statement, but you'll understand what I mean once we take a closer look. However, it is safe to say that this is the best Far Cry release from the 8th generation era of consoles considering that this is still an old-gen game running cross-gen on the new systems.
What I like a lot about Far Cry 6 versus Far Cry 5 is that the setting is much more interesting and has way more personality than Montana ever did. While The Father was somewhat of an interesting villain, the storyline and pacing of Far Cry 5 were quite lackluster, the characters were just flat out boring and I had zero care in the world for any of them. It also did not help the fact that the protagonist was completely mute the entire time.
In Far Cry 6, not only is the island and the locations absolutely drop-dead gorgeous but the main cast and even side characters are very entertaining to listen to. From a writing perspective, the game managed to fit in a variety of characters, and none of them seemed boring in any way or left out, which is quite surprising considering that these games are never really known for crazy good writing or super memorable characters with the exception of Vaas from Far Cry 3.
So how is the story set up and what's going on in Yara exactly? The plot itself is nothing really groundbreaking, you won't find The Last of Us levels of storytelling here, but for a Far Cry game, it's a step above and beyond. You are a freedom fighter named Dani whose mission is to rally up different factions and people across Yara in a fight against Anton Castillo who is played by Giancarlo Esposito. Giancarlo is mostly known for his phenomenal performance in the Breaking Bad tv series. This was a smart move by Ubisoft because his ability to play a role of a manipulative tyrannical leader is second to none. If you are a fan of the actor you'll be in for a treat, if you've never seen him before, well then you'll still be in for a treat.
Normally, Far Cry games usually just push the majority of good writing and acting towards their villains and that's it. However, with the new entry, not only did they manage to nail the role and writing of a tyrannical leader but also the majority of the main cast as well. Throughout the game Dani (the protagonist, who's also fully voiced now) will meet many different types of characters, some are faction leaders such as El Tigre who reminded me of Sully from Uncharted. Then there is Juan Cortez who has hilarious dialogue full of dirty jokes, an awesome authentic accent, and just a great personality all around. If I am being quite honest, I have never been this entertained by a cast of Far Cry characters.
Speaking of personality, Far Cry 6 continues the trend of owning pets and this time around you have a really diverse choice of different companions that you can choose and unlock for your needs. Each pet comes with its own quirks. Guado who's a crocodile pet has the ability to passively regenerate health during combat and is considered as one of the "tank" pets. Meanwhile, Boom Boom (the dog from Far Cry 5) focuses more on stealth takedowns, he's a lot more fragile but is great for hunting wildlife such as mongooses and hares. However, nothing beats Chicharron, a giant black rooster who's just an aggressive, angry, and psycho killing machine. He just loves to bawk his way through a bunch of Anton Castillo's soldiers, its absolutely hilarious to watch and overly entertaining, especially when the AI gets wonky and does something stupid.
Say what you want and will about cross-gen games but Far Cry 6 is an impressive looking game when it comes to environments, atmosphere and gun models. Thank god the game includes photo mode because you could potentially spend hours upon hours taking the most breathtaking oceanic and mountainous views. During the daytime, this game just looks visually pleasing and a joy to look at on the Xbox Series X. The beautiful lush green grass, a couple of palm trees and the light blue sky is a joy to stare at.
Now just because I really adore the game's environmental visuals does not mean it's all flowers and roses for the game being cross-gen, there is quite a bit of limitation and that is to be expected. The game features no ray-tracing on new-gen consoles whatsoever, the game is not running at 4K Natively either, the character models are outdated and can look like complete donkey butt depending on the lighting and time of day or night.
Thankfully, Yara and the majority of what you are looking at is more than good enough for a cross-gen game, and it's safe to assume that most gamers will be happy with what it has to offer when it comes to the visual department. I am thankful though, that Ubisoft prioritized 60FPS framerate over resolution; that was the biggest issue in previous Far Cry games, the slow FPS made them feel clunky and not as satisfying to play.
Ok, this is where we start breaking down the game and how Ubisoft has decided to continue on with their classical Far Cry formula and what you can expect to be different this time around. Just like in any old Far Cry fashion, you are introduced to a small area, do a couple of main story missions that gradually introduce you to the game's new core mechanics and the variety of missions you'll be taking throughout the game. If you've played a previous game in the series before, then you already know what to expect.
There are checkpoints to capture, military bases to take over for your crew, anti-air cannon sites to destroy, treasure hunts to undertake, side missions called Yara Stories to complete, supplies to find, ambushes to participate in and so on. These are just a bunch of different activities that are basically the same thing, but with a small twist in each one. Checkpoints for example are usually found on roads and to take them over, you need to clear the area of roughly 3-5 soldiers and then destroy a banner. Once everything is clear and the banner is destroyed the checkpoint becomes yours. These checkpoints only really exist to fit the lore and story of the game and act as a fast travel point across Yara. Anytime you take something over in Far Cry 6, you get rank points, which gives Dani a rank up once a certain amount of points is reached, and when you rank up you gain access to new weapons and gear.
Taking over military bases is far more important, as these serve as an avenue to call in vehicles, helicopters or sea vehicles assuming that there is a dock or helipad nearby. Not all military bases are created equal in Far Cry 6. Some only have regular land vehicles, others don't even have land vehicles but offer horses instead. The location of the base will dictate what bonuses it comes with.
Going over to an anti-aircraft cannon site and taking out the artillery with an RPG will grant your helicopters the ability to venture into territories you were not able to before, because obviously if you get near an anti-aircraft cannon in your air vehicle, you will be instantly shot down after a couple of seconds. These sites also come with depleted Uranium which is the main resource for buying new Supremos and Resolver weapons, but we will dive into gear, weaponry and crafting in a little bit.
Perhaps the best and most interesting addition to the Far Cry franchise are the new mission types called "Treasure Hunts" and they are exactly what they sound like. For the first time in history, Ubisoft has finally managed to create side missions that are unique to one another. For example, in one treasure hunt, I had to go figure out how to get into a house that's full of loot and resource that were on fire. The puzzle involved me removing plugs from a generator so I can move into a different area and turn on the electricity, which turns on the valve so water can extinguish the fire. Then I had to go inside the house and find an opening (through a little window) to shoot a lock and open the door.
These treasure hunts are basically puzzles, some are traversal puzzles, others are switches and so on. The reward at the end of the puzzles usually involved a brand new weapon that has unique statistics and is made to serve a specific purpose in combat. These well-designed puzzles made me turn on the gears in my brain, it's a nice break from the constant shooting and capturing of military bases and checkpoints.
Then there are the Yaran Stories which are essentiality unique side quests for some of the characters you'll meet throughout the game. One quest involved me in assisting Chicharron (the angry black rooster) in killing the soldiers and destroying their intel. It was such a fun quest; you follow him as he rages his way through a couple of friendly NPCs and then breaks into a library. We started tearing the place apart. Once that was done, we went to the top and spray-painted some Chicharron artwork, which meant the angry chicken was here and Anton Castillo's army should be very afraid. As insane and unrealistic as that is, it's absolutely fantastic and pure video game dumb fun bliss! After I've completed multiple questlines for Chicharron, the pet finally became one of my companions and I was able to choose him if I wanted him to assist me in following me throughout Yara and killing a bunch of soldiers.
It wouldn't be a Far Cry game without racing and there is plenty of it throughout Yara and most importantly they are a lot of fun. Not much to talk about here, other than the fact that you get to race through the beautiful lush environments of Yara using different vehicles such as jet skis or the weird goofy-looking croc taxis. These racing events are super easy to do, simple to follow and are overly forgiving, never posing much of a challenge. Beating these racing quests will grant you new unlocks for the so-called "My Ride" system in Far Cry 6. You can find these missions throughout Yara by interacting with the Grand Prix posters, marked by an exclamation point, that is scattered throughout the island.
Some of you may be asking, where do I actually go to get all these quests, optional objectives, anti-aircraft cannons and checkpoints? This is also where Far Cry 6 is different from previous entries. What I like about it, is that the progression feels a lot more natural than it did in previous games. You can go to any part of the world and start hunting down whichever bad guy or girl you want but you discover these new objective points by physically traversing the world, finding exclamation points, and talking to NPCs.
Treasure hunts are usually found in towns, normally you'll have to find paper laying on a table or plastered on a wall. Once you interact with it, it will activate the quest and direct you to where the treasure hunt starts. Yara stories can be found on either the main characters or random NPCs that have a favor to ask of you. There is no longer a massive and bloated map full of icons unless you choose to ignore them over time, but then again you'll be doing yourself a big disfavor.
I think the big question is, can this still get repetitive? Yes, it can, but if you are a Far Cry fan and you are used to the formula then it shouldn't make that much difference for you. The game is definitely improved here in terms of how progression works and how it feels. However, I do still believe that Far Cry does need to go back on a drawing board for its next title and not necessarily reinvent the wheel but find and create a new blueprint. It's a challenging thing to do, especially in video game design, but thankfully at least this last cross-gen entry is heading in the right direction.
Now let's talk about the weaponry, hunting, fishing and crafting systems. It's safe to assume that Far Cry 6 is the Assassin's Creed Origins version of the Far Cry franchise. Assassin's Creed Origins was the first entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise that started to introduce a lot of the RPGs elements that are even more prevalent in Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Assassin's Creed Valhalla. It seems that Ubisoft is trying to go that route as well with the Far Cry brand.
For the first time in the franchise's history, the game features gear sets. Yes, gear sets that will activate a bonus for your character if you put on a whole set of gear. Some bonuses give you bonus resistance to fire damage, while others increase your defensives from exploding rounds or poison. To be completely fair, I've never had to use any of these gear bonuses whatsoever. I've played the game as a standard FPS and used the early weapons I unlocked through finding a bunch of Weapons in the world, FND and Libertad caches throughout Yara. These caches are like small treasures, but they do reward you greatly if you find them, they also award materials for your base building upgrades, weapon mods, and can even include unique weapons of their own as well.
Supremos is the new feature from Far Cry 6 where you can basically activate an ultimate ability by pressing both LB + RB at the same time, think of it as an ultimate from Overwatch that has a cooldown after being used and is recharged faster if you kill enemy soldiers. The first one unlocked is basically an artillery strike that homes in on the enemies that are on the ground or helicopters in the air. Other Supremos pack in stuff like an EMP to disable tanks or any other vehicles so you can hijack them and use them to your advantage. These Supremos are useful in certain situations, but I would be lying to you if I said that I was using them often because I did not and never felt the need to do so.
Resolver Weapons are basically unique weapons that can be bought with depleted uranium that you find on anti-aircraft sites. Once you reach a specified rank, more of those weapons are unlocked for purchase. Some Resolver Weapons include the flamethrower and the disc launcher that plays music while being used. These are truly unique weapons for different situations that also add more personality to the game, but yet again I never found too much use for them either. Either the game is just too easy or the game was not really designed around these weapons in the first place.
Far Cry 6 also allows you to install mods on your weapons, for example, you can make a sniper rifle inflict fire damage after the target has been shot or give your SMG or assault rifle explosive rounds that can blow through vehicles. You are able to carry three primary weapons at a time with a fourth one being a secondary weapon such as a pistol or auto pistol. Throughout Yara, as I've mentioned before, you can also find weapon creates that give you unique weapons barring the Resolver weapons.
These unique weapons cannot have mods installed on them, because they are already premade and have specific stats that are unique only to them. A secondary unique weapon that I found early, called the Skorpion, is actually one of my favorite weapons in the game. It's able to destroy helicopters from a far distance if you know how to properly burst fire the explosive rounds. Super unrealistic, but let's be frank here: Far Cry games were never about realism to begin with, so just enjoy the craziness and overpowered weaponry.
Hunting and fishing in Far Cry 6 feel a bit more streamlined than in previous games. You can order your dog or crocodile to attack a ground animal and if they manage to kill it you can gather the highest-quality version of the meat. However, if you shoot the animal with a bullet you will get damaged animal meat which is not very good and is kind of useless. You can, however, knife them with your machete or use a bow for clean kills. You can use that meat to trade either for pesos (money) or other materials for your needs as you see fit.
The game does continue to have a base-building mechanic. In my first camp, I've built a fishing hut and guerilla hideouts. The fishing hut granted me the ability to buy a map with fishing locations, which then appeared on the map across Yara. You can upgrade the buildings up to level three as the max level, each level granting you more bonuses. There are also other buildings such as the bandito's barracks and hunting lodges.
The Bandito's barracks allows you to send crew members out on missions that usually take an hour or two of real time to complete. Think of it as the World of Warcraft's mission table from Shadowlands, just a lot faster, easier to understand and actually way more rewarding. You send out a person on a mission, after a certain amount of time they can take steps, each step shows you a possible success and failure rate. Depending on what you choose, you will get a different reward. Once all three steps have been completed you'll get your main prize for the mission, assuming you are successful, along with all the other rewards that you managed to get in between each step. It's an interesting system and is another avenue to find resources for your weapons and base building. If you are trying to 100% this game with achievements or trophies, then it would be stupid not to take advantage of it.
Overall, Far Cry 6 tries to take some of its previous ideas, make them a bit different and then introduce some new ones from other games and see what may or may not stick. I am not really sure if a gear system is necessary for a game franchise like Far Cry. If I wanted to play an FPS RPG I'll go play Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy games, or something of that sort. I am not understanding why Ubisoft is having this weird obsession with turning their franchise into games with heavy RPG elements. Assassin's Creed ended up turning into a softer version of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Will future Far Cry titles go down the same path? I'll be honest, I hope not. I enjoyed Far Cry 6 and I think it's the best Far Cry game that was released in the 8th generation of consoles. But with all due respect to Ubisoft and all the developers that worked hard on it, I beg of you please do something new for Far Cry when you put out the true next-gen entry.
If it wasn't for the awesome setting of Yara, the great cast of characters, awesome dialogue and quality of life changes to the gameplay then this game would be in the gutter. But you could tell Ubisoft put a lot of love into the whole lore of this specific entry and tried to make the game as streamlined as possible and rewarding to progress through. The game also looks beautiful the majority of the time despite having butt-ugly, outdated character models. Far Cry 6 will be receiving a score of 8 out of 10. It is a good game and accomplishes what it sets out to do, but the aging formula needs a complete makeover in some shape or form.Stay tuned at Gaming Instincts via Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for more gaming news.