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‘Far Cry 6’ review: A wild ride in dictator-led Cuba-like Yara

Naveen Ganglani
‘Far Cry 6’ review: A wild ride in dictator-led Cuba-like Yara

All screenshots by Naveen Ganglani

Beautifully over-the-top with a masterful villain that keeps you going

(Disclosure: Ubisoft provided a PS5 copy of the game for this review.)

Far Cry 6 is persistently unapologetic in its own bashfulness that you can’t help but applaud it.

Perhaps not a standing applause since the game, like many other top-tier titles, has its ordeals, but it’s wild enough with an enticing plot, adventurous world, and adrenalized gameplay to feel like you need a good, ‘old celebratory cigar after shutting off your console, just like our pal Juan Cortez, one of our favorite characters in the game.

Ubisoft’s biggest release since AC: Valhalla ups the stakes by introducing Anton Castillo, the chief antagonist who’s portrayed by renowned villain actor Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad/The Mandalorian). The weight of the room dramatically shifts each time the tyrant Anton arrives with his , condescension for anything that doesn’t have the Castillo name , and the death and violence that he brings with him. Unsurprisingly, Esposito’s cutscene performances are remarkable.

Following Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) in Death Stranding (2019), TV star Giancarlo Esposito from Breaking Bad takes the lead as scary dictator in Far Cry 6. his Image from Ubisoft

The end-all, be-all in this fictional Cuba-like world of Yara, Anton masks his true intentions – preserving his family’s legacy of control through slavery – with public propaganda and military strength. His ideologies call back to some of the harshest dictators our history has seen, down to the narcissistic philosophies that feel like the calm before a storm of raining bullets.

As the old saying goes, “Some people just want to watch the world burn.”

You play as Dani Rojas – male or female – the orphaned protagonist who struggles with fleeing to Miami or becoming a guerilla following the death of a close friend. There isn’t a lot of substance to Dani (at least not immediately) as they play more of a buffer to FC6’s compelling personalities, like Libertad leader Clara Garcia.

Protagonist Dani Rojas (right) confronts Clara Garcia (left). Rojas, at the start, struggles with the thought of being a rebel. One of the game’s key quotes is from Puerto Rican revolutionary Pedro Campos who said ‘If tyranny is law, revolution is order.’

While Juan is obnoxious, loud, and drunk, Clara is complex, passionate, and cerebral. Both know their way around warfare and are motivated to end Castillo’s bloody regime. Not a ton is revealed right away into Clara’s backstory other than she came from a privileged family and has since suffered the consequences of living the life of a guerilla, but the bravado is clear. 

Juan Cortez is stylish tinkerer-slash-comedic-relief

Garcia possesses the traits of an honorable leader but you always get the feel that she never reveals everything she knows at the moment. In contrast, Cortez provides comedic relief through hilarious phone conversations and outlandish weaponry ideas. In a world where the sound of gunfire is constantly present, Juan’s light-hearted and sardonic statements serve as a reminder that it’s still a game.

That and your pet crocodile named Guapo, who can apparently travel at light speed (he can almost teleport to you when you need him) chew out soldiers with M-16 rifles, and regenerate after being put down.

Yara’s map is divided into five regions. While Castillo reigns from Esperanza, the capital, his minions maintain his empire elsewhere. There are allies in each area fighting for the same goal: freedom. It will be integral for you to team up with these other rebels to bring the big bad wolf to its heels, first by eliminating the rest of the pack. 

But as is the case with nearly the entirety of Far Cry’s world, some of these allies can be, well, complicated. Watch out for those Monteros.

Clara is quoted saying that guerillas shouldn’t be “fearless,” but rather “feared.” 

This is the guiding mantra to weaken Castillo’s power. If a video game could ever be simply described as “you blow shit up,” this would be it: increasing in rank involves destroying military tanks, trucks, and helicopters. Capturing bases is essential. If you’ve got an extra molotov in your arsenal, best use it to destroy posters with Anton’s face on them, too. Each area has a designated rank difficulty.

The depth of weapons you can utilize and tinker with is one of FC6’s highlights. There are all kinds of rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Each one can be modified to fit your specific needs, with respective levels to traits such as velocity, damage, handling, accuracy, and stealth. Juan also gifts you a “supremo,” the game’s over-the-top weapons that can make hellfire rain down on poor Yaran soldiers. When all else fails, the machete will never leave you behind.

The number of explosives to mix and match and complement your primary weapons ensure the player can make any situation go “bang” at any given time. Improvements depend on your currency and materials, so it’s best to go frolicking for scraps and items around bases and camps. Libertad crates – indicated on the map – are must-grabs as well. 

Getting around can be managed on horseback or with sweet-looking vintage vehicles that can be modified to have a turret on the roof, because, you know, just in case. While old Far Cry instalments required getting to your garage to get a ride, FC6 allows you to summon your vehicle as effortlessly as holstering your rifle through the rotating wheel (L1 on PlayStation). 

Far Cry has notable quality-of-life improvements for open-world games. It takes away some busywork too such as an auto-driving system to get you to destinations while you just check out the scenery. The system works well majority of the time.

After all, there are many mountains in Yara, which means plenty of grunt work on foot. These instances can be time-consuming – especially if soldiers along the path don’t like the way you look at them. It helps that guerillas are often around to provide a helping hand, but, of course, the numbers are rarely in your favor – especially when the vehicles geared for war enter the party. 

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Another issue is grappling. It seems like Ubisoft made this exercise as difficult as it’s supposed to be in a real-life situation, but it can be infuriating to ascend a building one second and then navigate through a forest while swinging from left to right the next. Dani is no Tarzan.

Through my first 25 hours of playing, I’ve found tanks and helicopters as the toughest obstacles to deal with. Add a sniper or two in the mix and you’ll spend more time holding down the triangle button to heal rather than shoot adversaries. When in the middle of an operation, stealth is the best way to deal with these hindrances for efficiency. If one is in the mood to wage war, best to target these items of destruction first.

Scouting your target’s location and surroundings can help a ton. Dani does this by using a cracked phone that’s somehow more advanced than anything Apple or Samsung has ever come out with. It’s by observing soldiers and what they can use close to them that lets you determine the best course of attack, including what type of bullets and armor are best to equip. 

On the flip side, Far Cry makes it exciting to go out guns blazing when you know how to use all that you have. Switching between weapons can be helpful on the move as enemy difficulty varies on your heat meter. 

Leaning on your amigos like Guapo or the cute dog Chorizo, pictured below, can take care of pesky opponents, and even when Dani goes down, there’s a brief window where the player can slow down blood loss in time for an ally to revive you.

This first-person shooter eases players into the mix. You’ll spend the first five to 10 hours learning the ropes of becoming a guerilla before dealing with the objectives of a liberator. These include constructing camp facilities through the foreman, managing leaders and recruits to send on bandido operations, and partaking in special operations that can be played with a friend. Each completed task has a subsequential reward. 

Far Cry 6 isn’t perfect. The colors of Yara doesn’t jump off the screen like Assassin’s Creed does on next-gen power. Raytracing is absent for consoles. There are lots of puddles and watery surfaces in the game, and I’m left to just imagine how they might improve the graphic appeal of the game. The game does have some really pretty scenery but AC Valhalla’s skin and eye movements look more realistic. 

There are little details that could have also been improved. For example, it’s a bit off that just a few minutes after I destroy an entire Viviro plantation, these plants somehow grew faster than any other plant ever has. My editor also told me he experienced a bug where there is no dialogue audio in cutscenes, which would need to be patched right away if this isn’t an isolated case.

But after all, it’s a video game. And when it comes to the little things, FC6 has more pros than cons. 

Tired of running around and shooting soldiers in the head? Try a jet ski challenge. 

Need to heal yourself after getting attacked? Light up a cigar and burn the skin where the bullet penetrated. There are some pretty gruesome hand animations when you heal yourself, that kind of remind us of our time in Resident Evil Village where all sorts of bad things happen to your hand.

In the mood to jam? Get in the car and hear Dani sing. That, or equip your flamethrower, get to a plantation, and burn the whole thing to the ground while jamming out to the always-catchy melody of Bella Ciao.

Oh, and ever chased a mongoose for some treasure?

Ultimately the heart of FC6 is its story. Everything leads back to Anton Castillo. That’s why even in his absence, his face and presence are always around to remind every guerilla what their mission is and who stands in their way.

The father-son dynamic between Anton and Diego bursts with unsaid emotions and disdain. It’s precisely the type of relationship a fictional dictator dad is expected to have with his rebellious and kind-hearted son, especially when taking into account the lectures on how to kill another man.

Early indications point to Diego wanting none of his father’s violent tendencies, but how long before evil overpowers goodness?

Once you get in Far Cry’s battle mode, it becomes fight or flight. There’s no grey in between. It’s an adrenaline rush. Do you know the lyrics to the song that goes, “we are always running for the thrill of it?” 

In the context of video games, this is it. But definitely less on youthful boldness and more of “let’s tear the whole damn thing apart.”

Is it crazy? Absolutely. But as Dani quickly learns, it’s also fun.

To put a number on it, I’d give it an eight out of 10. – Rappler.com

Naveen Ganglani is a writer, host, businessman, and NFT collector. You can reach him via email: navsganglani@gmail.com; or on social media via TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

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