Far Cry 6 review — Rage against la máquina


Far Cry 6, the latest offering in the franchise, is almost here. It’s releasing tomorrow via Ubisoft’s official store and the Epic Games Store. It’s an action-packed extravaganza set in the Caribbean where you play as a guerrilla leader to thwart the ambitions of a ruthless dictator.

While Far Cry 6 does have a lot going for it, including a massive open-world map and countless activities, there were also several problems that I experienced during the course of this review. These issues ranged from simply being unable to use the in-game store to a multitude of crashes. Although we’ve tried to clarify these matters with Ubisoft, we’ve yet to receive a response.

Welcome to Yara

Far Cry 6 takes place in the fictional Caribbean country of Yara. Still, based on tidbits of information and the historical backdrop, you’ll notice that Yara is like a stand-in for Cuba. The nation is ruled by “El Presidente” Anton Castillo (played by Giancarlo Esposito). Adored by his young son, Diego, Anton aims to lead Yara to a golden age of prosperity by using Viviro. The tobacco plants native to Yara allow the extraction of a substance that can, allegedly, cure cancer.

But, there’s more than meets the eye. To hold on to his iron grip, Anton and his cronies use slave labor. People known as “fake Yarans” — political dissidents, orphans, the poor, outcasts of society, and other marginalized groups — are rounded up and forced to work in the Viviro fields as slave labor. There’s also the dynamic between Anton and Diego, as the latter wrests with his emotions. He wants to be like his father for the future of Yara, but he has also grown disillusioned with his father’s actions. This is where you come in. As Dani Rojas, you become part of a guerrilla fact known as Libertad. You and your allies will kindle the fires of the revolution to put a stop to El Presidente’s schemes.

Far Cry 6 has several memorable characters. Esposito’s portrayal of Anton Castillo is extremely chilling, switching from a doting father in one moment to a vicious executioner in the next. Alex Fernandez is also brilliant in the role of ex-KGB spymaster and gadget specialist Juan Cortez. There are many jokes and quips that will make you chuckle, juxtaposed with dark, violent, and horrifying themes.

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What Far Cry 6 means to me as a Filipino

Because of the narrative and setting, Far Cry 6 is easily one of the most relatable games for me as a Filipino. It’s because the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years. We use Spanish loanwords in our dialects, we celebrate the same festivals and traditions, and, yes, we even enjoy cockfighting (we call it “sabong” here). Even though I live in the opposite hemisphere from Latin American countries, I couldn’t help but feel some sort of affinity given the shared culture and history.

Beyond this, there’s also the subject matter of guerrilla warfare and dictatorships. Filipino guerrillas fought against foreign conquerors like the Spaniards, Americans, and Japanese, becoming masters at scavenging, skirmishes, and jungle warfare. As for dictatorships, the Philippines was under Ferdinand Marcos’ regime for two decades. Marcos’ authoritarian rule and Martial Law led to grievous human rights abuses. Thousands were imprisoned, tortured, raped, or outright killed. This brutal period was heralded by a rise in nationalism and a so-called “golden age” for the Philippines (which was more like a golden age of corruption).

These concepts are seen in other nations, as well as the fictional setting of Yara. Strongmen and their cohorts attempt to sway public opinion by praising the positives, all while glossing over corruption and other atrocities. Misguided nationalism and patriotism (ie, fake Yarans and an us-versus-them mentality) are even seen in the present day under Rodrigo Duterte’s administration whenever supporters talk about “being a true Filipino,” question your “ambag sa bayan” or what you have given for your country, or call the president their “father.”

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Campaign progression and activities on the side

Far Cry 6‘s campaign takes place in a large, open-world setting (possibly the biggest in the entire series). Yara is divided into several regions. As Dani Rojas, you start out in Isla Santuario, technically a prologue that sets the stage for what comes next. From there, you’ll need to visit the regions of Madrugada, Valle de Oro, and El Este. Each region has a local resistance group that you can bring into the fold by following the main missions. Your journey is interspersed with several cutscenes showing Anton’s and Diego’s relationship, as well as operations that take you to the capital of Esperanza. Your efforts will, eventually, culminate in an epic finale.

Along the way, you’ll partake in the game’s sandbox exploration and progression system. You’ll attack military outposts, checkpoints, anti-aircraft sites, convoys, and more. Doing these will increase your rank, allowing you to purchase high-end weaponry (more on these in a while). Certain locations unlock new fast travel spots so you can speedily make your way across the country.

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You can upgrade facilities in the main bases you’ve unlocked. Shops can sell maps that lead you to hideouts/fast travel points, fishing spots, or the locations of wild animals that you can hunt for meat. Likewise, there are Los Bandidos missions that you can select to earn more supplies or items. You’ll send out a small team of fighters and you’re given with multiple choices on how they’d complete their run. Minigames like dominoes and cockfighting/sabong are also present.

Special Operations, meanwhile, are self-contained activities where the player has to find a radioactive device in a unique location. The device will continue to heat up, which is why you need to trek under the shade or find sources of water to lower its temperature. Otherwise, Dani goes boom. There are even Insurgency missions that are available after you’ve beaten the campaign. Many of these activities can be played solo or with a friend. In fact, a huge chunk of the campaign can be played in co-op. Lastly, as with most open-world games from Ubisoft, you’ll find various collectibles and secrets in numerous areas.

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Tools and amigos for the revolution

Your exploits would be all for naught if you didn’t have the right tools for the job. Thankfully, Far Cry 6 offers loads of options at your disposal. First, there are regular weapons acquired from shops or FND caches. You can use a workbench to add attachments and other modifications (ie, suppressors, armor-piercing rounds, and more). Then, there are unique weapons that can’t be modified, but they have powerful perks that are automatically unlocked.

Juan Cortez lends you new gadgets like the Resolver weapons, makeshift firearms with ridiculous effects like a gun that zaps opponents with electricity. You’ll even gain access to the Supremo, a customizable “backpack” with several uses that are akin to supers or ultimate abilities in action games. The default version fires a salvo of rockets. Later, you can obtain a plethora of variants that can turn you into a rage-fueled machine, proc a self-revive/self-healing mode, or fry vehicles with an EMP burst.

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amigos, animal companions that’d join you as you fight hostiles. The crocodile Guapo will chomp and tear limbs. The fierce rooster Chicharron (the name itself makes me feel hungry for some pork rinds) slingshots toward your enemies’ faces. Meanwhile, the adorable Chorizo ​​distracts foes with ease. But, it can be a little janky when you’re trying to go through an area undetected. The moment the guards become suspicious, they’ll automatically fire on Chorizo. True, they’d barely hit him, but the noise will alert more guards. There are a few others that can be obtained, too, including a returning pal from a previous game.

Likewise, there are a multitude of vehicles and traversal options, such as a grappling hook, parachute, wingsuit, horses, tanks, fighter planes, and hovercraft-helicopter hybrids. Perhaps my only qualm here is that I’ve rarely felt the need to switch to other weapons or gadgets. Some options were just too good to pass up considering the combat mechanics in Far Cry 6.

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A few glaring problems with Far Cry 6

Speaking of combat, one of the most glaring problems in the game is the atrocious AI. More often than not, Far Cry 6 challenges you by way of dozens of enemy soldiers guarding a base or a constant stream of reinforcements that arrive at your location. Unfortunately, the AI ​​isn’t particularly bright. There are instances when enemies will simply run sideways — and you’ll see their outlines through the walls if you’ve tagged them beforehand — as they try to pinpoint your exact spot. They’ll rush through doorways and corridors only to get shot in the head. In several situations, I just camped a small room and they all funneled in, completely oblivious to their comrades who are getting killed whenever they entered.

However, the worst issues I’ve dealt with during the course of this Far Cry 6 review were the crashes. These occurred predominantly whenever I took screenshots (both regular images and Photo Mode). Because of the game’s autosave system, I found myself restarting some missions over and over. I spent hours trying to find the correct combination of settings. Later, I realized that I had to set my graphics preset to high, disable the HD textures option, and disable V-sync/framerate cap. It was so strange considering that my PC — Intel i9-10900K, Nvidia RTX 3080, and 32 GB RAM — were well within the requirements for smooth 4K resolution gaming. To be clear, I did not experience a single crash while progressing through the campaign and sandbox normally. As such, this is mostly an issue because I also have to write Far Cry 6 guides, which means I need a lot of screenshots (recording dozens of videos is out of the question due to gargantuan file sizes).

Finally, there was a period when I simply couldn’t access the Ubisoft/Far Cry 6 in-game store. I’ve tried various workarounds and fixes, but it kept saying that my Ubisoft Connect client was offline. That also meant that I couldn’t play the Special Operations or purchase a pack that would reveal most collectibles (something I’ve done in the past in order to write more guides). As mentioned earlier, we still haven’t received a response from Ubisoft regarding these problems. But, I can tell you that I never encountered these before when I covered Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

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Is Far Cry 6 worth your while?

Although I did experience several issues in Far Cry 6, these were related to specific instances (ie, screenshots/Photo Mode crashes). The AI, however, will make you cringe due to sheer stupidity. Another disappointment for long-time fans is that Far Cry 6 won’t have a map editor. Still, there should be some new activities that would let you enjoy the game with pals, including scenarios that showcase the villains from previous titles.

Overall, you can expect to spend roughly 20 or so hours with the main story, as well as dozens more if you include all the side activities and sandbox exploration. It’s a thrilling, action-packed romp that I’ve learned to appreciate given the themes that are also present in my country’s culture and history. The sights and sounds of Yara are also amazing, and I truly felt immersed in the setting and location. If not for the crashes due to taking screenshots, I’d have played this on the highest graphics settings throughout all. Lastly, without spoiling too much, let’s just say that I was hoping that the player can make even more meaningful decisions much later in the campaign. It’s about time for Ubisoft’s open-world action games to fully embrace branching paths when it comes to storytelling.

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