Far Cry 6 is power-fantasy first-person shooting at its finest. A gorgeous, huge tropical island is given to you, with carefully crafted locations, missions, and secrets to find and dominate. Urging you forward are the typical Far Cry cast of earnest and zany characters, providing motivation for your mad quest of vengeance upon a flamboyant villain. In short, not much has changed since Far Cry 3 reinvented the series in 2012. Nine years later the formula is old but enjoyable for those who want to play the hero in an accessible (and easy) game world.
The Joys of Open World Exploration
What is your heroic cause? To free the island nation of Yara. How? By overthrowing the evil dictator, Antón Castillo, played by Giancarlo Esposito of Breaking Bad fame. Giancarlo delivers brilliant acting in every one of his precious few scenes, as expected.
Still, most of the game isn’t about big-name actors in hyper-realistic cutscenes. The meat is in the pleasurable and addictive open world activities the series is famous for. And what a delectable treat is the Yaran ‘paradise.’ Many of the environments, including the tutorial beach island, took me back to 2004’s original Far Cry in the best way possible.
There is a joy of knowing you’ve been given a whole world to uncover at your leisure, jammed packed with things to do. What is available, you ask? See the local villages. Snap some photos. Try some horseback riding. Hunt or fish. Naturally there are checkpoints to capture. What else? Ambushes. Interceptions. Operations. Supply drops. Relic and treasure hunts. Charms and gear chests. Roosters. Vehicles. Hidden histories. Songs to unlock. Side stories, dominoes, races, and so much more.
In short, Far Cry 6 is a collector’s paradise and a daunting challenge for any completionist. Personally, when I checked the map on the starting tutorial island, I scrolled through the main island and was shocked at how massive it was. Part of me was excited for all that discovery, but part of me was fatigued. Nevertheless, I truly love playing Far Cry 6, but I’m a sucker for these types of games.
Accessibility: Dumbing Down or Tuning Up?
Please note that Far Cry 6 is the most accessible game of the series so far. Accessible also means easy because you’re pretty much given everything from the very start. Gone are the days of working so hard to finally unlock silenced sniper rifles and super-weapons. A couple hours in you’ll have guns that can easily get you through the entire game, which is a bit disappointing.
Also gone are the character skill trees and crafting upgrades systems of the last handful of titles. In Far Cry 6, everything is resource-based. You scrounge for gasoline, plastics, metals, and other materials. These are used to modify weapons with attachments and bonuses. I understand the change. In prior games, it became tiresome to earn XP and hunt down animals just to craft a bigger ammo pouch or whatnot. Still, I miss the stronger sense of character progression from past titles.
Game Structure, Plot, and Characters
How is the game structured, plot-wise? The map is divided into a tutorial island and other major regions. Each region has its own supporting characters and sub-villains. Slowly you march through the zones, in whatever order and pace you see fit.
Fast travel locations unlock regularly, and friendly NPCs will often mark important locations on your map. Completing big story missions furthers the main plot to overthrow the big baddie. It’s a tried-and-true approach, and there’s never a shortage of things to do. However, a little more innovation would have been nice.
Most main story missions are very good, but nearly all of them have been done before in prior Far Cry games. You burn down farms, fight hordes of enemies, board warships, capture forts and bunkers, and so forth. If not for the setting, one could easily mistake the game for Far Cry 5.
Guiding your missions are characters of differing excellence. The Far Cry series has never been known for quality writing. The main villains have been charismatic and beloved, but the actual narrative and dialogue have been seriously weak. Far Cry 6 continues this tradition. It features lots of confused messages on freedom, justice, and extreme violence. But whatever. Far Cry is sort of the Rambo of games: lots of intense bloodshed, plot and morality be darned.
Camp Building, Dispatch Missions, Expeditions
Taken from 2019’s Far Cry New Dawn are new and slightly improved camp building mechanics. It’s the usual fair: collect resources in the game world and spend them on upgrading your settlements. Each upgrade can be leveled up and gives extra benefits like more gear, access to vehicles, fishing buffs, and so on. It’s good fun for those who want a little more world-building in their first-person mayhem.
Another addictive (and entirely new) feature is dispatch missions, akin to the Metal Gear Solid 5 (and nearly identical to Expeditions from Anno 1800). You rescue leaders and recruits through regular gameplay. Then you send your bandito ‘army’ on missions and must wait a certain time. Once the timer is up, you ‘play out’ the mission in the menu, making choices to determine your success. The system is basic, but it’s another nice (and unexpected) feature.
Also returning from Far Cry New Dawn are Expeditions. These fantastic standalone missions take you to exotic and fun locations with excellent combat and unique objectives. You can play single-player or two-player co-op, and successful completions earn special currency to buy new weapons and items. Sadly, there are only two maps at launch, but four more are ‘coming soon.’ Still, this mode is possibly the most adrenaline-packed excitement I’ve had from the Far Cry series.
Equipment & Other Features
Another new feature is a five-piece equipment system, with countless interchangeable pieces of gear, each giving slight bonuses to stats. You can even change their appearance right from the start for the sake of Far Cry fashion. Finding all the pieces of gear scattered around the world is good fun, and some gear bonuses are quite useful. Then again, it is quite tedious to change equipment for every situation. A gear combining/crafting system whereby you could merge all the best traits for a cost would have been amazing.
Photo mode is an excellent and robust edition. You can change the time of day and even spawn vehicles. Some will never touch it, but I, for one, have spent WAY too much time living my best Far Cry photography life.
Fishing returns but is more accessible than it was in Far Cry 5. As always, fishing mini games tend to be ‘love ‘em or hate ‘em.’ Fishing in real-life and video games isn’t my cup of tea. But whatever. You can also collect a bunch of roosters and engage in cock fights. Also not my thing.
The sound design is solid, but not remarkable. Some of the music is excellent, such as the work done by composer, Pedro Bromfman. The other more youthful hip-hop/rap tracks were more of an acquired taste for me.
The Technical Issues
Let’s hit a few technical issues that PC players need to know about.
The framerate is worse than I expected. I can barely get 60 FPS at 1440p with Medium settings on my older Intel CPU but new nVidia RTX 3070. There appear to be optimization and threading issues with the game engine. Still, I need to be clear: the game runs decently. It stutters a bit when loading areas, but I’ve only seen a few flickering textures and physics glitches. Overall, the game is technically good. It’s just a bit too demanding for the performance delivered.
The main story cutscenes foolishly use letterboxing to be more ‘cinematic.’ Much worse, the cutscenes seem to be capped at 30 FPS, which is utterly terrible. The HD texture pack’s 11GB VRAM requirement is way too steep. Only players running 4K with the most insane video cards will be able to use it. Thankfully, the base textures look pretty good to me at 1440p. The 30 FPS cutscenes are the real sin that significantly impacted my enjoyment of key story moments. Let’s hope for a patch.
At least the PC customization options deliver virtually everything to be desired. Nearly every key is rebindable. There are FOV options, robust graphics settings, and many accessibility choices. Ubisoft clearly spent a lot of love and care with the PC features, apart from the poor engine optimization.
Connectivity, Autosave, Too Easy!
Then there’s Ubisoft Connect, the digital platform. Formerly known as Uplay, Ubisoft Connect can have issues and is inferior to Steam from a technical perspective. Then again, Ubisoft Connect provides PC Achievements, Challenges (Solo, Community, and Time-Based), Rewards, and Stats, all viewable from within the in-game overlay. We must take the good and bad together, I suppose.
In conjunction with Ubisoft Connect, there is also an in-game real-money store. You can purchase dreaded Premium currency to unlock cosmetics and game-impacting items.
Available are skins, vehicles, and weapons. You can also pay to reveal the location of collectibles on the map. Oh, and one content pack is exclusive to Amazon Prime users. Terrible!
Far Cry 6 is yet another game that doesn’t allow any manual saving. Relying on autosave exclusively results in loss progress in you’re not careful. Say you go to a town and pick up a few missions and maybe send out a dispatch team. If you then quit via the menu, your last efforts might not be saved. It appears that Fast Traveling saves the game, but a proper ‘Save on Quit’ option would have been nice.
Tied in with the autosave problem, the checkpoint system during missions isn’t good. Several times I had to stop playing in the middle of a mission only to find the mission hadn’t even started upon loading the game again. Bad.
Let me yet again state that Far Cry 6 is stupidly easy, especially with precise mouse controls on PC. It’s so easy that it invalidates many of its systems. Equipment bonuses. Cooking for stat bonuses. Weapon attachments. Special ammo. Amigo buddies. Disabling alarms. Hiding bodies. This stuff was nearly meaningless to me because all I usually needed to win was an assault rifle with armor-piercing rounds.
Moreover, the AI is very poor. Soldiers often get stuck behind buildings or walls or spawn all clumped together. Your ‘Amigo’ pets aren’t responsive enough to your commands. Here’s hoping for patches that improve the AI.
Activism, Shallow Writing, Rhetoric
For my final criticism, it must be noted that Far Cry 6 is the most political of the series, including attempts at social activism. I say ‘attempts’ because the game will throw an important topic at you but then zoom past it, sort of like drive-by moralizing.
For example, there is a transgender supporting character who shares much inner anguish in one particularly emotional scene. After such sharing, I felt like I should try to respond to this person on a human level. If dialogue options existed, I would have said: [Heartfelt] “I hear your pain, and it sounds like you’ve had some very unhealthy relationships in your life. I’ll listen if you want to tell me more.”
But this is Far Cry; real conversations don’t happen. Even ultra-serious topics like mass murder and slavery are just glanced at and then gone. It’s a shame because Far Cry 6’s narrative topics would be interesting to explore in a less superficial kind of game.
In short, Ubisoft wants to make important statements, but the writers aren’t equipped to handle the responsibility of complex issues. Thus, even sacrosanct characters become caricatures. Sorry, trans character, you deserved better than a Far Cry game.
Far Cry 6 has issues. It’s very similar to past titles. The AI is inadequate, and the game is far too easy. The PC performance could be much better. Its narrative is messy, and nobody likes preachy politics. But you know what? I can overlook the faults because the overall playing experience is so good.
Getting lost in a tropical paradise. Experiencing the joys of discovery. Air dropping on a new outpost and silently eliminating every guard in a matter of seconds with precisely aimed headshots. This. Is. Far Cry…6! And I love it. I really do. We only get quality open-world FPS experiences like this every few years, and I’m ready to spend many more hours reaching 100% completion over the coming weeks.
However, if you’re not a sucker for open world shooters, the smart move is to wait several months for a few patches and a price discount. Yara will still be there down the road, waiting for you to embrace the muddled madness of the latest Far Cry revolución.
- Excellent villain
- Beautiful, lush world
- Hallmark gameplay
- Mostly solid supporting cast
- Intense expeditions
- Addictive dispatch missions
- Excellent PC controls
- Graphics customization
- Photo mode so good
- Peak power-fantasy
- Many, many activities
- 30 FPS cutscenes
- Far too easy; dumb AI
- Unnecessary systems
- Underdeveloped narrative
- Confused, preachy politics
- Autosave only; checkpoints
- Unoptimized game engine
- HD texture pack issues
- Real-money currency shop
- Same old Far Cry formula
- Not on Steam
Playtime: 40+ hours. Nick spent over 40 hours to finish the story and complete about two-thirds of all activities. He plans to put in another 10-20 hours to reach 100% completion.
Computer Specs: Windows 10 64-bit computer using an Intel i7-3930k CPU, 32GB of memory, and a nVidia RTX 3070 graphics card. Game installed on a WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD.
Also read the Far Cry 6 PC Performance Analysis.