Far Cry 6 Hands-On Preview: Bolder Than Before?

The Far Cry gameplay concept is what it is, but the latest instalment may be where the series’ narrative footing is found—our thoughts after five hours with the game.

If you’ve been following the recent gaming scene, it seems like we’ve seen Far Cry 6 at every event, to the point where Ubisoft may be oversharing. So instead of idly watching, it felt good to get my hands on the game. And after around five hours of play, I can tell you that this is definitely a Far Cry game.

A massive open world, objectives dispersed over a large globe, explosions and firefights, clearing out camps, unlocking and upgrading weapons, you name it. I’m getting a bit of a “been there, done that” vibe, albeit with some genuine laughs thrown in for good measure. From a game-play standpoint, it’s a variant on a formula, but it appears to be creating its own personality in certain aspects. Yara, it’s mostly due of the surroundings.

The creators of Far Cry 6 have worked hard to make Yara as interesting as Anton Castillo, the primary villain played by Giancarlo Espositio. Yara might easily be compared to real-life Cuba, which is a Latin American country made up of islands in the Caribbean West Indies that is currently undergoing an armed revolution.

Its citizens are being crushed under the weight of a ruthless regime, as you can witness in the first few minutes. You play as Dani Rojas, a woman or man who joins a larger Guerilla movement known as Libertad, and they progressively buy into the revolution and the methods to carry it out. Seizing checkpoints and territories, mowing out Castillo’s army and cronies, and completing assignments for various leaders around Yara’s islands are all part of the game. In terms of narrative, it entails seizing control of the resources that can shift the tides of war and comprehending why this collaborative endeavour is worth the effort.

The concern with Far Cry is that Ubisoft games frequently skirt over thematic backdrops or settle for generic political story-lines as set dressing, seeing them as nothing more than playgrounds for wild open world action. When I first saw Watch Dogs: Legion last year, I had the same misgivings. Far Cry 6 might be able to get away with it, but borrowing inspiration straight from a real-world revolution only a few generations ago comes with the expectation of a more serious portrayal. Navid Khavari, the game’s narrative director, has stated that the game embraces its political themes.

Five hours isn’t going to show you everything there is to see in a game that could take upwards of 50 hours to finish in a reasonable amount of time. However, I will agree that it begins with a powerful tone and has moments that show potential. Character interaction in the main tale appears to be actually establishing the framework for comprehending the subtleties of what Yarans are fighting for and why it’s vital to the wider revolutionary organisation when it isn’t leaning into goofiness or simple platitudes.

As you fulfil the objective to escape the first island, you have a dialogue that exemplifies this. You ride a speedboat with Clara, Libertad’s leader, after sabotaging two of Castillo’s warships, and have a brief, touching dialogue asking: what now?

Clara: What’s your plan when you reach America?

Dani: Me and my friend Alejo were going to work shit jobs until we could scrape up some money. Open a body shop. If the Yanqui blockade taught us anything, it’s how to keep things running when you got nothing.

Clara: That’s the dream? Sure, Yanquis might pay you to park their cars or pick their fruit, but you’ll never be one of them. The American Dream doesn’t come in our color.

Dani: Okay, if we’re shitting on dreams, what are you going to do if you win, “Presidente Garcia?”

Clara: The next president won’t last six months before they are assassinated.

Dani: Wait, what?

Clara: It’s the truth.

Dani: Won’t free elections solve that? What happened to your list?

Clara: It’s a vision, Dani. But I’m not as naive as you think. This revolution will free Yara, but won’t fix it. When we take the capital, Yara will be burning. Could be civil war, factions, warlords, foreign-backed coups. Take your pick.

Dani: Yarans will be killing Yarans for a generation.

Clara: Aja. This fight will take the rest of my life. Yara is stuck in a cycle of tyranny and revolution. My job is to show us how to break it.

This not only sets a forceful tone, but it also sets the bar high for Far Cry 6 to deliver on what is clearly a Latin American storey. It’s not a side quest discussion or anything that happens in the background of a mission. It depicts the rebel group for which you are fighting. It fosters a fundamental but unmistakable awareness that America isn’t the solution. Rather, it’s frequently a contributing factor, and emancipation entails much more than taking up arms and killing dictators, though that is basically what you’re doing as a player.

Anton Castillo looms over the major plot points, and his violent, powerful presence pervades every scene. It causes an unsettling friction between him and his reluctant 13-year-old son Diego, who still has a moral compass. In the early hours, though, I don’t believe there is a clear comprehension of Castillo’s reasons or any depth. He has complete control over the workforce and manufacturing of Viviro, a potential cancer cure, which he enforces with violence and tyranny, and he is manipulative in his use of his “love for Yara” to justify everything. It’s hoped that there’s more to his agreement than just evil for the sake of evil. Diego, on the other hand, appears to be more engaging from a narrative standpoint.

Some of the scenarios are extremely gruesome, so they are not for the faint of heart. Far Cry, on the other hand, is ludicrous in its open-world action antics. The series’ innate bombast does not prohibit it from having more meaningful storytelling moments. When used properly, a touch of levity can assist to humanise a story’s environment and characters. With their power to influence the movement and their tendency to be washed out old timers, the “legends” who opposed Yara’s former dictatorship are a curious group. But then there’s this strange farmer with a superpowered chicken named Chiccharon, whom you chase around in a series of side missions, and it’s all a little irritating and grating—and, sure, I’m not a fan of shooting dogs like fish in a barrel, no matter how rabit they are. On the other hand, there’s Jonrón, an enthusiastic but irresponsible loose cannon whose fiery edge gives the cast some attitude. Given the game’s vastness, this is only scraping the surface, but in my little play session, I found supporting characters to be hit or miss, so your mileage may vary.

Far Cry 6 features its share of outrageous gameplay shenanigans, such as summoning planes and helicopters to drop into a base with guns blazing and fending off waves of warriors. Or, a la Far Cry 3’s famed level with a Skrillex beat drop, burning down a whole farm that’s producing Viviro with a flamethrower to the tune of a Spanish rendition of the Italian revolutionary song “Bella Ciao.” Companions in combat, known as Amigos, work similarly to Guns For Hire from the previous game, except now they’re animals like Guapo the gator or Chorizo the tiny pup-that-could.

Overall, the game adheres to well-known design principles and standard open-world shooter tropes. And if you’ve played any of the recent Far Cry games, you’ll know what to expect: great gunplay, the ability to mix stealth and action, and a variety of conventional and exotic weaponry to experiment with. Craft mods and upgrades, modify your loadout and perks, and tinker with Supremos, which are your many super-abilities strapped onto you like a backpack, at workbenches. And it’s critical that you stay up with this since sections of Yara aren’t friendly to the unprepared.

For those who aren’t burned out on these types of games, it appears to be a formula that still works. The question is always whether the formula can evolve and keep your attention during the game’s duration. We’ll see if Yara takes advantage of its size and abundance of open space.

Armed insurgency in a country wracked by anarchy and ruled by a brutal dictator? Yes, I imagine a guerilla group would arrive with weapons blazing. However, I believe Far Cry 6 has a better chance of succeeding if and when it provides you a reason to fight. A engaging story can help you get through the monotony or repetition that tends to sneak in as you progress deeper into a game like this.

Revolutionary stories are far more complicated and subtle than anything found in a Far Cry game, let alone any computer game. And some of us have grown up in countries that have been affected by Spanish colonization and more recent histories of revolutionary struggles. Far Cry 6’s story is at least fascinating to me because it tries to be more than a slick cover for a hot shooting gallery. That’s something I can get behind.

More importantly, keep in mind that games are created by humans. If you believe that, you owe it to yourself to learn about Ubisoft employees taking steps to improve business culture in response to hostile work situations, abuse, and sexual harassment that have been documented across the company’s numerous studios. Open letters and signatures in support of Activision-Blizzard employees demonstrate how Ubisoft’s leadership has failed to respond appropriately. It’s up to you how lawsuits and movements affect how you interact with Ubisoft games. To dismiss it, though, is to deny that the individuals who create these games deserve a secure and hostile-free workplace.

It’s the bigger revolution in video games that’s having real, practical effects on people’s lives. It also demonstrates the very real impact of collective action. Although Far Cry 6 is merely a video game, it is important to remember that taking action to improve the environment around you is always the right thing to do.

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