Far Cry 6 review: A return to form for the chaotic open world shooter

The latest instalment in Ubisoft's long-running open world shooter series, Far Cry 6 is set in Yara, a breathtaking tropical island modelled on Cuba which is under the rule of manic dictator Anton Castillo.

Played by Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito, Castillo has a vision of restoring the country to its past glories when his father was in power by any means necessary, all while trying to groom his conflicted teenage son Diego to follow in his footsteps.

As Dani Rojas – which can be played as male or female – it's your job to take down Castillo and stop this transfer of power to his son with the help of Clara and her revolutionist pals in Libertad.

We reviewed Far Cry 6 across Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X to see how well the latest instalment in the series holds up on next-gen platforms.

Far Cry 6: The most memorable since Far Cry 3 (Playstation 5)

by Jacob Burman

As the saying goes, if it ain't broke don't fix it. And for more than 10 years Ubisoft has been doing just that with its epic Far Cry series.

From sprawling sandboxes littered with treasures, an array of vehicles, weapons and wing suits, it's safe to say the franchise certainly has its formula.

And once again, this recipe has been followed for its latest installation; a captivating despot has total control of an island, or in this case a series of them, and it's your job to take him down with the zany characters you meet along the way.

If you've played any Far Cry since the second game, you'll definitely get a sense you've played this before. But there's no doubt this is absolutely the best in the series for a long time.

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The storyline is a bit more believable this time around, with a lineage of power being handed from one generation to the next, rather than a random tyrant occupying an island with a legion of followers who are wilfully prepared to do anything for them without any rhyme or reason.

Performances from all actors are strong across the board. The inner turmoil of Diego – who loves his father but sees his wicked crimes – is easy to see and the relationship between father and son is complex and fascinating. Esposito's work as the tyrannical father is borderline chilling at times, yet there is a sense that he is a bit too evil and I was left wondering how people would so readily buy into his savage regime.

Coupled with the fact that most allies you meet along the way are highly eccentric, I did wonder how a group of offbeat outcasts were going to take down said regime.

The decision to show protagonist Dani Rojas in the third person during cut scenes also helped me understand the character a lot better than in previous installations where you play a faceless hero – even if I didn't feel much of an affiliation with him.

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Similar to its predecessors, you need to work your way around the island taking control of checkpoints, destroying anti-aircraft guns and slowly turning the map from red to blue, helping Libertad free Yara from Castillo's clutches. I enjoyed silently scouting out locations and picking off enemies, prioritising eliminating snipers, heavy gunners and medics before moving in to deal with the rest.

On the flipside, it got quite chaotic when Castillo's men would find my location and smoke me out. Tailoring the weapons and armour to the situation is essential in this game and I found it quite fiddly and frustrating to have to go into the options menu and completely change my load out while things were going south, interrupting the action and flow of the game.

The weapons themselves are a lot of fun. The addition of what is essentially a weaponised backpack dubbed the Supremo, a brainchild of wacky guerrilla master Juan Cortez, takes the combat up a level. There are a number of them which facilitate the way you play, allowing you to completely wipe out targets by firing a flurry of rockets at them, or poisoning them to make them turn on each other.

The health Supremo also came in handy when the combat shifted from stealth to an all-out gun fight in which droves of NPCs – which are a bit cleverer in this outing – rapidly hone in on your position.

The resolver weapons also offer more of a unique Far Cry experience but I felt they were a bit of a gimmick and often just reverted to using regular, albeit upgradeable, guns.

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The mini games are fun too, if you have time for them. The Tekken-style cockfights provide a genuine challenge and I was hooked for a little while. But there's a limit to the laughs and I wasn't that invested.

The game isn't without its hiccups though. On a number of occasions I was irked with slow NPCs I had to go back for or ones that wouldn't acknowledge me at the end of a mission because I was "in combat" – despite the fact there wasn't a soldier in sight.

Climbing and jumping is also a bit clunky and frustrating, as is getting into a car without having to go right up to the door and stand at it head on. There's also an assumption that players immediately know what they're doing with side objectives like fishing and hunting, so if you're new to the series you'll have to figure it out on your own.

Far Cry 6 is a familiar frolic into the chaotic world of guerrilla warfare in a breathtaking open-world, with larger than life characters and an excessive amount of customisable guns and equipment. But this time it's done it all so much better.

With smarter NPCs, fewer glitches and a much more captivating antagonist, the game is easily the most memorable in the series since Far Cry 3.

Verdict 4/5

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Far Cry 6: The definition of insanity (Xbox Series X)

by Ciaran Daly

"Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the exact same thing over and over again, expecting it to change."

These immortal words were spoken at the start of Ubisoft's 2021 hit, Far Cry 3 by Vaas, the game's brutal and bloodthirsty antagonist.

Three sequels and three spinoffs later, it seems that Vaas' words sealed the fate of the series itself.

In many ways, Far Cry 6 is more of the same. That's not necessarily a bad thing: chaotic sandbox ultraviolence, jaw-dropping open worlds and maniacal, charismatic dictators in need of overthrowing are what the series does best. It's certainly not lacking in these departments this time around.

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As a result, though, it also suffers from some of the same problems as previous games. The world can feel a bit empty, the action can be a bit repetitive, and the story a little bit far-fetched.

But nobody plays Far Cry for its realism. If you've come to the game for the right reasons, i.e. shootouts, explosions and adventure, you won't be disappointed.

The game's Cuba-like Caribbean setting of Yara is beautifully realised, and to Ubisoft's credit, does a better job of feeling a bit more 'lived in' than previous games. The landscape feels natural, the NPCs seem to have independent (if small and boring) lives of their own, and there's plenty to fetch, smash, and climb everywhere you go.

The developer has also done a great job of making the game's different geographies feel unique, with mountainous areas standing in stark contrast to chilled beaches and faded cities.

Installing the ultra-HD texture upgrade pack for Xbox Series X noticeably improved the game's graphics, particularly in terms of the lighting and frame rate. It took a few days to install however, as my Xbox marked the pack as installed even though it hadn't downloaded.

This seemed to be fixed after a patch. Even with the upgrade, it still feels a little bit like a last-gen game, which is no surprise as it began development in 2016.

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Giancarlo Esposito provides, as expected, a captivating performance as the island's dictator Anton Castillo, although you can't help wonder how much mileage the game can really squeeze out of the Gus Fring nostalgia. His character itself suffers a bit from often weak scriptwriting.

It damages the credibility of the in-game world a little bit. Like other villains in the series, the character's presidency seems built on a popular cult of personality, with massive billboards of him everywhere. But he seems completely unhinged and murderous, and it's a bit difficult to gauge why he has any support from the legions of goons you spend the whole game mowing down.

However, the complicated relationship with his son Diego is perhaps the most interesting part of the character, as he grooms the boy for power. The inclusion of a deeper family relationship in the game is definitely welcome, and adds a bit of much-needed emotional depth to the game.

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The storytelling is also salvaged by some genuinely funny and bizarre supporting characters. The standout is undoubtedly charismatic veteran guerilla Juan Cortez, whose booze-soaked tones carry you through much of the game, as well as some complex figures such as tobacco-farming croc butcher Carlos Montero.

As with other games in the series, though, the revolutionaries themselves are a little bit too serious to be fun, such as the guerilla's leader Clara.

Far Cry 6 is an incredibly well-oiled machine, and it's undoubtedly the best-looking and slickest entry into the series. Fans of the series won't be disappointed by how it handles combat in an unpredictable, non-linear way and gives you plenty of toys and tools to keep the experience fresh.

But as with its time-travelling counterpart Assassin's Creed, Ubisoft's open world formula is starting to wear a little bit thin. Just focus on the blockbuster action, and don't expect anything too new.

Verdict 3.5/5

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