By Paul Davies.
Becoming an army-of-one, against all odds, has been central to Ubisoft’s Far Cry series from the beginning. To promote this further, emphasis in Far Cry 6 is on resourcefulness, so that players appreciate the finer workings of every plan well executed.
Rookie revolutionary Dani Rojas (male or female) is our reluctant hero at the centre of a scenario that sees a small island nation uprising against a tyrannical leader. Ubisoft frames this as Far Cry meets guerrilla warfare within a vast open world in which you are outgunned, outnumbered but never outsmarted. Experimentation is the secret to Rojas’ success.
Events take place on a fictional Caribbean island called Yara, pitched as an entire country to explore, larger and more varied than, say, the mountains of Kyrat (Far Cry 4). Following revolution in the late 1960s, Yara has been ‘frozen in time’, ignored by the rest of the world. Its culture is characteristically Cuban; villages, towns, and cities have a South American vibe.
Across the island, guerrilla forces gather in the more remote locations, making use of the jungles, swamps, and beaches to lure patrolling soldiers into traps. Larger, more spectacular missions take place at the enemy strongholds, systematically disrupted.
The guerrillas have laid a network of paths across Yara, where freedom fighters may pass undetected. Such trails are worth exploring for intel, gear, and to obtain vantage points. However, to cause the dictatorship serious problems, Rojas and his/her amigos/amigas must target facilities that include check-points, flak cannons and military outposts.
These enable road use, make the skies safer for planes and helicopters, and unlock Guerrilla Camps where guerrillas train and plan further missions. Outposts in Far Cry 6 are unusual, being civilian facilities claimed by the enemy, such as schools, TV stations, and farms, each one demanding a unique strategic approach.
The Far Cry series is also known for charismatic heroes and villains. In the case of Far Cry 6 there is palpable tension between military dictator Anton Castillos, and allies of Dani Rojas. The latter represent ‘Libertad’: Yarans who can no longer stand by and allow brutality on city streets, watch their loved ones forced into labour. Rojas falls in with this group, similarly motivated, and is taken under the wing of Libertad leader Clara Garcia who is only too happy to show volunteers the ropes. It’s Garcia that helps Rojas plot the road to victory.
If Garcia is method, Libertad spymaster Juan Cortez provides means. Central to the Far Cry 6 ethos is Cuban ‘Resolver’ culture, which makes practical use of discarded objects of all kinds. Cortez delights in showing Rojas how to use random junk as kick-ass weapon modifications, wildly engineering the effectiveness of the 49 military grade weapons available in the game.
While there are still suppressors, scopes, laser pointers, and such available, the party starts with the addition of CD players, sardine cans, engine mufflers, motorbike engines … we only witnessed a small fraction of possibilities during the Ubisoft presentation this week.
The pinnacle of Resolver culture in regard to weapons are the Supremo backpacks, devised by Cortez to cause massive disruption and untold damage. Cortez has a spectacular phrase to sum-up the need for Supremos (NSFW so you’ll have to hear for yourself), but it’s enough to know that these devices can turn a jet engine into a fire-bellowing, highly mobile menace, while multiple rocket-launchers can be shouldered conveniently into position using stealth.
Meanwhile, on the far opposite side of this spectrum, Rojas can holster (smaller) weapons, remaining inconspicuous, say observing activities of guards in the Yaran capital Esperanza. If we’re celebrating Rojas as the fuse that lights the powder keg of Yara’s revolution, choosing the right time is paramount to success. Ubisoft’s decision to introduce weapon-holstering in Far Cry 6 adds to the dramatic tension and we may hope will enable subtlety of gameplay.
Blending narrative and gameplay is a balancing act Ubisoft edges ever closer to perfecting, after years of experimenting. Far Cry in 2021 lays claim to something the published is calling ‘meaningful gear’, which is to say that every item of equipment carries performance perks that players can mix and match. Among some examples given are goggles that buff damage from sniper rifles, gloves that improve accuracy on throwing knives, and boots for mobility.
Players are encouraged more than ever to tailor lone-wolf loud-outs, finding a gameplay style that suits you best. Sometimes the scenario will dictate what is carried and worn, such as when an extended period of bombardment is expected before reinforcements arrive.
With Far Cry 6, the commitment is heavily angled toward tailoring player experience with clear gameplay consequences. This is extended to the range of Guerrilla Vehicles available, which can be Resolver-style reimagined as battering rams, multi-terrain stunt-oriented, or simply enhanced with roof-mounted turret for maximum devastation while on the move.
The range of vehicles is varied, everything from a bareback horse to Humvee. And because Yara culture is stuck somewhere in the late 60s, there’s huge retro appeal to a lot of them.
There is character worked into every rusty nut and bolt holding up the Libertad operation, but leading the humour charge are the Amigos … animal sidekicks along the lines of Guapo the human-garbage gobbling croc, and tiny dog Chorizo with wheels replacing its hindlegs. The little guy seems nothing more than a distraction so that Rojas can slit a few throats, but we know enough players who will be more than happy with that concept!
Expect to see more of Far Cry 6 in the coming months, right here at SA Gamer.