Far Cry 6: Hands-on Preview

Art of Guerrilla Fighting

If this were not another Far Cry, we dare say Ubisoft could have named this South American shooter ‘resolver’, instantly becoming one of the coolest new IPs around. See, the Cuban-inspired DIY approach to problem-solving is a great premise for a gritty open-world adventure. And being rough around the edges only adds to the charm and authenticity. This, I have concluded after only a few hours’ gameplay but you’re going to have to trust me on this one …

Fundamentally Far Cry 6 is a mission to become the meanest one-person-army that a militarised government would hate to meet…

It was Destiny that brought you here

As you no doubt already know, the lead protagonist in Far Cry 6 is a guerrilla soldier named Dani Rojas. Now, this is not the case when the game begins, but let’s just say Dani is more than motivated to pick up arms, and put years of US military training to some meaningful use. The megalomaniac dictator Antón Castillo has everything to do with this, which brings us to Yara – a fictitious Caribbean island, trapped in time, with its South American vibes.

Dani (male or female, you get a choice at the start of the game) is left stranded from the outset, literally on a beach, in search of a good weapon and useful allies. Fundamentally, this is Far Cry 6: a mission to become the meanest one-person-army that a militarised government would hate to meet; slowly, but very deliberately, acquiring the gear required and enough experience to know how to use it. Along the way, Dani befriends seasoned freedom-fighters who offer support, but in the end, it’s our hero that eventually turns the odds to his or her favour through the player’s smart decision-making and manual dexterity. To begin with, Dani is kind of, well, weak.

Rising power

The progression system is a departure from recent series entries, but should be familiar to most shoot-em-up fans. Instead of a skill tree, with perks unlocked according to experience, the EXP in Far Cry 6 builds toward a base-level rank for Dani. This rank decides the weapons, tools and wearables Dani can put to use, and combines with the ‘resolver’ DIY system of piecing together a kick-ass arsenal, bad-ass outfit and performance-enhancing accessories.

Honestly, gear is lame to start with; maddeningly so, but this is surely the intention.

Honestly, gear is lame to start with; maddeningly so, but this is surely the intention. With recoil patterns that make anything other than close-range take-downs a joke, shotguns that require several square-aimed hits to prove effective, it follows that every player will seek alternatives asap. Add to this vulnerability owing to paper-thin armour, it can get tough.

There’s no shortcut to take, it’s all down to investment of time and what works best for your play style in most situations. The positive in all this is that upgrades, whether acquired from a vendor or modified at a workbench, bring tangible performance benefits no matter how slight. Dani needs to remain on the lookout for stashes of materials while out in the field, which encourages players to appreciate location detail and stumble across other secrets.

It’s about the journey (and the destination)

Ubisoft has excelled in exotic environments for the Far Cry series. Yara could just as easily fall into that bracket: instead of the Himalayas, we have a Caribbean island. However, we were impressed by the lengths they have gone to make every contour on the map count. Sure, there’s a point at which you become grateful for the expediency of a helicopter or wingsuit. However, while Dani is being made to feel at home, the game encourages exploration based on what lies directly ahead, as opposed to Fast Travelling between points on the map.

Solving puzzles is enjoyable as a team and support from high-level players is always appreciated.

The main story involving Castillo continues according to the pace players wish to set. There is no artificial ‘appointment time’ imposed for Dani’s ultimate showdown with the dictator. It is likely that ‘slow is smooth, smooth is fast’ applies to a more inquisitive player’s approach.

It is heavily implied that there is an endgame intention to all of this, where players can hook up via co-op to purge Yara of every last mystery long after freedom is restored to the island. In co-op, two players help each other complete any kind of mission, and progress is saved for both parties. This shared-world shooter component is a welcome addition to Far Cry — solving puzzles is enjoyable as a team and support from high-level players is always appreciated.

Bring treats

With Far Cry 6, it does feel like a series in transition, at the same time staking a particular claim. The authenticity of ‘resolver’ gear makes it the most customisable experience yet: individual decision making amid a sand-box setting leads to uniquely rewarding outcomes. Series fans, however, will smile at the return of animal friends, endearingly dubbed Amigos.

Chorizo is simply a tiny dog, causing distractions which is just about tactically useful.

Guapo the crocodile, Chorizo the wiener dog, Chicharrón the wild rooster, and finally Danilo the hungry pelican – all enliven the action in just-about credible ways. Guapo becomes Dani’s bodyguard, sent to intimidate and usually kill weaker bad guys. He’s not as monstrous as some of us might’ve hoped for, more of a strategic consideration. Chorizo is simply a tiny dog, causing distractions which, again, is just about tactically useful. Chicharrón is a chaotic melee merchant, whose involvement seems related to specialist missions of destruction. With Danilo, Dani goes hunting for treasures … you’ll need serious wingsuit skills for that!

The real ‘New Dawn’?

These distractions aside, the core concept of Far Cry 6 does seem to be this ownership of progress. By establishing guerrilla camps, receiving mentorship from more experienced fighters, and tailoring Dani’s resolver gear to play your way, there is much greater ‘player agency’ than expected. Castillo is a monster that must be stopped, but we’re not dragged along behind an overly ambitious narrative, instead allowed to let everything slowly unravel and sink in.

Genuinely can’t wait to re-join Dani on this mission!

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