Hands-on Far Cry 6 Preview – Football is Life

If you’re like me, stuck in lockdown and feeling despondent, you’re probably watching Ted Lasso and enjoying the wholesome good times it depicts. Far Cry 6‘s protagonist, whether male or female, is named Dani Rojas and in spite of the grim circumstances they find themselves in, I couldn’t help but think of Ted Lasso’s relentlessly cheerful Mexican striker, also named Dani Rojas. It’s a totally unrelated and pointless detail but it made me smile and at the moment, anything that makes you smile is a good thing. Incidental, accidental or otherwise.

Aside from their names, Far Cry 6’s Dani and Ted Lasso’s don’t have much in common. Football Dani lives in London and plays for AFC Richmond while Far Cry 6 Dani live in Yara and plays with firearms and weapons-grade explosives. Football Dani answers to a coach who fully believes in his mission and will do anything for those under his tutelage.

Far Cry 6 Dani answers to Clara, leader of the guerillas and someone committed to her cause…there may be a few similarities after all.

But I digress, superficial (and slightly forced) similarities aside, Far Cry 6 feels almost like a rebirth for the series. After the very good Far Cry 5, and the bonkers ending(s), I wondered where Ubisoft would take Far Cry 6 and how it could measure up. Instead of reaching further into extremes or ratcheting up the cartoonish villainy, Ubisoft has pared things back and opted for a realistic approach.

From what I’ve seen and played, it’s paid off. Big time.

Far Cry 6 Preview

Far Cry 6 is set in the Caribbean island nation of Cuba Yara. Ruled with an iron fist by El President Antón Castillo (Giancarlo Esposito), Yara has been cut off from the world by sanctions imposed by the United States. Crumbling, poverty-stricken and increasingly dangerous, Yara is on the precipice of revolution. Casting Esposito as the villain is a masterstroke by Ubisoft. Not only is he a fantastic actor with great recognition following his stint on Breaking Bad, but he also gives Castillo an easy charm and likability that makes the character far more dangerous and interesting. When Castillo is on-screen, all eyes are immediately drawn to him and he moves like a snake, just biding its time and waiting to strike.

I felt nervous and on edge when Castillo was present. Part of me wanted to be at ease thanks to the charm I mentioned previously, but I also felt as though anything could happen at any moment, so my fight/flight response was going into overdrive. Which is exactly the kind of psychological response (torment) one should feel when playing Far Cry.

Unlike Vaas or Pagan Min, Castillo is something of a real-world character. That’s not to say Vaas and Pagan Min weren’t great characters, they just leant more on the video game/cartoon side of “insanity” and villainy. Joseph Seed, for all his batshit ideas, was also a more grounded character, however, he pales in comparison to Castillo. I don’t want to attribute all of the character’s success to Esposito’s casting but it’s a big part of the reason why he works so well. Another reason is the setting and tone.

In Far Cry 6 the player isn’t an outsider (Far Cry 3 and 4) nor an unspeaking observer, Dani is a citizen of Yara. They grew up there and have watched what Castillo has done to the country. There are numerous real-world and current analogues for Yara and Castillo, the world is never short of fascist dictators, and I felt genuine moments of fear at certain points throughout my hands-on. And not jump-scares or over-the-top gore/horror, this was a real, anxiety-inducing fear for my life.

Dani, less afraid than me, finds themselves at the very centre of the revolution being fomented by the guerillas. While trying to flee Yara and travel to the United States, Dani winds up, begrudgingly, fighting to free their country. This puts the player in a very different position from other Far Cry games. You’re not attempting a rescue, nor enforcing the law. Dani is trapped in Yara with the only means of escape being a violent uprising. Far Cry 4 and Far Cry 6 share this theme albeit with one key difference; Dani isn’t returning to her homeland, she’s never left.

On the gameplay front, I was able to play for a few hours in the early areas of the game. Unlike Far Cry 5, where you were able to travel anywhere at any point, Far Cry 6 is broken up into a number of islands. The island of Quito is your starting point and the home of the guerillas. Here, I was introduced to the game’s basic mechanics; shooting, stealth, driving, upgrades, mods etc. Functionally and mechanically, not much has changed since Far Cry 5. You’ll still be free-roaming, killing soldiers and animals, collecting a variety of junk and completing set missions and radiant content.

Fans of Far Cry 2 will be excited to hear that checkpoints are back in Far Cry 6, though I didn’t get to check whether the enemies respawn and the checkpoints reset. My feeling is no since you’re able to take them over and then install guerillas to guard them. Cue the audible sigh from the Far Cry 2 tragics.

One new feature that I took an instant liking to is the Supremo. Cobbled together from scraps and whatever the guerillas had lying around, these backpack ‘weapons’ give Dani a kind of ultimate ability. I had access to a few different Supremo models but my favourite was the Exterminador. When activated, by pressing L1+R1, the Exterminador launches a bunch of rockets that lock-onto and target enemies. It’s brilliantly over-the-top and ridiculous and a good counter to the heavy and serious tone that much of the story and setting seem to have. It wouldn’t be Far Cry if there wasn’t some excessive and exaggerated action.

Speaking of over-the-top stuff, I have to mention Far Cry 6’s Amigos (Fangs for Hire). You’ve no doubt seen (and fallen in love with) Chorizo, the sausage dog with wheels who can distract baddies. I was able to spend some time with him and can confirm he is as adorable as you imagine. However, I was also able to recruit Guapo the crocodile and Chicharron the rooster, both of which are totally leaning into the batshit exaggerated nature of Far Cry.

Guapo is an attack dog in a croc’s body. He goes after enemy soldiers and chomps them to bits. If he gets injured or knocked down, don’t worry, his ancient reptilian DNA will help him revive himself and get back into the action. Chicharron is a rooster with a chip on his soldier and several facial piercings. He has an axe to grind with Castillo’s soldiers for…reasons and he also hates dogs. To recruit Chicharron, I had to help him murder a pack of experimental and vicious guard dogs, destroy the army’s files and finally launch an all-out assault on a huge platoon. Chicharron is totally insane but also entirely lovable and I will kill anyone who tries to hurt my boy.

Gunplay in Far Cry 6 is just as you’d expect. I haven’t played Far Cry 5 in a minute, but I didn’t notice any major differences in Far Cry 6. Dani has access to three main weapons and a sidearm in addition to the Supremo, so you’re able to go into battle kitted out to the max. In addition to the regular types of guns (rifles, shotguns, LMGs etc) Dani also has access to Resolver weapons. These, like the Supremo, appear to be held together with zip ties and faith but are also really powerful. The Zeusito fires bolts of electricity, La Clavadora is an enormous crossbow that shoots what looks like telephone poles at enemies and El Susurro is a nail gun. All of the weapons are able to be upgraded and have mods applied that grant different effects. Dani’s clothing and armour can also be upgraded and modified so there’s a tonne of room for players to create their own builds, though how different they really are, remains to be seen.

I didn’t have access to a huge number of the available mods and upgrades, though if they work as advertised, there is huge potential to cater to your playstyle. Perks, mods and upgrades may come in handy when taking on different enemy types too as Ubisoft seems to have introduced resistances and weaknesses in combat. For example, certain enemies are weak to fire damage but resistant to regular bullets. Similarly, your weapons can be equipped with different ammo types to get around pesky armour and the like.

In addition to resistances and damage types, enemies and regions of the map come in a variety of levels, so some parts of Yara are going to be off limits until Dani has levelled up. You’re free to enter these regions and try your luck at getting around but if you get into trouble, expect to see the reload screen.

After 3-ish hours with Far Cry 6 I just want more. The tone, setting and story really got under my skin and I’ve found myself thinking about the opening on more than one occasion since my hands-on. I want to pet Chorizo, feed Guapo some meat and avoid getting pecked by Chicharron. I want to blow up a farm while burning everything in my path with my Resolver flamethrower, Hank Scorpio style and I want to do it while my soul is set ablaze with the sounds of mambo.

Far Cry 6 is high on my list of games to keep an eye on this year and from my time with it, I couldn’t be keener to get back to Yara.

Far Cry 6 was previewed on PC with access provided by Ubisoft ANZ.

Leo Stevenson
Leo Stevensonhttps://powerup-gaming.com/
I've been playing games for the past 27 years and have been writing for almost as long. Combining two passions in the way I'm able is a true privilege. PowerUp! is a labour of love and one I am so excited to share.

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