Far Cry 6 Review (PS5) – Murder is Life

Before we begin, let’s clear up a bit of confusion for fans of the TV show Ted Lasso. In Far Cry 6, you do NOT play as Dani Rojas, the incredibly upbeat Mexican striker whose catchphrase is “football is life”. In this game, you play as Dani Rojas, an incredibly cutthroat Yaran guerilla whose main personal philosophy is “murder is life”.

Dude – or dudette, the choice is yours – is hooked on the very specific dopamine hit that comes from explosions.

In a new twist for this series, Rojas’ sociopathy is equal to their creativity. The sad fact is that when you’re living in a dirt poor, totally-not-Cuban country, you have to get all MacGuyver with your murder tools. Cue: a whole bunch of materials scrounging, plus the wanton destruction of any and all wildlife in the area.

Far Cry 6 Review

Gather the scratch, and you’ll be better positioned to topple local dictator Anton Castillo (Giancarlo Esposito) with a homemade Frankenshooter that’s way more OK than any AK. Case in a few points: You might pepper his soldiers full of hyper-sonically slung Macarena CDs. A nail gun on steroids could also help you silently carpe diem via carpentry. Alternatively, you might simply reduce people into chunky gazpacho with an energy pulse rifle or a mini-gun + motorcycle engine.

In case it’s not already clear, Far Cry 6 has shifted toward a more “stranger than fiction take on reality”. The last numbered Far Cry centred on the heavy themes of dangerous cults, predatory religions and impending nuclear war. It had wacky moments, sure, but they were still reasonably grounded by the odd psychotropic drug trip. FC6 makes very few efforts to explain away its gamiest moments.

Take the Supremo backpack, for instance. Very early on, Dani falls in with an OG regime recycler and WMD DIY-er named Juan. Note: if litigation didn’t exist, he could’ve just as easily been called “Just Cause’s Rico Rodriguez +30 years”. The everpresent proton pack he makes for you effectively houses your perk tree, plus its main armament is an L1+R1 special move that can be radically customised.

Get your Doc Brown on and five-finger discount some plutonium, and your Supremo could become a smart-missile spewer that makes helis go down faster than 50 cent mojitos. Alternatively, you might tweak this shoulder slung wonder into being a health dispenser, security defeating EMP emitter or a “ring of fire” solution that instantly turns your personal bubble into a localised hellscape.

All that being said, how would you suppose you’d earn ammo for this magical do everything backpack? “Just kill more soldiers!” explains Juan. “The Supremo loves it!”

That worrying, unexplained sentience also extends to your collection of AI-controlled animal Amigos. You’ll form instant bonds with a vest-wearing crocodile, an incredibly astute wiener dog, and an utterly malevolent fighting rooster whose sole mission in life seems to be an absolute cock to Castillo.

Directing and recalling these compatriots is done via the d-pad, and ticking off their mini cheevo requirements will make them more effective. Personally, I use the old “stealth until everything goes to shit” approach, which basically made them increasingly neglected as I grew in ninja prowess and equipment.

Speaking of ‘nice-to-haves’ on a bullet point list that are largely redundant, Ubisoft has added in camp building. The basic idea – I guess, because I was never really compelled to use it much – is to increase the effectiveness of the local AI freedom fighters and the resource plentifulness of the outposts you nip into now and again.

Honestly, I didn’t really see the need for any of it – even though I was playing on the toughest of the two-game difficulties. With my 20 hour experience, I found I had more than enough firepower given to me via in-mission loot boxes to get the job done. I’d simply rock up to the mission area, open the obvious chest shown on my radar, and use the unique (often OP) weapon within to clean house.

Doing things this way made the weapon building/improving almost a non-requirement. Unique weapons can’t be tinkered with. Nor do they really need to be – once you get a pistol that shoots fire bullets, you’re pretty much married to one another for the rest of the game, right? If you collect a decent four-gun arsenal that lets you “match damage type to enemy weakness” – because Far Cry 6 has the RPG lite combat approach seen in Far Cry New Dawn – you’re sweet.

Just quickly on that ‘lifebars-a-go-go’ direction, I fully expect some gamers will turn their nose up at this. There’s always going to be a certain unsatisfaction to landing a bullet in the flesh of somebody’s face, only to watch them shrug it off and continue their fascism with renewed vigour. It’s a culture shock if you skipped New Dawn, but it quickly passes the more you play and power up.

In a few hours, it’ll just kinda click that you really need to be wearing special bits of clothing or firing specific damage-themed guns to be extra effective. It also puts a higher emphasis on whipping out Dani’s phone to do your pre-game homework on what gat needs to be unloaded upon which goon. If you have a meticulous nature, a flawlessly executed outpost assault can feel pretty rewarding.

Unfortunately, the same positivity can’t be applied to the uneven storytelling in Far Cry 6. For starters, Espirito starts out as a magnetic antagonist but is ultimately under-utilised and, surprisingly, doesn’t manage to dethrone the fascinating Far Cry villains that have come before. The man has gravitas till next Tuesday and does what he can with the script he’s got, but Castillo is a bit too one-dimensional.

It’s kind of the same deal with Dani and at least one “tribe” of characters who must be wooed if you want to control this sandbox. Two of those tribes – a fiercely prideful family of farmers and some octogenarian jungle guerillas – have interesting tales and twists. The third group, standing smack bang between you and Castillo’s capital, come off as self-centred posers. Working for them is like being forced to do a 3-hour internship for a bunch of fetch-quest-giving Instagrammers.

Last but not least, there’s little character development going on with Dani themselves. I basically went from reluctant runaway to being outed as an action junkie who’s just in it for the action. Any attempt by Dani to upskill beyond that into a leadership role was slapped down by my compatriots. You just never rise higher than being a mindless exploder of things.

Writing-wise, I think this is like Far Cry New Dawn – passable stuff that certainly tries to swing for big emotional payoffs, but whiffs about as much as it hits. That being said and despite some unnecessary features bloat, the action side of things has never been better. Everything here feels big, bold and over the top – be it vehicles, equipment, allies and weaponry, be it crate found or cobbled together.

As you’d expect, that ultra-violence elevates considerably when you enlist the help of a co-op partner. It’s top fun to spec a pal to cover your weaknesses and have them run interference from afar down a scope. Or you could just have them kick in a door alongside you, or ride literal shotgun in some weirdo dune-buggy-plane you’re driving. Better yet, there’s no guilt factor like there was in Far Cry 5’s co-op – both players get to keep their progression.

At the end of the day, Far Cry 6 successfully conjures the alluring tropical beauty of FC3’s sandbox, FC4’s verticality and mountaineering, along with the weirdo weaponry of New Dawn.

If you don’t go in expecting a plot that’s revolutionary, you’ll have big gobs of mostly mindless fun.


Far Cry 6 was reviewed on PS5 using a digital copy provided by Ubisoft Australia.

Far Cry 6
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Pros
Generous pool of unique weaponry to build and find
Some of the best co-op out in ages
Massive, gorgeous Caribbean sandbox with tons to do
Cons
The Castillo family tale kinda fizzes in critical spots
Some exciting new systems are actually redundant
Damage-matching combat isn't for every taste
7.5

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Adam Mathew
I grew up knowing and loving a ludicrous amount of games, from dedicated Pong console onwards. Nowadays you'll find me covering and playing the next big things. Often on Stupid-Hard difficulty. Because I'm an idiot.

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