Far Cry has become one of the foundation open world franchises from Ubisoft, regularly combining a charismatic and intriguing villain with an island that is begging for exploration – and liberation. Far Cry 6 is the first to be hitting the current generation of console platforms, and after some delays from its initial release, Checkpoint has now now spent a solid few hours getting used to the island of Yara, its inhabitants and just a taste of what the main storyline has to offer; and so far, it’s looking pretty damn good.
The first part of my hands-on time, I got to play the beginning section of the game, from when you first arrive in Yara. In this opening hour, Far Cry 6 does an excellent job of establishing this particular universe and its specific brand of crazy in a truly Far Cry fashion.
It’s worth noting that the main character you play as, Dani Rojas, speaks a lot, even when just wandering around, finding your bearings. I didn’t have much of a strong connection with previous Far Cry protagonists, finding the villains far more compelling by comparison. While in this case the villain is once again a big deal (and with full motion capture of Giancarlo Esposito, that’s not surprising), I found Dani to be quite likable and therefore found more connected to their story of liberation and survival.
“…this killer croc wearing a cool jacket chewing through a random soldier let me know that this is the trademark silly chaos that Far Cry is known for.”
Guapo is the first companion (or, amigo) you’ll encounter, a very loyal crocodile that bites first and asks questions later. While the tone of the intro is quite serious, this killer croc wearing a cool jacket chewing through a random soldier in a cutscene let me know that this is going to supply the trademark silly chaos that Far Cry is known for. And yes, you can pet him. Gathering supplies and new equipment is very satisfying as I began to complete missions, and work benches (that are located all over the place really) allow you to upgrade your weapons however you like, choosing different types of ammunition, adding scopes and more. Stealing supplies and hunting for materials from animals has always been part of the series DNA, and it’s enjoyable here for sure.
In fact, as expected, there’s lots of familiar elements in Far Cry 6 that will feel like a cosy, comfortable blanket for franchise fans. Ubisoft certainly know how to craft a dense open world with lots to do. Riding my horse to a nearby Checkpoint, you have to take out the soldiers and destroy the FND billboard to liberate and capture it, which can be done stealthily or guns-blazing (which, happens to me more often than not as I’m terrible at stealth). Watching the flag turn from red to blue and then being rewarded with the stash from inside and access to it as a fast travel location still gives me that endorphin rush that I crave, and the same can be said for scouting the larger locations, where you should tag soldiers from a distance using the camera on your phone.
The last major mission in this early stage had me sabotaging a plantation, essentially by destroying tanks and using my flamethrower (called a Tostador here) to burn the red tobacco plants. While this certainly harkened back to an iconic mission from a previous Far Cry, I certainly didn’t care as the fun soundtrack pumped loudly and I burned the place to the ground.
Fast forward to later in the game, where I’ve now been given a lot of access to weapons and missions to play with, and a big map to explore at my leisure. Yara seems vast, and I can’t wait to search every inch of it for secrets and fun side activities. The Supremo is a new piece of gear that acts as a backpack, where you can unlock various abilities and modifications to assist in your mission. Medico allows you self-revive and rapidly heal yourself and nearby allies over time, while my favourite, Furioso, has you emitting an explosive ring that roasts enemies, and you can thrust forward in mid-air by jumping. There’s also Exterminator that launches a series of rockets that lock on to enemies, and El Impulso that sends an EMP pulse to knock over foes. There were other mods I didn’t get to muck around with, but this additional layer to equipment as a bit of an “ultimate ability” will be handy to get you out of a tight spot – or, to simple wreak havoc.
The first mission here had me finding specific iconic locations on the island based on pictures I was sent on my phone. My new companion, Chorizo the sausage dog (yes the cute one from the trailers) followed me around happily as I traversed a mountain using some basic platforming and my trusty grappling hook. This felt quite serene in comparison to the explosive scenes I’d encountered earlier, and this, along with a diversion of quick race around a bustling camp, showed me that Far Cry 6 is keeping the tradition strong of having a vibrant world that’s as much about discovery and enthusiastic wonderment as it is about gunfire and violence.
I was also introduced to a camp that acts as a hub and home base, where you can get new quests, build and upgrade facilities and connect to other fast travel points that you can build around the island. Jarringly, this camp is explored in third-person, which made it feel like a safe space and is also where you’ll access the much anticipated DLC where you play as the series’ past villains. It’s also a handy place to access a helicopter and plane so that you can really explore properly.
Visually, it looks stunning, which should be no surprise considering the Far Cry engine has always looked pretty amazing across all previous generations as well. The world is full of various wildlife, and there’s so much beautiful flora around that makes Yara feel like a truly living, breathing location, more so than what was possible in previous entries. As the sunrise cuts through the trees and reflects off of the puddles as you explore, it’s hard not to be impressed with the little details. Character models look great and well animated, too; production values are strong actress the board here which made my time with Far Cry 6 already feel pretty impressive.
Overall, Far Cry 6 feels incredibly fleshed out and impressive, and after only a few hours with it so far, I get a real sense that this could be the best Far Cry yet in terms of strong gameplay, overall variety and a slick narrative. Oh, and the whole thing can be done co-op with a mate? Yes please. I’m very much looking forward to overcoming the regime when it launches later this year.
Far Cry 6 is releasing on October 6 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PS4 and PC.