Far Cry 6 Review: Less Predictable and More Political
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“Far Cry 6 could be the most interesting and complex game that Ubisoft has developed recently.”
Great mission design and mechanics
Less formulaic than previous Ubisoft games
Strong sociopolitical issues
This review was originally published on Digital Trends Español by Raúl Estrada and translated into English.
There is a moment in the first few hours of Far Cry 6 that sets the tone of the game in terms of narrative and playability: a mission to destroy a tobacco plantation. In general, the task is simple: set the growing areas on fire and destroy tanks with chemicals while facing waves of enemies that steadily arrive until the destruction gauge fills up.
This mission design is a classic in Ubisoft games. The striking detail in Far Cry 6, however, is that while the plantation burns, a Caribbean and Spanish version of the song Bella Ciao is playing in the background. This changes the rhythm and even adds more instruments as the chaos unleashes. Without music, the mission would be like any other. With the melody, it becomes a great moment in the game’s campaign.
Far Cry 6 is no stranger to the Ubisoft formula that is featured in all of its open world games. But it hides the formula in the best possible way so the game doesn’t feel like an endless to-do list. The mix between mechanics and mission design is more organic and that has a lot to do with the setting. Yara Island accommodates urban environments, rural areas, mountains and archipelagos. Overall, it’s more varied than the flat, uniform map of previous Far Cry games.
Improve the familiar
Ubisoft has a signature with its open world games and Far Cry 6 is no exception. The map is divided into zones, each of which is controlled by a subordinate of the main villain. The goal is to take control of these areas by completing missions to defeat the boss of this zone and thus end the siege around the main villain.
What changes in Far Cry 6 compared to the previous titles in the saga is not the design as such, but the perception of what is being done. In this case, the point is to start a Yaran Revolution, and for that you have to recruit allies who have tried to move things on their own or who are disaffected and no longer interested in recapturing the country. A good protagonist of open world games, Dani Rojas spends hours helping other people until he convinces them to join the cause.
The interesting thing now is that the concept common in many Ubisoft games of clearing bases or conquering towers in order to unlock activities has almost completely disappeared. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it at certain times, but it’s not the tone of the game. The “opening” of the map is done by simply scrolling through it and so new sights appear as well as enemy settlements, which you can pass in peace without having to eliminate them all.
Far Cry 6’s campaign is at a good pace, alternating shallow missions with more explosive and spectacular moments. By nature, some of these tasks force you to face the enemy face to face, but the rest of the time you can choose stealth as the mechanics are well implemented to accommodate different play styles. This includes many weapons and forms of customization that come in handy for the trickier moments.
Far Cry 6’s campaign is at a good pace, alternating shallow missions with more explosive and spectacular moments.
On the other hand, there are also urban environments, a novelty for the saga. Far Cry 6 has multi-level cities and it is common to park between buildings and buildings. To make this easier, Ubisoft has added some new elements and mechanics that generally work very well and allow you to move around on roofs and platforms in a very similar style to Dying Light. The urban environments add a new dimension and refresh the more classic Far Cry playability.
In terms of mission design and mechanics, this title is the sum of Ubisoft’s years of experience with open world games. The design is not revolutionary or radically changed, but much better camouflaged than before. This makes Far Cry 6 a game with a less predictable and rigid feel where the hours fly by.
Welcome to Yara (Cuba)
Far Cry 6 is set in Yara, a fictional country made up of several islands in the middle of the Caribbean. This nation is ruled by a President / Dictator named Anton Castillo (Giancarlo Esposito) who was elected by a questionable referendum and has been in power for several decades.
Yara is a world power in medicine and tries to develop a cure for cancer from his tobacco plants. The price for these advances, however, was an impoverished population that, according to Castillo’s classification, was divided between the false and true Yarans. Fake Yaranos are considered outcasts and are forced to work as slaves on Viviro plantations, the result of modified tobacco plantations.
Anton Castillo’s goal is to return Yara to its former glory while the nation has to deal with the blockade of the international community and, in particular, of a superpower like the United States, as best it can.
Ubisoft has insisted that its games are not political (a point its narrative director later pushed back). In Far Cry 6, however, it acknowledges that these types of stories cannot be isolated from political discussion, even less if this title is not at all subtle with its staging. Yara is a fictional version of Cuba in which there are too many elements that relate to the history of this Caribbean island, such as decades of revolutions or cities that seem stuck in time due to the blockades.
Still, there are elements of Far Cry 6’s narrative that are more complex. On the whole, Yara is Cuba, but if you zoom in on more specific situations, sociopolitical elements emerge that are problematic not only in dictatorships but worldwide. For example, military control in cities with curfews, extreme nationalism or discrimination against minorities; Topics that become visible in the game and that don’t just remain in stilted references.
In that sense, Far Cry 6 is more honest than Far Cry 5 as it says what it has to say in a less subtle way. In the previous title, the hints about what was happening in the rural and Protestant US remained exactly that. Far Cry 6, on the other hand, is not the most explicit game of all, but it has no problem with pointing out the consequences of fascism and nationalism.
Far Cry 6’s setting is generally authentic, although there are some details that Spanish speakers will notice. Most obvious are the names of some places. Even the Spanish, which can be seen all over the island, seems to have been first written in English and then translated almost literally into Spanish.
Far Cry 6 is more honest than Far Cry 5 in that it says what it has to say in a less subtle way.
Something similar happens with the original voice actors who mix English with a Latin accent with Spanish words that are not pronounced in their native language, which is immediately noticeable. So one wonders how a company like Ubisoft, with all the resources available to create games that involve thousands of people, misses out on details like these.
It’s not that all of Yara’s Spanish is imperfect, but it is common to find meaningless phrases in street signs or place names that seem like a literal translation from English. In the long run this becomes a small and curious problem that does not tarnish the atmosphere, although the use of language is the least authentic of the environments created for the game.
Even so, the Spanish voice synchronization is generally good and is perhaps the best way to play Far Cry 6, which is complemented very well by a top notch soundtrack that makes the experience interesting and immersive from an audiovisual point of view.
A breakthrough in every way
Perhaps time changes the perspective on such a product, but it’s not risky to say that Far Cry 6 is one of the best and most interesting in the series. It is important to emphasize that the game is not reinventing a formula. The advantage, however, is to make the entire adventure organic and get items like statistics, activity lists or experience levels out of the way. These elements are present, but second and only appear at certain moments, for example when Anton Castillo’s regime realizes that the revolution is approaching and sends more soldiers onto the streets (and increases the difficulty of each zone).
The cast of the entire adventure deserves special mention. The villain is indeed the one who gets all the attention – Giancarlo Esposito’s face is perfectly captured – but the rest of the characters are more diverse than stereotypical. The script is simple and by no means far-fetched. It manages to keep the interest rate factor going until the end, mostly because it makes us want to know what the dictator’s real intentions are.
Far Cry 6 is an outstanding game because it has a great design of mechanics and missions, its setting is authentic even with localization errors and the game does not drag on or repeat itself; On the contrary, just walking around the island and exploring the public and hidden routes is a satisfying activity.
In addition, this title presents more complex topics in the right way. Sometimes it’s daring, sometimes it’s shy. But the messages are there and not being hidden, which is a breakthrough in an industry that tends to be too conservative with global products like this one.