We were fortunate enough to sit down and play a few hours of Ubisoft’s upcoming open world beast, Far Cry 6 last week, the embargo’s up, so here’s our preview of what to expect when you take a trip to Yara in October!
Our demo started on the beach, with Dani Rojas (not the footballer from Ted Lasso, sadly) having to find some revolutionaries calling themselves Libertad among the lush greens of Yara. I got taught very quickly that, much like in Chelsea, blue is the colour. Keeping an eye out for paths lined with blue flowers or graffiti give a decent pathway to follow to friendly faces, while red areas will undoubtedly lead to some typically Far Cry-esque insanity. After joining up with Libertad, the first task was to head off and find Juan, and his companion Guapo. Naturally, things go a little bit south, and Guapo becomes yours to command at will. Oh, and Guapo is a crocodile. Because of course he is. Having a crocodile at your beck and call to do all kinds of damage is utter lunacy, but this is Far Cry after all, so naturally, I went along with it. It builds on Far Cry 5’s companion system, with it being possible to set up traps or distractions, or if you want to go in guns blazing with a croc at your side, you can absolutely do so, and watch as your hungry friend devours enemies while you pop their buddies’ skulls with whatever weaponry you can get your hands on.
Following little bit more exposition, I was tasked with clearing out a checkpoint, which in typical open-world style, unlocked a bit more of the map and gave me some reinforcements that would get involved if things kicked off. It was all fairly early game, so it was pretty straightforward, but it showed off the combat mechanics in a nice light, and was concluded by burning down a huge piece of propaganda, which I’m always up for.
Next up was an introduction to the weapon modification system, which promises to be a key feature in the game. Utilising bits and bobs you find around the world, this allows you to craft “Resolver weapons”, guerrilla-like modifications on standard weaponry to give you things like sights and silencers, as well as more advanced modifications down the line, and maybe even a special weapon or two. Of course, there are additional cosmetic and armour items that can be made as well, to ensure that Dani looks as good as possible while mowing down enemies trying to get to Giancarlo Esposito’s deliciously evil dictator.
On that note, I should probably talk about the plot a little bit. See, Esposito plays Anton Castillo, a dictator with an iron grip on Yara, with an aim is to use the island’s resources to turn the tiny island into a global superpower, at any cost to the people he rules over. It’s a neat premise, and one that sets up some interesting moral quandaries that I hope are explored throughout the rest of the game. Anton’s son will also play a big role in the game, although in the early going I didn’t see much of either of them outside of immaculately designed propaganda posters and videos. Libertad and a few other guerrilla fighter groups are aiming to take down Castillo and reclaim the island for the people, and through a series of unfortunate events, Dani is drafted in with the regular haste and chaos that you’d come to expect from the series.
Throughout my time with the game, I noticed subtle nods to earlier entries in the franchise, but nothing too explicit. It helps tie the world into the existing Far Cry canon, without making it seem like you needed to finish all of the prior entries to understand them. (And for what it’s worth, I have yet to finish a Far Cry game as I keep getting distracted by shiny things!).
Back to the chaos, then. With a huge amount of things to do and people to blow up, the fear is that it may get repetitive quickly. Fortunately, the mission types I played were all quite varied. Of course, you have the main mission “go here, blow things up, reclaim part of the island” story quest, but alongside that you have an abundance of interesting side quests, including one that I’ll come on to when I talk about the co-op.
Speaking of blowing stuff up, Juan then sent me on a quest to retrieve some depleted uranium from a stronghold. I set off, Guapo in tow, and attempted to sneak in, until I got ambushed by some of the wildlife, got spotted by an enemy soldier and, predictably, all hell broke loose. I managed to leave Guapo dealing with the enemies at the gate while I legged it inside, pinched the nuclear goodies and got out of there before dropping it all back off with Juan, where he made me a ridiculous rocket-shooting backpack. As I said earlier, it’s definitely a Far Cry game!
I then got fast-forwarded a bit further into the game, with a bunch more weapons and items unlocked, and dropped right next to an enemy helipad. In addition to Guapo, I was also gifted the game’s undeniable breakout star, Chorizo, an adorable puppy in a wheelchair, who I attempted to use to distract the guards. Unfortunately, my stealth skills left a lot to be desired, and I was utterly decimated before I had a chance to take the base back for Libertad. Respawning and trying a different tact went pretty much the same way, and I eventually decided to have a wander back to the guerrilla camp, which is where another new element comes into play. In addition to the standard areas where you can upgrade and craft weapons and addons, you can also level up areas to help the militia grow. The view changes to third person here, allowing you to see what you’ve created for both the militia and Dani, and walking around gives you a sense of community that looks and feels really nice. It reminded me a bit of Assassin’s Creed 2, with Ezio’s rebuilding of Firenze giving him some additional perks, but at the same time felt a little more streamlined and immediately advantageous. Unfortunately I didn’t have a huge amount of resources to build the camp up given my limited time, so I set off on another mission, which ended up being the absolute highlight of my time with the demo.
I said before that this had the typical Far Cry madness, right? Well, I think one of the side stories will absolutely ramp up the level of “WTF-ery” in a way that I genuinely wasn’t expecting. I had to go and meet up with a very angry chicken. Well, to be precise, his handler, Reinaldo. Reinaldo told me that the angry clucker in question, Chicharron, was livid at Castillo’s army’s use of genetically engineered attack dogs, and he wanted to sort them out. So I followed this angry chicken all the way to where they were being trained, and… well… watched as Chicharron went to town on them, occasionally making the odd potshot when he got into trouble. It was as ludicrous as it was fun, and it only got crazier. The next mission, no word of a lie, saw me walking into a government building with an angry rooster, a crocodile and a rocket launching backpack, in order to destroy a bunch of doctored files on the island’s history. Waves of enemies peppered the level as I frantically burned the paperwork, as my feathered and scaly buddies went medieval on the backsides of anyone who dared step out of the elevators. It was, quite frankly, a bizarre moment that had me chuckling at the absurdity, but thoroughly enjoying myself at the same time.
I think that’s what Far Cry 6 is going to offer to people, in all honesty. A crazy, frantic experience that would only be enhanced if you could play through it with a buddy. And thankfully, they’ve carried on the superb co-op mechanics from the fifth entry, with the entire campaign being playable in drop in/drop out co-op. I was buddied up with MrDalekJD, who just popped into my game as if it were nothing, before we decided on a mission to do, and wingsuited down to it. Unfortunately, JD missed the drop, but respawned in the air right behind me, which I thought was a pretty cool feature, as if you die, you’ll never be too far away.
We then teamed up to take down a bunch of enemies as Chicharron destroyed some more of Castillo’s propaganda, before taking a trip over to a nearby town and picking up a very cool side mission. We had to find the entrance to a secret cave and read the notes of an explorer who had mysteriously vanished. I won’t spoil it here, but it was a very cool mission type that I wasn’t expecting. Next up was a bit more free roaming, and taking control of a dinosaur-centric theme park, using whatever weaponry we could muster and taking out multiple helicopters and a swarm of enemies.
Shortly after we’d successfully eradicated Castillo’s army from Yara’s take on Jurassic Park, we went for a little joyride before being alerted that we’d caught the attention of the Special Forces on the island. These enemies will come after you after you’ve caused enough havoc, GTA style, and will take a little more firepower to put down.
And with that, my hands-on with Far Cry 6 was over. It absolutely flew by, and looking back at the captured footage, I’m amazed at how little I seemingly got done, despite playing for a good few hours. Its open world is vast, with a lot more to discover than we were given access to. It has all the trappings of “typical Far Cry”, with a huge amount of wackiness mixed in with some pretty heavy subject material. There is a ton to enjoy in here though, it looks spectacular (bear in mind that this was early code I was playing, so I would expect to see some further improvements and polish by launch), and it plays as well as any of the previous entries in the series. If you’re hankering for some chaos set on an island paradise, then I don’t think you can go too far wrong than to take a trip to Yara next month when Far Cry 6 is released.