Since the success of Far Cry 3, Ubisoft has stuck to a formula for their premier first-person shooter series. Grab an evil but charismatic bad guy, develop a fictional tropical setting, and let the player cause havoc there with a huge arsenal of weapons, vehicles and wildlife.
It worked with Vaas in 3, Pagan Pin in 4, and Joseph Seed in 5, if the Montana setting in the latter was a little less tropical than those that came before it.
It makes sense, then, that Ubisoft stuck to the formula for 6, this time recruiting Giancarlo Esposito for the antagonist role. Everything else you'll be familiar with if you're played any Far Cry since Vaas' debut.
While some more advancements would be nice, the familiarity is just what some people will be after.
A Change of Perspective
Far Cry 6's biggest change is in the player's perspective. Rather than a silent protagonist who's stumbled into his dangerous situation and somehow has better fighting skills that an entire army, you play as Dani (male or female), who joins the freedom fighter movement as an already skilled soldier.
While he's not the most original character, being little more an a gruff shooty guy with the occasional witty quip, having someone to care about makes a huge difference.
The simple change gives a face to your efforts to take over Yara and makes the story far more engaging.
The extended cast of characters, which is pretty large, is interesting too. From overly serious leader of the resistance to quirky weapons expert with a pet crocodile, you meet Yaran locals of all kinds.
Where the change of perspective doesn't help is in the interactions with Esposito's Antón Castillo. Vaas, and some of the other previous antagonists, were so affective because it felt like they were addressing you.
Vaas' "definition on insanity" speech is so memorable because he's staring you right in the eyes. It's menacing in a way Far Cry 6's cutscenes rarely can be with the new perspective.
The Same Gameplay, But Still a Lot of Fun
Far Cry 6's gameplay hasn't seen quite the same amount of change, however. If you've played any Far Cry since 3, you'll know what to expect.
It's the standard mix of intense first-person shooting, explosions, and vehicles. The shooting still feels great, the variety of weapons also allowing for various approaches.
You can go in all guns blazing, ignoring the alarms and not worrying about the incoming helicopters, or you can take it slow, using silent takedowns and arrows to your advantage.
The variety adds a tactical element to missions that makes the loop much more than running around blasting through stuff.
The only real difference from previous Far Cry games is the addition of Supremos, which work like Ultimate abilities in games like Overwatch.
They're supremely powerful abilities that need to be charged up by killing enemies and can then be used to take out multiple bad guys at once. My favourite is the one that fires a bunch of heat seeking rockets into the air, particularly because they make dealing with tanks and anti-aircraft stations a lot more simple.
Supermos don't change gameplay much, but they're fun to use in certain situations and make smaller fights more dramatic than they really need to be.
Far Cry 6's only real gameplay issue comes from the enemy AI - they're wildly inconsistent.
One second they'll be hitting every shot from 100 yards away while you're sprinting and the next they'll be running into a wall two feet away, completely unaware of your presence.
They also have a penchant for chucking grenades at you the moment they spot you. While it's great in one sense, since it keeps you moving between cover, it's also just a weird way for them to approach combat. Sometimes, they'll just be standing in front of you getting shot and their first instinct is to throw a grenade. It just seems a bit strange - like they have a death wish.
For the most part, Far Cry 6 is just simple, turn your brain off and play, fun. Running around, blowing stuff up and learning more about Yara is all I need at times.
I don't always need deep characters and complex gameplay; sometimes a checklist of stuff to do and first-person shooting that feels good is all I need.
A Wonderful World
Fighting in Far Cry 6 is also consistently fun due to the beauty of the world of Yara. It's so much more interesting, vibrant, and detailed than 5's Montana setting.
There are dense jungles, waterfalls, mountains, towns, and more to explore, and missions take place in all of them.
Tropical settings aren't new in Far Cry, but Yara is the best example yet. It's stunningly beautiful on PS5 and it's the first time I've wanted to just explore in a Far Cry since Primal.
It would be great, though, if Far Cry 6's story asked you to interact with the world in more of the mainline story missions. Side quests often ask you to search for items or animals, but main quests generally follow the same format.
A majority of them ask you to head to a place 1000m away, find a thing or kill a person, and head back again. The variation usually comes from how you approach these missions rather than the missions themselves.
Experiment with different ways of playing and different weapons, or use the time between missions to explore or complete side quests, and they shouldn't feel overly repetitive, but stick to one set of guns or mainline the campaign and you'll soon find the loop a bit tedious.
What do split up the mission structure are the Giancarlo Esposito led cutscenes.
Terrifying yet charismatic villains have become Far Cry's USP over the last almost 10 years, and Anton Castillo certainly fits the bill.
He's stern, passionate, and next-level crazy, just like Vaas and Pagan Min were before him. Esposito is a phenomenal actor, so it's no surprise that he stands out in every scene he's in, but his character suffers from the same restriction that Pagan Min and Joseph Seed did.
Much like Seed and Min's, Castillo's story is so separate from Dani's for a large portion of the game. In the first 10 hours, for example, he only appears a handful of times, and he's suitably unsettling, but it's tough to really care about what he's doing when it doesn't really influence what you're doing while exploring Yara.
He's doing his own thing, living his own life, while you're planning to take him down. It'd be great to see him have more interplay with your own character, as that would only make him more menacing.
That was what made Vaas great. He was always threatening you and a lot of the cutscenes were interactions that really connected the story. A good as Esposito is, it's not until later in the story that his part in the story really becomes impactful.
Aside from the perspective change and introduction of Dani, Far Cry 6 doesn't do much to differentiate it from the rest of the series. It's still a fun shooter set in a beautiful world full of stuff to do, with a story led by a charismatic villain.
As long as you're not expecting deep gameplay or unique and memorable missions, it's easy to get lost in Far Cry 6's loop. Just switch off and dive in.
RealSport Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
We reviewed Far Cry 6 on PS5 and review code was provided by Ubisoft.