Far Cry 6 first impressions: Hands-on with Ubisoft’s biggest FPS

Robby Bisschop
by Robby Bisschop
Robby lives and breathes videogames. When he's not playing them, he's talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He's online so often, he could practically... Read more
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  • Far Cry 6 is Ubisoft's biggest release of the year, a FPS with hours upon hours of content
  • It is an open-world game with a strong narrative, set on an island under dictator control.
  • The game retreads familiar ground but also adds a ton of new gameplay elements 

Far Cry 6 is Ubisoft’s biggest release of the year and the much-anticipated sequel is poised to top the sales charts on both PC and consoles, just like the previous title did before it. Normally this is the time we’d publish our review for the game, but seeing as the massive open-world easily offers 100 hours of gameplay we’re bringing you some hands-on first impressions instead.*

*Clarification: I think a review should be written when you’ve experienced at least all the main storylines of the game and a majority of the side content. Personally, I aim for near 100% completion before giving a title a score.

This article will cover the opening environments of the games where you are taught the basic gameplay elements as well as the first region of the game. The good news: this means we won’t be diving into any real spoiler territory and you can safely read this if you’re still planning on playing Far Cry 6 yourself.

The Story

Far Cry 6 takes place in Yara, a fictional island nation that closely resembles real-world Cuba. The once-elected leader Antón Castillo, played by well-known actor Giancarlo Esposito who is known for his roles in Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian, rules it with an iron fist and has become more of an oppressive dictator.

Yara has thrived economically under his rule, with the discovery of cancer-curing tobacco that can only be grown there, but it comes at the cost of the Yaran people. They are randomly conscripted into the military or if they’re less lucky, forced to work on the tobacco fields as slaves.

He’s also training his son Diego to become his successor (so much for elections) and trying his hardest to make the soft-boiled young boy into a heartless ruler himself.

A Far Cry is only as good as its villains

At the start of the game, a rally to find new workers has just started and we’re introduced to our playable character: Dani Rojas. You get to pick the gender at the start and I went for the female character as she looks badass and has great voice acting. I was almost reminded of Kassandra at times, one of my favorite female characters ever from another Ubisoft title: Assassins Creed Odyssey.

We barely escape with our lives as Antón attacks the boat we tried to escape on and is asked to join the guerilla resistance soon after. If we can bring all the revolting factions together, there just might be a chance to dethrone the feared despot.

The Gameplay

Far Cry 6 is an open-world First Person Shooter with a ton of RPG elements. While most of the central gameplay obviously revolves around shooting people, as it always has been, Ubisoft has gradually built in more and more skinner box mechanisms making for one hell of an addictive gameplay loop.

While shooting enemies doesn’t grant you experience to level up, a lot of actions will increase your rank and you’ll find plenty of treasure boxes with new gear or weapons. There is always a new collectible just within reach, making it very hard to put the game down for the night.

Even when you’re making your way towards a main quest of sidequest objective, you’ll constantly spot items to pick up in the corner of your eye or a chest with resources on the minimap, taunting you to stray off the roads and into the action for some kind of reward.

It’s a blessing as well as a curse, as this particular search for feeling accomplishment is the reason why I keep coming back to the open-world Ubisoft games, kind of like the videogame equivalent of comfort food, but it’s also the reason why I’m somewhat scared to start them, knowing full well I’ll be in it for the long haul.

Variation is the name of the game

While shooting people in a videogame will probably never truly tire, it’s nice to change things up every now and then. Far Cry 6 has a lot of alternative activities to entertain you; from elaborate treasure hunts that will have you diving through underwater caves and swinging from ropes, to a full-on 1V1 cockfighting game.

Don’t you get too cocky!

The entire game can be played in co-op and I can really see how playing this with your friend or spouse could be a great bonding experience, especially considering the amount of time you’ll be spending in the game together.

It’s nice then, that you can also face off against each other in minigame-like activities such as this. My favorite one is probably the checkpoint racing, especially by jet-ski. I’ve been hungering for a new Wave Race title for years now and I was super glad they added this to the game.

The human element

Far Cry 6 is a great-looking game, but something rubbed me the wrong way when playing. It’s probably because the Assassin’s Creed games in particular are known for breaking graphical boundaries and looking downright gorgeous, that I had too high expectations. While it doesn’t look bad by any means, especially not on Xbox Series X where there was a 26GB HD texture pack, it kind of failed to impress.

I had a hard time pinpointing what was bothering me about the game and it slowly dawned on me that it wasn’t really the graphics, but rather the human animations that felt robotic and off. NPC movement that doesn’t look natural and hardly any emotional expressions besides the ones found in cutscenes can go a long way toward giving a feeling of disconnect.

You’ll be spending the majority of the game traversing the world and interacting with NPC characters, as well as shooting tons and tons of enemies. When the former don’t behave naturally and the latter are rarely more than braindead target practice, the world itself can sometimes lose its grip on you.

Luckily the main character’s animations as well as the interactions with your amigos make up for that…

Pet companions make a return in Far Cry 6 and possibly play their biggest role ever. With a pet crocodile named Guapo joining you in your guerilla fights almost from the get-go and a cute dog name chorizo distracting enemies for you, there is a lot to like. And yes, of course, you can pet them. I’d have been angry at the game if this wasn’t the case.

Your Amigos even have their own set of challenges that will grant them new abilities upon completion, motivating you to use them in a certain way.

Chorizo is the cutest!

Over the top action

I’ve mentioned just now how much of a pushover the enemies are, no matter which difficulty you’re playing on, but when they group together and start attacking you with helicopters or when a tank drives into the fray, that’s when you have to start paying attention.

Luckily you have a crazy arsenal of inventive weapons at your disposal. From rather simple shotguns that set your enemies ablaze to disc-launching guns that play the macarena. Far Cry 6 doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a better game for it, in my opinion.

Sure, you could roleplay as a true guerilla, using only weapons and gear that seem fitting for the character and setting you find yourself in. Or.. you can just give in to the loco tendencies and become half a cyborg with laser weapons, a metallic robot-dog companion, and an army’s worth of weaponry in your backpack.

Far Cry 3 – Blood Dragon set, courtesy of the Ultimate edition

Micromanagement

Each of those weapons can be customized, with new scopes, different types of ammunition, and even cosmetic changes like a new paint job or keychain ornament. Upgrading the weapons and your various base camps are the main reason you’ll be hunting for new resources, but more often than not, you can make do with very basic equipment.

If you find yourself needing more Pesos or building materials, you can even resort to a management-style minigame called Los Bandidos. You can recruit leaders by completing Yaran stories during the main quest or you can grow your regiment by freeing people being held up by soldiers and then send these off on daily missions.

Los Bandidos

It’ll be familiar grounds for people who spent a lot of time building a fleet of ships in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag but this time you even get small missions to guide your crews through, deciding whether they go undercover to increase their success rate or risk robbing a money truck to make some quick cash.

Tons of content

It’s the massive amount of content that makes Far Cry 6 such an easy game to recommend, especially to people with a limited budget and who are looking to get as much value as possible out of their games. There are easily 80+ hours of content here between the main storyline, the sidequest, and the free content updates that will arrive on a weekly basis.*

*If you’re curious about the free content and the paid DLC that is coming to Far Cry 6, be sure to check our detailed article where we guide you through the post-launch content roadmap.

Plenty to come!

Some issues dampen the fun

While I can definitely say I’ve had a great time with Far Cry 6 so far (about 15-20 hours and I’ve barely scratched the surface) there have been some annoyances.

Other than the enemy AI not putting up much of a fight, the companion AI can also get in your way. Literally even as there was one instance where a story character that was along for a mission follow me up a guard tower and blocked the only way back out: the ladder. It’s frustrating to have to reboot the game over something so silly, but luckily Far Cry 6 saves your progress with almost every action, so you hardly have to backtrack to pick up from where you left off.

One thing that constantly bothered me, however, was the simple act of picking up items. You’ll be doing this action almost all the time but for some unknown reason, you have to slow down the action and wait a full second before you can interact with bags or gasoline canisters and such. It makes the game come to a screeching halt.

Testing my patience

First impressions on Far Cry 6 – Is it worth it?

Pros
An enormous open world will keep you busy for hours
The gameplay is fun and lets you experiment with different weapons, amigos, and vehicles
It has a likable main character and an antagonist you will love to hate
Cons
Some minor bugs hamper the fun
The enemy AI doesn't really put up much of a fight

While I would have preferred to bring you a full-on review with a score, I’m not deep enough into the game to justify that. I can however answer the simple question: Is it worth it? And the answer is a resounding Yes.

Get Far Cry 6 for Xbox Series S/X and Xbox One

Far Cry 6 is an incredibly fun game with a massive open world that is there for you to experiment in. It’s like videogame comfort food, always waiting for you to discover something new around the corner while feeling very familiar at the same time.

The story is gripping at times, Antón makes for a chilling antagonist that steals every scene he’s in and there is so much to discover that you’ll probably be playing this well into the new year. But the most important element of all, it’s just a plain fun game to spend time with.

To quote world-famous guerilla Juan Cortez; Have some fun for fuck’s sake!

Far Cry 6 is available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5, Luna, and Stadia. The standard edition costs $59.99 and the Gold Edition will set you back $99.99 which includes the Season Pass. The Ultimate edition includes three additional and exclusive gearsets and costs $119.99.

*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Xbox Series X, with the HD texture pack installed. Review copy provided by Ubisoft Belgium.

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