Far Cry 6 Xbox Series X Review

Far Cry 6 plays it safe with a lot of its gameplay systems at the risk of becoming stale but still delivers outstanding performances as players take part in a bloody war for power and freedom.

By Grayshadow, Posted 10 Oct 2021

"Ubisoft Game", when you hear that you can predict what you're going to get. An open-world experience with lots of monotonous optional objectives. Far Cry 6 is exactly that, a large open map with lots of similar optional objectives as you attempt to take back Yara for the people and dethrone dictator Anton Castillo. It does more of what past Far Cry games since the soft reboot of the franchise with Far Cry 3, this time with a new location and characters. The strong performances, impressive visuals, and incredible cutscenes are Far Cry 6's saving grace but the gameplay is a repetitive grind that a "Ubisoft Game" is known for.

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Players take control of Dani, male or female, during the tyrannical rule of Anton Castillo. This brutal man rules Yara with both magnetism and ruthlessness. In every scene actor Giancarlo Esposito displays a sense of power and control, showcasing pride for his country but at the same time believing those below him should be grateful to die for his vision. The writers did not sugarcoat how brutal Anton's actions are and the player will be exposed to some unsettling matters ranging from unmerciful war crimes to crimes against humanity.

The people of Yara are suffering under Anton's authority as his regime has developed the most effective drug against cancer. This has granted Anton large amounts of control as country's are desperate for this drug and Anton uses this wealth from his successes to subjugate his people, especially the poor. With the promise of turning Yara into "Paradise" through rapid and brutal economic expansion. This results in slavery to make more of the special tobacco plant and chemicals needed to create the drug that ironically causes cancer. Dani must help various guerilla rebellions in uniting against Anton and take back Yara. With the future also hanging on unlikely shoulders, Anton's son Diego who is positioned to take over as president of Yara. Diego highlights youthful empathy but at the same time constantly fights from his father's painful teachings while also succumbing to them. This duality is constantly shown after recruiting a major ally showing how much Anton's influence affects Diego's compassion and worldview along with people who fought in the previous revolution. Assuming Diego will become like his father despite through assumption.

It's a decent story that has a great selection of characters and terrific performances. Clara is the first ally you'll encounter and highlights how she desires a free Yara even understanding the sacrifices that are demanded. We also have older revolutionaries who fought against the previous tyrant and seeing the past repeat and Juan who worked for and against major international spy organizations. Far Cry is best known for phenomenal performances and Far Cry 6 does not disappoint. The voice-acting is stellar and the cutscenes are astonishingly choreographed with the actors doing a marvelous job of bringing everyone to life and the developers creating life-like movement in how the scenes play out.

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Dani is a refreshing protagonist after Far Cry 5's silent protagonist. After suffering from survivor's guilt the young guerilla decides to join in the war that took his friends' lives. Despite wanting nothing more than to leave Yara he stays to fight for the future his friends believed in. Dani does care about his people and the innocent suffering around him but he's also cocky and brash, often rushing into action without thinking things fully through. His charisma matches that of Anton as he can inspire those around him with ease and serves as the guiding force for the revolution.

The overall narrative is Far Cry 6's best aspects. Seeing Anton slowly lose control as the rebel forces take more of Yara back is compelling with a decent amount of twists. You'll earn your army by doing favors and earning the trust of the various residents of Yara leading to the final push against Anton. However, the writers seem to have written themselves into a corner towards the end. Unlike past Far Cry games that offer a solid finale to the adventure Far Cry 6 is more open-ended in how it finishes.

Where Far Cry 6 fumbles hard is in its gameplay. First off, the ally and enemy AI is extremely poor. It's very easy to snipe soldiers from a distance without anyone noticing and only take action if you're really aggressive. Ally AI is simply appalling as escort missions where the player needs to remain close to an AI NPC can lead to hellish problems. Often the AI will stop for no reason, move incredibly slow, get stuck, refuse to follow the player, and get into fights with enemies resulting in you having to kill dozens of enemies so the NPC will follow you again! It's a massive step backward from Far Cry 5 and even Far Cry 1. Whereas most games resolve escort quest issues by making them invisible when sneaking like in The Last of Us or simply follow the player with little gameplay interaction like in BioShock Infinite here you'll be dread every time you're allied with an NPC. 

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As for the missions, this is a "Ubisoft Game" so expect repetitive missions. This means destroying outposts, taking part in ambushes, securing supplies, claiming military bases, or destroying AA guns. You'll have to do these since each one serves as a fast travel point and AA guns, in particular, can shoot you down if you fly through an area either by plane, helicopter, or wingsuit. Completing the game adds even more of these with new awards and tougher challenges. After the 15th time of destroying a checkpoint or taking part in an ambush, it all starts to become tedious busywork especially when you have to travel 1,000 meters to just get there. The environmental variety does change sometimes but it doesn't help the tedium.

The core side missions have decent selection objectives that often reward the play in new allies and better equipment. Unfortunately, these are rare and I wish the developers focused on providing more of these core side missions instead of all the busywork. Most of these allow you to see how the war has been affecting those outside the main rebel leaders such as a drag queen trying to keep his spies alive, a young mechanic wanting to get back her family car, or an unhinged artist who pours melted steel on people. These missions highlight how the people of Yara are suffering under Anton, those willing to fight back, and convincing citizens why they should trust you.

Buddies do make a return in your war against Anton and can be recruited through the side missions but their combat skills have been effectively reduced compared to Far Cry 5. You can only have 1 ally at a time and the effectiveness of each one's combat ability has been reduced. All of them are animals with 3 skills linked to each that unlock once criteria are met but suffer due to poor AI. It's common for allies to get stuck in enemy stun locks, have trouble executing commands, and just not appear altogether. This is a shame seeing you recruit some cool allies in this game like an immortal gator, a handicapped puppy with a heart of gold, a homicidal chicken, a popular returning ally, and 1 more I won't spoil. You can customize some of them with distinct costumes which was a great idea but some serious work needs to be done in resolving their pathing and abilities. Often being so far back from Dani that you have to wait for them to execute a command. It's upsetting to see how efficient it was to swap allies out and see the benefits of each ally in Far Cry 5 but take such a major step backward for Far Cry 6. As yes, the game crashes on occasion and locked up on me about 15-20 times during my 30 hours of playing.

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Another major step backward is the boss fights if you can call them that. Far Cry 5 has some of the best bosses in the franchise and highlighted major encounters against these important figures that you were trying to overthrow. In Far Cry 6 the "boss fights" are anti-climatic. In one instance I had to fight against the doctor who invented the cancer-fighting drug in a hallucination and killed him without even knowing. I just shot him in the head by accident and the game told me I killed him. It made the boss fight against Vaas in Far Cry 3 look like a masterpiece in game design. 

As for Dani himself, you can increase the warrior's survivability by locating resources, a lot of them. Much of your time will be spent gathering parts and scrap from the surrounding location. I wish the game would collect these items automatically because you'll be pressing that interact action a lot. These are paramount in expanding your camps with facilities, upgrading weapons, vehicles, and creating mods. Each camp holds 2 facilities that the player can build to expose areas of hidden locations, make food for temporary bonuses, and more. You can gather even more resources by completing Los Bandidos missions that have you sending NPCs to various locations. It's basically a text-based adventure on a timer that has a probability gauge linked to each action, each one rewards different resources or currency and if you complete the mission you get a bonus.

Weapons and gear serve as Dani's leveling system. There are no skill points but instead a ranking system that unlocks new items to purchase by completing objectives. Instead, all of Dani's strengths come from his gear that carries specific advantages such as better defense against explosions and weapons that can be upgraded with mods and attachments. The game does assign stars to showcase the value of the weapon, with higher stars having more slots, but any weapon is a viable option. You'll have plenty to choose from as Far Cry 6 has over 70 weapons that include rifles, submachine guns, light machineguns, sniper rifles, shotguns, bows, pistols, and rocket launchers. You can customize further with various cosmetics, with each weapon having an array of options that all look stellar. If you unlock a mod or attachment for a specific category it's unlocked for every weapon which is a huge relief.

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The most powerful weapons come in the way of the Resolver Weapons and Supremo. Each of these requires uranium to unlock but provides the most powerful options to Dani. The Supremo is a cooldown option that can be fitted with homing rockets, drugging Dani and turning him into a rage-filled killer, shooting through walls, and more. The Resolver weapons range from flame throwers, a minigun, a CD launcher, and more. Both of these serve as last-ditch efforts during difficult fights but for the most part, enemies are easy to deal with. You'll face the same enemies only with more armor as you progress and personally, I never felt overwhelmed. I used the same Yaran SE-A 1 star rifle for most of the adventure and was able to 1-shot enemies with a headshot even in end-game content. The developers did add a wanted meter if you kill too rapidly in the open world, with Anton sending special forces soldiers if you kill too fast in a short amount of time openly. It's an interesting concept but during main-line story missions, it can become an annoyance since some missions require this, and getting swarmed by special forces for doing what the game tells you to do just creates an annoying situation since you'll either have to fight them all or run from the area which could result in a failed objective.

Shooting is effective and melee combat offers some brutal takedowns as Dani plunges his machete into the bodies of Anton's soldiers. Since there are so many weapons you can choose only 4 to quickly select from but can swap out any weapon at any time but going into the menu. More active combat gamers will find this annoying but considering the wide selection, it's the best option. 

Money is available but it serves more as a way to collect weapons and gear earlier rather than finding it in the environment. You can purchase any of the core weapons, the exception being unique weapons that can only be found in the environment, from vendors. If you find the weapon in the environment the game rewards you with resources instead of the weapon.

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The island of Yara is massive and is separated into quadrants. Since there's no standard leveling system you can go wherever you want but the game does give a general Rank of each area to highlight what players can expect. Most of the island is beaches, grasslands, and forests that house local communities, wildlife, and hostile areas so you're encouraged to explore to find out what's out there. The main road offers an easier way to travel but at the risk of being attacked by Anton's soldiers and the hidden guerrilla routes shown on the map are safer to travel but take more time. The wingsuit is unlocked very early and you can steal any vehicle and store it for quick access such as helicopters and planes. Dani will have access to 4 vehicles, 3 unlocked through gameplay, that can be outfitted with weapons but rarely will these be needed for missions. You can summon these vehicles to Dani's location if he's on a road so you have plenty of options of how to move that grow as you take back more of Yara.

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Just like most modern games, you can buy pay-to-win advantages. There's plenty of cosmetics but there are also weapons, useable items, and other map intel. You don't need these to complete the game but seeing so much cosmetic content locked behind a paywall and gameplay affecting advantages is heartbreaking. Why work to unlock these items when you can pay for them and unlock them immediately.

Far Cry 6 has a lot to do, even after spending 30 hours and completing the main story there's a ton to do. Even after all the busywork, there are races, fishing, hunting, and multiplayer missions to take part in. If you're new to the franchise everything here will feel fresh and new, in fact, it's likely you'll have a much better experience as a newcomer to the series. As a veteran fan, the experience will feel dull, it'll play a lot like previous entries, just a new coat of paint. The stale gameplay is complemented with a good story but takes so many steps back with feeble boss fights and infuriating AI. Far Cry 6 plays it safe with a lot of its gameplay systems at the risk of becoming stale but still delivers outstanding performances as players take part in a bloody war for power and freedom.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Far Cry 6

65/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Ubisoft
Genres: First-person
Themes: Adventure
Release Date: 2021-10-07

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