Far Cry 6 Review: Paraiso de la Muerte

Ubisoft makes history with its best-looking FPS game yet, offering an explosive and controversial guerrilla power fantasy.

@DeekeTweak
Published Sun, Oct 24 2021 1:52 PM CDT
Rating: 86%Developer / Publisher: Ubisoft

Intro - Guerrilla suprema

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VIEW GALLERY - 45 IMAGES
  • Developer: Ubisoft Toronto
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: October 7, 2021
  • Platform: PS5 (Reviewed), PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
  • MSRP: $59.99 (with free next-gen upgrade)
  • Genre: First-Person Shooter, Action

What it is - Far Cry 6 is...well, Far Cry. Crazy action, tons of violence, lots of exploration and great gunplay. It's a summer action popcorn flick made into a video game. This time around there's a lot more political threads.

What it isn't - A deeply engaging RPG, and it's also not a small game. This is something that could keep you busy for a while.

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In a word, Far Cry 6 is chaos. It's an idyllic machismo power fantasy that whets an action fan's insatiable thirst for mayhem. In short, it's a game that Hollywood pyromaniacs like Robert Rodriguez would love.

Other words come to mind, though: Gratuitous, chaotic, explosive, beautiful, and fun. Far Cry 6 puts two main things above others: fun and beauty. It doesn't waste your time and throws you right into the action right away, giving you tools of destruction like a rocket-shooting backpack and tons of toys like helicopters, planes, and an immensely enjoyable wingsuit to fly around the island-country of Yara with.

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Far Cry 6 is quite simply the best Far Cry game ever made. Yara is the most impressive-looking FPS world Ubisoft has created to date. The mechanics have a high caliber to match the visuals, and the gunplay is extremely satisfying to the point where it's almost immersion-breaking.

Aiming is slick, combat is satisfying (and extremely brutal and violent) and there's a certain red-blooded charisma to fighting this time around--perhaps because you're fighting for freedom under an obvious Castro-esque dictatorial regime.

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Far Cry 6 makes you into a near-invincible superhero with a rocket-shooting backpack. You're a guerrilla warrior with ramshackle weapons and an indomitable resolver spirit. This do-or-die resolve means you can perform daredevil stunts like leaping from a plane and popping a parachute at the last minute or flying across high ridges on an ATV. This goes double for death-defying feats like blasting an entire base of machine-gun toting soldados without being annihilated. You're almost untouchable as you burn the island, not unlike Schwarzenegger in Last Action Hero.

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The world itself feels like an arcade playground where you can wreak total havoc. It's Far Cry...only better than it's ever been before.

The game doesn't pull any punches and goes all-in for its targeted audience. There's no apologies or subtlety this time, just raw carnage. When it's firing on all cylinders, Far Cry 6 is incredibly fun...but like all Ubisoft games it's somewhat held back by tedium and a wide breadth of content.

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There's a slipshod humor with the game's emphasis on scrounged-together weaponry; as a guerrilla you use whatever you have, whether it be a nailgun or a paint gun repurposed into a chemical-shooting geyser of death. Gamers make silencers out of oil cans, lethal CD-shooting guns that make enemies dance the Macarena, and slap together old 2-liters to make a hazard suit visor.

While mechanically derivative with side-quests, exploration, crafting, and respawning enemies, the game sets itself apart from its predecessors in a number of key ways: socio-political themes, a coercion-fueled storyline, and an entrancing tropical setting that goes way beyond expectations.

There's also the supremo backpacks that add another layer of ridiculousness to gameplay.

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When it comes to graphics and visuals, Far Cry 6 shines as the best-looking shooter Ubisoft has ever made (well, the character animations aren't great...but those environments knock it out of the park).

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It's a dazzling spectacle of next-gen console horsepower and a perfect showcase of what the PS5 is capable of. The lighting is immaculate as the sunsets blaze across soft-rolling waves, creating works of art with nearly every passing scene. The environments are straight out of a daydream fantasy, the kind you have while you're stuck at work (Jamie Foxx's island getaway photograph in Collateral comes to mind).

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The game's refreshing paradisical islands are incredibly cathartic and offer a nice mind-wash from the horrifying violence carried out by Juan Castillo. I've found myself simply wading in the waters and watching the tides flow and ebb in order to detach from reality--Far Cry 6 is often better than the relaxation videos on YouTube. It's a game where you can just melt into the scenery and get lost in the beautiful palm trees.

It's not a vacation, though. For all of its sunny skies and beautiful beaches, Yara's tides are soaked with blood.

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Dictatorial savagery - Islands soaked in blood and cruelty

Despite all its grand beauty and splendor, Far Cry 6 can be a disgusting--if not realistic--display of life under tyrannical dominion.

There's a savage brutality underneath those tropical beach scenes and clear skies, an undercurrent of torture, blood, and filth. Uncovering these bits of awfulness brings reality crashing back home. You're not actually in paradise. You're on an island where death rules supreme. People are mangled, horrifically tortured, hung upside down in shocking displays of violence, and simply hung on nooses as a warning to would-be terroristas.

I even found one prisoner who had been locked in a shipping container and fed what appears to be dog food until they died, facedown in the muck. Another faceless, nameless casualty of immense cruelty.

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These scenes actually affected me. I understand why they're in the game--the tone of the experience is one of sinister violence and that the true nature of war, guerrilla or otherwise, doesn't have any real winners--but at the same time I didn't want to see any more. You'll see people casually executed by Castillo soldiers throughout cities, you'll uncover a torture chamber used by Jose Castillo in Costa Del Mar. Castillo wasn't just slowly killing people but he was recording it too.

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There's even one sequence where Dani is held prisoner captive and some of her teeth are ripped out of her skull and a cigar is put out on her tongue. It's a grisly cutscene that's actually hard to watch.

While these scenes are devices that are meant to instill a sense of hostility and spark a rebellious burn-the-world spirit, all it did was disgust me.

These grotesque displays of brutality technically have a place in a story about tyranny. But that doesn't mean I want to see them as often as I do, and that it does anything for me but turn me off from the experience. You could argue "hey, it's a Far Cry game, what did you expect?" The difference here is that these scenes are a bit too close to home. Other Far Cry games have suspended disbelief and created a kind of fantasy--Rook Islands and Far Cry 5's Montana, for example, are more fanciful than Far Cry 6.

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As we discussed in our deeper investigation into the game's characters, Dani Rojas is just as bloodthirsty as Castillo's men. She's not torturing anyone slowly, but she sure kills a lot of people in some hideously awful ways. Machetes through the head, chopping at the throat of victims with reckless abandon--these things don't make Rojas look heroic. They make her look evil.

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Despite this aversion, there's a thrill in Far Cry 6. A thrill of killing, a thrill of destroying, a thrill of the hunt. You're an outlaw in Yara who will be shot on sight. But the reality is you're not just being hunted--you're the hunter. You're a wild predator in an entire island-country full of prey. It's an exhilarating feeling most of the time, but sometimes it makes you feel bad. Sometimes you feel guilty for brutally stabbing a person to death when you could just as easily snipe them silently from afar.

Sometimes, just sometimes, you don't want to kill everyone you see in a white shirt with a red stripe. Other times you just don't care and want to cause as much carnage as you can. It's alluring, explosive, and fun, but it's also horrible at times and underlines the game's main themes of manipulation and corruption.

To be the lesser of two evils you still have to be evil.

Characters and story - Manipulation, tragedy, and a world on fire

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For all of its explosive revolution, Far Cry 6's storyline is surprisingly nuanced and layered. It's unclear who the actual hero of this story is, and there's multiple lines of manipulation and coercion.

Ubisoft tells us who the obvious villain is. Juan Castillo, El Presidente, checks all the typical boxes for a communist tyrant: Bold, psychotic, ruthless, vain, and utterly convinced he's doing the right thing.

Giancarlo Esposito brings the character to life with a quiet and firm malevolence that reminds us what Gus Fring would be like ruling an entire country. Esposito's performance is captivating and somewhat convincing in an interesting way, and we actually get to see his point of view at times--other times he's just absolutely insane.

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What's most captivating about Castillo's corruption is a very specific plot device that somewhat justifies his tyranny. Castillo's regime has created Viviro, a plant that actually cures cancer. Sort of. It's also a psychoactive that will seriously damage you over time, and if you breathe it in while playing, your character goes loopy (it's highly flammable too and enemies will actually attack each other if they breathe it in).

The game does send a clear message though: War is hell. Guerrilla war is hell. Dictatorships are hell, and so are the fiery revolutions that end them.

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The reality is that you're not the hero in this game. You're not a hero when you're chopping people into bits. Sometimes you have to become a beast to rid yourself of the pain of being a man--or in Dani's case, a controlled, moralistic psychopath who is okay with slaughtering in the name of the greater good.

At the same time, Dani shows startling warm signs of humanity, like singing along with music and displaying a degree of kindness, affection, and mercy to fellow Libertad members. She truly is a stormy, fractured anti-hero.

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Dani is also manipulated and used as a human weapon.

Juan Cortez and Clara Garcia, the leaders of the Libertad, use Dani Rojas' penchant for violence to suit their needs. There are times that Dani seems more like an easily-trained Rottweiler with a taste of blood than a strong-willed female protagonist. Her thirst for violence is high, and she is mayhem incarnate, leaving scores of bodies and fiery destruction in her wake.

Juan, the resident handyman of chaos, and the revolutionary Clara Garcia are quick to manipulate Dani. She is young, impressionable, and is a natural-born killer. She's also an orphan. The Libertad's duo were quick to become mother and father figures of the worst kind.

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"I'm good with guns. We get along," Dani says at one point.

Cortez and Garcia know one of their own and are eager to hone Dani's arrow on the heart of Yara. Cortez appeals to Dani's instinctual ferocity with explosive new toys, like handing a Molotov cocktail to a pyromaniac. Garcia gives Dani a justification for her desires for brutality--what better reason to kill than to free a country?

"You can shoot. So shoot," Clara says to Dani. Not exactly subtle.

Thus armed with justification, Dani is free to annihilate and maim as she sees fit. It's hard not to feel contempt for Cortez and Garcia. They're not the mother and father of the new free order, but rebels who only really know how to do one thing: Disrupt violence with violence.

Witnessing the cruelty of Anton Castillo, the dictator who reigns Yara with an iron fist, you realize that Libertad's cause is indubitably just.

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It's not the why that's to question, but the how; at what point to Clara and Juan lose their sense of duty to the freeing, red tide of animalistic bloodlust? The duo have a convincing argument. Kill for us because we're right. Kill for us because we're just, and because these people are worth killing.

But at the end of the day it's hard for me to ever think about Cortez and Garcia leading a country. They aren't country-makers, but country-breakers.

It's hard to characterize Dani. One part of her laments her dead friend, Lita, and is sentimental and guided by strong morals. She knows Yara is wrong. She knows killing is wrong, and her initial motivation was to flee the corrupt island-country out of self preservation.

Another part of her yearns for savagery, eager to run rampant and slaughter; it's not just the player that carries out this power fantasy, but the actual character who willingly sways in and out of moral justification, a sense of guilt and mistrust, and the sadistic glee of murder.

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It's also hard not to feel sorry for Dani Rojas.

She has been roped into a revolution that she has no responsibility for, but innately desires all the same. She was quickly marked as a guerrilla fighter, but what choice did she have? Juan and Clara were quick to point out there's really only two sides to this war. In other words, either you're with us, or you're against us.

At the same time you are Dani Rojas. You control her (or him) and determine what she does, how she kills, how she tackles missions. You can go in and silently mercy-kill with silenced weapons, or you can slice everyone up. It's your choice.

Game Mechanics - Gunplay, the grind, and core gameplay loops

While a lot of things are the same, Far Cry 6 makes some big changes to the age-old formula.

There's no skill tree in this game. Instead you get buffs and bonuses based on what gear you wear. Yes, Far Cry 6 has successfully been RPG-ized similar to modern Assassin's Creed games. There's tons of weapons, armor, helmets, pants, etc. to collect throughout your journey.

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I've come to find that these pieces of armor, while helpful, aren't conditional for success. You can still just run in and blow everything up if you have good enough weapons.

The weapons themselves have lots of crafting options. You can attach scopes and other mods to the guns to transform their efficacy. Yes, weapons have lots of stats--the game is based around engagement and keeping you playing, and the best way to do that is offering min-max opportunities--and you can tailor-make everything to your specific build.

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This is where the tedium comes in if you let it. Luckily you really don't have to spend a lot of time here if you don't want to. It's great to feel some sort of empowerment and progression and you'll have to intermittently upgrade your gear here and there as you tackle new higher-level zones, but there's no pressure to max everything out.

Far Cry 6 affords lots of opportunities for custom build and playstyles, but I've come to find that chaos is the universal language in this game.

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The supremo backpacks are the biggest and baddest part of Far Cry 6's new arsenal. These backpacks are thrown-together weapons that serve as the core of your new one-man guerrilla army. These backpacks can transform you into a walking wave of destruction.

There's multiple different supremo backpacks. The Exterminador shoots rockets out of the top and can take out any enemy vehicle in the game, including tanks and annoying armed helicopters. The Furiosa is great if you're surrounding--you lift up in the air briefly and just ignite everything around you with a fiery thrust.

There's also the Volta, which sends out EMP shockwaves. This is good for stealth players because it will deactivate annoying alarms and cameras--if you get caught, lots of enemies will come in and wreck your day.

There's even a tank that stores poisonous Viviro gas called Fantasma, which confuses enemies and turns them against one another. It's extremely fun to use.

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Along with the backpacks there's new powerful core weapons called Resolver guns. These are likewise makeshift weapons that are kind of like your personal superguns. You can only have one supremo and one resolver weapon equipped at a time...but that's more than enough considering you can have three other guns too--two rifles and a handgun.

The Resolver weapons are highly varied and range from nail guns to the aforementioned Macarena CD-shooting gun. There's a flamethrower, a poison gas launcher that stuns enemies so you can use your animal buds to take them down, and an electric gun that likewise stuns enemies and disables cameras.

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Speaking of animal friends, you have some awesome amigos this time around. I practically used Guapo, the brutal crocodile, the entire time...but Chicharron--a badass rooster with punk-rock aesthetics--is absolutely hilarious. You'll have fun no matter which amigo you use.

Overall the gathering and crafting isn't so bad. It's not really necessary to totally min-max everything. You do need to improve your gear to tackle the higher-level areas, but the game doesn't force you to continually grind away at material gathering in order to progress. There's an air of flexibility and emphasis on fun this time.

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Those things are there if you want to pursue them, and Far Cry 6 absolutely has a lot of extra stuff to do. There's tons of stuff to craft and attach to your supremo backpacks, to your weapons, and lots of armor to find.

There's side missions, collectibles, mini-games like jet ski/car racing and even a hilarious (and brutal) cockfighting mini-game that's like Tekken. The game can keep you busy for a long, long time if you let it.

But luckily the game also allows you to get away with just doing the main missions and completing the story if that's what you want to do.

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Far Cry 6 also borrows some elements from Assassin's Creed.

Valhalla players will recognize the new Guerrilla Camp feature that lets you tack-on buildings and extra things to your HQ in specific areas. It's just like Raventhorpe in Valhalla; you can add various buildings that give you buffs including a Hideout Network, which unlocks fast-travel points across the entire world map (and gives you a wingsuit right off the bat) and other things like a Cantina that will serve up tasty meals to give you buffs.

These camp add-ons are a way to spend gathered materials and resources. They add little buffs and can materially impact the game over time, but they aren't always necessary--except for the network.

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The game also takes major endgame queues from Valhalla. The entire goal of Far Cry 6 is to unite all the guerrillas across Yara and fold them into Libertad, the same way Eivor was trying to unite the whole of England against Aelfred the Great.

This part is actually pretty interesting. Ubisoft has carved up pieces of the Yaran islands into level-gated sections that are all run by various rebel commanders--the legends of '67. Dani has to gain their trust by completing tasks and eventually earning their pledge of allegiance to Libertad.

Dani isn't just a warrior, but also a diplomat that's conscripting the entire nation against El Presidente. The endgame sees all the forces uniting to corner Castillo in his home-city of Esperanza, the mockingly-named Hope of Yara.

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Wrap-up - The best Far Cry ever made

So does Ubisoft achieve its goal? What was its goal anyway? The answer is both yes and no.

Far Cry 6 is a great game. It's by far the best Far Cry game and it's loads of fun. There's tons of stuff to do in a beautiful, sprawling open world that's interesting and replete with cultural representation. The game has an incredible amount of freedom and a satisfying gameplay loop predicated on destruction and instant gratification.

The subject matter and presentation are both incredibly beautiful and offensive; the game goes from a tropical paradise to a horrible lesson in human brutality and violence in the blink of an eye. Combat is fast-paced, fun, and fair, but it's also extremely savage and depicts high levels of gore throughout.

The story arc is intriguing if not depressing and tragic. It's interlaced with enough real-world themes and historical basis to make things simultaneously compelling and very uncomfortable. Far Cry 6 brushes so close to authentic Cuban guerrilla warfare and subsequent communist rule that it's wont to make players impassioned against Ubisoft.

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Far Cry 6's Yara is a magical and majestic world filled with some of the most impressive visuals of any game ever created. Ubisoft has made history with this game--it really looks that good. Unfortunately--or by intention--that world is marred by a convoluted message that reads differently depending on your perspective. If you've been exposed to anything like Far Cry 6 has shown, you may feel offended that a company is capitalizing on a story or experience that's so close to real-world dictatorships.

The game's content, themes, and subject matter are very real and very serious affairs.

Still, though, there is a power fantasy underneath it all that is extremely fun and alluring. For better or worse, the weight of controversy is as inescapable as the explosive fun the game has to offer.

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It's important to know what you're getting into with Far Cry 6.

It's a huge, open-world shooter that emphasizes fun, beauty, and specific themes above all else. It has two halves: The empowering fantasy where you can zoom around Yara in helicopters and blow everything up with rocket-shooting backpacks, and the sobering torture of an entire country who's slowly being blood-let under a cruel and insane dictator.

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At it's core Far Cry 6 is a tragedy that adequately explores the hostilities and abhorrence of tyranny. It's entirely possible just to play the game and have fun and not pay too much attention to the themes and story.

My advice is to treat Far Cry 6 as a summer action blockbuster film and have fun with it. Don't stew on it. Don't ruminate on it too much or it'll get inside your head. Don't explore too much and uncover Yara's depths...unless you're okay with uncovering things that aren't just fictional, but atrocities that actually happen in real life.

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What's Hot

+ Absolutely incredible graphics and visuals--one of the best-looking games on PS5

+ FPS gunplay is slick and satisfying

+ TONS of vehicles to use

+ Lots of freedom and exploration

+ Amigo animal pals are awesome

+ Chaotic weaponry is fun to use, supremos are IMMENSELY enjoyable

+ The wingsuit is the best

+ Huge open world full of interesting things to see

+ Tropical setting is unique and attractive

+ Doesn't force you to craft a whole lot

What's Not

- In-game microtransactions

- Subject matter is controversial and can be worrisome

- Grotesque gore and themes

- Minor bugs and glitches

- Still derivative, still Far Cry

- Character animations are clunky and awkward

Buy at Amazon

Graphics and Visuals

100%

Fun Factor

100%

Storyline

65%

Value

80%

Overall

86%

The Bottom Line

Far Cry 6 is a tropical paradise with explosive fun and unparalleled freedom, but it's marred by brutality, gore, and cruelty.

TweakTown award
86%

Far Cry 6 PlayStation 5 Standard Edition

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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