Far Cry 6 Hands-on Preview
Living the guerrilla's life while fighting for the liberation of Yara in Far Cry 6.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a few hours with Far Cry 6, playing through the game’s opening chapters before giving co-op play a try. Far Cry 6 is set on a fictional tropical island inspired by Cuba, Yara, which is ruled by a dictator, Antón Castillo. Castillo’s scientists have discovered a way to modify tobacco plants to give them cancer-fighting properties. Processing the modified plants is dangerous to the laborers who work the fields and destructive to the environment, but Castillo sees only the potential for profit and leverage against the world. He implements a forced conscription program, kidnapping the citizens of Yara off of the streets and shooting those who refuse to comply.
The game opens in Yara’s capital city as Castillo’s troops are sweeping the poorer neighborhoods to force people to work in the tobacco fields. You play as Dani Rojas (it’s your choice whether Rojas is male or female, a Far Cry first) who is a young citizen of Yara. Playing as a local is also a first for the Far Cry franchise which has always had fish-out-of-water outsiders as its protagonists. What Rojas has in common with other Far Cry protagonists, though, is that at first they just want to get out of the hell they’ve suddenly found themselves in. For Rojas, the goal is to find passage on a boat to get to Miami. Needless to say, those plans don’t work out well for Rojas. Instead, Rojas soon finds himself washed up on a small island offshore of Yara, Isla Santuario, an island on which Yara’s nascent resistance has retreated to lick its wounds after a failed operation. You agree to do a few favors for the resistance, but soon find yourself becoming one of them and learning the ways of a guerilla warrior.
The game’s opening chapter has you helping the resistance retake control over its island base and breaking the blockade that’s keeping it from reaching Yara. Playing through this chapter felt a bit different than playing previous Far Cry games in that the missions felt more directed, parts of a plan leading up to the goal of achieving a breakthrough. I wasn’t randomly attacking bases and convoys in an attempt to swing a control meter far enough in my favor to call out a boss for an ultimate battle for the province. While there definitely were targets of opportunity to attack, it wasn’t necessary to engage them all in an attempt to grind down the enemy. Keep in mind that while this was my experience in the opening chapter, things may change once you get to Yara. When I played a couple of operations on Yara in co-op mode, I did see the familiar Far Cry map of divided territories each led by a boss.
The primary missions I encountered while playing were varied, and, as is typical for a game’s opening chapter, introduced new aspects of gameplay as they were tackled. An early mission that has you recruiting an old veteran of guerilla warfare that turns into a government ambush earns you your first pet companion, a trained alligator that can be ordered to attack enemy soldiers. Far Cry 6 will include a number of different pets that you can obtain over the course of the game, and they will each have their own set of unique goals to accomplish, such as kills for the alligator, that will lead to improved abilities when they are accomplished. A raid on a military supply drop leads to the acquisition of materials that will introduce you to the game’s crafting system. This allows you to craft the specialty ammunition you’ll need to handle the variety of enemy types on a fort assault mission, during which you’ll learn to tag enemies and use a parachute for silent infiltration.
The missions are all designed to give you the freedom to accomplish them in a variety of ways. There will be multiple ways to scout and infiltrate installations, and you can take a stealthy or guns-blazing approach. I tried both on several of the missions, and achieved more success with the latter than the former. Going in loud means you’ll have to take on multiple enemies at once and face reinforcements when the alarm is raised. Fighting multiple enemies in close quarters is a challenge in Far Cry 6 because different enemy classes are vulnerable to different types of ammunition. It’s not easy to be swapping weapons back and forth while trying to figure out the class of each enemy firing at you. Of course, if you’ve got a big stick, going in big can get the job done quickly. A VIP hunt mission that began as a stealth operation had me completely changing tactics when I came across an unattended tank.
While you receive a continuous education in guerilla warfare tactics, Far Cry 6 is still dedicated to over-the-top touches and gameplay moments. The guerilla makeshift weapon-crafting system allows you to create what are known as Resolver weapons – kitchen sink conglomerations of parts that give you access to weapons such as flamethrowers and electric arc weapons. The ultimate Resolver weapon comes in the form of a backpack that you can configure to fire rocket salvos or act as a jetpack. The backpack’s functions operate as a super which is charged by killing enemies, so it’s more of a guerilla’s fever-dream fantasy than anything that would ever be wielded by a resistance fighter.
As for over-the-top missions, one has you sabotaging a tobacco farm by torching the fields and destroying the chemical tanks used to give the crops their cancer-fighting capability. This mission is pure flamethrower mayhem, and once you run out of fuel it’s a hunt for anything that will explode and start more fires. The final mission has you breaking the government’s blockade by commandeering a destroyer and using its weapons to whittle down the crew on another destroyer before swimming over to take control of it as well.
After the guerilla-beats-the-navy mission, I was moved to the mainland to give co-op play a try. Co-op will be drop-in/drop-out, and you can play story missions as well as free-roam with a friend. Cutscenes still play out with just your character so there’s no change to the story in co-op mode – you just get an extra gun in the fight. Since we were pushed forward a ways through the game before the co-op session began, I’m not sure where in the narrative we were when we started playing. Our mission rang a little familiar, though, as we had to track down and recruit a group of aging revolutionaries and recruit them to the new cause. This was a bit of an Indiana Jones style mission that challenged us to find landmarks deep in the jungle, scale a waterfall, and follow old guerilla trails on horseback. One thing that was apparent during my time playing co-op was that Yara is significantly larger than Isla Santuario. While we were able to chew-up some real estate in a commandeered helicopter, we spent a chunk of our time on the road driving between locations. And since this was Cuba, I mean Yara, our 1950s-era car didn’t come equipped with GPS, which meant stopping at every fork in the road to pause and check our map.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Far Cry 6. It looks like the game will put a twist on the gameplay of the previous games without breaking the basic formula that spawned a series heading into its sixth iteration, not including all of the various one-offs through the years. I’m looking forward to liberating Yara when the game is released in October.
Transmitted: 2/8/2023 7:24:14 PM