Finished Far Cry 6

Last night I finally finished the main story in Far Cry 6. Never have I felt more confused about my reaction to a game. I would not recommend it, and can’t say I really enjoyed playing it. But I just felt compelled to keep going and I’m not sure why. At one point I decided I was done, uninstalled it and hours later reinstalled it and kept playing.

I think I was just craving that Far Cry mayhem that happens when one of these games is firing on all cylinders. It’s a little bit like GTA or Saints Row games, right? The AI is either broken or crazy and has both vehicles and weapons to create chaos with. Sometimes you don’t even have to initiate any of this: you can just watch. I’ve played through Far Cry 4, Far Cry Primal, Far Cry 5 and Far Cry New Dawn. I really enjoyed the first 3, but New Dawn was just OK. I guess I was hoping for more of that Far Cry magic.

So what went wrong? Broken down into 2 broad categories, both the story/tone and the gameplay had issues for me.

Story & Tone

This game just doesn’t know what it wants to be. The main story is grim & tragic. You are part of a group that is trying to overthrow an oppressive regime. You constantly hear tales of atrocities. Then you get a mission where you have to follow a psychotic rooster around as it takes over enemy bases. It’s like one person wrote a serious script then someone else came along and smeared the ‘wacky Far Cry’ stuff over the top. The villains in Far Cry are always evil but often in a mustache-twirling kind of way that feels very “Saturday matinee adventure story” evil. You hate them but they’re so out-there that they don’t feel real. Far Cry’s regime feels “pulled from today’s headlines” evil and that makes it harder for me to just laugh it off. I don’t mind serious stories in games; but this whiplash between serious story and ridiculous quests just turned me off.

Then there were the characters. I am not sure if these freedom fighters are all that much better than the evil overlord, and that was maybe the point but again, it’s a Far Cry game. I don’t want to think that hard about it, y’know? I didn’t like most of the characters, including the character I played as. Some of this may be age related as most of the characters are young and they act like the stupid kids they are (and that most of us, including me, once were!) Like after a victory your character drinks until they pass out and wake up in a ditch or something. Is that supposed to be ‘cool’ behavior or is the game telling us our character has serious problems? I’m not sure. When they aren’t drinking they’re listening to music that just was not my style, and music plays a pretty big part in one section of the game (a group is using their music to try to draw people to the cause). I found myself skipping a lot of the dialog because I just couldn’t deal with listening to these characters trying desperately to be hip or edgy or something. Characters are always saying things like “I like my dogs like I like my wars: violent and with a lot of humping.” (Not even sure what that means.) Or talking about how they peed a little or have erections or whatever.

There’s also a cock-fighting mini-game. If that isn’t in bad taste, I don’t know what is. I’ll grant you that the actual mini-game has you play as the rooster in a Street Fighter kind of way (which felt better than just watching roosters kill each other), but let’s not glamourize this kind of thing, OK Ubisoft?


OK in the interest of brevity I’ll move on. My biggest issue with the actual gameplay was the progression system. As you do quests and things, you level up. What does leveling up do? As far as I can tell, nothing. It is supposed to unlock better gear from vendors. I didn’t notice this happening but then I’m not sure I ever felt the need to buy gear. When you level up you get a message that enemy troops have gotten stronger. If they did, it was pretty subtle.

There are no skills in Far Cry 6, no stats on your character. So why level? I have no idea.

Gear initially appears to have levels but these are actually tiers of quality, from 1 to 4 stars. The difference between a 1 star rifle and a 4 star rifle is in the number of mods you can apply to it. Mods are crafted and do things like add scopes, suppressors and such, and maybe traits like faster reloads. There’s nothing wrong with this system once you understand how it all works, but the fact that your character levels up just led me to believe that a 4 star weapon would do more damage than a 1 star weapon, and that isn’t necessarily the case.

There are lots of side-activities that I completely ignored. Hunting, fishing, cooking… I cooked food once. Eating gives you a buff, but again the effect was so subtle I didn’t notice it. There’re races to take part in. Never did those so not sure what they do. Lots of side quest stuff, most of which I wound up ignoring because I had no interest in helping out these characters I hated. There’re materials all over the world to harvest, and you can use these to upgrade your bases with new functionality. That was interesting enough but it takes very little time to get everything fully upgraded. I was probably done with that while still in the first third of the game.

In the end, by mid-game I’d chosen about 5 weapons I liked and I just used them until the credits rolled. It’s not that there’s anything really wrong with that, but you know me, I like my progression systems so not getting cool new gear regularly was a little disappointing. Oh, and I almost forgot there is a gear system. I mostly forgot about it while playing the game, too. So maybe this pair of sneakers makes you quieter, while that pair of sneakers makes you faster. I sound like a broken record, but the differences seemed pretty subtle. In theory you can don gear that, for example, buffs your fire resistance if you’re going to be fighting enemies that attack with fire. But virtually every fight pits you against groups of enemies that do soft-target, armored-target, explosive AND fire damage so it only makes sense to generalize your defense, then forget about it for the rest of the game. This led me, in the game with its tragic story, to wear a crocodile head helmet through most of the game (see screenshot at the top of the post). Thankfully you can hide your helm.

OK at this point I’m boring myself so I’ll end this. I wrote an earlier post if you want to read even more of my ranting about this game. At that point I hadn’t yet figured out that the leveling system was pointless.

I guess I’m glad I finished it, but I won’t be buying the next Far Cry game at launch. I’ll wait for reviews and/or a sale. To me Far Cry peaked at Far Cry 5. New Dawn was kind of odd and now Far Cry 6 has drifted further from the old formula. We’ll see if they turn things around for the next game.

Revisiting Far Cry 6

Far Cry 6 was taking up a big chunk of my PS5’s hard drive space so I decided I’d better play it or uninstall it. I’d purchased it back at launch but for reasons I could not remember, drifted away from it pretty quickly. Time to refresh my memory.

I booted it up, felt really lost and came very close to uninstalling, but then I decided to start a new game so I could re-engage with the story and the game’s systems and that was enough to get me interested, at least for a little while. I’m now further than I got when I first played it back at launch.

One of the challenges for me was getting used to playing a Far Cry where you use some restraint. There is no real reason to fight the random enemies you see wandering around the world and if you do, you’ll find they respawn like crazy. When defeated all they drop is ammo and often you use more killing them than you get back. There is no “xp” from killing random enemies and they don’t drop weapons or anything. This nudges you toward behaving like a real guerilla. If you holster your weapon you can pass these random soldiers without any issue and generally you should. Just blend in with the local populace until you get to your target.

In this video clip my goal was to take over a checkpoint. I’ve included a chunk of my trip to the destination, and if you watch the mini-map anything red indicates an enemy. You see I drive past a lot of them since they weren’t relevant to the task at hand. Heck I almost crash into a truck full of enemies! In other Far Cry games I probably would’ve shot up everything I saw. Doing that in Far Cry 6 means that you’ll probably wind up getting to your destination out of ammo and you won’t really have gained anything from all that combat.

Once my brain accepted this playstyle, I started having a lot more fun with the gameplay itself. In terms of the story though, so far not a fan and I detest like 90% of the characters I’ve met, including the character you play as. I get that they’re going for that edgy & maybe rural vibe, but it just isn’t resonating well with me. I have known people (some of my redneck cousins) who use “shit” as a generic noun, but I don’t need it in my games. Example: An NPC tells you “I need you to go to this crash site and get some shit that was in the chopper. Bring it back and I’ll use it to make some shit to help you blow up shit.” Your character responds: “Oh shit yeah, I’ll do that shit.” [I am exaggerating a TINY bit here.]

Then there’s that thing that happens in so many games where you are playing this super-powerful character who leaves a huge body count in their wake, then they encounter an NPC who starts manipulating and bossing them around as if they have no power. Instead of just killing this (generally evil) NPC, the protagonist becomes their errand person and travels all over the place doing vile tasks for them while the NPC cackles and twirls their mustache. I actually tried to kill the NPC who did this to me in Far Cry 6 but sadly, they wouldn’t die.

I’m getting myself all worked up into a hate-post on Far Cry 6 so I’ll stop. For now. I enjoy the game a lot more when I’m in a mission then when experiencing the story. Let’s just leave it at that.

One pro-tip if you play. Once you get to where you can start building things at camps, build the Hideout Network and upgrade it as much as possible, then buy all the locations from it. This will unlock a bunch of Fast Travel points. Traveling back and forth across the map can get pretty tedious and having a Fast Travel point to get you in the general area of your goal is SUPER helpful.

Writing this post has almost convinced me to stop playing, but there is SOMETHING there that is still calling to me. I should figure out what it is and write a post about that. Maybe it is the gorgeous land and seas-scapes.

A picturesque seascape