Bethesda's epic sci-fi RPG is here, and it's a big one. From shipbuilding to exploring the surface of Mars, our thoughts so far.
Starfield Review... In Progress
The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6 is finally here.
Grand Theft Auto 6 Trailer
We take an in-depth look at Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and tell you why it should be heavily on your radar!
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - a Deep-Dive into its Potential
Range-wise, the ROG Rapture GT6 is phenomenal, and it's ideal for all gaming and non-gaming-related tasks.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT6 WiFi 6 Mesh System Review
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6

PC | PlayStation 4 | PlayStation 5 | Xbox One | Xbox Series X
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft Classification: MA15+
Release Date:
7th October 2021
Far Cry 6 Review
Review By @ 10:32pm 06/10/21
XBSX
Ubisoft, we need to talk about your AI.

It might seem like an odd kicking off point for a review of Far Cry 6 -- a game that has so far won over the patient masses with its stunning setting, its colourful presentation and its loomingly large big-bad, Anton Castillo, as played by the venerable Giancarlo Esposito. But it’s unfortunately the most glaring point of the whole experience. An experience, mind, that sees some elevation of the tried and true formula we’ve come to expect from the series. And while that elevation sits a little outside the vanilla product, it’s still welcome. Even offering a small glimpse into a potentially brighter future for Far Cry where new and unique gameplay tilts might be concerned in parts. But we’ll get to all of that in a minute.

No, it’s the game’s AI that must first be addressed because it is likely going to be the key talking point from other outlets and pundits, and eventually the huddled player-masses. Because in Far Cry 6, the game’s friendly, pedestrian and enemy AI is utterly diabolical.

There, I said it.


What that statement leaves us with is a glaringly significant question: does it break the experience? Well, that’ll depend wholly on the way you choose to play the game. On the one hand the simple and limited AI works really well if you’re the sort of person who embraces the chaos of a Far Cry game. Less-than-dynamic AI makes for a great spanner when the systems are trying to work together, which can lead to all manner of outcomes. On the other, if you’re someone who likes to play to the cadence of the story and wants to go all-in on the “guerilla fantasy” Ubisoft has been shouting about, and fight Castillo’s oppressive regime as a true revolutionary, AI that can’t seem to acknowledge when their buddy is dead right next to them might not make for a fully immersive experience.


... it is likely going to be the key talking point from other outlets and pundits, and eventually the huddled player-masses. Because in Far Cry 6, the game’s friendly, pedestrian and enemy AI is utterly diabolical.



Here’s an example of something I came across in a basic mission while working to gain favour with one of the splinter guerilla groups in the game. We’d effectively destroyed a base and cleared out all comers in a spectacular gunfight that had enemy choppers, waves of baddies coming from all points on the compass and explosions galore. I needed a horse to get to my next destination, and lo and behold, one trotted into view. In the saddle, however, was an unsuspecting soldier. I shot at him, but he didn’t die and instead dismounted, ignored me and ran directly at my AI teammate guns blazing.


So what was wrong with this picture? Firstly, he didn’t care about the flaming wreckage or dead bodies until I shot at him. Secondly, when he ran to fight anyone but me, he just stood in a raging fire shooting until he burnt to death.

This is just one of a massive number of AI mishaps I experienced during my review session, and while the series has never been known for great AI over its journey, it’s more glaring here because everything else is actually pretty damn good. As mentioned above the game-world is stunning, and massive. It’s full of secrets and things to do that, while a bit checklist-y here and there, are all varied and interesting. There’s less “rinse, repeat” in Far Cry 6 and the various tools you have at your disposal feel genuine and useful. It can be pretty annoying when you’re caught out on foot because of the sheer size of the game, but it’s been designed in such a way that a new mode of transport is never far away, nor are the options to steal and add to your livery -- be it quads, cars, trucks, planes, choppers or horses.

Structurally, in the vanilla experience I mentioned earlier, you’ve played this before if you’re at all familiar with this franchise. And like so many other Far Cry outings, the game’s knife’s edge approach to gritty and grounded storytelling is consistently out performed by its over-the-top ridiculousness. There’s a sense, sometimes, that this is deliberate. But there’s a larger issue with going all in on the dread of a big-bad like Castillo and the oppression he creates, where revolution no longer feels like a justifiable cause, nor a sharp enough hook.


The game’s chaotic systems and its Wacky Races-esque approach to missions takes away from any of the seriousness of the setup and we find ourselves spending more time hunting bull sharks or aggressive wild boars than wanting to tear it all down. In Far Cry 5 the dread of the Seeds was absolute, and the world reflected that more, but in Far Cry 6 it presents as slightly more bubblegum and fun. There’s a line one of the Legends says that really struck me as both poignant and ironic:

“There’s a difference between playing with guns in the street and fighting for revolution.”


The game-world is stunning, and massive. It’s full of secrets and things to do that, while a bit checklist-y here and there, are all varied and interesting.



She’s referring to the young, upstart guerillas and their social media-powered cause over her own experience as a revolutionary back in ‘67. But I saw right through the writing here and expunged its original intent, placing it instead where it was far more fitting -- as a reflection of the overall design of the game and how at odds with itself it can be.


“Can be”. I should caveat much of the above by pointing out that Far Cry 6 is still a lot of fun. AI warts and all. But perhaps more importantly is what the game offers beyond that vanilla experience. The elevation I mentioned above, which comes in the form of a more reflective world based on your actions within it, as well as in different gameplay systems to fully bite into.

You’ll uncover a handful of guerilla camps across the enormous world of Yara, and within these you can speak to a Foreman who will build specific upgrades like a Fishing Hut where you can buy maps to different types of fish, or La Cantina where you can trade collected animal goods for food for buffs. And using the game’s resources to build this stuff gives you a reason to loot as you revolt, and broadens the game’s economies better than we’ve ever seen in a Far Cry game.

In another first, Los Bandidos is a meta game where you assign a Leader and Recruits to a mission. These are packed with rewards and are played in steps via a menu. Each step is narrated in written form by the Leader like an old-school adventure game, but you make the decision on how the team progresses. Each choice comes with a percentage chance of success, a reward and an idea of how many Recruits you could lose. In some instances rather than a Recruit loss, the choice might only cost you a resource, such as metal. So choosing one of the three options quickly becomes an interesting affair of risk-reward and each time you’ll have a different narrated outcome such as “We did it! They never expected us to come at them from the front”.


Each mission is played out in three steps. You can fail steps as well, which will cost you resources or worse. Once completed, more missions become available, however, there is a time in progress parameter (where the next playthrough only happens after, say, two hours), which is clearly designed to make sure you’re not grinding the meta game for resources or Pesos.


The game’s chaotic systems and its Wacky Races-esque approach to missions takes away from any of the seriousness of the setup and we find ourselves spending more time hunting bull sharks or aggressive wild boars than wanting to tear it all down.



In addition to the rewards, there’s an RPG-lite component to upskilling your Leaders. You also gain recruits from playing the game, but you can also bring them on board when you free hostages or deface Castillo propaganda out in the game-world.

Special Operations is another new addition, and these are games within the game you can launch to play solo or with others. The first one you’ll come across (so as not to spoil any others) has you retrieving a device from the enemy who are embedded in a dinosaur-themed educational reserve. This playspace is massive and how you approach it is entirely up to you. These aren’t just smash and grab missions though, as each will also come with different steps and activities. In the instance of the dino park, you need to get a key card off a higher ranking soldier before you can retrieve the device you’re after, which is a challenge in and of itself. But once you have it, you need to keep it from overheating as you return it to where you entered the park in the first place. This means moving in the shade and using various points of water as you make your way back. And you best believe the enemy cavalry arrives when you need to do this.


They’re just small examples of a larger departure for the series, but each looks to offer a glimpse at future design shifts for Ubisoft.

I’ve deliberately gone as spoiler-free here as possible, because despite some of the zaniness of the overall experience, the meaty “gritty and grounded” story content is top shelf, and it’s difficult to not just want more and more of Esposito’s Castillo. And you’ll definitely be playing awhile, especially if you choose to go all-in on the game’s many treasure hunts and other game-world challenges.

And game-world is a good place to leave this, as Far Cry 6 definitely stands above all that came before it as far as visuals go. On Xbox Series X|S the game unfortunately isn’t supported with ray-tracing but it’s still stunning, amplified in both its performance and the sheer size of everything as well. Dynamic weather and an audioscape for the ages also add to the full sense of being stuck on the island nation.

If you’re the sort of person who can’t leave a moveable stone unturned in an open-world game, we’ll likely be seeing you early next year. And there’s stacks of stuff I haven’t mentioned yet alongside a fairly extensive post-launch roadmap where added content is concerned. So, is pretty nufty AI a deal-breaker? Well, as mentioned at the start you’ll need to decide that for yourself based on how you want to play the game, but for me it didn’t break the experience, it just soured portions of it.

What we liked
  • A stunning game-world
  • Content for days, weeks and months
  • Weapon customisation is meaningful and rewarding
  • The Supremo backpack is junkyard Iron Man realness
  • Anton Castillo is one of the series’ best big-bads, by far
  • More nooks and crannies to explore means more ways to take on the enemy, too
  • Added gameplay systems such as Los Bandidos and Special Operations are just awesome
What we didn't like
  • That damned AI
  • At odds with itself and what it wants to be at times
  • Super-aggro wildlife can break missions on a whim
  • The base game is still too much Far Cry
  • A lot of plot holes that make me want to cry
More
We gave it:
8.3
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
GamePro
Posted 11:59pm 06/10/21
It's so bland. They really needed a revolution and they have just stripped it back. Such a shame.
Commenting has been locked for this item.