Far Cry 6 review: a waste of potential

Yara, the Cuban region inspired by Cuba. Far Cry 6 takes place, is introduced as a “tropical paradise frozen in time.” Its people once raised arms to overthrow a dictator, but now, his son Antón Castillo (voiced by Afro-Italian actor Giancarlo Esposito) is following in his footsteps, deploying the military in every corner and disposing of anyone who isn’t what he calls a “True Yaran.” History begins to repeat itself through abusive and exploitative practices, while the country burns and progress is measured in blood. Its island setting is also a metaphor for its exploitation. Far Cry 6 feels like history repeating itself — a perfect showcase for how Far Cry as a whole is frozen in time.

You see the world through the eyes Dani Rojas, a male and female character. After Castillo executes Yarans who fled for Miami, Castillo captures them all and hangs them. After surviving, you agree to assist Libertad and get another boat to the United States. Once the time comes to help, you agree to stay.

Far Cry-style, it means that you travel across a vast open-world, taking on missions for each group with Far Cry objectives. He has been leaned on many times. You’ll infiltrate camps and outposts, either by going full throttle or taking a stealthy approach; you’ll use a flamethrower to burn down a plantation; you’ll face waves of enemies as you wait for a progress bar to fill.

Dani fires armor-piercing rounds at FND enemies

Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft via Polygon

It’s a cycle that is entertaining to take part in during the first few hours. It’s a foundation that has worked well ever since its implementation in Far Cry 3It is. It gets boring quickly. Enemies don’t offer much variety, and encounters almost always end up with you destroying a tank or a helicopter as a climax.

While past crafting activities such as hunting animals are still relevant, they don’t feel central. Materials found around the globe are the main source of most crafting. You can turn them into weapons suppressors or sights and other ammo that makes it easier to dispatch enemies. In practice, though, not having piercing rounds for an armored enemy isn’t the end of the world, when explosives and other bombastic tools exist.

Your Amigos and the Supremo are just two of these tools. This backpack can deal an extreme attack, from EMP shockwaves and rocket launches to the maximum. The second is companions, another element we’ve seen in previous Far Cry games. For a more aggressive approach the crocodile Guapo can be used, and Chorizo can distract your enemies while you use your machete to finish them off. My experience is that combat scenarios can be retold so many times, I’m rarely forced to modify my style and tools.

So if these few additions don’t do much, and the combat quickly falls into a repetitive cycle, what exactly is the main draw of Far Cry 6What is the answer? Yara. For better or for worse.

A panoramic view of the coast of Yara

Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft via Polygon

As someone born in Argentina, I was intrigued, if not slightly worried, about how the game would portray a Latin American setting — specifically, one with a military dictatorship put front and center. Numerous countries have suffered them, such as Argentina and Cuba. It is not uncommon to see Yarans in curfew or being stopped at the side of the road to give their papers.

I wasn’t alive during the last dictatorship, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, but everyone from that time that I know personally, including my parents, has stories akin to these scenarios. My mom used to tell me about the military stopping my grandparents in the middle of the street to check their IDs, or the constant worry that soldiers could knock on anybody’s door at any time looking for so-called subversives — anyone suspected of thinking differently from the military. Especially university students and young adults were the targets. Journalists were in the spotlight as well, and often “silenced,” a fact that’s briefly touched upon during an early sequence in Far Cry 6

Unfortunately, Far Cry 6 continues the series’ tiring tradition of presenting itself as political, on the surface, while fumbling any attempts at meaningful critique. Like Far Cry 5Although it was intended to explore white supremacy in America, the execution of ‘White Supremacy: An Exploration in American Whiteness’ failed. Far Cry 6 is a game in which you rescue refugees by using a weapon that plays “Macarena” while you’re aiming down its sights.

Dani crouches, wearing a crocodile equipment item

Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft via Polygon

The depiction of Far Cry 6’s guerrillas is similarly conflicting. The term guerrilla in itself is so overused between the characters in the game (“once a guerrilla, always a guerrilla”) that it becomes a catchphrase. The people you help also fall into tropes of Latin American characters: the sassy alcoholic know-it-all; a couple obsessed with sex (who are jokingly called “animals”); the veteran guerrillero who is constantly chanting “viva la libertad.” The bad stereotypes are abundant, and although I tried to overlook them, the game’s dialogue does not help.

Speaking of tropes (as I and other Latin American folks saw coming, since the game’s reveal), Yara is a Spanish-native region that defaults to the English language, and more often than not, characters remind you of their nationality by switching between languages without any consistency. There are sequences where two characters speak entirely in Spanish for a few seconds (one standout being a song that is fully captioned in English during a cutscene), then quickly go back to a mashup — the same ones seen recently in other AAA games such as The Last of Us Part 2And Cyberpunk 2077

It’s been said a number of times, but when Spanish-speaking people are talking in English, we’re not constantly cambiando a Español mid-sentence. Far Cry 6 It is easy to become obsessed by this falsehood. This is a parody, at the very least. It’s also incredibly disrespectful. Castillo quotes his father at one point, saying, “Jesús would make an amazing Yaran presidente.” When I heard that, I got fairly close to putting the controller down and calling it a day. The game ended abruptly, and I was unable to view the credits.

Antón Castillo speaks to his son, Diego

Image: Ubisoft Toronto/Ubisoft via Polygon

It is this wasted opportunity to succeed that bothers me most. It is very rare to have proper Latin American representation in games, and 2021 has stood out in this regard. It was a great find. Hitman 3’s representation of Mendoza to be a pleasant surprise on almost every front, while the first Argentine operator in Rainbow Six SiegeWe didn’t hear it. Far Cry 6 paints a hopeful picture at times, as every sign in the game — and all of the graffiti — is written in Spanish. I was delighted to hear Dani singing over songs that were on the radio and recognized them. However, as soon as any character spoke, it was over.

Yara, a Spanish native setting, is a large, sprawling and beautiful island. On more than one occasion I parked the car to snap a picture of the sunset illuminating a coast nearby. But it’s a place built by many studios, where employees have reported experiencing harassment, abuse, workplace misconduct and toxic leaders. Neither empty promises nor changes in leadership seem to be likely to solve these systemic problems. Castillo said that guerrillas will reclaim Yara if it is possible. What then with an already burning island?

Far Cry is completely frozen in time. The few mechanical additions in the series’ latest entry don’t show much improvement over what Far Cry 5Oder Far Cry New DawnYou have explored. And if your interest lies in the search for any semblance of proper representation, you’re better off looking elsewhere. In recent years very few cases have managed to break the mold. If you do, it is because of the norm. Far Cry 6 is any indication of what AAA publishers can do with a Latin American setting — painting it more as window dressing than an actual picture worth celebrating — I would rather not see another one try.

Far Cry 6 On Oct. 7, the game will be available on Windows PC and PlayStation 5. Ubisoft gave the pre-release code to review the game on PlayStation 5 Vox Media is an affiliate partner. They do not affect editorial content. However, Vox Media might earn commissions for products bought via affiliate links. Here are some links to help you find. additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here

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