Preview: ‘Far Cry 6’ adds a loot-shooter touch and a bit of Hollywood to classic gameplay

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A good hero is essential to a video game. After all, it is the players who control the protagonists and identify with them. That huge role shouldn’t overshadow the fact that a good villain is just as important. They are the drop that sets the drink in motion. It is gasoline that powers the engine.
When the villain fills that role, it drives the players and the plot forward. It helps give them a reason to play. Nowhere has this been more important than in the “Far Cry” series. It’s a franchise known for its bad guys, from Vaas Montenegro to Pagan Min to Joseph Seed. They’ve all been memorable and they’ve driven the action for some of the most immersive scenarios.
For its latest entry, “Far Cry 6,” Ubisoft tapped actor Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad” and “The Mandalorian”) to play El Presidente Anton Castillo, the dictator of the fictional island nation of Yara. It’s a high-profile move that is likely to pay off.
Players don’t really get a sense of his character from a clip or preview. They have to sit with the game and stew with him to get a sense of his ferocity. In a remote preview event, I had the chance to do just that, playing the first few hours of “Far Cry 6”.
SURVIVE THE NIGHT OF DEATH
The campaign starts with the end of the world in Yara, or at least that’s how it feels when the locals experience what they call the Night of Death. Anton takes on dissidents, and as Dani Rojas, players must flee with a friend named Lita. They have no weapons and must sneak past soldiers and tanks to get to a boat, where they can flee the country.
This showcases some of the stealth elements of “Far Cry 6”, which have become a staple of the series. Squatting allows players to move quietly. Dani can peek behind corners to scout and avoid being noticed. The protagonist, who players can choose to be male or female, will have to avoid spotlights and authorities. What’s noticeable is that, even if they’re spotted later in the campaign, Dani has about five seconds to quietly take out the opponent without sounding an alarm.
Finally, they reach the boat and persuade the captain to let a boy on board. That child becomes Anton Castillo’s son, Diego, and El Presidente manages to stop the ship. He retrieves his child and after saying that he would release the boat, he orders his troops to kill everyone on board. Yes, ruthlessness is an understatement.
Anton is bad, but Esposito plays him with an enchanting charisma. It left me with a surprising hatred that made the next step logical. Dani manages to survive on a beach on Isla Santuario, along with a mortally wounded Lita. She tells Dani to find Libertad, the guerrillas she helped. They happen to have their headquarters on the island.
FIRST STEP OF A REVOLUTION
Revenge, a desire for freedom, a need to escape Yara, these are all motivations that bubble up in the protagonist as the hero takes the first steps in the fight against the Castillo regime. At first, Dani just wants to leave, but as the young military dropout gets involved with Libertad and its leader Clara Garcia, the stakes grow and the main character becomes more involved with the revolutionaries.
In terms of gameplay, the core loops of “Far Cry 6” remain intact. Players take on missions and achieve their goals by exploring the area with a smartphone and marking enemies, alarms and potential trouble spots. After planning an attack, players must execute by sneaking into a base and methodically sending opponents in or by hijacking a tank and destroying everything in sight. Both ways – stealth and brute force – work. That flexibility has always been a strength of the “Far Cry” series.
Ubisoft Toronto is adding new elements to the franchise by giving players more of a loot shooter approach. Dani can wear five gears, each with its own advantages. Players can acquire them by completing missions, finding treasure chests, or shopping in a store. The helmets, chest pieces, pants, wrist gear and shoes each have their own stats and benefits. That means one gear can be great for stealth missions, while another is better for direct attacks. Other armor pieces, such as the Incendiary Set, negate the effects of flame, making them invaluable during missions involving fire.
BRING THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
On the offensive side, players will encounter different types of weapons that they can customize with scopes, different types of magazines, and muzzle breaks. Players will have to scavenge for resources to make these upgrades, but once enabled, they can make weapons useful, but not necessarily more powerful.
That’s because “Far Cry 6” changes how damage is dealt. Players will encounter enemies that are vulnerable to certain rounds and attacks. Some of Castillo’s followers wear body armor and are vulnerable to armor-piercing bullets. Others will be strong for that ammunition, but weak for soft-targeted bullets that excel at piercing flesh. Players can have three primary weapons on hand at once, so it’s best to have a variety of weapons that can take on any type of opponent they encounter during a mission. A sidearm is available when they run out of bullets and need to finish an enemy very quickly.
During my missions I found out that it is better to concentrate on achieving the objectives. Players must stay on a mission and ignore the temptation to remove enemies from a camp or do more than they should, the chaos players create often leads to unintended consequences and unexpected deaths. In one of the missions I had to burn tobacco crops, but I was distracted by killing every Yaran soldier in the facility. I wasted more time than necessary slaughtering Castillos’ henchmen rather than setting fire to the plants. In “Far Cry 6” backup seems to be harder this time unless you have heavy weapons like a tank to destroy everything.
NEW WAYS TO MOVE
The other change in “Far Cry 6” comes in traversal. Yara and the jungle landscape on the island provide players with plenty of opportunities to move around the world. Players get a grappling hook early on, and they can use it to click and scale cliffs at predetermined spots. They also get a parachute that they can use to fall into fortresses and other hard-to-reach places.
The biggest change, however, is the Supremo, a specialized backpack made from spare parts that ex-espionage master Juan Cortez can get his hands on. He teaches players how to craft mods and other items with the Resolver spirit. That’s the idea of ​​MacGyvering fixes and gear upgrades using the available scraps. Imagine making a makeshift motorcycle out of a lawnmower engine and bicycle chains.
The Supremo is the embodiment of that idea. The first few versions are easy to use and act as a portable mortar for Dani. But later on, the Supremo gets more complex and turns into a traversal tool. The Furioso model gives Dani something akin to a double jump. It makes the character swing up after an initial jump. That opens up more platforming and puzzling possibilities for ‘Far Cry 6’. If players are not using the Supremo as a double jump device, they can use this version to blast up mountain walls as a quick lift to the sky. Another version of the Supremo called Medico-Zona allows Dani to revive himself and it quickly heals teammates around the protagonist. It’s an ideal Supremo to switch to when playing co-op.
PLAY WITH PEOPLE AND AMIGOS
Speaking of which, the last part of the demo was done online with a buddy. As with previous entries, “Far Cry 6” supports co-op. This was useful on one of the crazier missions of the campaign. Players had to help Chicharron, a giant fighting rooster with blades on his legs. It is a violent animal and has a thirst for blood. My partner and I helped satisfy his death wish while destroying important files of the Castillo regime.

Obviously, while “Far Cry 6” has its serious side, the title leaves room for wacky humor. It’s worth helping the fighting rooster because once the missions are completed, players can use him as an amigo or animal friend. It joins the ranks of Guapo, the crocodile; and Chorizo, the adorable Dachshund. These AI-controlled critters help players in specific ways.
Guapo just rages through opponents. The ruthless killing machine will rest as its health deteriorates, but it will eventually regenerate and revive, continuing its murderous frenzy. Players can also manually revive it if the wait is too long. Chorizo ​​is a more stealth-based buddy and is great for distracting enemies. It can also automatically mark enemies after players send the buddy to explore. These animals have their own progression trees and gain more skills when players help them achieve their goals, such as revive 50 times.
These changes and the addition of Esposito make “Far Cry 6” more intriguing than the previous entry in Montana. While the premise and setting were new to that previous game, it strayed too far from the spirit of the series. This chapter in Yara seems to promise players a return to a form that polishes up existing systems and adds new elements that give battles more depth.
“Far Cry 6” is set to release on October 7 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, and Amazon Luna.
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