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'Far Cry 6' showcases the video game series at its best

When your world shatters in seconds, and the people you love are killed as part of an unchecked dictator’s game, how could you ever climb out of the dark abyss and ignite hope in the next generation to fight for freedom?  

Playing “Far Cry 6” for the first time, we are introduced to the stakes as we stare into the orange eye of a crocodile and enter a new reality. A cinematic sequence takes us through rampant warfare, imprisonment and rebellion while introducing the stars of this complex narrative behemoth – like the outstanding actor Giancarlo Esposito. The opening moments pieces together Yara, a fictional Caribbean island rich in history and culture but currently strangled by an intense nationalist push to bring the country back to its glory days. 

The player quickly drops into the chaos created by sociopolitical unrest, local brutality and a cancer-curing drug produced by slave labor. In the opening mission “La Noche de La Muerte,” you play as ex-militant Dani Rojas, and without much wait, you must sneak your way out of town before you are captured and killed by the military. In my playthrough, this was a simple yet engaging way to learn basic controls while taking in the new, unfamiliar world. Dani runs, crawls and hides in the rain, passing innocent bodies and strangers calling you “una terrorista.” After a near-death boat-ride and crash, you’re the sole survivor with nothing left to love or lose. This starting mission is the building blocks for Dani to stop running and instead become a modern guerrilla for the revolutionary movement “Libertad.” From there on out, it’s mission after mission until Dani unites rebel factions and pushes the revolution to the gates of Antón Castillo, El Presidente of Yara.

Story aside, “Far Cry 6” is the most accessible entry in the series yet. I appreciated the presets for vision, cognition, motor, motion and hearing, just a few of the considerations Ubisoft made for their diverse fanbase. “Action Mode” is recommended for players who want a familiar Far Cry or First-Person-Shooter experience, but “Story Mode” is a pleasant path for narrative enthusiasts who don’t want challenging shootouts to get in the way of the intense story world.  

In-game customization is also at its best in “Far Cry 6” with the widest range of weapon loadouts, clothing gear and personalized vehicles ever in a “Far Cry” game. With the “Resolver” weapon system, I could craft different ammo types for different occasions or pick more stealthier weapon loadouts for a heavily guarded base. The specialty weapons in this game, like the flamethrower “toastador” and CD-launching “discos locos,” added to the fun absurdity that every Far Cry game brings. Even dressing Dani in a waistcoat, jeans and a wild west hat alleviated a lot of the serious narrative themes and made the character feel fun, especially the appreciated moments where I could see my character’s outfit in third person as I walked around a weapons-free base.

Easily one of my favorite features of this game is the “Amigo” system, where you can choose a local animal to fight alongside you as you journey through Yara’s 5 distinct regions. Each amigo comes with their own perks and abilities, and they are unlocked throughout the course of the game. Being accompanied by a bloodthirsty crocodile or a deceptively adorable sausage dog makes the revolution journey a little less lonely, and the ability to pet them is a simple reminder that a little love can go a long way in Yara.

Love, in the case of Antón Castillo, makes Giancarlo Esposito’s portrayal so complex and engaging, easily becoming the franchise’s most exciting yet most terrifying villain. Castillo is elected by Yarans for his promises to bring Yara back to its best when his family was in charge 50 years ago. Antón Castillo is introduced to the player through a monologue about his cure to cancer and goals for Yara, but his great claims intermix with scenes of his brutality and corruption. The love for his country pushes Castillo to tyranny, turning his people into slaves and squashing rebellions with ruthless gunfights. Castillo’s love for his son Diego, however, reveals some of his intentions as he means for his son to inherit the family legacy one day. The relationship between Antón and Diego is complicated, and at 13 years old, Diego finds himself at a crossroad between charting his own path and feeling obligated to become his father.

A complex conflict like this, along with the previously mentioned features, makes “Far Cry 6” one of the most exciting entries into the series so far. Dani Rojas is imbued with personality that makes the cinematic moments feel tense and real, and the fight against oppression creates a clear goal for the player while experiencing Dani’s own evolution and their interactions with resistance leaders. I only managed to scratch the surface of what Yara entails so far, but fast-paced action and detailed worldbuilding keeps wanting to learn more. With all “Far Cry 6” has to offer, I’ll be lost in this world for the indefinite future, standing tall against the oppressive current and igniting hope in “libertad.”

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