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Far Cry 6 review: a waste of potential

Yara, the Cuban-inspired region in the Far Cry 6 is presented as a “tropical paradise frozen in time”. His people once took up arms to overthrow a dictator, but now his son Antón Castillo (voiced by Afro-Italian actor Giancarlo Esposito) is following in his footsteps, putting the military in every corner and disposing of anyone who is not what he calls a “real yaran”. History begins to repeat itself through abusive and exploitative practices as the land burns and progress is measured in blood. And like its island location, Far Cry 6 feels like history is repeating itself – a perfect example of how Far Cry as a whole is frozen in time.

Through the eyes of Dani Rojas (male or female), you take part in the fight against this new dictatorship after Castillo arrested and executed a group of Yarans who were fleeing to Miami. You survive and agree to help revolutionary group Libertad in exchange for another boat to the United States. But as soon as the moment comes, you decide to stay and help and take on the task of convincing three factions to join forces and defeat Castillo.

In classic Far Cry fashion, this means traveling through a huge open world setting and taking on missions from each of these groups with goals, the Far Cry has leaned on it hundreds of times. They infiltrate camps and outposts, either by going full throttle or by going clandestinely. They use a flamethrower to burn down a plantation; You will face waves of enemies while you wait for a progress bar to fill up.

Dani fires armor-piercing shots at FND enemies

Image: Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft via Polygon

It’s a cycle that is entertaining for the first few hours. It’s a foundation that has worked well since its inception Far Cry 3. But it gets old quickly. Enemies don’t offer much variety, and encounters almost always result in you destroying a tank or helicopter as the climax.

Artisanal activities of the past, like hunting animals, are still there, but they no longer feel the focus. Most handicrafts are done with materials found around the world. They can be converted into weapon suppressors, sights, and various types of ammunition that make certain enemies easier to take down. In practice, however, when there are explosives and other bombastic tools around, having no penetrating projectiles for an armored enemy is not the end of the world.

Two such tools are the Supremo and your Amigos. The first is a backpack that performs some sort of ultimate attack, anything from EMP shock waves to a hail of rockets. The second is Companions, another element that we saw in previous Far Cry games. The crocodile guapo is great for a full throttle approach, while the dog chorizo ​​is happy to distract enemies so you can take them down with your machete. However, in my experience, combat scenarios are recycled so often that I was rarely challenged to change my tools and play style.

So if those few supplements don’t do much and the struggle quickly falls into a repetitive cycle, then what exactly is the main attraction? Far Cry 6? The answer is Yara, for better or for worse.

A panoramic view of the Yara coast

Image: Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft via Polygon

As an Argentina-born person, I was intrigued, if not worried, how the game would portray a Latin American setting – especially one centered on a military dictatorship. Many countries, including Argentina and Cuba, endured them in the past, and the scars remain to this day. Seeing Yaraner under curfew, stopping on the side of the road to show her papers, or even seeing her locked up in torture camps hits near her home.

I did not live during the last dictatorship, which lasted from 1976 to 1983, but everyone I know personally, including my parents, has similar stories. My mother used to tell me that the military would stop my grandparents in the middle of the street to check their IDs, or the constant worry that soldiers might knock on the door at any time looking for so-called subversives – anyone suspected of being to think differently from the military. Students and young people in particular were some of the main target groups. Journalists were also in the spotlight and were often “silenced,” a fact that was featured in an early sequence in Far Cry 6.

Regrettably, Far Cry 6 continues the tiring tradition of the series of superficially presenting itself as political and at the same time thwarting all attempts at meaningful criticism. To like Far Cry 5, which posed as an exploration of white supremacy in the USA, but failed in execution, Far Cry 6 is a game in which you save refugees by using a weapon that plays Macarena while aiming its sights.

Dani crouches and carries a crocodile piece of equipment

Image: Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft via Polygon

The representation of Far Cry 6‘s guerrillas is similarly contradictory. The term guerrilla itself is so overused between the characters in the game (“once guerrilla, always guerrilla”) that it becomes a catchphrase. The people you help fall into the tropics of Latin American characters: the cheeky alcoholic know-it-alls; a sex-obsessed couple (jokingly called “animals”); the experienced guerrilla who constantly chants “viva la libertad”. The bad stereotypes are abundant, and while I’ve tried to ignore them, the game’s dialogues don’t help.

Speaking of the tropics (as I and other Latin American people have seen coming since the game was released), Yara is a Spanish-born region that uses English by default, and most of the time characters remember their nationality by switching between languages ​​with no consistency. There are sequences where two characters speak entirely in Spanish for a few seconds (one standout song is a song that is titled entirely in English during a cutscene), then quickly head back to a mashup – the same ones recently in others AAA games like The Last of Us: Part 2 and Cyberpunk 2077.

It has been said many times before, but when Spanish speakers speak English, we are not always in the middle of cambiando a Español. Far Cry 6 is obsessed with this error. It comes across as a parody at best and completely disrespectful at worst. Castillo once quotes his father and says: “Jesús would be a great Yaran president.” When I heard this, I was pretty close to ditching the controller and ending the day. I stayed in the game long enough to see the credits, but unfortunately the rest of the game didn’t fix any of that.

Antón Castillo speaks to his son Diego

Image: Ubisoft Toronto / Ubisoft via Polygon

What bothers me the most is the wasted potential to get it right. There is a severe lack of adequate Latin American representation in games, but 2021 in particular was an outstanding year at both extremes. I found Hitman 3‘s Mendoza representation will be a pleasant surprise on almost all fronts while the first Argentine operator in Rainbow Six Siege didn’t sound like us. Far Cry 6 paint a hopeful picture as every character in the game – and all graffiti – is written in Spanish. Recognizing songs on the radio and even hearing Dani sing about them made me pause for a moment in joy and surprise. But once a character started speaking, the moment was ruined.

For a Spanish homeland, Yara is a huge, sprawling, beautiful island, and on more than one occasion I’ve parked my car to take a screenshot of the sunset lighting up a nearby coastline. Still, it’s a world built by a conglomerate of studios where workers have reported abuse, harassment, workplace misconduct, toxic leaders, and racial wage differentials, and neither empty promises nor leadership changes seem to solve these systemic problems. As Castillo himself says, if the guerrillas manage to retake Yara, what will they do with an island that is already on fire?

Far Cry as a whole is frozen in time. The few mechanical additions in the latest entry in the series don’t show much improvement over what Far Cry 5 or Far Cry New Dawn have already explored. And if your interest is in finding a proper representation, you’d better look elsewhere. Very few examples have shaken the norm in recent years. And if Far Cry 6 is an indication of what AAA publishers can do with a Latin American setting – painting it as a window dressing rather than a real picture worth celebrating – I’d rather see no further attempt.

Far Cry 6 will be released on October 7th for Windows PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Stadia, Xbox Series X and Xbox One. The game was verified on PlayStation 5 using a pre-release download code provided by Ubisoft. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect the editorial content, although Vox Media can earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. you find More information on Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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