Far Cry 6 gameplay preview: Serious main story, crazy side content, feels like Far Cry

Far Cry 6 Action Screenshot
Far Cry 6 Action Screenshot (Image credit: Ubisoft)

Far Cry 6 is, in many ways, just another Far Cry game, but is that a bad thing?

I got the chance to play Far Cry 6 recently, and I got an extended look at what we're going to get when the game launches. After several hours of gameplay, I can give you a bit of a lowdown on what kind of game you're going to be getting on Oct. 7. If what I saw was typical, Far Cry 6 looks like it's going to be a fun adventure.

The single thing I can say about this game that will probably make or break its appeal is that it's very much a Far Cry game. Everything about this game feels very in keeping with the rest of the series, from the villain to the setting. The game to which it bears the biggest resemblance is Far Cry 3, but some elements of the story, including the player character who is a reluctant rebel, are lifted from Far Cry 4.

If you're not a fan of Far Cry, then this game doesn't appear to do anything new that would make you a convert. If you are a fan, however, then you'll get your fix of open-world action, gunplay, and humor that you've come to expect from the series.

Serious story, silly side missions

Far Cry 6 Dani

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

I got to play about five hours of the game altogether, exploring the open world, doing side missions, and testing out some of the various weapons and gameplay mechanics. While I didn't get a complete look at the story, there are some elements that show some promise.

The player character, Dani Rojas, is very reluctant to join the revolution against the Castillo regime, only doing so with the promise that Libertad will help them leave when they're "paid" by being a guerrilla for a certain period of time. I didn't have access to the game's story missions beyond a certain point, but from what I can tell it seems Dani does get more invested in Libertad's mission as the story goes on.

It's great to see the game's protagonist actually speaking and having an influence on the world around them.

I won't spoil anything, but from what I saw there were also hints that Dani's allies aren't as righteous and pure as they're trying to pretend they are, which intrigued me. One of the things that's always interested me about Far Cry games is the potential gray areas that exist between the heroes and the villains. It was the most interesting part about Far Cry 4's story, and I'd be curious to see if this latest entry is going in that direction too.

It's great to see the game's protagonist actually speaking and having an influence on the world around them. That's something that was missing from Far Cry 5 and New Dawn, especially given how important the player character seems to be to the people around them. Dani not only has things to say, but they have opinions on the world around them and a plan for what they intend to do with their life.

While there are parts of the story that feel humorous, that's mostly confined to the side stuff, and the main story is much more poe-faced and dramatic. This is apparently intentional, as the developers are trying to create a "guerrilla fantasy" about these unsung warriors fighting against the regime. However, they also want to make sure the gamers get the wild moments that have become so important to the series.

I can say from what I saw so far that this will depend largely on how intimidating Anton Castillo (Giancarlo Esposito) turns out to be. The trailers have made him look very scary, especially in how certain he is that he is right, but we'll have to see how big a role he plays in the final game. One of Far Cry 5's biggest weaknesses was how Joseph Seed disappeared for much of the game, leaving the work to his siblings. Hopefully, that won't happen here.

I am the reinforcements

Far Cry 6 Weapons Gear

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The characters in-game keep using the word "resolver" to describe what Dani will have to do becoming a guerrilla. According to them, it means Dani must use every advantage possible to take on the Castillo regime even while outnumbered. To the game's credit, it does make Dani feel like an unstoppable one-person army who can take on huge numbers of professional soldiers and win using the resources available to them. It's hard to tell sometimes whether that's because of something unique to the game's design, or if it's because every Far Cry game makes the protagonist feel that way.

Probably the best thing I got to play with was the Supremo, the back-mounted special weapon that Dani used in several of the trailers. There are different Supremos you can get in-game, and these backpack nukes are basically Dani's Ultimate since they can take a while to recharge but can absolutely wreck everything in the immediate vicinity. One problem I've had with Far Cry in the past is that the non-stealth gameplay can sometimes boil down to "shoot things until everyone falls over or your companions take care of it." Now, you've got what amounts to an "Eff you" weapon on your back, with different functions depending on what the player needs.

For the most part, a lot of the mechanics are lifted from previous games, with stealth, gunplay, exploration side activities, hunting, air vehicles, and crafting. It's the series' usual stuff, which isn't to say it's bad. It's not — in fact, it's great. But it won't be making any converts out of people who don't already like Far Cry gameplay.

Far Cry 6 Horse Riding

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If there was one part of the open world that felt a little uncomfortable, it was the horse transportation option. I like horses a lot, but the camera bob that happens when the horse is in motion is a little disconcerting, and the horse's head takes up a large amount of the screen. It's strange that riding a horse in-game makes me feel a bit seasick, considering that's never happened when I've ridden a horse in real life. There's nothing objectively wrong with having a horse as a transportation option, but it's not as smooth as the cars.

It also doesn't help the horses' case that cars in this Far Cry are apparently outfitted with anti-chase measures to help wreck other cars on the road. In fact, the only reason I got on the horses more than once is because the island's road systems are terrible and on more than one occasion it was just less time-consuming to get on a horse and travel to the objective as the crow flies.

Attack of the rooster

Far Cry 6 Chicharron

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

A very large part of the game that I played was taken up with the animal side characters, the Fangs for Hire, who can accompany Dani on missions and play various roles in combat. Chorizo, a tiny chihuahua with a wheelchair, can distract enemies with his adorableness, giving you an opening for a stealth takedown. Guapo is a crocodile who for some reason takes a shine to Dani and will wreck anything they point him at, for when you want to go loud. And then there's Chicharron.

Probably the most enjoyable part of the game I was able to play was the mission where one recruits Chicharron, the murderous rooster Fang for Hire. According to his "owner" (though "minder" would probably be more accurate), Chicharron is a former cockfighting champion who caught some of the island's military force creeping on his farm and tasted blood for the first time. Now, he appears to be on a personal crusade to dethrone Castillo and everyone else who's involved in his regime.

That sounds like gross anthropomorphization, right? Well, after seeing Chicharron blow up cars by slashing explosive barrels with what appear to be small laser blades attached to his spurs, I'm not so sure this rooster isn't the real threat to the in-game enemies. I won't spoil the in-game circumstances around his mission, but I felt like Dani and I were just along to provide moral support.

Final thoughts

Overall, I liked what I saw of Far Cry 6, if only because it's more Far Cry, and that's just a fun time. It doesn't appear to be taking itself too seriously, even when the story does get a bit intense, and that's all I need from a series entry. There's potential here for even better gameplay than we got in the last game, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like in its final form, especially with the Fangs for Hire being one of my favorite additions.

But will Far Cry 6 stick the landing? There are definitely some questions we still have about whether the main story will continue to be serious with the side quests providing outrageous humor, or if Anton Castillo will be the villain that all the marketing has made him out to be. Based on the preview, the game doesn't do anything super innovative in terms of gameplay, but that could be just what you want.

Who knows, this could be one of the best Xbox open-world games, especially if it looks as good on the Series X as it did on the PC.

Far Cry 6 is set to launch on Oct. 7, 2021, on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS5, PC, Amazon Luna, and Stadia.

Rachel Kaser

Rachel Kaser is a Windows Central gaming contributor, who's been writing since 2013 and gaming since the age of five. She's covered everything from gaming news, reviews, and analysis -- if it exists in gaming, she knows about it. She also contributes to Future's other sites, iMore and Android Central. If you want to hear her opinions on games, pop culture, tech, and everything in between, follow her on Twitter @rachelkaser.