En Este Mundo De Malos, El Bueno No Tiene Nada

HIGH An in-game radio station full of salsa songs. 

LOW Awkward changes to the gameplay loop that don’t move the series forward. 

WTF Way more work needs to be done…

Between my editor’s notes and my old drafts lying in Google Docs purgatory, there were at least five different ways I was gonna open this review.

I struggle with what I wanted to say about Far Cry 6. Ubisoft’s open-world shooter series is one I have come to enjoy in the last few years thanks to its power-trip gameplay set across beautiful vistas, but the narratives full of cliché and apolitical nonsense never reach the same heights as the dynamic gameplay. And, as much as everyone loves the “psychology” of the villains, they don’t amount to much in the end. Far Cry 6 seemed like more of the same, and perhaps even worse, since Ubisoft was just coming off a host of controversies at the time.

Issues with Far Cry 6 began with the marketing, as I was fed stereotypes of boorish and loud Latinx people reveling in violence. Being set in a fictional Latin American country ruled by a merciless dictator, I was furhter wary for several reasons, primary among them that Ubisoft has been known to portray foreign countries in a negative light, as we’ve seen with titles like Ghost Recon Wildlands. Most readers of this site will know I tend to be more sensitive to games about or featuring Latinx folks, so naturally, I feared for the content. That said, I was pleasantly surprised by some aspects once I got my hands on it.

To Far Cry 6‘s credit, the main character Dani Rojas (who can be either male or female) feels like a real character thrust into a revolution that she isn’t ready to fight in. Her story is one paved with loss, as she reveals her time in an orphanage and even being kicked out of the military. She’s definitely one of the stronger protagonists in the series and adds some much-needed personality into a long line of leads who have primarily been annoying white dudes and frat boy assholes. 

Honestly, the highlight of the narrative was an early scene. Dani was speaking to another character about her aspirations to flee to Miami and open a body shop. She explains it’s her ticket to the American dream, to which the other character replies, “The American Dream doesn’t come in our color.” That interaction got me invested, and my fears of playing a ‘safe’ apolitical shooter have washed away immediately, something that was also confirmed by the main director in a blog post.

While Dani is great, I also liked many of the supporting characters because they successfully feel like larger-than-life personalities. These include a former KGB agent named Juan Cortez, a living Guerilla legend known as El Tigre, and a local rebel leader known as Yelena Morales. Each of these characters offers more depth than expected, with compelling stories and equally high stakes at the center of their motivations. For example, one conversation with Morales recounted the fate of her late lover, and how that continued to motivate her throughout this fight.

Speaking of characters, this review would be incomplete without mentioning the antagonist, Anton Castillo. Played by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, he’s clearly modeled after the likes of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Like Pinochet, Castillo is a ruthless tyrant who kills those who opposed him. Esposito plays it with a lot more energy than I’ve seen in his other recent roles, and those expecting something close to Gustavo Fring will be surprised to see an eccentric and trigger-happy adversary.  With that said, although I loved Esposito’s performance, the fact that a non-Latinx actor is playing a Latinx role still bothers me.

Another issue I had was that I usually cringe at Latinx characters in triple-A games since their dialogue is always punctuated with random profanity in Spanish — it feels out-of-place and forced, turning them into gross caricatures. Sadly, Far Cry 6 has these moments as well.

Growing up in a bilingual household, I’m used to people switching between English and Spanish, but it doesn’t even sound natural here. It’s more like someone looked up some Spanish curse words and just peppered them into the script. I wish the writing team had opted to release the game in Spanish — it would have felt more natural, instead of simply having voice actors with thick accents saying a few Spanish words in their English sentences. 

Gameplay-wise, it’s still a Far Cry game, with a few changes.

For those unfamiliar with the series, players are given free rein to explore the island of Yara and its various regions. Played in a first-person perspective, Dani has access to different weapons, means of travel, and even allies to aid her in fights. Most of the action revolves around clearing different parts of the map by liberating outposts, killing high-profile targets, or taking down military checkpoints. It’s all the same well-trodden open-world stuff we’ve come to expect from Ubisoft. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it and as repetitive as it can be, I enjoyed roaming the map and finding ways to dispatch enemies. 

However, it’s not all cookie-cutter, though what’s new here is a mixed bag.

Taking inspiration from the last few Assassin’s Creed entries, Ubisoft has opted to remove traditional skill trees and replace them with gear-based abilities and buffs. Players can find different bits of gear scattered across Yara that offer different buffs, like resistance to fire or increased speed when running. Weapons also feature different types of ammo that can dispatch different kinds of enemies by igniting them with fire or piercing their armor.

While change can be good, I will say that I miss the simpler approach to combat in past iterations — it was simpler to level up and select the skills I wanted, but now players have to find specific pieces of armor. While mixing and matching different pieces for various effects was enjoyable enough, I miss being able to specifically choose what skills my character would have.

On the other hand, players now have new “Amigos.” Here Dani can recruit different animals to fight alongside her, and after completing a short quest to gain their trust, they can be summoned immediately for any mission. My favorite, Chorizo, is an adorable dachshund who will distract guards. This comes in handy for stealth, as the enemies that are focused on the cute canine are perfect targets for quiet machete kills. 

In terms of presentation, the world of Yara is gorgeous — but what I really appreciated were the in-game music choices. Dozens of licensed songs are featured, ranging from Latin pop hits to modern reggaeton bangers. Hearing Dani sing along to Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca or Camila Cabello’s Havana adds a lot of personality, but what really got to me were the old salsa songs. Groups from Colombia and Puerto Rico are present (a great way to my heart) and certain missions include some truly awesome needle drops, including one where I had to burn a tobacco field with a flamethrower while a catchy salsa song played. 

If I’m being honest, my frustrations with the marketing’s focus on the worst caricatures of Latinx people made me brace myself for a racist triple-A experience full of gross clichés and awkward attempts to be apolitical. Instead, I was surprised to find that more thought than I expected was put into its depiction of Latinx people. Although it isn’t perfect — those cringeworthy lines! The grind of finding gear! — it’s better than what I initially expected, and that counts for something.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is published by and developed by Ubisoft. It is available on PS4, PS5, XBO/X/S, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PS5. Approximately 30 hours were spent in the single-player and the game was not completed (still playing). Under an hour was spent in the game’s co-op mode. 

Parents: According to the ESRB this game is rated M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mild Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol. The official description reads as follows: This is a first-person shooter in which players assume the role of a resistance fighter (Dani Rojas) battling a tyrannical regime on the fictional island of Yara. As players engage in a variety of combat missions, they use firearms (e.g., machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles), grenades, and flamethrowers to kill enemy soldiers and assassinate high-ranking military targets. Combat can be frenetic, with frequent screams of pain, explosions, gunfire, and blood-splatter effects. Stealth attacks can result in enemies being viciously stabbed/slashed close up. Cutscenes depict further instances of intense violence: bound/cuffed characters being beaten, kicked, and/or shot; characters executed by gunfire; a man cutting his own throat with a knife. A handful of scenes depict dismembered corpses or severed limbs amid pools of blood. The game contains some suggestive/sexual material: a soldier role-playing with a fully clothed sex worker (e.g., “I pay good money for you to do what I tell you”; “You address me only as ‘Mama’”; “And what’s the safe word going to be?”). During one sequence, players’ character is seen drinking alcohol as the screen gets progressively distorted. A handful of scenes depict drug packages or contain dialogue referencing cocaine and opium; one sequence depicts a man snorting drugs in the distance. The words “f**k” and “sh*t” appear in dialogue.

Colorblind Modes: There are colorblind modes available

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles and on-screen instructions can be adjusted, and other various closed-captioning features can, as well. I played the game on mute most of the time and found that the lack of audio was not an issue. This game is fully accessible. 

Remappable Controls: Yes the controls are remappable. 

Cj Salcedo
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