Far Cry 6 – How Ubisoft Put Effort into Putting No Effort In At All
Far Cry 6 has been out for a while now. They have patched a few of the bugs, missed a few of the others, and churned out a lot of DLC. But, now that the game is supposedly polished, all that remains to say is that Ubisoft really doesn’t like its fans.
We saw how they turned Assassin’s Creed Odyssey into a massive grind factory that strong-armed people into microtransactions, and we saw how they reigned it in a little with Assassins Creed Valhalla. But with Far Cry 6, they prove again that they really don’t care about their franchises or the fans who are paying their hard-earned money to play them.
Putting Effort into Putting No Effort In At All
Before tearing into this game for being one of the most low-effort games in the Far Cry era, one has to say that if this were a brand new game with a different title and from a different developer, you would praise its mechanics and some of its graphics and design.
You would take a look at the smooth gunplay and the seemingly nice environments, and you would look at the close-combat kills and praise it for doing better than Battlefield 2042 could ever dream. In this regard, they seem to have put the effort in. They obviously didn’t try to save money on the fundamentals, and many of the visual bugs are now pretty much gone.
This is where they put in the effort. Ubisoft put effort into the basic stuff, but you have to remember that they can do the basic stuff in their sleep. They are not an indie developer, they have been making good shooting mechanics and pretty landscapes for years. They can do this stuff in their sleep, and when you consider the setting (another island), you figure they probably did do this in their sleep. The only redeeming feature of this game is that it doesn’t look bad.
However, take another game that came out just recently, namely Elden Ring. Here is another open world, but if you take a walk around, you see that everywhere is new, different, and above all interesting. You can see the love and care that went into each area and most areas can be named through visually identifying them. Now take the Far Cry 6 landscape. Drop a player anywhere in that landscape without the map and ask them to identify where they are, and unless they are dropped by a landmark they are not going to know. This is why in ten years people will still be looking to buy Elden Ring runes, where within ten years this game will be buried under layers of Far Cry 7, 8, and 9.
Low Effort Area 01 – The Antagonist
Let’s face it, some of the best features of Far Cry are the antagonist. Vaas is iconic, and even though Pagan Min was a little bit forgettable, at least his story arc showed he wasn’t actually the bad guy.
Then take the antagonists of Far Cry 5. Not only did you get a full four antagonists, each one pretty darn awesome, but the big bad guy in Far Cry 5 (Joseph Seed) was actually a misunderstood hero. Not to spoil it, but he was trying to find a way to save as many people as possible, and the way he did it was awful, but he saved more people by enslaving them into a cult than he would if he had walked around with a sign saying the “The end is nigh.”
We can gloss over the antagonists of New Dawn (Ubisoft certainly did both in the game and in the Far Cry 6 DLC), but now look at Antón Castillo. His story arc sucks, especially when you consider what he does to his son. And, the character doesn’t seem to be motivated by anything other than poorly teaching his son a few things. He has no passion, no drive, and no real motive. Even when some Ubisoft staff admitted the Far Cry 6 design links with the Cuban leadership, they would have been interesting if the character actually showed the sort of emotion and passion that Fidel Castro or Miguel Díaz-Canel ever showed.
Low Effort Area 02 – The Setting
We were promised a mix of city and landscape stuff. We were promised we would not be dropped on another exotic island full of overgrown areas, mud roads, and wildlife. Yet, almost 85% of the game takes place in exotic island locations. There are even boxes of bananas lying around for no apparent reason.
Defenders of the game are going to protest that the game does feature city areas, but they don’t have the visual flair or anything special about them. Take Red Dead Redemption 2, which is another game where you spend a long time taking horsey rides through different areas. When you do reach the towns, they all look and function differently. When you reach the city, each area is distinct and has meaningful life flowing through it. Posh people in posh areas, workers in processing areas, shoppers in shopping areas. The city areas in Far Cry 6 are not exact copies of buildings dropped here and there, but there is so little variety that they may have well been.
Low Effort Area 03 – The Un-Innovative Innovations
Oh boy, oh boy is this a long and very dull list, but let’s stick to the ones they thought they could pass off as “changing up the process.” You can poison enemies, except most don’t die from it, especially later in the game, and using it doesn’t offer a big gameplay advantage.
Superweapons can be attached to your back, and for most of the game, you will forget they are there because they add so little. Apart from when you occasionally need to EMP a tank or missile-attack a helicopter and you have run out of ammunition, otherwise they are going to be underused and forgotten because they are simply not needed.
Different enemies are weak to different bullet types, and far from making the game more interesting and challenging, it makes the game more annoying. Having to switch out ammo to take on different enemies is not fun, especially when you consider that most varieties of weapons will hurt people no matter what ammo they have in them. Top tip, avoid fire because enemies will just walk it off.
There is no character leveling, which could have been a great idea (not an innovation) if it has been correctly implemented. Instead, you are able to do a bunch of stuff you don’t even know you can do because the game doesn’t tell you. Unless you played Far Cry 5 or New Dawn, you wouldn’t know you could drop kill somebody or insta-kill a heavily armored boss.
Horsey rides are not innovative when you consider they are worse than walking. You may think they are good for getting over rough terrain, but steering your horse is a slow and arduous process that makes traveling over rough terrain more difficult.
Surface-to-air turrets are there to create no-fly zones to address the common Far Cry problem of being able to fly to any mission area and secret area with no problem. It may have been a good idea if it had not been so lazily implemented. You can fly for ages in a no-fly zone without getting shot down, and the anti-aircraft turrets are made of cardboard so you can take them out easily. They are already auto-highlighted on your map and there is nothing stopping you from flying to each one, wing-suiting it down, using your missile to take it out, fast traveling to base, getting a flying device and repeating the process until all anti-aircraft turrets are out of the way before you start playing the game properly.
The Sad Truth Is That We Wanted More
In reality, after the amazingly brilliant Far Cry 5, we wanted more, so they gave us New Dawn. The New Dawn gameplay process was a cynical cash grab, but they actually changed up the playing process to the point where hardcore Far Cry lovers could smash through it without suffering from Far Cry fatigue.
However, where Far Cry 6 doesn’t spit in the face of fans, it pays them so little respect by wasting their time with yet another Ubisoft sandbox. It doesn’t offer anything new, interesting, or fun, and it is all because the developers put so little effort into the formula. They threw darts at a dartboard of ideas, slapped together the same old stuff, and repackaged it.
It is like going to a really good restaurant and eating Far Cry 5 as a great meal. Then, years later you go back again, and they give you the same meal they have had frozen for four years, but freezer burn has removed some of your favorite ingredients so they added a little garden salad to make up for it. Hardcore fans will start the game pretty enthused for it, but as you grind away, as the game repeats itself, as you start feeling like you are completely lacking progression, you are left staring at the screen wondering why they put so much effort into not putting effort in at all.