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Far Cry 6 review: Revolver not evolver

(XO/PS4/PC) *** Age: 18+

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Giancarlo Esposito plays Antón Castillo but his cameo appearances leave him underused as a baddie

Giancarlo Esposito plays Antón Castillo but his cameo appearances leave him underused as a baddie

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Giancarlo Esposito plays Antón Castillo but his cameo appearances leave him underused as a baddie

VIVA la revolución! It’s a soundtrack tune, it’s graffiti, it’s even an achievement, but it’s far from a guiding principle of Far Cry 6, the latest in the open-world series pitting a lone hero against an army in exotic locations.

There is no revolution here, just a lavishly crafted playground of guns, explosions and emergent mayhem amid gorgeous scenery. Far Cry 5 explored the more sober backwoods of Montana but FC6 returns to a sub-tropical backdrop, this time a thinly disguised version of Cuba, complete with barking-mad dictator.

You play Dani Rojas – not the footballer in Ted Lasso but a reluctant guerrilla challenging the evil empire of Antón Castillo, who rules the country of Yara with the predictable iron fist. The villainous character of Castillo is brought to life by Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito but his restrained menace is criminally under-used save for a handful of key cut-scenes.

Instead, we get a plotline dominated by the usual whiplash tonal switches that undercut every Far Cry game’s attempts to make serious points. One minute, you’re watching characters falteringly discuss the effects of constant war, the next you’re burning someone to death with exploding oil barrels.

Far Cry 6 is as brutal as ever, a merry-go-round of stabbings, shootings and incendiary massacres. You become desensitised to the comic-book violence in the same way we gloss over the body count in every Bond film. The reward is a power fantasy where your guerrilla becomes an unstoppable killing machine, dealing death and destruction with tanks, choppers and a frightening arsenal of handheld weapons.

Only the churlish could deny FC6 affords endless hours of entertainment, dropping you into the sprawling nation of Yara with a mission to take down several regional commanders before tackling Castillo himself. You quickly acquire a bewildering array of guns and gear, not to mention powerful “ultimate” abilities, such as the shoulder-mounted barrage of rockets that can demolish a tank.

In between the mostly samey storyline quests – kill, fetch or destroy – lie a range of offbeat activities such as treasure hunts and (no kidding) cockfighting.

But you’re predominantly holding down a trigger until everyone around you is dead. That’s fine if you love the Far Cry franchise and want more of the same. Some of us yearn for a little more nuance, a little more storytelling and maybe a little less grisly inhumanity. Not even a revolution, a bit of evolution would suffice.

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