The reviews are out and it confirms what we all suspected – Far Cry 6 is more of the same. So is that a problem? Should we be more critical of Ubisoft and publishers that release similar titles.
For those interested gamers who follow gaming media, most Ubisoft games have become synonymous with large open worlds, icon heavy objectives and a to do list that puts my DIY jobs to shame. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Far Cry franchise.
The first entry was a more linear shooter but Far Cry 2 introduced an open world. That formula was significantly improved upon in Far Cry 3 and that… is largely where the innovation stopped.
The dizzy heights of Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 was a really fresh game when it launched in 2012. The world was large and fun. It had over the top villains and some crazy mayhem. It got us used to climbing large towers to open the world. There was a lot to do. Understandably, it became a big hit with gamers.
Then Far Cry 4 came out and… the world was large and fun. It had over the top villains and some crazy mayhem. It made us climb large towers to open the world. There was a lot to do.
Then Far Cry Primal, Far Cry 5, Far Cry New Dawn came out and the world(s) were large and fun. They had over the top villains and some crazy mayhem. We climbed even more towers to open the world. There was a literal shopping list to do. Now Far Cry 6 is out and… yeah, you get where we are going.
That isn’t to say that there haven’t been some changes to the game. The settings and story have changed. Mechanics have been conservatively tweaked. The games have gone to some extreme places (looking at you New Dawn). The thing is, you can tell whether you will like Far Cry 6 based on whether you liked anything from 3 onwards. Because they are largely the same game.
From a critical perspective, reviews are positive with an average meta-critic score in the 70’s and 80’s depending on platform. Ultimately they tell a story of a large, enjoyable game but all carry the same warning. If you are bored of the Far Cry formula, give it a miss.
Which leads to the point of this piece. Is this repetition a problem? If we take Far Cry 6 as a game, it is hugely playable. It will sell bucketloads, probably to people that have bought previous iterations. The core gameplay loop is still fun and addictive. After all, Far Cry 3 onwards were never ‘bad’ games. They have been regurgitated for a reason.
Gaming comfort food
We’ve seen a fair few people online describe it as their gaming ‘comfort food’. This makes complete sense – having a game where you can zone in and out, causing fun levels of carnage. We get it. People obviously enjoy what Ubisoft is selling here – if it ain’t broke and all that.
We’d never judge or tell people what they should enjoy. If a game scratches an itch, then… well, great! Enjoy! Ubisoft game are hardly the only franchise to feel familiar. FIFA sells bucketloads every year and that makes glacial changes in its iterations.
Still, when you see a game of the scope and budget of Far Cry 6, it does make you wish that Ubisoft would do more than make minor adjustments. Experiment with the formula. Remove or replace the cliches and shake it up. Or maybe alternate between titles – something fresh then back to the mainline series.
Should we be more critical?
We’d even go as far as to suggest that reviewers should begin to be more critical of constantly reused content and mechanics. These are full price $60 games and, yes, the budget is high but they aren’t bringing much more to the table other than a revised setting and antagonist. We’d like to think that such repetition isn’t good for the industry. Producing copy and paste games can only stifle creativity.
Or does it? So many of the biggest games are, year after year, the same series. Sales may dip upwards or downwards, but they still make a LOT of money. The cogs keep turning for most big publishers off the back of a lot of these franchises. You could argue there is little incentive to innovate.
Or to put it another way, we get the same game because we buy the same game. We can’t ignore the truth that games like Far Cry 6 will only evolve when players reject them. Judging by the sales of this recent release, that isn’t happening anytime soon.
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Rudy Manchego has been gaming since the days of the BBC Micro Computer and spreads himself thin with a love of retro, indie and mainstream gaming. He’s one half of the Jambags Comedy Gaming podcast and likes nothing better than kicking back with a nice pot of lapsang souchong, a good game and a background podcast on the intricacies of Spanish cheese making.