Far Cry 6’s review embargo has dropped, and a lot of critics are of the opinion that Ubisoft’s most recent open world explosion generator is basically the same as the other ones. The open world and mission formula feels the same as the other games that have come before it, and the consensus is that the series might be due for a grand reinvention of its formula.
Personal opinion on Far Cry rolling out the same hits and expecting applause might differ. I know myself and Jimmy have shared the opinion that sometimes a safe bet like Far Cry is exactly what you need in certain moments. Far Cry is just one of those games that you can mentally check out of and cause a rampage for the kicks. Head empty, just clearing outposts and animal companions. Still, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that Far Cry could do a little bit more to shake things up in between entries instead of just focusing on outposts, towers and villains that chew scenery like a badly behaved dog with a couch cushion.
Both sides of the argument are perfectly valid, but the question for me becomes “how far should that reinvention go?”
Ubisoft are no strangers when it comes to reinvention, with the Assassin’s Creed series often receiving similar complaints to Far Cry pre-reboot. The annual releases that followed the same trend of towers, missions and open world gameplay led to a lot of players becoming burnt out on the series. The lacklustre at best response to games like Assassin’s Creed Unity (the glitches certainly didn’t help matters) meant that Ubisoft’s hand was forced — a reboot was necessary.
That reboot came in the form of Assassin’s Creed Origins, which dropped the more condensed open world for a sprawling, elaborate affair that honestly feels more like historical Far Cry but even bigger. Maybe that’s why people want Far Cry to evolve; they’ve already got their fill from AC. Assassin’s Creed seems to have rode this formula with follow up games Odyssey and Valhalla, and it’s been achieving decent success in terms of reviews and sales.
However, it’s hard to escape the feeling that this proposed reinvention has done some damage to the series too. All three games have become notable for how expansive they are, especially due to the fact that Ubisoft has released plenty of DLC and updates for those games, making what were already 50-70 adventures turn into 100+ hours of exploring, fighting and more. Say what you want about old Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry’s more formulaic approach, but spending 100+ hours on a standard single player game alone just isn’t a common thing. Sometimes it’s just nice to spend 20 hours on a single-player game without worrying about live services and bloated playtimes.
On top of that, the changes to gameplay, where the combat is a little bit closer to something like a Dark Souls game with its bumper and trigger based attack and defense control scheme, made every game from Origins onwards feel like the series has retreated further away from its Assassin’s Creed roots. Sure, Valhalla returned the hidden blade and social stealth, but for the most part, this reinvention of Assassin’s Creed lost a lot of the key signifiers that made it Assassin’s Creed.
This brings me back to the main question: how far should a reinvention go? Again, this might be a question that’s based more on personal preference than anything else, but there’s a certain point where a series changes and evolves enough that it’s no longer recognisable as the game it once was. For a game like Assassin’s Creed, it seems like that point was reached right out of the gate with Origins.
In the case of Far Cry, what’s the limit? The series seems to market itself more on its own formula, which is open world chaos, fast gunplay but also stealth if you’re feeling a bit spicy, and a villain that loves the sound of their own voice. It’s a system as dependable as clockwork, so what would a reinvention look like? How could you chop and change those parts to make Far Cry something new, and at that point, would it even be Far Cry any more? It’s an interesting thought, because aside from turning Far Cry into a linear shooter, it’s hard to imagine what a different version of the series would entail.
This isn’t to say that reinventions can’t offer completely new experiences in an established franchise while still appealing to core fans. Breath of the Wild is such a completely different game to the Legend of Zelda titles that came before it, and yet it manages to retain so much of the series’ own identity that it doesn’t feel out of place. It experiments with new ideas, gameplay mechanics and more, and yet it all feels earned and in keeping with what the series has done before.
Maybe that’s the issue with a series like Far Cry. Each installment is a new character, a new world, a new story, so much so that the only distinguishing features for the series are how the villain is written and how the gameplay plays out. There’s so many disparate features visually from game to game that it’s hard to actually nail down the essence of what is “Far Cry” without its identity being tied to the gameplay, and altering that in any way wouldn’t feel like Far Cry any more.
Again, I’m not sure of the answers, but it’s hard to imagine what a reimagining or reinvention of a game like Far Cry would look like without it losing that core gameplay essence. Does that mean it shouldn’t be done? Not necessarily, as good gameplay ideas should always be championed, but should it also bear the name “Far Cry”? I’ll let you be the judge.
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.