Far Cry 6 Accessibility
Ubisoft has once again pushed the envelope with accessibility. Some brilliant new additions like "no stick click mode" and improved captions (now with distance!) make Far Cry 6 the most accessible title in the Far Cry series thus far. There are, however, still some things that will prove to be a cognitive barrier for many players and the continued lack of NPC subtitles is disappointing.
Score8 out of 10
- Robust accessibility menu
- Accessibility presets
- Customizable UI
- Improved captions
- No stick-click mode
- Missing NPC subtitles
- High cognitive load
- "Sound subtitles" not always descriptive enough
When accessible doesn’t always mean inclusive
Ubisoft’s Far Cry series has long been a favorite of mine and the new additions in Far Cry 6 for accessibility make this entry in the series one of my favorites. Unlike Far Cry 5 and its spin-off New Dawn, Far Cry 6 introduces Dani, a protagonist with a name, a story, needs, and voiced lines. This entry in the series also introduces one of the largest, most vibrant, and packed with stuff to do maps in the series history. Making all of this even better is that this addition to the Far Cry franchise is among the most accessible Ubisoft titles released thus far.
There is, however, one matter that has been a long-time problem with Far Cry games that for all of its innovation and additions, Ubisoft still has not addressed — NPCs not being subtitled. It was a problem when we reviewed Far Cry 5 in 2018. It remained a problem when we reviewed Far Cry New Dawn in 2019. And in Far Cry 6, where NPCs react to Dani and address them casually, making for great immersion for players who don’t rely on subtitles, it remains a problem.
There is so much personality and entertaining quips in the un-subtitled NPC dialogue but it goes beyond just being immersion-breaking and annoying. On my first run through the game, I spent so long trying to find the mission during which you recruit Amigo Oluso. I made it 50% of the way through the story before I finally gave up. When I restarted (for a reason I’ll touch on in a bit) I discovered that the mission giver for this particular companion is someone you encounter during the first hour or so of gameplay. But they’re an NPC that shouts to you, “Hey! Over here!” with no subtitles appearing for it.
With games like Cyberpunk 2077, Greedfall, and even The Witcher 3 way back in 2015 offering toggleable floating NPC subtitles and The Last of Us Part 2 and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart offering full subtitles for all dialogue, the Far Cry series continuing to not address this is disheartening. It feels a bit like developers deciding for players what dialogue is worth hearing and what isn’t. For a game as otherwise accessible as this, players should certainly be able to decide that for themselves by now. I’ve said it many times before about many games and it always bears repeating: If it’s dialogue important enough to write, have voice acted, and include in your game, it’s important enough to subtitle.
Think of it this way, if you’d like: Imagine playing the game with only mission-related NPCs having voiced lines. That would make things a bit dry, a bit boring, no? Why then are players who rely on subtitles getting a completely different experience? NPC dialogue is a central part of world-building in so many games and there have been several games that pull off subtitling it all very well. Will all players want all dialogue to have subtitles? No. For some, that’s just too much. The answer is in player agency, letting us decide how we want to experience the game.
On First Launch
Players are presented with a multitude of options upon launching the game for the first time. These include new-to-the-series presets that toggle a set of options for hearing, vision, motor control, and colors. These were revealed earlier this year months before launch.
My only critique of the accessibility presets for Far Cry 6 that players can toggle on the first launch is that you can’t see what’s contained within each category. As much as I appreciate the thoughtful collecting of helpful options into categories, my personal preference remains to be allowed more granular control before I start any gameplay.
Players are also able to choose from difficulty options before beginning the game.
A note about difficulty
There seems to be a major increase in enemy presence in Far Cry 6 as compared to previous games. Even playing on story mode, I found it impossible to move throughout the world without getting into a gunfight every minute or so. Enemies are everywhere. The difficulty modes don’t change the number of enemies or the fact that you will spend the majority of your time in-game shooting. What story mode does in this instance is just give you more health. While repeated death/failure wasn’t an issue for me thanks to this, I would love to see an additional mode that makes enemies just a little less plentiful because, after a while, it becomes hard to enjoy the game when spending your time constantly shooting.
We got our eagle back
One of the biggest barriers for me in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was the stripping down of the usefulness of the player’s eagle friend. Players could no longer spot and tag enemies by viewing the world through their bird’s eyes as they could in Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey. Luckily Far Cry 6 didn’t choose to remove that ability and it’s an accessibility win.
Dani is equipped with a phone which they can toggle like binoculars in past Far Cry games to survey enemy encampments, see which type of enemies are present, and tag them. Once tagged, silhouettes of enemies appear constantly for players, even through barriers like walls.
No stick click mode
New to the series (and to Ubisoft games in general) is the Far Cry 6 toggleable accessibility option called No Stick Click mode. This is a brilliant addition and will save a lot of people a lot of pain (myself included!) What this does is, instead of forcing players to rebind things themselves which inevitably leaves something bound to a stick click, it maps sprint (originally mapped to left stick click) to a full incline of the left stick. Push it all the way up and Dani will sprint until they run out of stamina. This mode also automatically remaps melee attacks from a right stick click to double-tapping B/circle.
All of the things we’ve come to expect from Ubisoft regarding accessibility are present in the game. Controls are fully remappable, subtitles have multiple size options and are customizable regarding speaker name color as well. “Sound subtitles” have been improved on and now show directionality and distance. The UI is highly customizable and players are largely free to design a play experience that suits them. You can find more about the robust set of options in our menu deep dive.
Subtitles and Captions
As we’ve come to expect from all Ubisoft games, the subtitles are great for accessibility in Far Cry 6. The largest size with the default speaker name colors is shown below with Chorizo and his encouraging barks.
I noted that the “sound subtitles” have been improved on above but I want to note a caveat to that. Both Ben and I had a sound subtitles-related problem. He spent time in his game looking for a captioned animal that he assumed was dangerous which turned out to be a bird. I saw an animal subtitle, assumed it was just some nice woodland creature, and got eaten by a croc. So while they have been improved, there’s still room for more improvement with differentiation between safe and unsafe animals.
There is a LOT going on in Far Cry 6. Story missions, Yaran stories, operations, side missions, treasure hunts, companion recruitment, Bandidos missions, hunting, racing, crafting, time trials, driving, climbing puzzles, horse riding, horse collecting, car collecting, gear levels, gear bonuses, gear collecting, gear set management… So much to do and keep track of. While the game does its best to facilitate tracking all of these things with different icons and mission tracking, it’s still just a lot of stuff. For me, all of this stuff would be made much easier if I could go a minute or two without getting into a gunfight. For others with early copies of the game that I’ve talked with, it’s simply too much stuff entirely.
Often times, the enemies seem at odds with the other parts of the game. Races are meant to be enjoyed, treasure hunts and hunting are meant to be entertaining, but when the path to those tasks is constantly interrupted by enemies, it’s difficult to keep your mind on the thing you want to do. You’re meant to enjoy the world and all the things to do but you’re not able to.
This is not to say I find the game unpleasant or that I’m not enjoying it. I am, very much. The series is among my favorites and I love all the new things introduced. It simply seems unbalanced and makes the cognitive load far too much and keeps me from the marathon play sessions I enjoyed in previous Far Cry games.
There were a couple of times I found myself struggling with something I’d never had an issue with in past games and for which there is no option to help.
Resource caches and map troubles
The first time was in racing to supply caches. The ability to set your waypoint to anywhere on the map in Far Cry 6 and have a guiding line show on your minimap is a major accessibility boon. But during these tense races against the clock when I was driving to the cache location and relying on that guiding line, I’d often enter new locales. Upon entering a new locale, the name of the place appears on screen in place of the minimap for a seemingly long time. Several times this caused me to miss a turn or go the wrong way, thus losing the resource cache time race.
Bandidos or multiplayer?
The second time I ran into an unexpected issue caused me to restart when I was 50% of the way through the story. Now this may be a problem exclusive to me and my deep, deep loathing of all things multiplayer but I’ll discuss it just in case it isn’t just me.
In Far Cry 6, players are presented with what are called Bandidos missions. You recruit your bandidos by freeing hostages scattered throughout the world and you secure bandidos leaders by completing missions. Similar to those fleet resource and money gathering missions present in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag, players can visit the Bandidos spot in their camp and send teams out on missions to gather supplies, money, rewards, and new bandidos. These take anywhere from 60 (real-time) minutes to several hours and once the clock runs out, you complete these missions by making strategic choices to take the risks to get the rewards you want.
Now here’s where I struggled: The Bandidos icon in camp is a symbol of three people. I saw the three people and immediately assumed it was multiplayer. I hate multiplayer. Truly. I would rather eat glass than play with strangers. So I never visited the Bandidos hub. The thing is, this is one of the main ways players can earn a sizable amount of credits, which are otherwise slow to accumulate. And you can score unique weapons. I spent half of my first time through not scoring any cool weapons and never having enough pesos, all because of the little icon.
In most Ubisoft games, the photo mode is accessed via dual-stick clicks. That is no more in Far Cry 6. To access photo mode, players must now pause the game and tab through a few menus. Alternatively, players can dig through the options menu, navigate to “controls” and then “on foot” and manually bind photo mode quick access to whatever they like.
Content Considerations (please stop making me kill dogs)
There is a general content warning that appears at the start of the game that informs players of the subject matters they will be faced with. Mass murder (obviously, it’s a Far Cry game), human trafficking, violence toward children and animals, suicide, addiction, etc.
Far Cry 6 features two difficult-for-me instances of violence against animals. In my non-online life, I do volunteer work with animal rescues. Specifically, I work with animals that have been victims of cruelty and crimes. While the cockfighting in the game is entirely optional, its very existence is, for me, too much. I’ve seen up close the damage done to birds in cockfighting and I want no part of it, even in a video game, for the sake of entertainment.
Violence against dogs is far from a new problem. A quick Google search of “video games kill dogs” results in six different articles having been written by people asking developers to stop. I have a slightly easier time with games like The Witcher 3 in which the wild dogs don’t really look like any dogs I’ve met. In Assassin’s Creed Odyssey killing dogs wasn’t a frequent occurrence and I could stomach the one-off killing because of that. Far Cry 6 takes dog killing up about ten notches. Not only are the dogs plentiful and you have no choice but to kill them regularly (you cannot play the game without killing dogs), but they’re Rottweilers and when you do kill them, they whimper.
As we’re seeing more games with arachnophobia modes, it’s safe to say many players would love a no-dog killing mode as well. Or even a non-lethal tranq dart weapon would suffice. And yes, I realize that it may sound strange for me to sit here and explain that in a game with a massive amount of human character killing, it’s the dog killing I have a problem with, but I have a feeling I’m not in the minority here. Let me have my shooty fun against murderous dictators and their zealots and leave the dogs to be my companions and for petting.
Is this the most accessible Ubisoft game so far?
Despite a few remaining problems, I would say that yes, it definitely is. None of the barriers I found make the game unplayable. Un-enjoyable sometimes yes, unplayable no. Far Cry 6 is everything I was hoping for with accessibility (save for that NPC subtitle problem) and even with the incessant shooting, it’s a game I’ve very much enjoyed my time with and I am once again impressed with Ubisoft’s efforts to make games playable for everyone.
A review copy of Far Cry 6 was provided by the developer / publisher.