Far Cry Beyond was initially a complete mystery when it was first announced earlier this year, with little more than a logo included in the reveal and a fairly unknown publisher - Funforge, the studio responsible for Tokaido - behind the wheel. However, just the name was enough to get plenty of people excited for the video game board game, which is set to be released sometime next year.
We were able to play a preview version of Far Cry Beyond at Essen Spiel 2021, the largest tabletop gaming event in the world, sitting down for a short session being run by a representative from Funforge. Far Cry: Beyond is a co-op board game for up to four people set during an alternative version of the 1980s in which the players become stunt actors. However, the player characters quickly find themselves getting wrapped up in an event that stirs up trouble between the two key global powers of the era - the USA and the Soviet Union. For the scenario we were playing, our characters had walked into a shop and been accosted by sinister forces of potentially Soviet origin.
Our group were controlling a quartet of action heroes each with their own unique approach to battle; from a speedy skirmish fighter to a tank character designed to soak damage. Each round was split into two different phases - the player phase and the enemy phase. During the player phase, we were able to perform various actions such as moving, attacking and using our abilities. Depending upon which character a player controls, they’ll have access to an arsenal of weaponry and a collection of abilities. Weapons can be used at short or long ranges and will have players rolling different coloured dice - we were using prototype dice - each with their own levels of probability, whilst abilities can be used during a player’s turn to do a variety of things.
It’s almost baffling that this is supposed to be a Far Cry themed board game because it bears almost no resemblance to the video game series.
As the tank character, my approach to combat was to get right in the enemy’s face with my shotgun and machete, before soaking damage in place of my squishier allies. I didn’t have an awful lot of movement, but I could use it to activate my abilities whenever the right time arrived. I also had access to a trio of reactions that I could use in response to enemy actions, or if I required them at a particular moment, granting opportunities to move additional spaces or attack enemies that moved out of cover. We made quick work of the goons in the shop, taking one or two hits in the process, and eventually made it out into the street where more enemies awaited us - this time led by a mini-boss that granted buffs to their minions.
Facing packs of attack dogs and yet more soldiers, we found this scenario much more challenging but not especially different. Despite the addition of new enemy types and destructive pieces of environment that we could use to our advantage - such as petrol pumps we could explode and damage our foes with - the general pace of the game moved in much the same way as before. Enemies in Far Cry Beyond move and act in accordance to their individual AI cards, which sounds a lot more exciting than it is. Though mini-bosses will react to events such as taking a certain amount of damage, enemy turns don’t evoke much danger or any thrills to speak of, which sums up the overall experience of playing Far Cry Beyond.
The gameplay is incredibly restricted and uninspired, especially considering that Far Cry is most renowned for allowing its players absolute freedom.
It’s almost baffling that this is supposed to be a Far Cry themed board game because it bears almost no resemblance to the video game series. The closest connection it might have is to the ‘80s spin-off Far Cry: Blood Dragon, but even then only tangentially. The gameplay is incredibly restricted and uninspired, especially considering that Far Cry is most renowned for allowing its players absolute freedom to do whatever the hell they want. That the game isn't based on any specific entry in the franchise means that there isn't any iconography for them to use, meaning that it doesn't feel in any way connected to the series.
Considering that the quality of licensed board games has improved substantially over the last few years, it’s disappointing that this particular example lives up to the stereotype of being a by-the-numbers board game that’s been given a fancy IP-coloured coat of paint.