Title: Far Cry New Dawn
Available on: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Genre: First Person Shooter, RPG
Official Site: https://far-cry.ubisoft.com/game/en-us/home
Release Date: February 15th, 2019
Where to Buy: Ubisoft Store, Xbox Store, PSN
Set seventeen years after the events of Far Cry 5, Far Cry New Dawn is the Far Cry series’ take on the post-apocalypse. Much like the Blood Dragon and Primal installments in the series, New Dawn is a stripped-down version of the flagship games. This is reflected in its $40 price point. New Dawn is not as blown out as Blood Dragon nor is it as understated as Primal. It actually feels more like a standard Far Cry game (in a good way…I had to search for a long time to call up a nice euphemism like “understated” for Primal).
Minor Spoilers Ahead (Major Spoilers for Far Cry 5 and minor spoilers for New Dawn)
At the end of Far Cry 5, the big bad, Joseph Seed, detonated a series of nuclear bombs across the American West in an attempt to bring about the apocalypse. Seventeen years later, the survivors have resurfaced and are beginning to rebuild.
Enter into this idyllic but primitive society a pair of twins who lead a local faction of a national crime syndicate known as “The Highwaymen“. The twins, Mickey and Lou, are a couple of anarchists who separate people into two groups; “problem makers” and “problem solvers”. Sadly, that’s about as far as their depth of character goes. Jumping ahead just a bit, their ending does not at all feel earned. I have rarely ever been so apathetic toward a gaming choice as I was during some of their missions, particularly at the end.
Back on track! So your character in New Dawn is part of a group that has been traveling the West and rebuilding communities. This group is hired by the people of Hope County to help them deal with the twins. Immediately, the train transporting your group is attacked. Your character is taken hostage and then thrown over a waterfall. You’re rescued by a member of the Hope County survivors (a character you met as a baby in Far Cry 5 in what was actually kind of a heartwarming callback). She leads your character to their village. This is where the game really begins.
The mechanics of Far Cry New Dawn are very similar to Far Cry 5. The goal is to liberate outposts and collect resources in order to improve your character. Just like Far Cry 5, you can call on allies to assist with your missions in most cases. Also just like Far Cry 5, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you call on anyone except the dog who will mark targets for you.
The leveling system for your allies got a few tweaks that I found helpful. Namely, there was a more progressive leveling system that unlocks better abilities. This is actually indicative of what I thought New Dawn did best. They took all the best things about Far Cry 5, cut the fat, and added created more holistic leveling mechanics.
What do I mean by “holistic”? Far Cry New Dawn feels both smaller and larger than Far Cry 5. Obviously, New Dawn‘s map is only about a quarter the size of its predecessor. However, while Far Cry 5 allowed fast travel immediately as long as you had previously discovered the point, New Dawn requires you to use perk points to unlock different forms of expedited travel. Unlocking things like Fast Travel, Increased Lung Capacity (longer sprint duration), Hotwire (all enemy cars are booby-trapped, so you need this to drive them), and Leap Of Faith (double jump) allows you to move through the world much easier but requires you to give up combat perks. In this way, the leveling mechanic is very similar to games like Deus Ex. What’s more important to you: moving quickly and quietly or being a death-dealing nightmare? I always enjoy when RPGs do this because it makes me feel like I’m customizing the game as a whole rather than just deciding whether I want to use ranged or melee weapons.
Like all open world games, Far Cry New Dawn allows the player to concentrate on Story missions or build their character through side quests. In New Dawn, these side quests mostly consist of liberating outposts or searching for “treasure” (caches of vital supplies used to upgrade your weapons, base, and allies). These are fun distractions that generally provide immediate improvements to your character. So if you’re having a tough time completing a story task, these are a great asset.
One gripe about outpost liberation: New Dawn rewards players for liberating outposts without being detected or setting off alarms. This is great, but it’s weird that alarms are only set off if an enemy physically sees your character. This means that a guy who is seeing his buddies heads exploding from sniper bullets might become a little upset, but sees no cause for actual alarm. While this certainly makes the game easier for a run-and-gun brute like myself, it nullifies the “carry bodies” mechanic the game offers and may be a frustrating oversight to more stealth-minded players looking for a challenge.
As for the story, aside from the one-dimensional characters, it’s really not bad. It’s an able continuation of the story from Far Cry 5 that brings in previous characters in a satisfying way. The fact that you have to team up with Project Eden cultists, who were previously your bitter enemies, is sure to create tension in anyone who played the previous installment. Also one of your allies, known only as The Judge, is sure to spark recognition for anyone who played Far Cry 5.
Verdict: Ultimately, Far Cry New Dawn does not have a lot of meat on its bones. I played Far Cry 5 for a full month and left several side missions undone and areas unexplored. With New Dawn, I played for a week, beat the story, liberated every outpost at its highest level, found every treasure, and probably will not play anymore unless my one other friend who owns the game wants to run some coop missions (Hi, Claire!). On the other hand, it was only $40, which is less than I’ve spent on DLC for some games that I got much less enjoyment from.
If you enjoyed Far Cry 5, New Dawn is a great addition that lets you play in that sandbox in new ways for a little longer at a price point that won’t nuke your budget.
- Limited World
- Underwhelming villains