Far Cry 5 was one of my favourite games of 2018. I loved the beautiful setting of Hope County, the deep character development, and the much-needed improvements to gunplay and level design. So, you can imagine my excitement when Ubisoft announced a direct sequel, set in a post-apocalyptic version of Hope County. Sadly, as much as I adore post-apocalyptic first-person-shooters, Far Cry New Dawn failed to deliver the same level of polish and enjoyment its predecessor enjoyed, and while it’s still packed with buckets of fun, I couldn't help shake the feeling that I’ve done all this before.
Set 17 years after the ending of Far Cry 5 (I won’t spoil anything if you’ve not played it yet), Far Cry New Dawn picks up in a now post-apocalyptic version of Hope County, once controlled by the Seed family, led by “The Father”, Joseph Seed. Following “the Collapse”, Hope County became a wasteland, reclaimed by nature and pirated by those called Highwaymen, led by The Twins Mickey and Lou. Those who survived the destruction have started to rebuild the communities of Hope County, focusing on the small township of Prosperity. You take control of a new character called “The Captain” tasked with helping the remaining survivors fight The Twins, rebuild Hope County and ensure Prosperity thrives.
Over the course of the ten hour journey, you’ll run into a number of old friends and foes from the previous title, but sadly, the story isn’t groundbreaking, nor is it gripping. The Twins are perhaps the weakest of the adversaries in the Far Cry series, with very little character development throughout the journey - they’re not as mad as Vaas from Far Cry 3, nor as mysterious and haunting as Joseph was in Far Cry 5. The Twins just feel like nothing more than arrogant, foul-mouthed thugs who’ve managed to murder their way up to the top of the food chain; this is particularly emphasised in the poor final battle against them, where no skill other than unloading clip after clip into their heads is needed. It says a lot that I remember the performance of a returning character more from my time here than the main villains!
What I loved the most from Far Cry 5 was the beautiful American landscape of Hope County, and despite the nuclear disaster, it’s still the shining light here. The new version of Hope County is spectacularly beautiful and full of colour. Meadows radiate with purple flowers, deep forests of green adorn gorgeous rocky mountain tops, while streams of tranquil waters flow effortlessly throughout the world. A lot of post-apocalyptic environments tend to be dull, brown, lifeless places, but here, nature has reclaimed civilisation, and it’s all the better for it, even if the world does occasionally feel a little too sparse in comparison to the prequel. What’s more, as you explore the new version of Hope County you’ll encounter exotic, often brutal wildlife that can be killed and traded for supplies that are needed to help you craft new weapons and ammo.
The Far Cry series boasts some of the strongest, most enjoyable gun control in the industry, and it’s no different here. There’s a wide range of pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and bows to take advantage of, each with their unique personal benefits. What’s more as you progress and upgrade Prosperity, you’re able to build and customise more advanced and powerful weapons. The addition of a new saw launcher in New Dawn is welcome, and quickly became one of the most used weapons in my armoury.
Despite a few tweaks here and there, Far Cry New Dawn plays a lot like its predecessors, which, given the number of entries in the series, often resulted in a feeling of deja vu and often boredom. The Guns for Hire and Fangs for Hire systems from Far Cry 5 return, meaning you can recruit allies to fight alongside you, some of which can also be used to upgrade the facilities at Prosperity. Although don't expect to stealth your way through the game with an ally as most are useless at staying hidden, preferring to waltz in everywhere all guns blazing!
The challenges and perks systems return, which if you haven’t played the prequel, allows you complete certain challenges within the game for perk points that can be spent upgrading things like the number of weapons you can carry, the amount of time you can breath underwater and how effective your melee/stealth take downs are. In addition to the main story, there’s also a mixture of side missions to dive into, including treasure hunts, and new expeditions. New to Far Cry, expeditions allow you to explore other areas of the United States in order to search and scavenge the much-needed resources to upgrade Prosperity. While enjoyable at first, most of these expeditions are nothing more than sneak into a location, steal package and escape which grew tiresome quickly. Expeditions can be played alone or in co-op, and I’d highly recommend the latter as it’s a far more enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Outposts return, as you’d expect for a Far Cry game, and I sadly felt a little disappointed by them. Most were a bore during the first attempt, but thankfully, you’re able scavenge them. This means the highwaymen will retake the outpost and populate it with more challenging adversaries. You’re able to retake the higher-level outpost for increased rewards, but after a while I couldn’t help but feel that this system was implemented to get the game out the door quickly. I would have enjoyed exploring a more varied and challenging range of outposts rather than replaying the same ones over and over, albeit at a higher level.
Far Cry New Dawn is an enjoyable, solid-enough entry into the Far Cry series, and the post-apocalyptic world of Hope County is actually a breath of fresh air for the genre, but overall, the game is nothing particularly special or new. The story is dull at best, the Twins aren’t as interesting or iconic as some of the series’ best villains, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’ve been here and done all this before. Perhaps the time has come for Ubisoft to take a step back and re-evaluate where they want to take the series next, much in the same way as they did for Assassin’s Creed: Origins, otherwise, the series’ Assassin’s Creed: Unity moment could be just around the corner.
- Playstation 4
- Xbox One