Review: Far Cry: New Dawn

New Dawn is a spin-off sequel from Far Cry 5. As such it’s hard to write about it without spoiling Far Cry 5, so if you haven’t played it (or care about the story), look away now.

So in the canon ending, a nuclear bomb goes off and the ‘crazy’ prophecy from Far Cry 5 comes true. The religious cult is vindicated in their belief the apocalypse is coming. So, many years later (17 to be exact) you resist the wasteland which has been largely untouched by humans and as such, nature has run rampant.

I’m not sure if this is realistic as the nature is very heavily recovered but still, it makes for a nice setting. The map is reused from Far Cry 5, so it’s nice to see some familiar locales ravaged by time and apocalyptic winds. The first thing you’ll notice is how colourful this has made Hope County.

It seems a good way to let nature flourish beautiful and brilliant colours is let off an H-Bomb. Vast yellows and pinks decorate the land now, and it makes for quite a spectacular viewing – this is a very pretty game, which can be enjoyed further thanks to a rather neat photo mode inclusion. 

Describing the component elements of New Dawn is hard, as it’s basically as many games as possible combined into one. Let’s start with the main one – the shooting. It’s the same shooting gameplay you’ve enjoyed in previous Far Cry games. That is, to say it’s very good. Light, quick, and many, many ways to take people out. Whether you want the guns blazing approach you have that, as well as stealth, rocks to throw to distract guards, security systems to disable or booby trap, vehicles to booby trap or load up with explosives to drive into bases with, sniping, bow and arrows, animal attacks – anything available in previous Far Cry games is available here. It’s vast and wild. 

Weapon variety takes a bit of a sideways evolution here with crafting. Every game has crafting now so why not Far Cry too. Collecting resources around the world (stupid duck tape seems to be at a premium) and you can build weapons. The first you get is a saw blade launcher, firing, well a saw blade which bounces off things and one hit kills all of the early enemies. Given that guns are freely about by offing bad guys, it seems a bit illogical that you would fashion together some rubber bands and DIY equipment to make homebrew weapons but this is a thing now apparently. It feels quirky, which is something not a stranger to the Far Cry series. 

The assists are back too. Recruiting strangers throughout the world to serve as your own private army can help you, with some basic commands available ranging from go, to stay. Well, that’s it actually, but it works and is simple. Special help can come from your trusty dog (returning from previous Far Cry games, although it is a different literals dog), snipers or Hurk. Yes, Hurk returns. Those who loved him will continue to. Those who didn’t… well. He’s no less annoying. Crass and obnoxious seem to be the default for Ubisoft these days, certainly in this series. If it’s not ‘military bro’ style voiceovers its rude jokes. Maybe the situation in Hope County has resulted in everyone’s mental reduction, it’s unclear. But the voice acting comes across as tonally inconsistent throughout with a varying quality also. Oddly the facial animations (when it switches to that face-to-face talk-to-me style) looks a bit freaky. Not sure what happened there.

Another returning element are the stashes. Called Treasure Hunts now, you collect clues from talking to people in the open world as to their location, and then a short puzzle ensues when you arrive to find/unlock them. It’s cool that these elements remain as they’re good fun. This is kind of the theme for New Dawn really, it’s most of the same things you’ve played previously but refined and added all together. ‘Things to do’ seems to be the name of the design game here, as there is a lot. You’re constantly picking up points of interest, places to go, people to find, talk to, side missions, main missions, recruiting, encampments to clear, vehicles to stop, recover or escort. Every time I decide I will go on to clear at least one story mission, I inevitably get distracted by something.

Sometimes, that thing might be a pink deer. The radiation has clearly not been kind to the animals, mutating them into weird variants of themselves. It does give a rather fantastical element to the world, which is slightly weird then as the baddies of the piece aren’t as weird as previous games. Twin sisters, leaders of the Highwaymen look the part but in essence, just want to recruit you or kill you. Meh. 

Co-op gives you the opportunity to explore the world with one of your mates, which is cool and serves to justify the crazy amount of customisation options. Not sure why it really matters what I’m wearing outside of this, as no one can see me (and I can’t see myself outside of photo mode). Still, it’s good to customise. 

What you get here, is more Far Cry. And if you like Far Cry, that will probably be enough. Sure, its a version of the same map from Far Cry 5, but then they’re not charging full price. As a standalone sequel, what more could you want?

Reviewed on PS4

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