To think that Far Cry 5 is less than a year old can be quite a shocking revelation especially given that Far Cry New Dawn is here and it is a brand new fully-fledged Far Cry experience. While this is not an expansion, it is a smaller, and shorter Far Cry game but has a large emphasis on an end-game grind, more than its predecessor.
Check out our Far Cry New Dawn video review below:
Far Cry New Dawn is everything you would expect from the Far Cry recipe. It has a large open world to loot and explore, a vast array of awesome guns to craft and kill things with, lots of side activities to keep you busy and of course, all the explosions that light up your screen. Far Cry New Dawn also brings a couple of new mechanics into the mix that adds a few new gameplay elements.
Some of these don’t work as well as I hoped but they do enough to make the game stand out from last year’s release. The new RPG system sees you go up against higher rank enemies that are tougher to kill especially if you don’t have the higher gear to fight them with, and the ability to scavenge each outpost and reset it in order to up the difficulty and gain Ethanol and rare cool-looking outfits is a great way to enable players to keep grinding these outposts well after they complete the game.
Far Cry New Dawn takes place 17 years after the events of Far Cry 5’s “end of the world” ending. Society is no longer. Instead, small groups of people have formed refuge together in an attempt to create a sanctuary. You take on the role of a survivor sent to a place called Prosperity in order to help them grow and evolve. A deadly group of rebels known as the Highwaymen led by crazy twins Lou and Mickey who intercept your train and things go south.
After a rather epic intro, you are introduced to New Dawn’s take on Hope County, a cast of great characters and the beautiful open world to explore. The aim of the game is to build up Prosperity by helping “Specialists” across the map, bringing them back to the home camp, levelling up their department and take down the Highwaymen once and for all.
The Far Cry series has been known for its strong antagonist leads and the twins Mickey and Lou sort of keep it together. I wished their backstories were a little more fleshed out but they are two crazy ladies that are just enjoying the end of the world and running a gang of ruthless Highwaymen and killing people. After Joseph Seed, it is hard to follow his presence and while Ubisoft tried to portray these two as badass as possible, their characters are not deep out enough to make the player care about them.
The lands of Hope County have shifted, lakes have been formed and mountains have sprung up due to the damage of the nuclear fallout. This means that the overall map is quite different. Sure, you will come across some memorable landmarks but it is hard to nail down just where you are standing in contrast to the location in Far Cry 5.
It is the age of the “Superbloom” meaning most of the land and its landmarks are now covered in gorgeous vegetation. The animals have also mutated slightly with large horns, the bears have rock-hard skin and the bison are as deadly as ever with massive stone-like skulls that can bash you into next week.
The same can be said for the locations as they are now very different but still recognizable to a certain degree. The Highwaymen have taken over landmarks across the map and turned them into their own base all in an attempt to gather the rarest of resource in the lands, Ethanol. There is no currency in the game, instead, you take over these outposts, scavenge them, race to supply drops from the sky, and collect everything you find in order to trade, craft weapons and items and upgrade Prosperity.
This new economy gives the player guidance but it is not as scarce as I hoped it to be. I never once did not have enough circuit boards to craft an elite weapon nor did I have to go and grind Ethanol to level up a specific department. The resources are plenty which is a good and bad thing. In one way, it lets you focus on the world, gameplay and story but in another way, it completely throws the survival aspect out of the window.
With that being said, the things you can craft are fantastic. Weapons in Far Cry New Dawn all have this great “post-apocalyptic” look and feel to them and most of them all bare a makeshift and homemade appearance. The saw launcher shoots out, well, saw blades that ricochet off enemies and cause havoc and the overall weapons in the game all have this clunky and unpolished feeling to them. Well, most of them anyway. Some of them are extremely over the top and don’t fit into the game’s theme and setting at all. I mean why would you have a unicorn flamethrower during the end of the world? It makes no sense.
These weapons then add to the combat which is as familiar as ever. Jumping, sliding, taking down enemies from above, and of course, the satisfying stealth is all present and accounted for. With the new ranking system, you need to have higher-ranked skills unlocked to silently take down the level 3 and elite enemies but it makes no difference once you have a double-barrel shotgun equipped as you can just pump led into them and they die pretty quickly.
I think that is my biggest issue with the game and how it changes difficulty so drastically. At first, you struggle and take on every challenge as thoughtfully as possible but soon after you have unlocked decent weapons, be it in-game or through the Ubisoft Club, things get way too easy and the scavenging for ammo, pumping bullets into enemies and dying really fast all get thrown out the window. I would have loved to see the game keep up the challenge throughout the experience and not just for the first act.
Even the ranked enemies get way too easy and taking on the “scavenged” outposts at the highest rank just needs a bow, disabling all the alarms from the distance and you are set. My co-op partner and I farmed the same outpost four to five times in 15 minutes to unlock the full Knight Set from For Honor without any challenge at all.
Character progression all depends on the level and state of Prosperity and unlocking and upgrading specialists gives you access to new skills, weapons and throwables. Again, you can just farm an outpost on the highest level and unlock everything mid-game. With that being said, the progression system is a great feature that keeps you going and striving to save all the specialists and unlock all the perks.
One of the game’s best features is no doubt the new Expeditions mode. Throughout the game, as you upgrade this portion of Prosperity, you will gain access to more Expeditions. These missions take place outside of Hope County and take you to great-looking smaller maps across the US. The nuclear fallout hit them too so the look and feel tie in well with the overall game.
It is here where you and a partner, need to head into the map, avoid or kill everything, find a backpack and get to the extraction point all while surviving the onslaught of enemies. When you pick up the bag, a GPS alarm triggers after 30 seconds. All the enemies start to swarm you as you try to make your way to the extraction point and survive while the chopper arrives.
These missions where a great break from the usual Hope County exploration and all offered a unique place to visit, all with unique approaches and combat opportunities. My favourite one is still the H.M.S MacCoubrey that had me enter a giant ship, get the bag and drive off the edge in a passenger motorcycle. It was fun and rewarding as all the loot you get from these missions are used to craft the highest gear.
Everything then changes in Far Cry New Dawn after a certain point where you obtain special powers called Eden’s Touch. With these powers, you can double jump, take down enemies while healing yourself and even go into a rage and bash everyone back to the 1800s. These expedition missions and outposts all then become a little easier but your approach changes which is variety great too.
An average session with Far Cry New Dawn took me to familiar places to hunt treasure, kill a bunch of Highwaymen, recruit new fangs for hire, gather some ethanol and upgrade my home base. It is a cycle that works and you never feel bored as the world has enough to keep you busy and distracted. Throw in co-op with friendly fire and you have yourself one of the best ways to spend your time.
The game lasts for around 25 hours while doing the main quests. There is also the opportunity to go back and complete all the outposts on the highest difficulty for that set gear and complete the great Expeditions on various difficulties too. These are fun and rewarding so there is a reason to go back.
Unfortunately, Far Cry New Dawn’s biggest downfall is in its rank system. It could have been something really great that offered new challenges and layers of gameplay but in the end, it fell completely flat as it is simply not fleshed out enough to warrant any of your attention. The first time you see an elite guard is intimidating but as soon as you realize you can cheese him with a mounted gun or dynamite things take a turn for the worst.
But the magic is in the game’s world and activities and we all know Ubisoft are masters at open world titles. This is no exception. It offers an explosive take on the apocalypse with memorable characters, great action and a decent amount of unique activities to keep the experience fresh. Far Cry New Dawn is a Far Cry game, and that should be enough to for anyone.
This review was based on a review code sent to us by Ubisoft
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 15 February 2019 | Price: R599