If you haven’t completed Far Cry 5 yet and don’t want the ending spoiled this is the sentence to stop reading. Far Cry New Dawn is a spin off/sequel to last years Far Cry 5. Much in the same way how Far Cry Primal was a side-step spin off for Far Cry 4. Although this time around even though it utilises the same map and many of the assets from the previous game it does continue on the same timeline taking place 17 years after the nuclear bombs dropped and forever changed the world at the end of Far Cry 5.
New Dawn retains much of the same standard Far Cry formula we’ve come to love from the franchise in recent years but also comes with some much appreciated tweaks and new systems that help keep the experience fresh and exciting.
Far Cry New Dawn introduces RPG elements for the first time. Primarily in the form of weapon damage output and enemy levels/resistances. You’re able to see the level status of an enemy when attacking as well as see the damage output numbers bouncing off them when your attacks hit. Much in the same style as Borderlands if you’ve ever jumped into that franchise. Throughout the game you’ll spend resources to level up your weapons and gear allowing you to deal more damage per shot and have a much better chance taking on those higher leveled foes.
By introducing enemies with higher levels and damage output New Dawn is able to have areas that are essentially locked off requiring you to take note of the location but come back when you’re better equipped to take on the bandits or ferocious animals guarding the area. This does take away some of the ‘go anywhere’ freedom but I appreciated the change up and the challenge these areas presented.
Also introduced in New Dawn are a new type of mission called Expedition Missions. These missions take you outside of the Hope County map via helicopter popping you down inside one of a number of smaller themed maps. The core of these missions you going in and stealing an item and then get back to your helicopter safely and hightail it out of there before you’re overcome by enemies. These missions quickly turn into absolute chaos but I enjoyed them for the most part and the introduction of a new mission type has me excited to see what innovations we’ll get in future Far Cry titles.
One of my favourite mission types in the series are the outposts and I was so glad to see that the outpost system and the newly introduced RPG mechanics have combined well with the new ability to replay outposts. Upon completing and taking over an outpost you’re given the ability to replay and clear out the outpost again but with it now filled with higher level enemies. Completing these higher level outposts will now also reward you with better resource rewards too.
The main campaign experience here is a bit on the short side compared to previous games in the series coming in at around 8-10 hours to complete. Although there is still plenty to do inn this world outside of the main questline to keep you entertained for many more hours. Which is a good thing really considering the side objectives were my favourite part of the game this time around. I found the main story to be a little weak compared to previous games and I didn’t feel the core enemies were used as effectively as they should have been.
The twins were a cool idea but were underutilised and could have been developed better as characters. Only having a visual presence at key moments throughout the story missions. When looking back at Far Cry games of the past one of the main driving forces were their psychotic villains. But unfortunately even though it’s clear the twins are pretty crazy they don’t hold a candle to Vaas or Pagan Min.
I also wish the team had pushed the post nuclear setting a little further. Far Cry has always been a series that meshes serious gameplay with quirky over the top and sometimes laugh out loud moments. I would have loved to have seen the envelope pushed a little further in the quirky direction here and possibly include some radioactively mutated animals thrown into the mix.
Although the story wasn’t quite to my liking I did still love this world. The lush environments look visually appealing and feel great to explore. And the game’s highly saturated pink theme is scattered all throughout the experience from the environments, outfits, weapon designs and is reinforced inside the game menus which ties everything together thematically and provides a fitting aesthetic for the title.
The guns for hire system from Far Cry 5 is back, allowing you to recruit a sidekick to assist with tackling missions. These are often recruited by completing side recruitment quests and each come with their own combat abilities and perks meaning you can pick and choose who to use based on your own playstyle.
You’re also able to jump into the game with a friend and explore Hope County in co-op. A nifty feature that has become a staple in the series over the past few years.
Far Cry New Dawn’s moment to moment gameplay is all about fun. It’s story isn’t as strong as previous entries but it makes up for that by delivering on what makes a Far Cry game so great. The world. And there’s a ton for you to do here. Even if like me you’re not a big fan of the main quest line you’ll still have a ball clearing outposts, leveling up your abilities, crafting new upgrades and weapons, completing treasure hunts and expedition missions or even jumping in with a friend and exploring Hope County cooperatively. The new mechanics and systems introduced here have me really excited to see what Ubisoft come out with in the next Far Cry entry.
A PS4 review copy was provided by Ubisoft Australia for the purpose of this review.
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