Venture back to Hope County and meet some new friends as well as see some familiar faces. Warning: Far Cry 5 spoilers are ahead!
Many years after the devastating nuclear events of Far Cry 5, life is beginning to bloom again in Hope County and across the USA. Survivors who spent over 6 years underground have returned to the surface to start rebuilding society. However, it didn't take long for the bad apples to start taking over. A new gang (the Highwaymen) have occupied several regions in the west and have their eyes set on controlling all of Hope County. Led by twin sisters Mickey and Lou, the Highwaymen use violence and intimidation to take what they want from the area's people. You play as a nameless captain of security who first works for a traveling group of revolutionaries but later becomes the de facto enforcer for Prosperity, a small community fighting fiercely against the Highwaymen.
For those who have played previous Far Cry games, the story is going to feel very familiar. A murderous gang run by violent and psychotic leaders threatens the livelihood of a specific region and it's up to you to stand up to them. Narrative-wise, it's hard to feel like I'm not just playing the same game for the 3rd or 4th time at this point. The post-apocalyptic setting also feels wasted in New Dawn. While the nuclear event is referenced regularly, there isn't much that's actually different about Hope County. Some animals (like deer and cougars) look a little mutated and different but they act the same. I'm not saying it needed radiated zombies roaming the Earth and boars that could shoot lasers from their eyes but I would have liked to see more reminders that I was roaming a post-apocalyptic world.
As for gameplay, the core Far Cry formula is as refined as ever. You'll spend anywhere from 15 to 50 hours roaming around Hope County killing Highwaymen, finding treasures, liberating outposts, collecting resource materials, and upgrading your abilities. Prosperity (your home base) can be upgraded using Ethanol that you collect when clearing outposts. These upgrades impact everything from your crafting workbench to your maximum health and fast travel to your Guns for Hire strength. Alongside the home base upgrades, you can also improve many of your abilities with Perks that are unlocked using points awarded for completing challenges. These challenges include getting a certain number of kills with each weapon, completing missions, crafting items, killing enemies in specific ways, etc.
There's no actual currency in post-nuclear Hope County. Instead, using resources for crafting is how you acquire guns, vehicles, and refill your ammo and you'll want to grab components, duct tape, gears, springs, and more as you explore the world. While the multi-tiered upgrading structure is tweaked a bit in New Dawn, it all still feels relatively similar to previous games. Instead of hunting animal skins to craft upgrades directly, you now collect Ethanol that can be used to upgrade your home base which in turn provides you with upgrades. Animal skins are instead traded for resources used to craft new weapons. In other words, while different items serve different purposes on the surface level, it all fuels an upgrade system that is very similar to previous games at its core.
Sticking with the theme of similarity, New Dawn's missions are all very similar to the ones in previous games. Some of the main missions, many of the side missions, and all of the outpost liberations consist of sneaking or barreling into a Highwaymen stronghold then executing every last one of them. One nice change to the formula is the addition of multiple difficulty outposts. After clearing one of the outposts, you can salvage it for resources which also returns control of the outpost to the Highwaymen. You can then challenge them again for control of the outpost but you'll want to be careful because they'll increase their firepower after each salvage.
A new addition in Far Cry New Dawn is Expeditions: 7 missions that take place away from Hope County. These new locations include an aircraft carrier, Navajo Bridge in Arizona, and Alcatraz Island. Although it has a clever premise, Expeditions are a bit let down by their objectives. The goal on every single Expedition is to find a package and extract it, meaning that you just need to travel to one side of the map to grab a package then survive a wave of enemies for a couple of minutes while waiting for a helicopter to arrive.
Far Cry New Dawn is a refined but unexciting adventure. For those who have exhausted all the previous Far Cry games and are still craving more, New Dawn will scratch that itch but those hoping that it might advance the core gameplay are going to be disappointed.
- + Quality Far Cry gameplay
- + Strong multi-tiered upgrade system
- + Adding multiple levels of difficulty to outposts is a welcome addition
- - Wasted post-apocalyptic setting
- - Familiar and dull story
- - Newly added Expeditions are a fun idea but weren't fully fleshed out