When Ubisoft announced Far Cry New Dawn not even a year after the release of Far Cry 5 I was wary, to say the least – they did a similar thing with Far Cry Primal and it just didn’t do it for me, I did, however, love Far Cry 5, so going into New Dawn I was cautiously optimistic.
Before I start, I want to say there will be spoilers for Far Cry 5 in this review. If you haven’t finished your fight with Joseph Seed and his horrendous siblings, I would recommend you do that before starting New Dawn.
The Far Cry franchise relies heavily on its antagonists and New Dawn is no exception. Seventeen years after the bomb dropped at the end of Far Cry 5 (I did say spoilers!) the remaining population is attempting to put their lives back together and rebuild from the rubble. Mickey and Lou, our freshly minted bad guys, are hell-bent on solving ‘problems’ and as the newly arrived captain of security, you’re the number one problem on their list.
With Prosperity as your base of operations, you head off to scavenge from the landscape, pooling as many resources as possible to improve the facilities. Your main goal is to collect ethanol, in the new world, this is the currency everyone deals in, and allows you to upgrade your base; this, in turn, unlocks healing upgrades, enables you to craft better weapons and even unlocks the option to go on expeditions. It’s not only ethanol you’ll be collecting though, when you bring in your hard-earned pelts, you won’t be rewarded with cash, instead you’ll get tape, gears, springs and a plethora of other items that I’m not entirely sure any normal human would have the strength to lug around (I’m currently sat on a little over two thousand roles of tape and questioning exactly who could ever possibly need that much).
New Dawn adds in a tier system that almost everything in game adheres to – grey, blue, purple and epic- this feature lets you see at a glance when you’re massively outgunned in a fight, the times it’s maybe best to regroup, upgrade and come back to a confrontation later.
Another new addition is the ability to ‘scavenge’ outposts you’ve liberated, this gives you extra ethanol but means the outpost is taken back by stronger Highwaymen with more alarms and bigger guns. You can do this twice per outpost, and as long as you have a half decent arsenal at your disposal, can provide an invaluable supply of ethanol.
As with the previous game, New Dawn uses the perks system to allow you to customise your character’s skills, having you acquire skill points by completing challenges. This forces the player to step out of their comfort zone as it puts you at a distinct disadvantage if you don’t mix up your weapon choice, actively seek out animals to hunt or try out different ‘guns for hire’ to get yourself extra points. Unfortunately, my personal favourite paws for hire companion is missing (Cheeseburger was, of course, the best, and he never pestered you to come and revive him) instead we have a whole new roster of humans and animals to choose from, my new favourite is Horatio the –very majestic- boar, with Nana the sniper coming in a very close second.
Foregoing the usual dreary post-apocalyptic setting, New Dawn is awash with colour – pink being a particularly prominent choice- everywhere you look there’s paint smeared across the ruined buildings, brightly coloured flora taking back every inch of space and certain animals even have eerie bioluminescent qualities. The wildlife has blossomed in a world with minimal human interference, and Hope County buzzes with life, quite literally at times.
An odd sense of nostalgia washes over you while you’re exploring the freshly nuked Hope County, there were times I found myself getting excited because I’d stumbled on an area that I recognised from the previous game because while the map is the same, almost everything feels different. The entire world has changed to some degree and it doesn’t feel like a mere reskin with new enemies. The familiarity doesn’t end there, old faces pop up throughout the course of the game; some you welcome with open arms, others you want to run from as fast as humanly possible.
Narrative wise, as with all Far Cry games, New Dawn has a loose thread that ties together everything you do, in this particular instalment, it feels a little shorter than we’re accustomed to, and without side missions and treasure hunts padding out your time it threatens to be over before you’ve really sunk your teeth in. With this being said, the world is so full of things to do, you will inevitably get side-tracked and end up spending hours doing something entirely not story related, but having a lot of fun doing it regardless.
The combat in New Dawn doesn’t have any drastic changes compared to 5, but I would be doing the game, and you as a reader, a disservice if I didn’t dedicate a few words to the saw launcher. This was the first weapon I acquired an epic version of (after tracking down a certain item for about an hour) because even the very basic version you start off with is so much bloody (pun intended) fun! Aside from its slightly lengthy reload, it’s the perfect post-apocalyptic weapon for your adventures. Oh, did I mention its ammo ricochets? It does.
Hope County has been given a fresh lick of fuchsia coloured paint which ultimately makes it a really enjoyable instalment to the series and while the story elements aren’t as strong as some of its previous titles, it more than makes up for it with the amount of fun you can have wreaking havoc on Mickey and Lou’s well-laid plans.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*