Ubisoft’s epic continuation of Far Cry 5, Far Cry New Dawn is finally out! Find out what the dystopian future is like in our review!
Hope County’s New Groove
At the end of Far Cry 5, we witnessed the end of the world. We realized that God HAD spoken to Joseph Seed and, as the bunker doors closed on our deputized hero, we realized that the enigmatic extremist had been right all along. This was a bitter, somewhat, mind-blowing realization to have for the end of what was a stellar, yet, underrated game in 2018. Except, it wasn’t the end.
The world and many of the inhabitants of Hope County survived by living in underground bunkers. When they emerged, several years after the cataclysmic event, Hope County had changed into a gorgeous, vibrant world. With hopeful hearts and ambitious minds, the survivors began to recolonize. What they created was a prosperous society, built on caring for their fellow man. That is, until the Highwaymen came to town. Led by the vicious twins, Lou and Mickey, the Highwaymen took everything the survivors had, including their people to join their ranks.
Now, 17 years after the explosion, the Highwaymen rule Hope County and it’s up to you, as the Captain of Security for the man who would see Hope County become a prosperous society once again, Thomas Rush, to liberate the the survivors from the tyrannical rule of the Highwaymen, in Far Cry New Dawn.
If you’re familiar with the Far Cry titles, you know that the overall pattern remains the same from game to game. Enter the area, meet the villain, join the rebellion, and set off on a mission to take down the psychotic tyrant. That pattern doesn’t change in New Dawn. Just as you arrive in Hope County with a band of specialists and soldiers to develop and liberate the county, your train is attacked and your people are taken by The Twins. What happens next? If you said, you join a group of local rebels, you’re right!
Story-wise, there are some similarities between New Dawn and Far Cry Primal, in that they both focus mainly on helping, developing, and upgrading an embattled society. In New Dawn’s the society is known as Prosperity. Throughout the game, you go out and recruit certain specialists, within Hope County, to come in and help make Prosperity thrive. Then, with the use of Hope County’s primary currency, Ethanol (of all things), you are able to upgrade your society to help your people and yourself, while you’re out in the field.
Any good Far Cry game, worth its salt, has a memorable and intriguing villain. With Far Cry 3’s Vaas Montenegro, Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min, and Far Cry 5’s Joseph Seed, New Dawn’s work to create a threatening new villain was cut out for itself. With the Twins, Mickey and Lou, I wouldn’t say that they set the bar or anything like that. If anything they did enough to create an interesting team of villains to want more of. Mickey and Lou may be twins but they definitely aren’t the same person. Mickey is more of the level-headed leader, while Lou is the unquestioned wild card. She could blow a gasket at any second and just murder everything in her path. Their whole motivation for terrorizing the people of Hope County is to look powerful. That’s the common theme in every interaction and it creates some interesting character work, throughout the game.
Far Cry New Dawn’s story is formulaic, but if it isn’t broke why fix a good thing. Plus, it features a cast of interesting characters from a sharpshooting grandma to Far Cry 5’s Hurk (though, the dog Timber is the best). Furthermore, there are plenty of surprises that twist the game from realish to downright fantasy. I’m not entirely sure it was a welcome turn, but more on that later. While the story is what brings you to the show, it’s the gameplay that makes you stay.
Addicting Gameplay in a Dog-lover’s Nightmare
One of the best parts of the Far Cry series are the variety of ways you can spend your time in their landscape. Much like the others in the series, New Dawn gives you plenty to do with a low-cost price tag ($39.99). If you’re not up for doing the main storyline, you can go out and recruit people to join Prosperity or join you in the field. When there is none of that to do, you can hunt, fish, find bunkers full of treasure, or claim supply drops before the Highwaymen in random world events.
The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to liberate Outposts as quickly and quietly as possible. Once you do, you gain loads of rewards to upgrade home base and customize your character. The more you upgrade, the better equipment you get, and the easier foes are. So, Outposts are critical. What’s even better, is that you can “Scavenge” your newly claimed Outpost and give it back to the Highwaymen, who will then send their strongest warriors and their vicious dogs, making it even more of a challenge.
You heard me right, I said dogs. You heard me right when you looked at this paragraph title too. Far Cry New Dawn is not for Dog-lovers. Because the Highwaymen use dogs to fight with, you’re forced to take them down. Not only that, though, but there are wild dogs that will just show up and attack for no reason, as the photo taken in the fantastic Photo Mode suggests. If that wasn’t enough, cue the Sarah Mclachlan music because there is a mission to save Timber (the goodest of boys) that brings you into a messed dog shelter, where the Highwaymen kill and butcher dogs for meat. You save a lot of dogs on that day, but the number of dogs you save vs the ones you kill isn’t even close. I had to kill a LOT of dogs….my dog doesn’t look at me the same way anymore. Thanks Ubisoft.
Nevertheless, the gameplay employed in Far Cry New Dawn is just as fun and addicting as the games that came before. This time it’s just in a much more vibrant (pink) fashion.
Inconsistent Vehicular Mobility, Weird Upgrades, & An Unexpected Major Undertone
There is a lot to love about Far Cry New Dawn. From the price to the gameplay experience to even the way it wraps everything up in a nice neat bow, it’s just an enjoyable experience. That being said, there are a few things that are just downright frustrating.
For starters, there is a line earlier in the game, made by Carmina Rye, that says, “Vehicles just seem like more trouble than they’re worth”. Never have words been more true. Often times, throughout my adventures, I would hop into a Highwayman’s car that was going about 60 mph, before I claimed it, only for it to suddenly go 5 miles per hour. It happened with motorcycles, cars, trucks, everything. Now, there were times where 4-wheelers would actually book it and trucks would actually go about 30 mph, but it was just an overall inconsistent experience. They try to make light of it in Hurk’s mission by making you drive 5 mph, but it’s more annoying than anything else. When walking can get you places faster than driving, there’s a problem.
Another issue I had was with the strange upgrades in New Dawn. Per usual, there were very useful perks like lockpicking, repairing, extra medkits, but then there were some that just seemed a bit frivolous like the bigger lung capacity to hold your breath longer. There are so few moments where that comes into play and it really should’ve gone into making you sprint longer. Plus, there are upgrades that are missing, like having a 2nd companion. I loved that in Far Cry 5, but you’re basically one and done in New Dawn (again Timber is the best…The Judge is cool too).
The weirdest upgrades come from after you finish the New Eden missions and suddenly the game becomes more supernatural than realistic. I understood all the weird, trippy stuff in Far Cry 5 and even Primal, they all made sense because you were drugged up. In New Dawn, you straight up get superpowers. It could be because of the Bliss mixing with nature or whatever, but the point is, you get a hyper mode that allows you to become more destructive and harder to kill. To me, this wasn’t a necessary add-on, as Far Cry has always been about treading the fine line between the real and the fantasy. This just wasn’t realistic at all.
My last negative may not have been something that Ubisoft realized, but there is a major undertone in New Dawn that, in my eyes, just isn’t a good look. The main villains are African American. When their troop is nearby or when you’re near an outpost, you hear aggressive rap music. When you liberate the outpost or are in Prosperity, the music is nice, calm oldies. You see where I’m going here right? Throughout the game, I just couldn’t shake the feeling like there was a racial message of good vs evil that Ubisoft may have been inadvertently sending with the music they were airing. If there had still been rap music in the sanctuary areas or even if it had been death metal being blared by the Highwaymen, this would’ve been a non-issue. Instead, what we get is a racial message that is just behind the times. Rap is bad, Oldies are good. Besides, while I do enjoy some oldies, the music the Highwaymen were blaring was sweet. Why not include some form of it in the safe areas, as well? The whole thing just wasn’t a good look or a good idea.
A Continuation We Never Knew We Needed
We talked before about how every good Far Cry game needs a good villain. Well another way to have a good Far Cry game is to have a group of memorable characters to help make the long expeditions that much better. In Far Cry 5, we had a bevy of interesting people and animals that made life, somewhat, easier and more fun, than if we were just by ourselves. What’s impressive is that Far Cry New Dawn uses an excellent amount of continuity to make Nick Rye’s daughter (whom Kim Rye was still pregnant with in Far Cry 5) a companion and Kim, herself, the leader of Prosperity. That was a really enjoyable turn of events. Plus, as you can expect, that continuous storytelling continues with people telling you about some heroic deputy and how they helped against the “Peggies”.
Despite a few issues had with the game, Ubisoft did a fantastic job with Far Cry New Dawn. While it’s in the same area, the experience is completely different, the world is brand new. The characters are excellent and gameplay is just as addicting as any Far Cry game in the series. Plus, with a price of $39.99 is an absolute bargain, when you compare the $59.99 price most new games go for. It’s likely because you can probably beat Far Cry New Dawn in about 2 days and still have done most of the activities. It’s definitely worth a look if you enjoyed Far Cry 5 and want to see what happens next or if you’re looking for a cheap game until the next game you’re ready for releases.
Who’s a good boy? You’re a good boy, Timber. Yes you are!