Far Cry New Dawn
Genre: First Person Shooter, Action-Adventure
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, Windows
A Review by Stephanie Gerk
A little less than a year after the release of Far Cry 5, Ubisoft has released Far Cry New Dawn, a follow up to the final events of the previous game.
Far Cry New Dawn returns us to Hope County, Montana, the setting of Far Cry 5, which now bears the signs of nuclear fallout. Though some landscapes and sights remain familiar, the world has very much changed. New wildlife and plants roam the valleys and mountains. The homes and farms that once populated Hope County are covered in ruin. It has been 17 years since the bombs dropped and the survivors of the area just want to begin a new life, but it’s proving to be a challenge thanks to the threat of a travelling group called the Highwaymen. That’s where the player comes in.
Having been recruited by Carmina Rye (daughter of Nick and Kim Rye from Far Cry 5), you take on the mantle of “The Captain” (female or male avatars can be chosen). You’re the Captain of Security, on a train full of supplies and specialists lead by a man called Rush, headed for Hope County to help the remaining survivors. From there everything starts to go wrong after an attack by the infamous leaders of the Highwaymen, twins Mickey and Lou. What started out as a hopeful venture turns sour as the train and its occupants are decimated. The Captain is one of the few survivors, and the only hope to save the community of Prosperity from the twins’ greedy and violent grasp.
It is almost a relief that the New Dawn map is so small.
Despite the post-apocalyptic setting, New Dawn follows in the exact same footsteps of its predecessors, just on a much smaller scale. Transportation around the map (before fast travel can be unlocked) is done using the classic vehicles with a colourful mismatch spin to them. Wingsuits and parachutes also make a return, though Hope County seems to lack adequate places to use these fun features unless you’re air dropping to a location. I spent more time crashing to my death trying to use the wingsuit at low altitude than actually successfully getting anywhere. It’s almost a relief that the New Dawn map is so small. If it weren’t for the auto drive feature, I probably would have given up on transportation altogether as I find the vehicle driving controls to be poorly done and difficult to manage such as with previous Far Cry games. Really the only good purpose of the vehicles is to get you to opposite ends of the map quickly in the beginning stages of the game or to find collectables because as soon as fast travel was unlocked, I never climbed back onto a motorcycle. Though Hope County is certainly beautiful and colourful it often feels empty due to the lack of any side quests.
Far Cry New Dawn doesn’t bother with any hand-holding. It expects its players to already be familiar with the series gameplay and visuals, so there is little in the way of a tutorial. In fact, most of the game’s walkthrough is in the main menu, buried under gameplay text called a Survival Guide.
That aside, Far Cry New Dawn is not a particularly complex game. Quests are straight forward and the game will give you nudges if you spend too long searching for the next step in the quest.
Horatio, a giant and terrifying boar, is one of these companions, and yes, you can pet him.
Other familiar returning features are a list of gun for hires and specialists to unlock. Specialists are used for advancing and unlocking the home base of Prosperity. They are scattered around Hope Country and only require short side quests before you recruit them to your cause. After that, they are rarely interacted with and are quite forgettable. The real spotlight belongs to the Gun for Hire. Similar to Far Cry 5, these characters can be recruited to aid you on quests and taking outposts. The Gun for Hire will stay by your side during your entire adventure around Hope County, only disappearing for select main quests that must be taken solo. Each hire is unique with special abilities that can be unlocked the more combat kills they get. Not only beneficial in a fight, but they also add an element of companionship as wandering Hope County can be particularly lonely at times. Horatio, a giant and terrifying boar, is one of these companions, and yes, you can pet him.
(You can pet dogs!)
Perhaps a minor but favourite feature of New Dawn was the treasure hunt quests. Discovered by either stumbling upon a site or given to you by a scout, treasure hunts are mini-quests that involve a little puzzle solving to gain access to better supplies. Sometimes they involved grappling great heights or caves, and sometimes it meant scouring an abandoned church for a critter that had swallowed the key to an underground shelter. They are quick but fun missions, throwing in a little variation into the classic and basic treasure hunt. Mercifully, collectable quests are kept to the minimum.
As if to make up for the small map and few quests, New Dawn also introduces Expeditions. Expeditions are an opportunity to go on fetch missions to other parts of the US. They often involve sneaking into a secure site or facility, snatching a backpack, and relocating to a pickup point as waves of enemy soldiers hunt you down. Similar to the Outposts, Expeditions can be replayed multiple times for more rewards, though the difficulty level will increase. It’s a fun addition that better suits having a co-op partner than one of the guns for hires.
When the final credits rolled up I had a moment of “that’s it?”. I wasn’t sure if I expected more story or more gameplay. (Again, there are very few quests or things to do besides replaying outposts). Shorter games are not always a bad thing, but the story in Far Cry New Dawn left much to be desired. New Dawn could be (and is) sold as a completely separate game from Far Cry 5 but even then, when the game re-visits the consequences of Far Cry 5’s ending it creates a lot of questions that New Dawn seems quite happy to ignore. Enough information is given for a new or returning player to make sense of what’s happening, but the game never bothers to dig deeper.
Far Cry New Dawn is an enjoyable but predictable ride.
Overall, New Dawn is an enjoyable but predictable ride. It doesn’t stray far from the typical Far Cry formula and it feels more like an expansion of Far Cry 5 than a whole new game. If you love running around the American countryside, wielding large weapons, shooting at everything that moves, while living in a post-apocalyptic world, then New Dawn is a perfect fit. If you were wondering about the consequences of Far Cry 5’s final sequence, there isn’t much of a satisfying conclusion but it is worth playing, even if few answers are ever given.
Play it! Far Cry New Dawn is a good, fun game! Just don’t expect hours of content or anything new beyond what the Far Cry series has always given us.
Rogues Portal received a Xbox One code for this review.