Far Cry New Dawn Review

Far Cry New Dawn Review
  1. GameFar Cry New Dawn
  2. Consoles: PS4, PC (Reviewed on), Xbox One
  3. Publisher: Ubisoft
  4. Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
  5. (A review copy of Far Cry New Dawn was supplied by the publisher.)

When it comes to FPS open world games the Far Cry franchise is in an odd position. Since its inception, the series has consistently moved the needle forward for crafting engaging worlds and strong, choice-driven combat. Yet, recently the Far Cry series has failed to really build upon the foundation set by previous entries in new ways. This puts Far Cry New Dawn in a difficult spot, as it both attempts to try something different with the formula while retaining the same, classic Far Cry feel.

Set 17 years after the climactic events of Far Cry 5, New Dawn sees the survivor of the nuclear apocalypse trying to rebuild their lives. You play the unnamed chief of security of an organization dedicated to helping people recover from the worldwide devastation. Sent to Hope County, Montana, your train is ambushed by a group of marauding bandits known as the Highwaymen. What follows is roughly 30 hours of you and the survivors of Hope County fighting back against this sadistic group of bandits that have taken over the land.

There’s a little more to the story, but saying any more would ruin some of Far Cry New Dawn’s best moments. In terms of plot, this one is fairly dark and developer Ubisoft Montreal has gone to great lengths to flesh out the principal cast. Outside of cutscenes and flashbacks, players can find all manner of lore items scattered throughout the map.

Far Cry New Dawn

Yet, New Dawn is at its best when the player gets to see how the changes in power and the world itself affected characters from Far Cry 5. There’s only a handful of returning characters, but New Dawn makes the most of them by pushing their stories to the forefront. This is especially true of the New Eden cult and previous antagonist, Joseph Seed. Without treading into spoiler territory, it’s safe to say that the player will get answers to what happened at the end of Far Cry 5.

Taking the spotlight this time is the pair of female twins that lead the Highwaymen – Mickey and Lou. Both are incredibly vicious and it’s nice to see that Far Cry New Dawn isn’t afraid to let their villains take the spotlight. But for every sinister, emotional moment there is an equally wacky one that feels tonally out of place. This has always been a major issue with the Far Cry series, but it’s never been more apparent than in this entry. It’s hard to take any dramatic revelation seriously when I just finished a mission that had me blasting enemies to the Bee Gees’ Stayin Alive.

Unsurprisingly the gameplay consists of either action or stealth-based combat depending on what your preference is. Almost every mission can be completed using one of these two options and New Dawn gives the player enough tools to make either choice viable. Though if you’ve played Far Cry 5 then a lot of the weapons and tactics will seem familiar to you. The only really new stealth weapon is a buzzsaw launcher that fires saw blades that ricochet off surfaces and targets. It’s a fun, novelty weapon, but it can be rather unwieldy at times.

Far Cry New Dawn

Far Cry New Dawn’s big change is a shift towards a light RPG design, similar to what we now see in Ubisoft’s other mega-property, Assassin’s Creed. Weapons and enemies are broken up into four different rarities and your damage against a foe is mainly dictated by the level of your gun vs the A.I.’s level. It’s a nice change, but the RPG mechanics are pretty thin and I wish Far Cry leaned into it a bit more.

There’s no loot system in Far Cry New Dawn, so if you want a higher tier weapon than you’ll need to craft with materials obtained by finishing missions, scavenging, or completing side activities. It’s a simple system that’s easy to grasp and the upgrades you can make to your survivor camp offer a nice sense of progression. I just wish I found myself using the actual facilities in the base, but they offer so little benefits outside of giving you access to better guns and vehicles.

One activity I did find myself constantly grinding is the brand new Expeditions. Acting as larger outposts, these missions are unlocked as you upgrade a specific vendor at your base. Set all across America, players venture to a whole host of unique locations including Alcatraz, an abandoned theme park, and a crashed aircraft carrier. They’re exceptionally fun and repeat playthroughs shuffle around the number of enemies.

Far Cry New Dawn

Actual missions are generally solid, with some of the best involving a prison breakout, melee arena, and a spiritual journey down a chemically polluted river. My personal favorite involved the player solving various puzzles under tight, time constraints while enemies patrolled the area. There are a few underwhelming levels and one that has a frustrating boss fight in a burning village.

Outside of the core missions and expeditions, players can partake in a number of side quests. They’re generally entertaining, although the tedium of clearing outposts and breaking into elaborate prepper stashes does grow thin. Individually they’re all fantastic, but after the credits roll you realize that New Dawn just doesn’t have a ton to offer beyond replaying Expeditions or Outposts.

There’s no PvP or map editor this time around, but co-op is just as fun as ever. Driving around the colorful and often beautiful Hope County can be a blast. There’s a lot of mischief you and a partner can cause, even if there’s no specific activity designated for multiple players.

Far Cry New Dawn Takeaways

Far Cry New Dawn

Far Cry New Dawn is exactly what it sounds like, more Far Cry. Your enjoyment of this game will depend on if you were invested in the story of Far Cry 5 or if the gameplay loop is something you enjoy. There’s not enough here to grab those sitting on the fence, but it’s a fun 30-hour romp through Montana.

While the RPG system was a unique idea, it’s one foot in, one foot out approach hinders the overall product. Yet, for all it’s faults I generally enjoyed my experience and seeing how the different characters progressed was enough of a drive to push me to the end. Even though New Dawn may not be a revelation for the franchise, it’s a nice bookend for Far Cry 5 fans.

Our Far Cry New Dawn Score: 7/10

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