'Far Cry: New Dawn'
Revisit Hope County after the bombs.
Ubisoft has decided to change things up with their Far Cry series, this time by releasing a direct sequel. Some may argue that Far Cry Primal, or Far Cry Predator where their first sequels. Really though, Predator was more of a DLC, and Primal was a prequel at the most. New Dawn, though chronological, falls in place seventeen years after the ending events of Far Cry 5 (spoilers ahead). So after the bombs dropped, everyone went underground to live for six years, then finally pop up to find a vibrant and colorful post-apocalyptic future. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the game, though.
Not So Apocalyptic
If you have played through Far Cry 5, you know how it ends. The bombs drop, you’re stuck in a bunker with the big bad Joseph Seed. I liked that ending, you didn’t win the game and walk away the hero. So I was very excited to hear that New Dawn was a sequel. Not because I loved Far Cry 5, but because I love post-apocalyptic worlds. I also like the mechanics of a Far Cry game, aside from the driving. So, as I said earlier I was super excited. I imagined Far Cry good, post-apocalypse good, so New Dawn would be awesome. You can’t imagine the sudden let down I felt when I sat down with the game and saw the colorful atmosphere. In fact, it’s brighter and prettier than Far Cry 5 was, lots of colorful flora, and hardly any barren waste look to it. Not only that, but the game doesn’t have any desperation feeling to it. Scavenging and looting doesn’t feel needed, it’s just a process needed to get ahead. The game looks great, it has awesome effects, but the area I most wanted to see if the radiated edges. Those are the post-apocalyptic parts I wanted for the game. Sadly a few moments in them and you are toast, this better be fixed via DLC.
'New Dawn'? How about a new story?
The overall story of New Dawn has a lot of potential. It has the classic post-apocalyptic feel to it. Small community trying to rebuild and survive. Everything is going good and then suddenly a group of raiders known as the Highwaymen show up to take it. You play as a security captain in an organization that has traveled the country helping build settlements and rebuild the world. And you’re on your way to Hope County to help liberate it from the Highwaymen, led by a set of twins. The issue with the game’s story is the delivery. There aren’t enough interactions between anyone, it doesn’t pull you into the story. Bad things happen to a major character, back stabbing happens, horrible deals made, and so on. There is no real reaction to it, because there is not enough development to make you care. Honestly, I didn’t want to shoot the antagonists in the face until the optional side missions to obtain Timber and Horatio. You don’t just catch dogs and butcher them when there is plenty of wild game. And Horatio’s side mission is kind of sad when you realize the massive piggy runs off to lay beside it’s owner’s corpse. I could handle the story being enhanced more by side characters, but it falls short on them again. It’s difficult to connect with the characters as in previous Far Cry games. Even the guns for hire in Far Cry 5 had decent random dialog that made it feel like you were playing with other people not just AI. That has changed in New Dawn with characters having very limited dialog and often repeating the same line back to back. Hopefully dialog is fixed in a future update.
Not a Far Cry from 'Far Cry'
Far Cry: New Dawn presents us with the familiar gameplay of its predecessors with a new twist. An RPG-like leveling system and number count system added this time around. As you shoot enemies you will notice white or orange numbers bounce out. This leveling system though seems almost completely implemented through the weapons available. Levels are now broken down by colors white, blue, purple, and gold. Your health and companions also use the same leveling system as well. The difference between this system and the typical RPG is that it’s not experienced based. To level up you need to build up your base by upgrading facilities. You upgrade your facilities by using ethanol, which is obtained by liberating outposts. This makes you want to scavenge and redo outposts over and over to get your best upgrades ASAP.
This sounds like it could be an interesting twist on the Far Cry universe. It very well could be if implemented properly. The biggest issue with it is that the leveling system isn’t balanced. When you have a white or blue level weapon, your attacks don’t phase many enemies it seems. Nothing says immersive to a game like having to shoot a grizzly bear over a hundred times in the face and emptying all your ammo out. This isn’t an exaggeration, early on a grizzly bear corned me and forced to finish it off by punching it in the face. At this time, I was thankful for the terrible dialog of my current gun for hire. Now once you hit the gold tier of weapons you begin to feel like an overpowered warlord. Almost every gun pulls a one shot, one kill to basic enemies that before took a good five shots to down before. So there really isn’t much balance to this system in-game. My recommendation for a new player is invest all ethanol in your training camp, weapon bench, and infirmary before other upgrades.
Now I am not saying that the gameplay is bad. I have been having a ton of fun playing this game, especially later on. Eventually you get to a part where Ubisoft just goes, “Eff it, you got super powers now!” Sadly, they come way to late in the game to give you any real fun or advantage. The game though is still tons of fun and plays a lot like previous Far Cry games. It allows for more stealth than Far Cry 5, which is something I felt the game lacked. And shooting down extreme sport junkies is just as fun as blasting pirates, military, and brainwashed hipsters. The sound track for the game also really adds to the action. There is nothing like firing rounds into hordes of motocross junkies while Fatty Boom Boom plays in the background. It brings back the flow and feel of torching the fields in Far Cry 3.
Not wanting to spoil too much, there are other aspects that are nice additions. The missions that allow you travel to other sites throughout the country on snatch and grab missions are fun to break things up. And I have always enjoyed treasure hunting or rather digging through prepper stashes. Want to just relax and have some down time? Why not go fishing for a while? Or you can always hunt down some ethanol trucks to hijack. Even the outposts are now re-playable, but going through a higher difficulty each time. This means more enemies, harder enemies, and more alarms in different locations. This adds a nice change, because it can really offer different tactics each level of play.
Not Life-Changing, but Sill Fun!
Now that we have broken down some of the pros and cons, this may seem like a bad review. Honestly it’s not, but it is a truthful one. I have dropped opinions and critiques of different areas, sure. This is not saying that the game isn’t fun. The game is actually a blast to play, especially after you get Godlike powers. Just last night before thinking of how to brush up this review I jumped back in. And you know what? Being able to leap over an ATV, while aiming down and shooting the rider in the head is pretty entertaining. If using a simple one to ten rating system, I would give New Dawn a solid seven. It really is not a bad game, and it’s very entertaining. Sadly, even with all the new bells and whistles it falls short compared to other releases of this year. If the landscape wasn’t so pretty and colorful, and it actually felt post-apocalyptic. Or, if they had balanced out the weapon system that would be different. Don’t just take my word for it though. Take a bite of that nuclear apple and enjoy the gifts of God. You’ll understand that more when you play the game. Which, I do recommend you do! It’s not an amazing life changing game, but it is still fun. And really, what is the base for gaming if not fun?