Far Cry: New Dawn: The most bland Far Cry experience players can have
Played On: PS4 (Original)
Back in 2018, Ubisoft took players into a small town of Hope County for a new Far Cry experience that took the series to the United States for the first time. While traveling through the mountains and valleys of the Montana town, players were tasked with taking down a radical religious “prophet” Joseph Seed and ended up actually causing a nuke to go off that caused many to lose their lives and Hope County to become an apocalyptic wasteland. However, the story didn’t stop there as Ubisoft has just released an expansion to Far Cry V, titled Far Cry: New Dawn, where players can experience some of Far Cry V’s best aspects in a new environment that brings new threats to what’s left of Hope County.
Unfortunately, New Dawn captures some of the worst aspects of the Far Cry V experience and sticks players in one of the dullest “post-apocalyptic” environments I’ve seen in a while. Frankly, even calling it post-apocalyptic doesn’t feel right because the environment feels just like it did before the nuke went off. There’re some color palette changes with animals and plant-life, but there’s no other changes that denote like the end of previous game mattered. While I can understand that the story takes place years after the event occurred, but not having mutated enemies, barren trees, or anything kind of craziness really happen made the experience incredibly hollow.
Even just saying that a series like Far Cry isn’t crazy enough speaks to how New Dawn just can’t capture the insanely fun atmosphere the series is known for. This is especially true for the game’s villains as they never made a lasting impression. This time around, players will have to fight against a set of maniacal twins, Mickey and Lou, as they use their deadly forces, called the Highwaymen, to sustain power in Hope County. Unlike Joseph, though, there’s no real moments that give them enough time for us to really get to know them and they end up just coming off as generic bruisers that lack a sense of presence in the world.
Honestly, the biggest detractor for me with New Dawn was there being no lieutenants to take down or regain areas. Right from the get-go in Far Cry V, players knew of Seed’s power and were made fearful of him right from the moment they met him. In New Dawn, you barely interact with Mickey and Lou directly and their presence is so nonexistent that there’s little reason to do any of the game’s activities or quests. Capturing outposts, while still fun and are made better by allowing players to scavenge their conquered outposts and regain them in order to get better supplies, feels like a filler activity this time around.
Even when the game introduces some new mechanics, like weapon and enemy tiering to add a little challenge, they make a mistake that feels equally wrong. While I think the tiering is interesting, it’s incredibly broken as I found myself either killing enemies with a single shot with a weapon of their same tier or doing miniscule damage just because my weapon was one rank lower. It’s also worth mentioning that the way enemy armor works is kind of dumb and even breaks the immersion of the game. It’s understandable that enemies would use sports/paintball equipment as armor in a post-apocalyptic world, but with how much it stops bullets, the armor can feel like a distracting flaw.
The weapon tearing is nice, and I did feel that there were plenty of options that let me battle my own way. The menu breakdown for the weapon shop was pretty easy to navigate and the ability to use crafting to craft weapons, items, and ammo was interesting, even if there’s an overabundance of crafting materials. The crafting feels forced at certain times, though, and it makes certain activities feel forced in order to get weapons and materials to stand a chance in fights. It was also annoying that if I ran out of ammo, picking up enemy guns was a mistake as they mostly use bottom tier weapons so often times you are pretty screwed when you run out of ammo.
There’re also some user-interface aspects that could’ve been better and a lot of the problems I had in Far Cry V resurfaced. Missions not tracking right away was incredibly annoying at times and the dumb NPC characters and enemies are very apparent. Often times I could disappear from enemies’ sight just by hiding behind a tree and they would run right past me. There’s also little connection to be had amongst the other characters as your character is basically a mute. While it’s nice to see Hurk want to blow stuff up again and to have more animal companions, players won’t really get to know them that much as they just have one and done missions.
Honestly, playing New Dawn has only made me find a strong desire to play Far Cry V again, but for all of the wrong reasons. The game just can’t capitalize on the interesting new aspects it tries to bring to the series and it all leads to a dull apocalyptic experience. It’s honestly the most normal Far Cry game I have ever played and that’s a disappointment in itself.