Ubisoft’s Far Cry series has always been a bit of a weird one, offering up either the creme-de-la-creme of action gaming, or offering up another Far Cry 3 with a different skin on it.
I’ve played all of the Far Cry games (with 3 being my favourite) but the series has become so formulaic that a lot of its core players have given up and moved onto something else in search of something different. Case and point: I loved 3 and played the heck out of it. 4 and 5 were both day-one purchases for me, but did I complete either of them? No. So how will New Dawn stand up?
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Far Cry New Dawn is a direct sequel to Far Cry 5, set 17 years after the catastrophic end-of-the-world cliffhanger of 5 but featuring new protagonists, new threats and new weapons. The game’s been crafted so you don’t need to have played Far Cry 5 to get stuck in, similar to the way Far Cry Primal didn’t require you to have a previous knowledge of the series.
Plot-wise, Far Cry New Dawn is a lot simpler than previous titles in the series, and it’s very refreshing. The simplistic you-vs-The-Twins plot is a lot more palatable than the Joseph Seed story of Far Cry 5, but narrative isn’t really what the Far Cry series is about – it’s about exploration and combat.
As always is the case with Far Cry games, New Dawn‘s battle mechanics are satisfying, solid and just the same as always. One of the only new additions is the saw gun, which shoots out sawblades that you can use to ricochet off of metal buildings, cars etc. It’s a new way to play and it requires a little more thought than a standard 9mm or AK 47.
Another new feature is Outpost Escalations, which allow you to replay your liberated outposts for extra loot. It’s a small change, but it adds a lot of replayability – something which Far Cry games normally struggle with.
You can expand your camp to unlock perks, you have the much-loved skill tree, and your For Hire buddies. Of the new For Hires, Timber the dog is definitely a fantastic addition. Despite not being a bear, Timber can take a lot of damage. Also if you’re travelling in a vehicle he’ll hop into the passenger seat next to you, and he’ll look pretty alarmed if you drive off a cliff. It’s a nice touch.
If you do happen to be driving off cliffs you’re in for a treat, because the world of New Dawn is actually really beautiful. What Far Cry 5 lacked in the diversity of its map, New Dawn seems to make up for it. You can go from barren wastelands and radioactive areas to fresh and lush greenery in a matter of minutes. It makes traversing the map a lot less tedious than in Far Cry 5, and I actually found myself enjoying the exploration elements of the game – something I haven’t had in a Far Cry game since Far Cry 3.
One common complaint in the Far Cry community that’s been cropping up since New Dawn‘s announcement is why isn’t the game just DLC instead of a AAA standalone title?
Well, to put it simply, this is a fully-realised game and not just a $15 add-on to prolong the life of Far Cry 5. It’s carefully crafted, it has a sense of humour, it’s rife with post-apocalypse angst and rebellion. It’s a new game in the way that Far Cry Primal was, and it seems to benefit from its position in the franchise’s canon.
The main games in the franchise often fall down by trying to be too much, but New Dawn is just fun. It’s not weighed down with serious narrative or huge looming worries. It’s the end of the world and it’s a playground for you to battle, discover and dominate. Unlike previous games in the series, there’s no rules and it really feels that way. In Far Cry 5 I felt like I was trespassing in Joseph Seed’s world, but in New Dawn it’s anyone’s world and anything goes.
Does Far Cry New Dawn offer enough to justify being sold at the standard AAA price? Well…yes and no. If you’ve never played any games in the series before then this is worth picking up – even at full price.
There’s a lot to see, do and kill in a game that benefits from the ever-polished and always-satisfying combat we know and love from previous Far Cry games, but if you’ve already seen all that, then there’s not too much that’s brand-brand new.
Despite looking nicer than expected, there’s not too much new meat to feast on for veteran Far Cry players. It’s still probably one of the most fun post-apocalyptic games I’ve played in a while, and I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than Far Cry 5, but this might be one to hold off on until it drops in price if you’re already experienced with the franchise.
Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft.