The Far Cry fan community has never been more divided than it is at this moment. One must only look at the comment section on any article or video leading up to the release of Far Cry New Dawn to make this determination for themselves. The dissension in the ranks began somewhere between the releases of 2014’s Far Cry 4 and 2016’s Far Cry Primal. The tepid reaction to the former could be written off to the expectation set after the success and now legacy of Far Cry 3 while the latter just seemed like the franchise was out of ideas.
But it was the release of Far Cry 5 last year that got the most mixed reactions with some, such as me, calling it a landmark achievement for the series. Whereas others declared the series dead on arrival and never gave it a real chance. Therefore, when Far Cry New Dawn was announced at the 2018 Video Game Awards and it was made clear that it was more of a hyper DLC pack than a new Far Cry game, the vitriol hurled towards it was more nuclear than the surprise ending of Far Cry 5.
The gripes of microtransactions, DLC content, and other heated discussions in the gaming community will be excluded from this review and the focus will be entirely on the content of Far Cry New Dawn. The reasoning behind that is this is a great extension to Far Cry 5 that anyone who enjoyed that game must give a try.
It was met with shocking replies when it was made clear to the Fan Cry community that Joseph Seed was indeed my favorite Far Cry villain yet and this, combined with the narrative and gameplay, made Far Cry 5 my favorite entry into the series. Without going full spoiler, the ending was the only part of the game that bothered me. Therefore, when the premise behind New Dawn was revealed to be the same map as Far Cry 5 but with some aesthetic changes, I blew the game off as a cheap re-skin and not worthy of my time. But, being a big fan of the series and loving their last entry, this didn’t last.
After roughly 20 hours of gameplay, I’m here to tell you that I was wrong. Very wrong. From the very beginning, it’s clear that the ending of Far Cry 5 had a purpose and that you were going to get the direct conclusion of that story and this was very much a welcome discovery. Taking place 17 years after that game, Hope County is changed, but still familiar to those who spent the 50 hours of discovery in it’s hills. There are familiar faces, too, but they are now aged and damaged due to the events that took place. Basically, it feels like a homecoming for fans of the previous releases.
The game is not merely a re-skin, as the crafting system is changed, and the Guns for Hire system has been tweaked. The supporting cast is fun as usual, and the missions contain very little filler. Since the story in 5 was so strong, that’s a strength here as well. The details will be restrained here because it’s tough to do so without spoiling the events in the last game and getting more people to go back and play it is still a personal goal of mine.
In the end, if you did not like Far Cry 5, New Dawn isn’t going to be the game to convert you. In fact, I’d recommend against it if you didn’t play 5. This ties in directly and the narrative will be quite confusing to a new viewer. The strength of any Far Cry game usually falls on its villain and that is where the first real hit for me against the game comes in. The Twins are more of a comic book cliché than Far Cry villains and though the team at Ubisoft do their best to make them menacing (i.e. pulling the pin on a grenade and telling a toddler not to drop it), they just feel forced most of the time. However, there are enough plot twists in here that you’ll see why Ubisoft chose the marketing campaign that they did.
If you enjoyed Far Cry 5, you’re going to love this game. With that said, waiting for a sale would be recommended and not paying full price for what doesn’t feel like a full game. With about 20 hours in, it doesn’t feel like the end is on the horizon, but I’m also a very thorough open world player and feel like the main story could be completed in about a dozen hours. A $20 price point would have been the best choice for this since it feels bigger than a traditional DLC pack, but not enough to justify a full release. If you haven’t played Far Cry 5 yet, there are bundle deals available that include both games and I would recommend that to the fullest.
The Verdict – 8.3/10
The Good – Story, returning faces, new crafting system
The Bad – Short by comparison, mediocre villains
The Ugly – Even on a top end PC, there is a lot of texture pop-in on the sandbox
Mike is basing his review off the PC version of Far Cry New Dawn