It had only been a couple of months since my first visit to Hope County and the fictional Montana landscape of Far Cry 5. I was thrilled to discover that game creators, Ubisoft, were giving their audience a chance to continue the adventure, in their latest title of the series: Far Cry New Dawn. In a step away from their usual format, Ubisoft have opted to create an exciting and compelling sequel, in which our main protagonist can revisit Hope County, (spoiler alert) 17 years after a global nuclear catastrophe forced its surviving inhabitants deep underground. It seems Joseph Seed was right all along.
During the opening sequence of Far Cry New Dawn, we find ourselves involved in a horrific train crash. Thrown into chaos during the dead of night, we are attacked by the games main enemy, known only as “Highwaymen”. These bandits, like in any post apocalyptic movie you have ever watched (or game you have ever played), are groups of survivors whose moral compass have been long forgotten in their bid to survive by any means necessary.
The first thing we notice is the addition of Health Bars floating above our enemies heads, as well as numbered hit markers, which inform us of of the amount of damage we are causing with each successful hit. Although at first this seemed out of place, especially when compared to previous Far Cry titles, once we learn about the weapon and enemy leveling system, this new direction makes perfect sense.
In New Dawn, not every enemy and weapon are created equal. Each of these are now ranked 1-3, or Elite. The higher the level of the enemy, the harder it is to hurt them, especially if your weapon has a lower rank than they do.
You can tell an enemy’s rank at a distance simply by looking at them: You’ll see their segmented health bars, a coloured icon with their rank number in roman numerals and a little gold crown icon if they are an Elite level.
Your weapons have ranks, too, which determine how effective they are against the rank of your enemies.
During the first tutorial mission of New Dawn, we also discover an entirely new crafting system. Makeshift weaponry can be crafted from looted items. From assault rifles, held together with duct tape and string, to the infamous Saw Launcher – New Dawn gives us a real sense that everything in this new world will have to be rebuilt and adapted in order to survive.
Craftable materials seem to be in abundance, and unlocking certain treasure maps, allow you to pinpoint the best place to find the resources you require. Ubisoft have managed to find a fantastic balance between crafting and looting that won’t leave you feeling confused or frustrated when you are a few resources short of creating the gun of your dreams.
As we step away from the tutorial and into the new world, with the sun shining and (presumably mutated) birds singing, the first thing we notice is that Ubisoft’s reimagining of a post apocalyptic world, is not the usual brown and barren wasteland we have seen before. Instead, we are greeted with a rich and vibrant landscape of colour and foliage.
there is colour as far as the eye can see and it is truly breathtaking
While mankind cowered in darkness underground, nature regained control and thrived. Brightly coloured foliage grows on every surface, even into the hides of thicker skinned animals.
Any surface unclaimed by nature has instead been marked by the Highwaymen in the form of neon graffiti, presumably marking their territory. This means there is colour as far as the eye can see and it is truly breathtaking.
For those who have wandered these lands before in Far Cry 5, there is a side quest to revisit notable locations from the previous game. There are also notes mentioning characters and events from our previous experience on this terrain adding to the lore that surrounds the two games.
I headed North East and was instantly faced with an Elite Mutant Buffalo. Although the ranking systems means enemies will become harder, the deeper into the land you travel, it was great to see that randomised levels existed in different parts of the world. Not one to turn down a fight, I instantly fired a spinning saw blade towards the beasts pulsating weak spot. The health bar hardly dropped and within seconds I was trampled to death. Curiosity does indeed kill the cat.
Led by Kim Rye from Far Cry 5, the Survivors have established a home base, where children are safe and the community can prosper. The production of ethanol becomes a priority, fuelling farm vehicles and machinery, and keeping transport on the move. As resources are harvested, you upgrade your settlement, unlocking new weapons, vehicles and more.
Ethanol is mainly found though outposts, which in a new game mechanic, can be scavenged for a quick ethanol bost. Scavenged Outposts are then re-claimed by increasingly higher-level Highwaymen, who reinforce the facilities while improving the alarm systems and patrols. Retaking and rescavaging these Outposts yield high rewards.
You can also gain Ethanol by returning fuel trucks to your home base or by embarking on Expeditions to exotic parts of the United States. These are essentially smash-and-grab missions with infinite waves of enemies.
My initial thoughts of Far Cry New Dawn are positive ones and some of the negative points which I have read elsewhere, to me, seem like sensable design choices.
Traveling is slower than previous versions that share the Far Cry title, vehicles are scarce, which seems right for the setting. With fast travel being an unlockable feature, you are forced to walk through the beautiful and vibrant landscape. There is so much going on in the world that surrounds you, walking is the most rewarding (although time consuming) way to reach your next destination.
The main antagonists in Far Cry New Dawn – siblings Mickey and Lou are the twin daughters the Highwaymen founder. Although at this point I have only crossed paths with them twice, there characters seem deep enough to truly become invested in taking them down. They’ve grown used to civilians surrendering on sight and could shape up as truly formidable foes.
The Perk system seems largely unchanged from Far Cry 5, as does the Guns for Hire aspect of the game. I guess, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
Many critics have claimed that New Dawn is just a recycled copy of Far Cry 5. This is an unfair representation of what is shaping up to be a thoroughly entertaining game with exciting new mechanics. Yes, the map is the same as before, but it’s been reimagined in an almost nostalgic way, and for the current price tag of £35.99, nobody should be complaining.