Far Cry series has always been about fun gunplay (no, not you Primal) and interesting villains.
Where every Far Cry game has had a different setting, story and lead, New Dawn picks up 17 years after the explosive ending of Far Cry 5. Making it a promising sequel but also a fan service-ish spin-off.
So, for two grand less than what you’d usually pay for a full game, is this spin-off a worthy Far Cry title? Let’s shed some light on New Dawn.
Humans have surfaced from their underground bunkers after the devastating nuclear attack that plunged the world into a post-apocalyptic era. So no internet (eep), but it's not a horror game. In fact, nature has taken its course and enveloped Hope County with lush greenery and blue waters. Although, the remnants of past destruction are still evident all over the map.
With nature taking its course, the super bloom has covered every nook and cranny under its roots and even mutated a few animals. It looks very beautiful but also dreary in some places. We played it on our 4K test bench and surprisingly the game doesn’t keep up with a 60 framerate at all times even on the Nvidia RTX 2080Ti. Explosions and fire do look exceptionally good like all Far Cry games and we were just playing on High settings. Far Cry New Dawn is not a graphical benchmark but you’d be surprised how easily the colour palette can affect your mood while playing. Much like Bioshock’s weird setting, New Dawn’s pink-plastered world might be etched into your memory for a good time.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
Much of Far Cry’s combat remains the same but there are a few welcome tweaks that make the game much more enjoyable. Guns and enemies have three levels with distinct colours to tell them apart. So, for instance, shooting at a level three enemy with a level one weapon will do as little damage as throwing paper balls at a glass window. Same level or a level higher weapon might probably even kill the enemy in a single shot (We are looking at you Bow). This adds value in upgrading your base which we will come to in a bit.
Shooting enemies also give you damage count. Headshots reap more damage and body shots sting slightly lesser. Sneaking around and climbing places are still instilled into this post-apocalyptic shooter but with the omission of Radio Towers. Far Cry 5 scrapped the tower system and New Dawn is sticking with it. We like this because it gives you the freedom to explore and uncover the map at will. Meanwhile, random survivors will give you treasure information that nudges you to stray from the main goal quite often.
Believe it or not, Far Cry New Dawn feels like Ubisoft is taking calculative steps towards tweaking the Far Cry dynamic but without completely overhauling the formula. RPG elements like damage count, weapon levels and enemy levels are flushed out and laid neatly to add a sense of difficulty with progression. This is similar to what Ubisoft did with Assassin’s Creed Origins and Odyssey. So if more RPG elements are creeping up in the future titles, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Albeit, what I really care about in a Far Cry game is its holy trifecta: A compelling lore, a properly fleshed out antagonist and an intriguing setting. All of which was present in Far Cry 3, which still happens to be one of my favourite games of all time. However, New Dawn stumbles on the antagonist part.
The campaign is roughly 10-12 hours which leaves little room to allow character development. In those numbered ticks, you’re greeted by the twins more than once and although they’re not half bad, they don’t even come close to Far Cry’s own triumphant evil king: Vaas from Far Cry 3 or even Joseph Seed from Far Cry 5 to some extent. You would think that after sheltering yourself for years from nuclear radiation the first thing you’d want is to check Twitter and update your Instagram bio but nope, Far Cry is all set to feed you bullets. Courtesy Mickey and Lou. The bullet-feeding twins that lead the Highwaymen and destroy hope. Literally and figuratively.
The rundown portion of Hope County map is nice and tight for a spin-off title which would most likely interest curious minds coming from Far Cry 5. Much like the Mad Max movie, a weird concoction of vehicles and weapons are welded together. There are trucks with car shells welded on top on which a machine gun turret is placed. Ya, let that sink in.
Outposts offer replayability and let you attack again with increased difficulty. You can either salvage them for resources and attack again to gain more resources or keep it liberated to allow fast travel. Almost all of these places taken over by the Highwaymen are covered in graffiti, and it looks nice but makes you wonder how much paint and talent they must have collected.
The plot kicks into motion when you and your merry band are travelling to Hope County to aid the people in need. You, a tight-lipped figure as usual (typical Far Cry), are taken to Prosperity by a woman who came seeking your help to rid the land of Highwaymen and also start civilization afresh. Things go wrong and now it’s up to you and the few other survivors at Prosperity to survive and overcome gun-firing atrocities.
Like any cliché post-apocalyptic setting, salvaging and collecting resources is a very important part of survival. Especially if you want to live peacefully around a bunch of wacky motorheads donning FMX outfits that will put a RedBull biker to shame. Think of Mad Max with a lot of pink and you’re almost there.
Survival comes in the shape of salvaging materials and resources that are quite abundant but many upgrades inside Prosperity require a mix of them. Ethanol is the key resource for upgrading your base in order to unlock higher level gear and guns. You can get ethanol when you take an enemy outpost or simply hijack an ethanol truck in the open world. We do miss the hijacking feature from the previous Far Cry games where you could jump from one car to another. There are even offshore missions that take you to remote places like a US military ship swarming with Highwaymen and your objective is to retrieve a package which rewards you with plenty of resources, even the rare ones.
Far Cry New Dawn is a good spin-off for returning Far Cry 5 fans. It's short and crisp which makes it feel like a really big DLC. Most of that is because the story and the antagonist, areas in which Far Cry series excel, don’t deliver on their front.
The gameplay and setting feel overused even with a post-apocalyptic tone and there’s a feeling of boredom to it no matter how loud the pink colour seems. But it’s a Far Cry game alright and people who wish to see it through will enjoy it regardless.
As we mentioned earlier, Ubisoft might take down notes for the next Far Cry game and hopefully reinvigorate the series with the aforementioned trifecta or completely overhaul the series, who knows. New Dawn doesn’t bring anything special to the table but it doesn’t do anything bad either. It’s a mixed bag and if you’re a hardcore Far Cry fan, jump right in but if you’re in a tight spot, wait for it to go on sale.