GameItAll's review of the game Far Cry New Dawn
Feb 27, 2019
Before saying anything about Far Cry New Dawn, I think it’s appropriate to quickly pick apart things of Far Cry 5 which I found didn’t work, because after all; with New Dawn being not only a spin-off title but a direct sequel to the events of the last game, it has the opportunity to fix some things.

For me, that is Far Cry 5’s dullness. It felt like Far Cry 5 had a problem of not knowing how to move the series forward and rather went for the shock and awe of moving the series to America and facing off against a doomsday cult which during the first announcement of the game, made it look like it would be a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the things that the world sees wrong with the US. Instead, the game chose not to offend anyone and didn’t really offer any commentary, giving us shallow bad guys who hardly get fleshed out, an upgrade system that felt like you were not rewarded for unlocking abilities, and no real threat of the environment you were in.

Although, the setting was still super pretty and the Far Cry Arcade was one of the best Level Editor and content share tools created.

This brings us to Far Cry New Dawn, as mentioned; a spin-off and a direct sequel to Far Cry 5 set 17 years after “The Collapse” which saw nuclear bombs falling on America. Moving away from the gloom and doom of the Apocalypse, we’re instead given a Super-Bloom, where new plants and wildlife can grow and live in harsh environments. Still, it brings the question of if Ubisoft Montreal’s team was able to fix the problems of Far Cry 5 or did the apocalypse add more issues.

In Far Cry New Dawn, you take control of the Captain of Security for a group of people who are experts in building settlements. Guided to Hope County by Carmina Rye, the daughter of Far Cry 5’s Gun for Hire Nick Rye, the train is ambushed by a new faction called The Highwaymen, lead by the twins – Mickey and Lou. The Highwaymen kill everyone and loot the train, leaving you to fend for yourself as you join the settlement of Prosperity, now tasked to help the settlement in a similar fashion to the Deputy in Far Cry 5.

New Dawn brings back several characters from Far Cry 5 who survived “the Collapse” but it’s likely you’ll see them in a different role. For example, Pastor Jerome – who serve as a mission giver is now a Gun for Hire, the Olympic sniper Grace Armstrong and Nick Rye are now Specialists who manage upgrades for Prosperity. Missions to retrieve these people are treated like side missions that will later unlock further story quests as you upgrade your home base. This brings us to some of the major changes to Far Cry formula which I have a love/hate relationship with. While most of the game remains the same as you travel the new slimmed down Hope County, gunfights are now driven by a light RPG system. Everything from enemies, guns, outposts, allies and wildlife has a level system to judge how difficult they’ll be to take down. The system is simple as everything starts at rank 1, moving up via upgrades to rank 2, three and eventually Elite.

This system allows The Highwaymen to become bullet-sponges, nothing is more frustrating than attempting to clear an outpost from afar with a sniper rifle only to have the bullets feel like they’re made of rubber and bounce off your target. This also makes the stealth action of the game completely useless, as to do take downs on higher ranked opponents requires you to unlock the ability via the Perk System, which brought back the lacklustre system introduced in Far Cry 5.

However with stealth out of the picture, it does make the gun-play shine despite the bullet-sponge issue. Heavier weapons like shot-guns and non-stealth associated guns really get their chance to shine here and are almost a necessary piece of equipment thanks to the new RPG rules. In a way, you almost have to think of playing Borderlands instead of everything that Far Cry has lived up to be since its 3rd iteration.

One of the better aspects of Far Cry, taking outposts, does get an upgrade in New Dawn as you can take down an outpost and abandon it so that the Highwaymen can take it back, but with bigger and stronger numbers. Attempting to take these areas back gives you more Ethanol which can be used to upgrade Prosperity, making it a necessary process in the game. Upgrades will allow you to move up with better health, weapons, new crafting materials and more.

We’re also introduced to Expeditions, which will have you travelling via helicopter to various locations across America to fight the Highwaymen and steal their supplies. This works similar to outposts but offers a change of pace and scenery almost in a similar fashion to Far Cry 5’s Arcade mode, giving a much-needed injection of fun to the game.

That’s not to say that the apocalyptic Hope County isn’t pretty. Montana after the Super-Bloom still looks great, with plenty of new wildflowers and wildlife to impress, then again, this is Far Cry we’re talking about; a game that prides itself on its environmental work since the first game back in the early 2000’s so it’s not unusual to say that everything is nice to look at.

If there was one damning thing to say about Far Cry New Dawn, it is with its customization, or rather, the lack of customization. Far Cry New Dawn offers the ability to make your own character for use in co-op multiplayer, but does give you the opportunity to see your character after capturing outposts. That being said, there is only a limited amount of clothes which range from ripped flannel shirt, to dirty wife-beater, to a pink unicorn onesie. There isn’t much of an option here to really make your character your own.

Worst yet, guns are not customizable. This was the most disappointing as it could have been the saving grace of the game given the RPG elements. Rather than having the ability to customize your guns the way you would like to – by giving different handles, stocks, barrel and so forth; instead we’re given a dedicated set of guns that are only unlocked based on the level of the home base. This forces you to craft the higher weapons despite not liking the specific scope, or not having the silencer or extended mag that would help you fight off the Highwaymen and doing a dedicated amount of damage for each weapon. It’s a very anti-RPG system in a game that suddenly decided that it needed RPG elements.

With forgettable villains, a forgettable story, and a system that makes the game feel more like a chore than crazy fun, I wholeheartedly cannot recommend Far Cry New Dawn even at the out of the gate discounted price. New Dawn had the opportunity to be a great spin-off like Blood Dragon or Primal, as the apocalyptic background lends itself for plenty of craziness to be involved and the over-serious tone of Far Cry 5 left us wanting that craziness back, but the game took away the feeling of evolving to become the badass we want to be by adding an unnecessary levelling system and RPG elements.

Hopefully, Ubisoft will take a step back and take what works in this spin-off and bring us back to a proper Far Cry title for the next entry, even if it is another over the top spin-off.

This review was originally posted at https://gameitall.com/far-cry-new-dawn-review/