New Dawn is the brand new instalment of Ubisoft’s first person shooter franchise, Far Cry. Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, the game takes players back to Hope County but with a fresh new look and perhaps even more craziness. Years after nuclear attacks people have emerged, Fallout style, to reclaim the surface. Turning what was a realistic landscape into a vivid coloured canvas, some attempt to live peacefully. Naturally, this doesn’t last long when “The Twins” and the Highwaymen roll into town (settlement).
This less-than-friendly duo are hellbent on ridding the county of trouble makers, as they put it. Unfortunately – and unsurprisingly – for players, anyone that doesn’t agree with them is labelled a trouble maker. The main plotline starts off on the tame side with players needing ethanol for various upgrades to a settlement called Prosperity. Naturally, this settlement becomes a bit of a target before things go a tad crazy, though not to the same levels as Blood Dragon – the previous Far Cry spin off title.
The missions often sound menial but roll on into some epic staged events and action highlights. They take players across Hope County, in a variety of vehicles from sidecars to helicopters, and to some peculiar locations. Ubisoft has been extremely clever in their reusing of Hope County. Rather than attempting to hide it they have gone above and beyond to highlight it and celebrate it, with plenty of almost Easter Eggs.
From audio tapes about Wade and Cheeseburger to destroyed buildings where events occurred in Far Cry 5, the world comes with its own history. Players will be split on this, as it can at times feel a tad too samey despite depicting a stunning, vibrant landscape. Nevertheless it is different enough to be considered its own world, albeit one that players whom sunk many hours into Far Cry 5 will know well.
For those that haven’t played the previous iteration don’t let this put you off, if anything you’ll be the lucky ones. You’ll to get the thrills of those first wingsuit jumps – with or without hitting the ground. Whilst always incredible a player’s first wingsuit jump is simply exhilarating. While full of hints to Far Cry 5 you do not need to have played it to enjoy this title’s story or gameplay. The aforementioned twins are brand new, though are kind of standard video game villains. Nevertheless, they do make the cutscenes entertaining, mostly due to their over the top nuttiness and the way they play off each other. The rest of the cast are as expected from a Far Cry game, exaggerated, entertaining but none massively stand out.
Armed with a saw launching gun from the beginning of the game New Dawn’s arsenal doesn’t set out to disappoint. The awesome bow returns, yet it seems a little out of play in a game where over the top explosions fit the theming better than stealthy shots. Still, it gives players the choice of how to play. Nevertheless, aside from makeshift looks, and the odd flair like elements the weapons feel very… normal. This could have been an area that Ubisoft could dial up to 11 and get away with it in the setting. Alas, the weaponry falls into a solid good range but with nothing breathtaking.
Arsenal faults, or the lack of change, aside Far Cry New Dawn can still cram in a lot of explosive action. Even the resettable Outpost locations provide entertainment, as each time you’ll get a different experience. Harder to kill enemies, and ones of differing type, will appear to fend you off the ethanol stashes. On top of this attacking from a different direction or with different weapons provides unique challenges and experiences. Skydive into the middle of the outpost and the gunshots will ring around you very quickly, whilst rigging a car to blow whilst mortaring the Outpost sees a lot more explosions occur. Whether assisted in close quarters by Timber, a lovable dog, or Nana, an old lady who loves to sniper, New Dawn also has some allies waiting for you, and with many to choose from you can tailor the game somewhat to your playstyle – via which one you choose to team up with.
The sprinkling of perk based light RPG leveling returns and with it a very similar progression path. This is another element that the developers could have gone to town on to further distance New Dawn from its predecessor. Alas, players will still have to wait to use a grappling hook, the wingsuit and even fish. The opportunity to make players feel like a badass from the beginning even with only these abilities available to them, not even the ability to carry multiple weapons, would have fitted the over the top apocalyptic motocross theme perfectly… it just hasn’t been captured.
Far Cry New Dawn offers a solid gaming experience, full of vivid slightly familiar landscapes, a fun range of weapons and an appropriately crazy pair of sisters to go up against. Hours of entertainment are packed in whether you’ve visited Hope County before the nukes went off or not, with the easter eggs really great touches for fans of the series. However, New Dawn and the transformation of Hope County offered more hope on what the game could be. More could have been changed and surprisingly, given the epic craziness that was Blood Dragon, the insane dial hasn’t been cranked up enough.
[Editor’s Note: Far Cry New Dawn was provided to us by Ubisoft for the review.]
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