I want to start off this review by saying that I love this series. I’ve played all the games and loved them (yes, even Primal). So, when Far Cry New Dawn was announced, I, actually, and promptly, lost my sh*t. Far Cry 5 was an intense, wild ride and since this one took place only a few years after I was excited to see what the Ubisoft team had cooked up for Hope County. Much of this game is exactly what I wanted and left me craving for more. However, if you try and compare it to some of the other games in the series it comes of looking like a nuclear apocalypse – oh wait.

Dawn of a New Era

If you played Far Cry 5 to the very dismal end, you already know that the nukes went off in America, The Father (Joseph Seed) was right, and now we are emerging from underground to once again stand in the sunshine.

Just so you know, Far Cry New Dawn is a standalone expansion, much like Blood Dragon was for Far Cry 3. This means that playing Far Cry 5 is not a prerequisite, however, the familiarity with its core events and places does seem to enhance a players understanding and appreciation of New Dawn’s plot.

We find ourselves once again in Hope County, Montana. Seventeen years have passed, and a nuclear explosion has left the land in a post-apocalyptic wonderland. Not so much in the Fallout way. You know, where everything is some sort of greyish-green and looks like last week’s leftovers that were sitting in the sun. No, this post-apocalyptic world is bright and vibrant like unicorn poop.

Most of the story is that a small group of survivors has set up a base in an area they dubbed Prosperity. However, their safety and well-being are threatened by lawless outlaws named ‘the Highwaymen’. They are led by the Twins, a pair of sisters are mean, nasty, and bloodthirsty. You play as a silent, deadly, customizable, captain of security whose superior, Thomas Rush, gets captured by the Highwaymen.

One Major Problem

To be perfectly honest, this is where Far Cry New Dawn‘s major flaw is. Compared to Far Cry 5, the plot in which a lunatic cult leader convinces a good part of a giant county that the end is near and they need to kill everyone in order to save them. Where good vs evil sways once in a while to make you feel like maybe you aren’t doing the right thing (even though you totally are).

I desperately wanted to like the Twins, mostly because I see them as evil Tia and Tamera Mowry from Sister, Sister. However, the narrative didn’t really provide good enough characterization for me to care about them. Unfortunately, this lack of development was an issue throughout the story, as individual characters weren’t given the focus they deserved. Unlike in Far Cry 5 where I got to meet, love/hate, and kill The Family, in New Dawn it was hard for me to even care.

I wanted to learn more about Carmina Rye, whose name I barely remembered while writing this, or Thomas Rush, my superior, whom I was sent to save. There were some other returning characters that Far Cry 5 players can catch up with but it wasn’t the same. My caring for them only lasted until I helped them do whatever it was that they sent me to do.

Thankfully, the previous villain Joseph Seed does get a proper story. His role in the current state of everything is the most fascinating story thread in the game. His voice actor once again knocks it out of the park also. Witnessing what became of Seed will be one of the biggest attractions for veterans, and new players will absolutely want to go back to play.

Copy & Paste, But Make It New

The best part about making a stand-alone expansion is you already have the markers for gunplay and scenery. However, Ubisoft made it look new and wonderful. It felt like my hands never left the controller from playing Far Cry 5 and yet there were some things to get used to.

First and foremost, this is an RPG without the experience bar. Prosperity is your home base: a convenient hub for shops, workbenches, and the occasional respawning of crafting material. Players need to conquer one of the game’s ten outposts in order to produce Ethanol (the resource you use to upgrade different parts of the settlement). This will allow players to upgrade their weapons with the workbench.

However, you can do more than just craft better weapons. If you were to upgrade your infirmary, you would find that this boosts your base health. Upgrading your training camp raises the level of your companions, and so on. Essentially, your RPG-lite character progression exists in the form of your base, which you watch grow, rather than just a plain old experience bar.

The most convenient thing is, instead, of getting cash from completing missions (or looting dead people) and using said cash to buy guns from a merchant, you can now just go and craft a gun once, using a mix of components and generic resources at any workbench. The best part is it’s the same one-time transaction.

Most of the guns are cleverly designed, in the fact that the guns have that crappy apocalyptic look, because, you know, it’s post-apocalypse. Same deal with all the vehicles; you don’t buy them, you craft them. And once crafted you can always select them. Yes, I know, you could do this in the other games with money except, remember, we now live in the post-apocalypse. See? Freaking. GENIUS. Its the little details like this that make this game kind of amazing. Something that you might skip over at first glance.

A quick note about the vehicles though. There are about 300 or more ATVs scattered in the open world, which you can find easily, and use all the time, and never buy a single one. Well, except for that cool as heck Unicorn Trike that you got for preordering! That one you should absolutely buy if you didn’t get it.

Look at the bad boy! EPIC

Familiarity Always Makes It Feel Like Home

Outposts have long been my favorite part of any modern Far Cry. This is where the game lets you tackle problems on your own in the form of enemies and mostly unfamiliar terrain. Hopefully the perks and weapons you picked give you the clear advantage but sometimes it all goes to hell and you just blast your way through it all. There is no ‘real’ solution other than how you end it.

For example, I decided that I was only going to use my knife and silence to kill everyone in the camp. Needless to say, it went horribly wrong. However, I stuck to my rule. All the baddies cornered me somewhere, but I was safe from gunplay, and one by one they found their demise at my knife’s point. They stupidly continued to just shuffle into where I was and I stuck them like the pigs they were!

However, as fun as all that was, it feels like there’s much less to do in New Dawn overall. This might be in part to the game isn’t forcing some horrible gameplay mechanic on you, like those absolute terrible dogfight sequences which I never really got the hang of. So, I wouldn’t say that less, in this case, is a bad thing.

Although the open world feels a little weak at times as a result of having fewer things to do at a glance, there’s a solid amount of new, fun content in the form of Expeditions. These stand-alone missions are set in bigger, self-contained outposts, where you’re dropped off at a different part of the US. You are tasked with stealing some random package full of valuable supplies from the baddies.

They’re absolutely worth playing just to see some new locations, such as a post-apocalyptic Alcatraz Island or, my favorite one, a half-sunken amusement park. These were fun and interesting and great little maps to look at.

Overall

Far Cry New Dawn in a game that induces Stockholm Syndrome. You will be angry that it doesn’t seem the same as you remember all the other games but it grows on you. As you see all the effort and nuances that they put into the game, you will find yourself immersed in the gameplay. Even if you aren’t getting into most of the story, coming up to the parts that involve Joseph Seed will give you a new sense of purpose and love for hating someone. The Twins are forgettable compared to the Father and the Family and that’s upsetting.

Don’t go into FCND expecting some of the previous games and see it for what it is – a bright pink, post-apocalyptic, unicorn style type mess with interesting animals and scenery, that lets you kill people in many different ways with a dog by your side (Also, the saw blade launcher is the most fun weapon ever!). You won’t be disappointed for 40 bucks.


Far Cry New Dawn Review
The Good
  • Little nuances that break the RPG mold
  • The non-boring post-apocalyptic landscape
  • There is a dog!
The Bad
  • Takes a while to get into
  • The main bad guys are forgettable
  • Can feel stale
7.5Overall Score
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About The Author

John D
Chief Operating Officer

John Donadio a.k.a. SomeBeardy2Love is the COO here at GAW. He once had a show that he produced, wrote, and co-hosted called the Wide World of Games, you can probably find it on youtube. He is also a co-host on a podcast called Party Up! John is an Action-Adventurer, platformer, RPGer, and FPS kind of gamer. Quick to play any game that has magic, swordplay, and/or stealthy elements. If you can customize a character he is in it for the long haul or just give me your 2D platform and he's a happy camper. What else do you expect from a gamer with a beard and a bow tie tattoo? Seriously.