Far Cry fans rejoice—Ubisoft is starting off 2019 with another dose of that familiar outpost-clearing, animal hunting, frantic first-person shooter action. Far Cry New Dawn returns to the American Northwest with the series’ familiar gameplay mechanics and a few new tricks as well. Get ready to stomp some bandits and a few beasts too as the ultimate crafty outdoors-person you’ve likely ever seen.
Far Cry New Dawn Details
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Genre: Action-adventure, first-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Welcome to the new world
Far Cry New Dawn follows a long tradition of Ubisoft re-skinning a its mainline Far Cry releases with a new coat of paint and a few gameplay twists. The first was Blood Dragon, which took Far Cry 3 into an electric neon 80’s Sci-Fi tribute—complete with Michael Biehn as the protagonist. Next, Far Cry Primal took the map from Far Cry 4 and sent players back to the stone age to hunt mammoths and clash with rival tribes.
This makes Far Cry New Dawn the natural successor to the 2018 hit Far Cry 5. Once again Ubisoft takes the mainline entry and puts a unique spin on its familiar aesthetic design and game mechanics. This is the first time however that the story spins off directly from the ending of the previous game.
Picking up where we left off
Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the ending of Far Cry 5—although at this point if you have any idea what Far Cry New Dawn is about, that ship has long since sailed. The game picks up 17 years after nuclear war has devastated North America. Hope County, Montana is once again the setting, but while many landmarks are still somewhat intact, the scenery looks very different indeed.
Hope County has been razed and reborn. Once familiar buildings have been overgrown and even partially buried. Nature is thriving, but thanks to survival of the fittest the local fauna are stronger than ever. The pervasive flora also takes on flashy, brilliant hues—often seen as a message (or warning!) of strength and possibly toxicity in nature.
In Far Cry New Dawn you’ll play as The Captain, a member of an elite team restoring order and prosperity across the west coast. Your reputation precedes you, but of course nothing goes as planned in Hope County. The team is ambushed and nearly wiped out entirely upon arrival.
It isn’t the fanatic cult led by Joseph Seed causing all the commotion this time around however. Instead a group of bandits known as The Highwaymen have seized power and established a reign of terror and mayhem across the land.
The Hope County sect of The Highwaymen are led by twin sisters Mickey and Lou. With a lust for power and a penchant for violence, the twins have subjugated the population and created a horrific dystopia. Your task is to take them down and restore peace and prosperity for all.
There are a few gameplay mechanics that fans expect from a Far Cry game, and naturally Far Cry New Dawn delivers. There are plenty of outposts to liberate, and this time the can be reset indefinitely—becoming more difficult but offering even greater rewards. Since clearing outposts is a fan-favourite gameplay loop, this adds a fantastic level of replayability to the game.
There are plenty of other familiar side activities as well. You can unlock eight new AI companions as guns-for-hire. The map is also once again peppered with treasure stashes that offer simple puzzle challenges to enter. The resources and rewards inside are well-worth the effort. And of course as always there are plenty of animals to hunt, fish to catch, and weapons and vehicles to play with throughout the game.
Although most of the gameplay in Far Cry New Dawn is standard for the franchise, it does try to introduce a few new elements. The key innovation is the base system, which leans on an RPG-like system of collecting materials and upgrading different aspects of your operation. Certainly the seed of this system was apparent in Far Cry Primal, but New Dawn really takes the idea to the next level.
Materials are collected in a number of ways. They can be scavenged from key locations across the map, and some can be stripped from enemies as well. The fastest way to earn base upgrade materials however is by participating in another new addition to Far Cry New Dawn: Expeditions.
Expeditions take players off the main map to smaller closed-off areas. Here you can compete in extraction operations designed around infiltrating an enemy stronghold to retrieve packages. Success will lead to veritable riches in the form of crafting materials necessary for purchasing base, vehicle, and weapon upgrades.
Expeditions, just like the main campaign, can be done with a partner—and I definitely recommend doing so if you are able. Some of the best times I had with Far Cry New Dawn were had when making Extractions a co-op affair. Whether taking a stealth approach or going in guns blazing, teamwork makes this aspect of the game a joy.
Sadly, the nuclear fallout didn’t kill and programming bugs that may plague Far Cry New Dawn. I didn’t encounter many, but I will say that the missions in the game definitely did not go through the same level of polish as Far Cry 5. In one side quest alone I encountered 2 separate mission breaking bugs that led me to have to restart.
This is not to say that the game is significantly buggy. Glitches are far from a regular occurrence. That said, I do suspect that New Dawn simply didn’t receive polish on the same level as its mainline predecessor.
Far Cry New Dawn bring more engaging shooter action to Hope County with a post-apocalyptic twist
Far Cry New Dawn is pretty much the game I both wanted and expected it to be. There’s plenty more of the familiar action I love. Between clearing outposts, going on expeditions, and doing a little relaxing hunting and fishing too, I was more than happy to spend another 20 hours or so in Montana.
The game could benefit from a bit more quality control, but perhaps it’s not surprising that it’s not quite at the level of Far Cry 5 given the bargain price point. I do still appreciate that Ubisoft regularly gives us these amusing dalliances between core releases of the series.
+ The ability to reset outposts
+ Base upgrade system
– A few mission bugs
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF FAR CRY NEW DAWN
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5