Far Cry New Dawn Review
I usually do my best to avoid any story spoilers, but when providing context for Far Cry New Dawn, that seems a near impossible task. So here we go, an official Spoiler Alert: At the end of Far Cry 5, a nuclear weapon is detonated over Hope County. This sets in motion a chain of events that lead to New Dawn, set 17 years into the post-apocalyptic life of the same region. A new threat has emerged and taken control of the region, and once again it is up to us to stop them.
Far Cry New Dawn, for the most part, sticks to the now-standard Far Cry franchise theme, but with a few pleasant twists. There are still outposts to capture, but now they have multiple tiers, each of which grows considerably in difficulty and rewards you accordingly for capturing it. There are still guns for hire, but now they unlock certain abilities as you use them and they rack up kills. I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I am sure the game will receive criticism for not ‘breaking the mold’, it by no means lacks improvements or change.
The biggest change, for me, is the lack of money. Money means nothing in the apocalypse, so instead, you must barter for resources. Everything you build or ‘buy’ will cost you resources. There are generally two ways to gain resources. There are limited ways to make huge amounts of resources at once like Capturing an outpost or looting a stash. As these are finite, the game also offers ways of slowly collecting unlimited resources. This mostly involves hunting a specific type of wildlife whose pelt can then be traded for the resource in question. This is a refreshing twist as it makes you focus a little more on what resources you have, need and are spending most quickly to ensure you don’t get locked out of higher-tier equipment later on.
One of the other major changes introduced in Far Cry New Dawn is the Homebase. Your homebase includes a wide variety of facilities, which can each be brought from Tier 0 up to Tier 3. These facilities provide a range of benefits including the ability to build new weapons, unlocking expeditions (more on those later), increasing your maximum health and more. Each of these upgrades will require you to have a specific Homebase level, which can be raised by building facilities and hiring specialists. Specialists are visible on the map and, like guns for hire, will require you to complete a mission before they join your cause.
The Tier system in Far Cry New Dawn does add a very real element of challenge and strategy to the game. Everything including enemy outposts, your buildings, your weapons, hostile wildlife and expeditions have a tier ranking. This allows you to, at a glance, determine the relative difficulty of your task to your current ability. If you are staring at a Tier 3 outpost with nothing but Tier 1 weaponry, it’s probably best to keep walking. Conversely, if you’ve rushed Tier 3 weaponsmith (your facility in charge of weapon unlocking) and have a killer rifle, you can expect to have a pretty easy time with a Tier 1 or 2 expedition.
The last major change to come to Far Cry New Dawn is the addition of Expeditions. These are standalone missions that completely remove you from Hope County. Instead, you are dropped into a foreign environment with a mission to complete. You must infiltrate an enemy stronghold, secure a package, and escape to the extraction zone where you must survive until your ride shows up. Each mission completion will reward you with a cache of rare resources, so they are well worth your time.
Aside from these game-changing additions, Far Cry New Dawn boasts beautiful scenery (finally, a post-apocalyptic game with colour!), mutated wildlife (orange moose, anyone?) and improvised firearms. While the saw-blade launcher is hands down the most entertaining weapon to use in the game (who doesn’t want to see their missed shot ricochet to kill 2 bad guys at once?), using it makes you painfully aware that it is the only truly non-tradition weapon available to our post-apocalyptic hero.
Speaking of weapons, fans who got used to weapon modification in the previous game better prepare themselves for some disappointment. While New Dawn features multiple versions of the same weapon, you aren’t ever given the chance to modify it as you like. You can simply build the newer version as Ubisoft has set it for you. As a fan of deep weapon modding (I’m talking everything down to flash hiders, pistol grips and gas tubes), the complete removal of this aspect from the game is a definitely let down. To make matters worse, the damage changes so unrealistically with each upgraded version of a weapon, you wonder why they didn’t just use new weapons altogether. Apparently slapping on a new paint job and duct taping a screwdriver as a bayonet triples the damage output of an AR-C. Who knew?
These issues are rarely noticeable, however, as you will likely be to busy hunting mutant deer and blowing up outposts to focus on why you couldn’t pick a slightly different scope than the one on your rifle. And while the game is slightly shorter than FC5 (think 15-25 hours for a full experience, less if you rush story and more if you 100%), it provides more than enough value and entertainment for fans of the series to strongly consider grabbing a copy.