The Far Cry series has offered some incredible stories, locales, and gameplay over the years. I began my Far Cry journey back in Far Cry 3, then moved on to Far Cry 4, and thoroughly enjoyed Far Cry 5. So when I found out that Far Cry 5 was getting a direct sequel of sorts, I was excited. I loved the story of Joseph Seed, the Seed family, and Hope County, so I was eager to hop back into this world after that intense and unexpected ending from Far Cry 5.
Far Cry New Dawn takes place 17 years after the end of Far Cry 5. After the survivors of the bombs hid underground for years, they finally made their way back to the surface. They slowly started rebuilding their communities in order to regain some semblance of their former lives. The surrounding land has been transformed into a mesh of tattered remnants of the former civilization and the bursting bloom of nature as it grew without constraints. Life seemed to be getting better until the Twins and the Highwaymen arrived. They decided that they wanted these people’s lives and came to take it for themselves. The Twins claimed “if we can’t take it, we’ll break it,” and they terrorized this group. After some time, a man named Thomas Rush, who has been helping rebuild communities across the country, was contacted by Carmina, a member of the Prosperity community. He has hired you as a bodyguard to head to Prosperity, along with his team of experts, but things go horribly wrong as you are arriving. This is where the story begins.
Far Cry New Dawn follows the same general idea of the recent Far Cry games in terms of missions, side quests, guns for hire, and combat. For those who loved the way this was handled before, especially in Far Cry 5, then you’ll be happy. You’ll be exploring an open world where you can choose to venture out to complete side tasks or focus primarily on the story missions. I, for one, couldn’t resist wandering out into the world to see what there was to offer. In games like this, I tend to start a side activity and get pulled into a chain of other events that takes hours of my time before I’ve realized it. That’s not a bad thing by any means; in fact, it shows how well this game has done at engaging me and keeping me playing. I had a hard time putting the demo down while I was at the preview event and can’t wait to play more.
The main story of the game involves you working together with the members of Prosperity to defend their home from the Highwaymen and help those who have been harmed by them. Besides the story, you’ll have the option to go out and save specialists that are in trouble throughout the world. Some of them will come offer more help at the base, while others can fight in the field as guns for hire. Early on, I saved a fierce yet adorable dog named Timber. Timber acts as a scout that can mark enemies and even take them down if directed to do so. I also had access to Carmina, who acted as a partner to gun down enemies. You can choose to go solo, but having a partner can help immensely.
Speaking of combat, the gunplay and movement feel so fast and fluid. Being able to quickly swap weapons with some fast button presses in the middle of combat makes you feel like a badass. For example, one time I ran at an enemy gunning them down with an SMG, then immediately swapped to my shotgun and blasted a guy running around the corner to back up his buddy. Carrying multiple types of weapons enables more variety in combat, which will help a lot. I didn’t find a bow and arrow, but I’m hoping it’s in the game somewhere. That being said, I did get access to a brutal saw blade gun. It launched saw blades that would shred enemies, and if it didn’t shred something, it bounced off of it. This lets you perform bank shots to hit enemies from behind or the side, which is especially useful against shielded enemies. On the less noisy side of things, stealth takedowns are as satisfying and visceral as ever. You get the best of both worlds.
Now, there is one major change to this game, and that is the importance of ethanol. Ethanol has replaced gas as the main fuel supply, and is necessary in order to upgrade various parts of your camp, including the garage, workshop, training camp, infirmary, and more. As you upgrade different aspects of the camp and save specialists, you can upgrade Prosperity as a whole. This is important both in terms of story and gameplay. Ethanol is also needed in order to perform expeditions, which involve the town’s pilot flying you out to designated locations in order to complete activities and gather supplies such as ethanol, titanium, and more. Other tasks that help you obtain materials are finding and liberating outposts, which are always a blast. After liberating an outpost, you have the option to scavenge it for more ethanol, but that causes the outpost to be retaken and defended by tougher enemies. It’s a great choice to offer more replayability, challenge, and resources.
Speaking of tough enemies, they now have different ranks now, with higher ranked enemies being able to take more punishment and dish out more damage. This means you need to be more careful when taking on foes. Fortunately you’ll earn perk points and are able to upgrade your character as you play. This includes enhancements such as the ability to perform takedowns on higher ranked enemies, having increased ammo capacity, increasing the number of weapons you can carry, and a lot more. You’ll get stronger and better as you play.
Finally, my most anticipated part of this addition to the franchise. I said before that this was a sequel to Far Cry 5, and that means anyone who played that entry will be hit with nostalgia in New Dawn. You’ll get to see the remnants of a once vibrant county that you visited months ago, reunite with some characters that fought by your side, and even find out what became of the madman known as Joseph Seed. This connected story makes me more excited to jump into the full game upon release and find out how the story ends. From my time with Far Cry New Dawn, I’m extremely confident that it will be another fantastic entry in the franchise and I can’t wait to play it more. Far Cry New Dawn is set to release February 15th on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.