Post apocalyptic worlds are typically fantastic settings for action games, especially in the FPS genre. The ending of Far Cry 5 created the perfect scenario for that type of world to be created. That destruction led to the events of Far Cry New Dawn, where survivors of the devastating bombing are trying to rebuild society and live their lives.
The town of Prosperity was formed in the hopes that the residents of Hope County could start over. Unfortunately, our antagonists (the Twins and the Highwaymen) like what the people have built and want it for themselves. The Twins live by two mottos: “You’re either a problem maker or a problem solver,” and “If we can’t take it, then we’ll break it.” This mindset makes the Twins a set of tyrannical dictators that torture and ruin the lives of everyone in Hope County. Even after the train full of specialists crashed, leaving you and Thomas Rush as the only survivors, you’ll need to gear up to take down the Twins and their hordes of fighters.
The story of Far Cry New Dawn is simple yet satisfying, albeit a bit cliché. For those looking for a long story, I have some bad news: There are only around 22 story missions, so if you focus purely on the story, it might not take you too long. That being said, there is a plethora of side activities that will give you hours and hours of playtime. For veterans of the Far Cry series, you already know that a lot of the fun of these games is in the exploration, side activities, and working to become a badass. You can find side activities on your own or from the help of the residents; getting a helpful hint from a friendly face is pretty great.
Side activities include side quests that unlock guns for hire members or new specialists, outposts, treasure hunts, and expeditions. Guns for hire members act as partners to help you fight in Hope County, but you can only have one member join you at a time. I say member because they aren’t all people; in fact, there’s a dog named Timber and a boar named Horatio (perhaps as a nod to Far Cry 5’s recruitable Cheeseburger the bear). To name a few more, there’s an old lady sniper named Nana and a hunter named Judge.
The treasure hunts and expeditions are extremely helpful methods of getting materials. Materials are used to craft more powerful guns, ammo, throwable weapons, medkits, and more. Some materials are more common, like copper wire and duct tape, while others like titanium and carbon fiber need to be collected from safes, high difficulty activities, or even some dangerous animals. Treasure hunts also tend to reward you with perk magazines, which give you extra perk points. Expeditions cost ethanol to go on, but if you succeed, you’ll come back with a bundle of rare materials. They may be grab and go missions, but be ready for a fight or you could be wiped out.
Ethanol is a key aspect of the new societies in Hope County. Storywise, it’s the fuel that powers vehicles and machines, but gameplay-wise, it’s needed in order to upgrade various areas of Prosperity and to go on expeditions. The different sectors of Prosperity can be upgraded to help improve different aspects of your adventure. For example, improving the workbench gives you access to more powerful weapon blueprints, or improving the training camp makes your guns for hire members tougher. Prosperity itself can be upgraded as a whole as well, which requires a specific number of smaller upgrades to be purchased and a certain number of specialists to be saved. This gives you even more incentive to venture out into the world to save people and complete side activities.
Outposts are essentially bases that the Highwaymen have set up that you need to liberate. Not only can these locations be used as safe havens, but they reward you with ethanol as well. You can choose to scavenge them for extra ethanol, but that results in that outpost getting taken by the Highwaymen again. This time they come back stronger, add more soldiers, and install extra alarms. Liberating the outpost becomes harder, but succeeding yields more rewards than the previous liberation. It’s a risk-reward situation that’s definitely worth the effort as long as you’re fully prepared. The best bet is to go in stealthy in order to avoid a fight and prevent alarms from being sounded. If the alarm sounds, reinforcements start coming in and won’t stop until you shut off the alarm. You can disable them to prevent this from happening, which I highly recommend doing.
Now, the combat is phenomenal, especially the gunplay. There’s a great variety of weapons including assault rifles, shotguns, bows, sniper rifles, spiked bats, and more. Aiming feels incredibly quick and smooth, allowing for split-second reactions for those intense moments. When you get surprised by a soldier walking around a corner, you want to be able to take him down quickly before he kills you. Once you get the hang of the controls, you’ll even be able to quickly swap between your weapons in the midst of combat. Being able to change-up your equipped weapon on the fly makes adapting to unexpected situations much easier. Sometimes a pistol is enough for the first guy you run into, but you may need a shotgun to save you from his buddy that’s running at you from behind. As with other games in the series, I love being able to walk around with a melee weapon, a pistol, three larger weapons, and a bag full of throwable weapons. Nothing like having a saw blade launcher, a bow, and a shotgun in the palm of your hands at a moment’s notice.
Speaking of combat, the takedowns are oh-so satisfying. Sneaking up on an unsuspecting enemy and pressing R3 triggers a brutal takedown. Depending on the situation, you may twist their arm, force them down, and stab them in the eye, or even stab them up into the armpit and then straight into the chest. Even after doing dozens upon dozens of takedowns, I still can’t help but wince a bit when I perform a visceral takedown. There’s no remorse shown in these attacks and that shows what kind of world our protagonist is living in.
You can’t talk about Far Cry without talking about the perks. As you complete challenges, find perk magazines, and make your way through the world, you’ll earn perk points. Perk points are used to unlock new abilities and even upgrade other aspects of your character. There’s a lot to choose from, but I went for the extra weapon slots right away. This opens up spots to carry up to four weapons at once. You can also unlock the ability to pick locks, sabotage vehicles, grapple, carry larger quantities of ammo, and much, much more. Your personal playstyle will dictate what perks you opt for first and what paths you’ll take as you’re able to buy more of the perks. You’ll eventually be able to own them all, which will cause you to be a force to be reckoned with.
Far Cry New Dawn also offers online co-op, which I luckily got the chance to test out. I teamed up with my best friend and took on the challenges of Hope County. Since I had gotten farther than him before we played together, I hopped into his campaign. The cool thing here is that the host continues their personal campaign with the help of whoever joins them. That means if your friend wants some help exploring Hope County, you can enter their game and back them up. When playing co-op, the guns for hire members get benched, which makes sense. A human partner will more often be more useful than an AI in this game. Far Cry New Dawn’s co-op is drop-in/drop-out, and it works perfectly. After getting an invite, all it took was a short loading screen before I was side by side with him on his adventure. When I was done, I could save my game and leave the party without hindering him in any way. In his eyes, all that happened was I left; no loading screen for him, no momentary slowdowns, nothing. I was really impressed with that aspect. The one downside in my eyes is proximity: both players need to stay relatively close to each other or else the game will flash a warning message about being too far apart. If you ignore this message and continue separating, it will forcibly teleport the guest player to the host. That being said, this won’t happen until you’re well over 150 meters or more apart.
The world looks beautiful, which is weird to say for a post-apocalyptic landscape. The bright colors of the vast sky, lush trees and grass, flowers, and more add a sense of elegance to this devastated county. The quirky characters and incredible soundtrack keep you engaged and may keep you from shutting the game off. I laughed a lot more than I expected to because of the ridiculous characters that I met throughout my quests. That coupled with the awesome gunplay and getting to feel like a badass made my experience with this game one I’m grateful for.
Far Cry New Dawn may be a sequel to Far Cry 5, but it can be enjoyed on its own. That being said, the experience is drastically better if you’ve played and beaten Far Cry 5. You’re already familiar with some of the people and the world, although from a happier time. Either way, the game does an amazing job with its combat, perk system, and fantastically absurd world. Far Cry veterans and newcomers alike are sure to enjoy is addition to the franchise. My best friend who joined me had never touched a Far Cry game before this and I’m pretty sure he’s hooked now. That’s one more person to help defend and restore Prosperity to a peaceful state. If you’re itching for some action and the desire to save those in need, then join me and let’s take back Hope County together!
Far Cry New Dawn
Far Cry New Dawn is an awesome addition to the series, especially since it's the first sequel for another game. The combat makes you feel like a badass, but that doesn't mean you can go in without gearing up. On the lighter side, there's plenty of quirky characters to make you laugh during these hard times.