Do you feel like playing a bit more Far Cry? The latest DLC for Far Cry 5 takes us to Mars and what could be cooler than heading into space to fight aliens with lasers and that kind of stuff? Well, it turns out that actually, being on Mars is a short, boring slog instead.
Lost on Mars puts you in the shoes of Nick Rye instead of Rookie and you are off to save Hurk because he was kidnapped by aliens for some reason. There is no explanation of where this fits into the story of Far Cry 5 either, it just happens with little care for reasons. Hurk just waves it off when questioned about anything and infuriatingly, Nick just goes along with it. Playing as the silent protagonist it made sense that you just sat through Hurk’s shenanigans and flights of fancy, but Nick often just lets him get away with them or doesn’t correct the bumbling fool. I tolerated Hurk’s rubbish in Far Cry 5 if I needed a rocket launcher to deal with foes, but in Lost on Mars it gets too much. You are stuck with him the entire time and to make it worse, he is a completely useless sidekick in the DLC. Far Cry 5 has small health bars meaning your buddies will often save you when you are bleeding out in a tough firefight. In Lost on Mars, Hurk can’t do that for some unknown reason and the game suffers for it.
Lost on Mars is fun in the beginning. Sure Hurk is full of it but he is funny until you need to spend six hours listening to his prattle.
Fighting cultists involves using the game’s stealth systems, sniping and killing things while hiding behind cover. Fighting aliens, on the other hand, is a lot of strafing and using your jetpack to get out of the way of sharp teeth and terrible claws, then dodging under venomous projectiles. It is a completely different way to play and handle combat and it just doesn’t feel as fun. Your jetpack only works well for evasion if you were running when activating it, otherwise, you have so little speed that enemies can still hit you, or gather where you are about to land to welcome you with open mouthparts. The types of aliens you fight are also severely limited and eventually, you just fall into a routine of using two or three guns, swapping between them as their magical space energy bars recharge.
Lost on Mars is fun in the beginning. Sure Hurk is full of it but he is funny until you need to spend six hours listening to his prattle. You have space lasers, a jetpack, Mars looks great and it is something new to do. Then you climb a tower to activate a thing for the obviously going to betray you AI that needs to power up to protect Earth. This is fun in the beginning until you realise you fight the same 4 or so enemies in varying numbers at each point on the map until you clear it and gain a few percent towards the 100% you need to trigger the end mission of the DLC. This isn’t doing activities that you want to do, this is doing activities because they are there, often with no worthwhile reward or with little variation. Climb this tower, it is taller than the last and harder to climb. Defend this little robot as he repairs a thing, kill all the enemies here before a door opens. The most interesting activity is the one you spend the least amount of time doing: drug-induced nightmare/illusions that are dreamscapes of sections from Far Cry 5.
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If you remember the times when Ubisoft was being criticised for paint by numbers open world bloat, the jokes about towers, the multiple pointless missions that are required to complete area A to move to area B to do the same few things: this is that design style straight back out of the past with little variation to keep things exciting and possibly too much Hurk. Sure he was funny in Far Cry 5, but as the time wears on more jokes and antics miss rather than hit and it grates after a while. What could have been zany and upped the ante becomes a bland experience that never gets out of second gear. Come for the jetpack platforming puzzles and pretty Mars rocks, but otherwise, this DLC isn’t worth the five to six hours of slog.
Lost on Mars falls into a space that feels like it would have been too much work to create for a single quest, but without enough content to make it a particularly fulfilling DLC.
Lost on Mars falls into a space that feels like it would have been too much work to create for a single quest, but without enough content to make it a particularly fulfilling DLC. If you like Hurk and his hijinks you will get a kick out of shooting space lasers and Hurk’s toilet humour, but the gameplay loop of forcing you to complete everything on a map just because it is there, rather than because you want to, feels like a serious step back for Ubisoft.