Far Cry 5 ended with quite a bang. During a bloody war with the deranged religious cult, Eden’s Gate, we thought that the issues plaguing Hope County were just domestic. The cult proclaimed doomsday was coming, but attention was given to local disputes and taking out the cult’s generals that were littered all over the map. Bunkers were a common sight and you kept hearing whispers of something called The Collapse. The last thing you expected was for everything to come true.
The final scene of Far Cry 5 finds us running away from a nuclear bomb. Hundreds of them drop from the sky, promising nuclear annihilation. It was so surprising because you didn’t believe that the game would have the courage to just wipe out the entire map you’ve spent so long exploring. But it did and you found yourself in a bunker with the mad-talking Joseph Seed as your only companion. The question lingers on your tongue. What now?
A new dawn
Far Cry New Dawn takes place many years after the bombs fell. The world is in shambles and humans had to start over from scratch, retreating back to primitive ways and just trying to survive the ensuing nuclear holocaust. Somehow, by some miracle, humanity lives on and people start to rebuild communities and work together to achieve a common goal. It’s almost serene when you think about it. A clean slate for everyone and the hope of thriving once more.
However, humans suck. When there is a vacuum of power, someone will always try to exploit that. In come the Highwaymen, a group of fanatical raiders concerned only with destruction and taking everything they need by force. The harsh conditions bred this unfortunate enemy that only seeks to salvage and murder. The group is led by two twins called Mickey and Lou who seek to take over the entire Hope County for themselves and murdering anyone who stands in their way.
The story takes some spectacular and surprising turns.
The twins are the game’s primary antagonists, as you may have guessed. They fit in beautifully into their roles as tyrannical leaders of a bunch of vagabonds. Their personality is ruthless and they make it known to you that they’re not ones to mess with. In terms of crazy Far Cry antagonists, the twins rank pretty highly on the deplorable scale. Their intentions are a lot purer than Eden’s Gate. They just want to destroy and take, nothing more, nothing less. It’s almost scarier than a religious cult because at least the cult felt they were righteous and didn’t take too much pleasure in slaughtering innocent people.
The story follows you, a character called The Captain (who is just a voiceless protagonist) who is just trying to survive in this harsh new world. You end up at a settlement called Prosperity, a place filled with regular folks trying to create a community and survive the end of the world together. Obviously, this peace didn’t last long and the Highwaymen are just aching to destroy the place and take everything it has. On the journey, you’ll meet people that you remember from Far Cry 5 only much older as the harsh years went by.
The world isn’t a desolate and grey wasteland that you’d come to expect from a nuclear disaster. It’s luscious and green with pink flowers littered everywhere and nature slowly reclaiming the land. Buildings and once famous landmarks litter the landscape and while they survived the blast, they are but shadows of their former self. It’s important to know that this is the exact Hope County that we explored in Far Cry 5 only with the added layer of a few decades of destruction and nature running wild since it got the chance once the humans were gone.
The story takes some spectacular and surprising turns. Eden’s Gate, your once sworn enemies, now have the risk of becoming unwilling allies. Lou and Mickey keep throwing various curve balls and the characters you meet along the way all have strong and well-realised personalities. There’s also even some nuance to the villains which is an often overlooked feature in this franchise. The game’s story was surprisingly great and I would even say borders on being better than Far Cry 5. There are just so many amazing setpieces along the way that it keeps you constantly excited to advance the story. The world isn’t predictable anymore and this is used to craft a fresh tale inside this extraordinary circumstance.
It speaks a lot about the human condition. That even given a clean slate in a brand new world, some people will just want to destroy and take for their own selfish gain. Eden’s Gate wanted eternal peace on earth once the bombs fell, but that peace certainly didn’t last very long. While we’re not dealing with an award-winning and completely unforgettable narrative here, its successful attempts to engage you is definitely some huge points in its favour.
The same old Eden
It’s obvious that this game is a spin-off of Far Cry 5. As mentioned, the map is precisely the same except for the whole nuclear destruction that took place. Many of the systems are the same, the gameplay is the same and it’ll feel like a direct continuation of Far Cry 5 instead of a whole new experience. That’s exactly what they were aiming for and they pulled it off with relative ease and grace. There are new mechanics introduced, some that are tied to story that I can’t talk about but are extremely awesome, and the game tries its very best to carve out an identity of its own.
The similarity is also sadly some points against the game. You will have a definite sense of deja vu as you trek through the world and if you’ve played a lot of Far Cry 5, which you kind of have to fully enjoy the game, the gameplay will feel way too similar and almost tired. As mentioned, the game tries to differentiate itself and one of those ways is to focus on settlement building.
The settlement of Prosperity initially doesn’t have much to its name and the task is given to you to expand it. This is done by getting Ethanol from the Highwaymen by taking over their compounds and looting their stuff. You will have separate areas that you can upgrade that each
Materials are scattered all over the world and you can get them pretty easily if you’re just diligent and do a lot of the game’s activities. Ammo is crafted from copper, high-tier weapons are necessary and take a lot of rare materials and you can craft vehicles and all manner of toys. The focus on this material gathering and resource management almost makes you want to roll your eyes, but the game did try to make the act of getting these materials more engaging than just picking them up off the ground.
For instance, outposts can now be taken multiple times and each time you reset an outpost, it gets significantly more difficult but the rewards also increase. The third tier is where things get crazy and it’s a real test of skill and resourcefulness once you get hammered by legendary tier enemies shooting rockets at you and dangerous mercenaries littering the place.
Also, there’s something called Expeditions that are new to the game and they’re probably the best part of the whole experience, surprisingly enough. Expeditions are basically like outposts in that you’re dropped in a location with a bunch of enemies roaming around. The objective is to simply get a bag within the location and escape via helicopter, but the locations available are exceptional. You can go to Alcatraz, there’s one that takes place on a massive collapsed bridge, the bloody ISS also crashed and was turned into an enemy base.
The game wants you to stay as long as you can.
It’s where the gameplay is at
Overall, the game wants you to stay as long as you can, salvaging resources and building a robust community. It’s made a little bit shady by the fact that the mircotransactions play directly into it. You can buy resource boosters, there are Far Cry Points that you can spend on weapons if you’re too lazy to craft them and you can even buy perk points if you’re so inclined. This put a definite hamper on it and you can tell they rigged the numbers a little to make you just short of a pleasurable route to greatness. It is easy to ignore them, but some of the stuff you can get is pretty wacky.
My character ended up running around in a suit of armour inside a vehicle that was just a blueprint in 3D space wielding a neon coloured shotgun straight from Far Cry Blood Dragon. You can see they really didn’t care about continuity or having things make sense in this world. Which is an odd thing because the canonical weapons have this apocalypse-themed “throw everything together and hope it works” aesthetic. Once again, you can ignore all of this, but it makes it more difficult than ever to ignore.
Pump up the volume
I have to commend the game on some of its aesthetic designs. The world has this distinct pink motif and is the primary colour of the Highwaymen. Pink flowers litter the landscape, there’s a constant aurora borealis in the sky and when the light hits the place just right, it looks absolutely gorgeous. The landscape does start to bleed into itself with just the locations providing some variety, but you couldn’t expect much else from a bombed rural America.
The soundtrack is also a total rager. The Highwaymen like loud and obnoxious music blasting at all times and the songs that they chose have this dystopian ruffian vibe to it that I loved. Songs by The Antwoord and Run The Jewels are constantly blaring and pumping your heart rate up while the normal soundtrack has this dark synthwave feel that is absolutely incredible. It ties to the thematic elements so beautifully and makes the game a pleasure to listen to, especially if you like some hardcore bangers.
… And I feel fine
Far Cry New Dawn does everything it set out to do. It’s a spin-off/sequel to Far Cry 5 on the same map with more refined and unique mechanics as well as a new story in this spectacular circumstance. The narrative constantly amazed me and I was so surprised by the performances I saw that it made the game a joy to play. And that’s basically Far Cry New Dawn in a nutshell. It’s a joy to play whether you’re following the destructive escapades of the twins or just roaming the ruined but beautiful land looking for irradiated mountain lions to kill and loose screws.
It’s an immensely solid experience slightly sullied by the fact that it lives so close in its predecessor’s shadow as well as the monetization tactics that they used. But if you’ve played Far Cry 5 to completion and enjoyed it, I see absolutely no reason why you wouldn’t also enjoy this. It’s a long and worthwhile experience as well so you don’t have to worry about getting value for your money, especially since the game is slightly cheaper. You can’t really go wrong with it.