'Far Cry New Dawn' review: Not a whole lot is new
Far Cry New Dawn
Available on PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Review code provided by publisher
Ubisoft’s Far Cry series throughout the years defined itself by combining satisfying open-world exploration with tight first-person gunplay. It’s a tried and tested formula that has proven successful enough to spawn a popular franchise that now spans more than half a dozen games and expansions.
Far Cry New Dawn, a sequel and spin-off to last year’s Far Cry 5, incorporates this same exact formula without bringing anything interesting to the long-running series. Those expecting a fresh take on Far Cry may have to curb their expectations as the game tends to feel overly familiar.
Regardless, it remains fun to compulsively scavenge materials, stealthily liberate outposts, and experience all the over-the-top action setpieces the game has to offer.
Set 17 years after the closing events of Far Cry 5 which saw nuclear bombs lay waste to Hope County, you fill the role of a nameless captain tasked with helping rebuild society and fighting the Highwaymen, a gang of bandits hell-bent on taking control of what’s left in the fallout.
In typical Far Cry fashion, the cannon fodder grunts you fight in the game are led by a central villain – or villains in New Dawn’s case, with twins Mickey and Lou.
While both exhibit personalities similar to that of previous titles’ sociopathic villains, the pair don't feel quite as menacing or as three-dimensional as earlier starring foes. More often than not, it feels as though they’re just hitting familiar beats in the formula, which mostly revolve around delivering monologues, getting up in your face, and viciously killing a person or two in front of you.
The game, at least, has an interesting take on its post-apocalyptic setting. Instead of the usual dark and drab ruined landscapes, New Dawn’s environment is vastly populated by lush flora and fauna, which helps provide a sense of identity in the steadily growing list of titles centered around the end of the world.
Been there, done that
Far Cry New Dawn essentially reuses Far Cry 5’s map, but a colorful reskin and some slight tweaks here and there makes it look and feel a bit different. The intention seems to be to have some landmarks be recognizable for returning players so that they can explore them again and find out what happened to the characters who once inhabited them.
The lack of new gameplay additions, however, keep the game from feeling fresh. You’ll find yourself partaking in some of the same activities the series is known for: fight, collect, upgrade. Although this is not inherently a bad thing, the entire game has a “been there, done that” feel to it, especially for those who have played Far Cry 5.
New Dawn also gives you some makeshift melee and ranged weapons to craft and dispose your enemies with. With the exception of the Saw Launcher, though, they’re generally just remodeled variations of the previous game’s guns or fancier versions or bladed or blunt.implements.
New Dawn's gunplay feels the same, which is excellent given that it’s been one of the highlights of the series.
Likely the most worthwhile addition that comes with New Dawn is the expeditions system. These optional side activities see you fly off to smaller self-contained locations outside of Hope County to steal rare loot that can be used to upgrade your weapons. It often provides a decent challenge as these locations are teeming with enemies who would stop at nothing just to make sure you don’t escape with the loot.
Sadly, Far Cry New Dawn might be playing it a little too safe, with not enough new additions to break or refresh the series formula.
Those who have exhausted everything to do in Far Cry 5 and still crave for more would be more than satisfied with this one. For those hoping there might be a new entry that could fight off franchise fatigue, they may have to cross their fingers so that Ubisoft takes bigger risks in the future. – Rappler.com
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