In the new part of the open world shooter, Ubisoft continues the story of Hope County from “Far Cry 5”. The militant sect of antagonist Joseph Seed still plays an important role a few years after the explosion of a nuclear bomb, as it may be the only one who can help you fight the Highwaymen and their two leaders.
There are supposed to be people who divide the world into good and evil. In most action games you can make it similarly easy, and there is even no way around seeing everything black or white.
In Ubisoft’s “Far Cry” series, this has always been the case, no matter if the opponents were called Vaas, Pagan Min or Joseph Seed. In “Far Cry: New Dawn” it’s a bit different. With the twin sisters Mickey and Lou, the leaders of a bandit clan called Highwaymen, there are also two classic opponents.
But in the spin-off sequel to “Far Cry 5,” there are also the remnants of Joseph Seed’s sect. Seventeen years after Seed detonated a nuclear bomb in fictional Hope County, it seems you’ll have to team up with him to keep the Highwaymen at bay.
However, it is not the unique feature of “Far Cry: New Dawn.” Although Shooter Action and Story are still clearly at the center of the open world game, developer Ubisoft Montreal significantly expands the RPG shares and thus has a significant influence on the game balance. Whether it works well or not so much, whether action lovers and series fans can confidently access it, you’ll find out below.
Role-playing Game In Shooter Costume
In “Far Cry: New Dawn” you slip into the role of a new, nameless hero (male or female), who should support the survivors of Hope County in the fight against the Highwaymen. You’re the only one who survives the arrival of your squad, but of course, you don’t want to give up your plan.
Right at the start of the game, you’ll meet Carmina Rye, Pilot Nick’s now grown-up daughter, whose birth you watched with your hero in Far Cry 5. She belongs to a commune called Prosperity, which is the only one that has been able to escape the Highwaymen’s influence. But the superiority of the enemies is overwhelming. Prosperity must grow, to be able to oppose the twins Mickey and Lou in the long run.
In addition to new residents, Prosperity needs above all ethanol, which serves as a core resource for the expansion of the warehouse. It is the only way to improve your medical facilities, set up plant farms, expand your arsenal, or upgrade your fighter training center.
Latter, you can increase the combat power of your eight potential AI companions accordingly, initially only Carmina, while the expansion of the medical department increases the maximum life energy of your hero.
However, it is by no means the end of role-playing bonds. Because only if you improve the weapons store you’re allowed to make shooting sticks higher categories, which are divided into four levels (level 1-3 and “legendary”).
The weapons include the usual shooter standards from the pistol to the rocket launcher, but also cool new weapons such as a saw blade launcher, whose projectiles bounce off certain surrounding objects and can hit several enemies at the same time or eliminate them. To get the weapons, you need other resources such as steel, platinum, mechanical springs or tape.
You can collect them directly in the world. Ethanol is available for the liberation of the ten outposts in the game world. In the context of random missions in the open world, you also kidnap ethanol transports of the Highwaymen.
More Demanding Than Usual
You can unlock the availability of tools like wingsuit or climbing hooks as usual, but you can also expand features such as your lung volume or the ability to kill high-level enemies via takedown secretly. You will receive the necessary learning points in the form of countless challenges for kills with certain weapons, killing a certain number of animal species and the like.
However, Ubisoft isn’t as generous as “Far Cry 5” when it comes to awarding points. The option to earn skill points via microtransaction for real money gets a much blander taste. Since you’ll encounter more level 2, 3, or even legendary enemies later in the storyline, naturally adapted to your character progress, you’ll need to do a lot more than in previous missions.
You can also damage level 3 opponents with level 2 weapons, but not so much and it often depends on luck whether you survive a battle victoriously or have to return to the last checkpoint. It will remind the system of the previous two parts of Assassin’s Creed. The fact that the enemy types of the different levels differ visually from each other by stronger armor doesn’t necessarily make the system any better.
The problem with Far Cry: New Dawn is that it also introduces specific grinding mechanics, which you will have to follow in order not to fight a lost battle later on. It also applies to the acquisition of ethanol, which is so important for Prosperity. As mentioned earlier, there are other ways to get smaller amounts of ethanol. But you get the essential part by the liberation of the outposts.
Unlike in earlier parts, you can free them not only once, but three times. It always starts with a camp at level 1, which is very easy even without deactivating the alarm.
If you then exploit the camp to get a small ethanol bonus, the Highwaymen will automatically take over the outpost again. If you want to free it again for a higher ethanol yield, you’ll face a trickier situation. In addition to more and higher level enemies, there are also two-alarm towers in the camp – although an elite enemy will appear at this level if you can’t avoid an alarm.
At level 3, it will get messy if you don’t invest enough time and effort in character progression. We don’t think the principle itself is wrong. However, Ubisoft doesn’t do the motivation and the flow of the game a great favor in the long run.
You can ease your situation by choosing the lowest difficulty level. Because while you can’t see why the middle of three in “New Dawn” is not “normal” but “hard” in the opening chapter, it changes drastically after four to five hours at the latest.
Exciting Story, Crazy People
Ubisoft Montreal’s story is rich in twists and turns, and above all the integration of the former opponent Joseph Seed. There’s always a reason to laugh when you meet NPCs you hire for Prosperity or potential companions. Here and there, the humor may be a bit too infantile, but “Far Cry” fans are unlikely to be seriously bothered by this.
The story missions themselves offer a variety and pick up events from the predecessor skillfully (and for “Far Cry” conditions comparatively profoundly) over and over again. However, the developers exaggerate the scope of the missions or fail to make sure that enough happens. When you flee with Nick Rye in a wingless plane over a river, but also the mainland, you feel that it is three times as long as it should be.
Also, quite psychedelic seeming missions in connection with Seeds sect sometimes seem to be drawn out. For missions and assignments in the open world, as already mentioned, some of them are only partially optional. Most of the time you have your finger on the trigger all the time, shoot with an assault rifle, rocket launcher or pistol at what you can or knock your opponent out with one of the melee weapons.
With 15 to 20 hours of playing time you can roughly calculate – but also get more out of the title, if you want. The game world itself is much smaller than in “Far Cry 5” – we would estimate it to be about a third the size.
“Far Cry: New Dawn” makes a lot of things right when it comes to the story, especially as far as the references to the prehistory in “Far Cry 5” are concerned. It also doesn’t change the fact that the Highwaymen and their two leaders are rather pale. What they lack in charisma is made up by the often wacky comrades-in-arms and companions. The extended role-playing elements have their pros and cons.
On the one hand, they increase the motivation to improve character to a certain extent more than it was the case in many of predecessors. On the other hand, the level control in missions and especially in enemy types also has a demotivating effect. It also leads to annoying grinding compulsions, which the series with the last part seemed to have left behind in a pleasing form. Fans of “Far Cry” can also access it despite deficiency with a clear conscience, especially as they only pay the mid-price for a comprehensive package.