Far Cry New Dawn Review: More than just an expansion

By Sameer Mitha | Published on Feb 14 2019
Far Cry New Dawn Review: More than just an expansion
HIGHLIGHTS

Far Cry New Dawn is a sequel to Far Cry 5 and is available for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. It is priced at Rs 2,249 for the PC and Rs 2,499 for the consoles.

Far Cry has been a shooter game that has brought with it an interesting story, scary antagonists and diverse environments to explore. Each game has also tried to stir up gameplay mechanics to keep things fresh. In all the Far Cry games that have launched, we have never seen a direct sequel. Each game has had a unique story, a unique setting and some drastic changes to gameplay to make the franchise feel new.

New Dawn, for the first time in the franchise's history, is a direct sequel to Far Cry 5 taking place in a post nuclear attack Hope County. The environments, though new to look at, feel familiar. The gunplay and gameplay mechanics are also the same as Far Cry 5, with the introduction of some light RPG elements. There are of course some new additions to the game like “Expeditions” and some changes to the outposts you take out. The question is, is this a worthy sequel or just an expanded DLC? Before we answer that question, know that we have seen games like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (read our review here) which aren’t fully priced games but rather short adventures set in game universes we recognise and love. The turnaround time for these games isn’t very long either and considering the price to content ratio, are worthy purchases for those looking for a game they can beat in one weekend. So I personally am all for these small story based games if they are engaging and fun. Is Far Cry New Dawn one of these?

Story

The story of Far Cry New Dawn takes place 17 years after then end of Far Cry 5. The nuclear attack on Hope County left the place desolated, followed by nuclear winter after which nature took its corrective course to bring life back on track. We don’t find a desolated damp and forgotten world like we have in games like Metro or The Last of Us. This new world is filled with vibrant colour, beautiful flowers and animals that aren't too different from the ones we found in Far Cry 5. 

You play the role of The Security Captain of a survival group led by Thomas Rush. The group that you are a part of helps people rebuild their lives, society and civilization making you the perfect man for the job. On your way to help the people of Prosperity, you are ambushed by the Highwaymen and their leader - the twins. The twins are two sisters who believe that the world is theirs for the taking. They murder, steal and strike fear into the hearts of all that oppose them. 

The plot is pretty basic for the most part until you are forced to ‘team up’ with Joseph Seed, the antagonist of Far Cry 5. That's all I’m going to tell you about the story without ruining the plot. If you are one that hasn't played Far Cry 5, there may be a few moments where you could feel lost, but those don't ruin the overall narrative arc of the game. If you are one that has played the game, there are throwbacks to Far Cry 5 which will bring a smile to your face along with the evolution of some characters.

Overall, the story is fun and engaging and its nice to see a true sequel to a Far Cry game.

Gameplay

A lot of the gameplay in Far Cry New Dawn is the same as Far Cry 5, with some minor upgrades and tweaks. You start out with the ability to carry one heavy and one light gun and you can upgrade your capacity as the game progresses. You earn tokens as you complete missions and challenges that let you upgrade your abilities. From something as simple as carrying a pair of binoculars to increasing your maximum health and even your gun carrying capacity, the upgrade tree is simple and you can chose to upgrade the skills you want based on your play style. 

You can hunt animals in the game but they can'r be used in crafting goods. You can trade their skin for resources. Speaking of resources, the most important one is ethanol. You will use this not only to upgrade your base, but also to buy maps and other resources. Ethanol is like bullets from Metro 2033 a scarce resource you can either use to buy items or upgrade your base of operation. You will spend quite some completing missions that get you ethanol as upgrading your base is very important.

Speaking of your base, once you reach Prosperity, you start taking on missions to upgrade the premises. You can upgrade the armory, garage, healing and more. Each upgrade brings with it some new abilities and after a few upgrades, you can upgrade Prosperity as a whole. Upgrading your training centre in prosperity upgrades your guns/fangs for hire. 

Guns for hire work the same way they did in Far Cry 5. You have 8 guns for hire that you can unlock to help you in your journey, each of them bring special abilities and can help you with your play style. I highly recommend upgrading your training camp to upgrade the ability of the guns/fangs for hire as they are really helpful in the game. Speaking of the unique guns for hire, we have Nana a sniper who is almost as old as ‘The End’ from Metal Gear Solid 3. She is a wise cracking, jovial sniper ideal for those that want to go in guns blazing and want some cover fire from a distance. On the other hand you have your faithful hound Timber. I spent a lot of the game with Timber by my side. He is particularly helpful at sniffing out resources and also marking enemies you haven't yet noticed - the ideal companion for the stealthy player. Then you have the likes of Pastor Jerome who wields a shotgun and works well as bait if you need or as a companion for close quarters combat. 

There are more guns for hire in the game which I won't spoil here but know that you need to complete missions to rescue or unlock the guns for hire. 

There are outposts which need to be liberated and like every Far Cry game before, this can be done with stealth or guns blazing. There is a new element at play in Far Cry New Dawn. You can now hand the outpost back to the open world and inevitably they will be overrun by the highwaymen again. This time though the difficulty is ramped up and so is the reward. This is a nice way to play the same area again and hone your gunplay skills. Not to mention the reward. 

You can also tackle Expeditions where you exit the border of Hope County to different environments and literally steal resources. These are fun side activities distracting you from the main game if all you want to do is run and gun. 

Light RPG elements are scattered throughout the game the most obvious of which is the strength of enemies. Enemies are now level 1, 2, 3 and elite. The stronger the enemy, the harder he is to take down. There are times when I felt the enemy difficulty in the story mission was higher than it should be and this was to encourage you to take on side missions to gather resources to upgrade yourself or Prosperity and your arsenal to be able to tackle these missions. The guns too have an upgrade cycle where you can unlock stronger weapons as you upgrade Prosperity.

There are treasure hunts and a number of side quests for you to tackle diversifying the content available in the game.

Overall, the gameplay is familiar to Far Cry 5 with some new elements thrown into the mix to spice things up. There is enough going on in the game to keep you hooked for days, but the light RPG elements can get annoying at times.

Graphics

The graphics are identical to what we saw in Far Cry 5. You have a lush open world with a day night cycle along with fluid animations. Character models look good but ever since we played God of War (read our review here), our expectations for the character models has gone sky high. The post nuclear world looks colourful, detailed with the day night cycle giving each location a distinct look at down and dusk.

The variety of guns and their animations deserve special mention especially the gun that shoots blades that ricochet off walls or other enemies. 

There are times when the guns for hire or some enemies will have stuttering animations or NPC (Non Playable Characters) will look cockeyed but those can be forgiven.

The game is enhanced for the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X and even though we played the game on the PS4 Pro, we had it hooked up to a 1080p TV. Even in full HD the game looks good. The frame rate is consistent with almost no drops. There was one outpost sequence where the framerate did drop but this happened just once for me. 

Overall, the game doesn’t break any new grounds visually but is a treat for the eyes.

Sound

Far Cry as a franchise is known to brings onboard some fantastic voice actors to bring the antagonist to life. Joseph from Far Cry 5 was a worthy foe with his religious banter in every encounter but my favourite still has to be the sadistic Pagan Min from Far Cry 4. The Twins in Far Cry: New Dawn seem childish at times with wims of ruling the playground and acting like nasty children when things don't go their way. They don't really induce the fear we found in Pagan Min. They have their moments but there are other characters in the game who will catch your attention. 

Moving over to other sounds in the game the voice acting from most characters is passable with Nana’s jokes being one of the high points for me. She knows she is old and I’m not sure if one of the puns in the games is aimed at Quit (the sniper from Metal Gear Solid V) but it’s nice that the joke reminded me of MGSV.

The guns in the game are a highlight, done in the typical Far Cry fashion. From the swish of the arrows to the thuds of the guns and even the whirling sound of the blades as they swish through enemies are engaging.

Overall, the game has a good sound design.

Bottom line

In the past we have seen the The Witcher 3 DLC which is bigger than some full games. We have also seen games like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy give players a tight action packed adventure and cost less than a full retail game. Far Cry: New Dawn is priced at Rs 2,499 for the consoles in a day where full games are priced at about Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000. For the price, the package is definitely value for money. You get a game with a good story, fun gameplay and a long lifespan. On the down side, some of the missions can get repetitive. If you are one that enjoys shooters, then you can definitely consider this one.

Skoar: 8.5

Moar:

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Price: Rs 2249 on PC. Rs 2499 on PS4 and Xbox One

We played a review copy of Far Cry New Dawn on the PS4 Pro.

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Sameer Mitha

Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his muse. When he isn’t busy playing with gadgets or video games he delves into the world of fantasy novels.

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