Far Cry New Dawn kinda feels like it was originally going to be DLC and then Ubisoft was like, “what the hell, make it a full game!” You could say it’s $80 for “more of the same,” but let’s be honest, all Far Crys are just more of the same. Ubisoft is just really good at repackaging and they’ve repackaged pretty good here!
Far Cry New Dawn is set seventeen years after the events of Far Cry 5. That new world Joseph Seed claimed God was telling him about? Yeah, it came. Nuclear catastrophe, people either died or hid in bunkers. Several years later, the survivors crawled out and tried to rebuild. Soon a nice little settlement called Prosperity popped up. People had hope once more!
And then the Highwaymen came.
A girl called Carmina Rye finds you, the Captain of an experienced security team, and tasks you with kicking them out of Hope County!
It’s not the same Hope County of Far Cry 5. Nuclear bombs can do that to a place. It’s cool seeing how the land’s changed after the fallout and how buildings and landmarks have been repurposed. Several missions that should have been pretty tame were emotionally charged for me because of what had happened in those locations in Far Cry 5. Just picking up a bag from the bottom of a well? Oh, look here’s a reminder of your traumatic attempt to escape torture and rescue your fellow deputy.
Many familiar characters make a reappearance too, including the Ryes from one of my favourite missions in Far Cry 5. And Carmina, their grown up daughter that I had helped deliver. Frick. The feels, man.Simply because of how much New Dawn is connected to Far Cry 5, I highly, highly recommend you play Far Cry 5 first. Yeah, you’ll definitely still enjoy New Dawn without playing 5, but you won’t appreciate it as much as you could. Look, I only want the best for you, okay?!
Some cool new additions to New Dawn are Expeditions and, my favourite, the ability to reset outposts for more resources. All outposts start at an easy level of beatability, but after clearing them once, you can “scavenge” them to be filled with Highwaymen again, only this time much stronger. And there’s no end to how many times you can scavenge each outpost!
Guns for hire are back again. You have your pick from a sassy sniper Nana to a ferocious boar called Horatio. But, you have to be pretty stone-hearted not to take Timber along on every mission. Timber’s a good boy. He will never let you down.
Far Cry New Dawn was fun, but if I am to be completely honest, I was a little disappointed at how … not-scary the main villains were. There weren’t very many (good) reminders to fear Micky and Lou. In Far Cry 5, there were several missions that directly involved Joseph Seed’s heralds, the bosses, as well as Joseph Seed himself. Their appearances created an exhilarating escalation throughout the story, reminding me that, “oh crap, these guys are CRAZY.” But there were only maybe three little cutscenes where the twins interacted with the player character before the final boss battle.
While “New Eden” made me think of Joseph Seed and every cruel thing he represented, “The Highwaymen” only made me think of the faceless goons I spent all game shooting up. Not Micky and Lou. Not the crazy, colourful terrorism that they should have been projecting. And that’s sad, because they seemed to have so much more potential to be scarier.
Which is why this game doesn’t rate as highly as Far Cry 5 in my books. It was definitely fun, there were moments of greatness. I liked all the new stuff they added to the game, and I appreciated the familiarity of the characters and map. But in the end, I didn’t care what happened to Micky and Lou. I didn’t care whether they lived or not. I didn’t care about what they could do to me. Because apart from cutscenes where we met, which were few and far between, they didn’t seem to care about me either.