On the other side of an apocalypse, survivors emerge to build a new world. Their weapons are duct taped and welded together; bizarre amalgamations from a fiery past. Remanence of an old cult can be found along the countryside, as well as new villains who control the highways and like to paint everything bright pink. They game was marketed as a light sequel for Far Cry 5, about half the playtime of a full length title and priced appropriately. It has some beautiful visuals, questionable dialogue choices and all the guns and explosives that are expected from any Far Cry game.
Far Cry New Dawn is a true sequel, taking place after the absolutely insane, world changing events from Far Cry 5. At first, I thought there would just be homages to the previous world. However, the Peggies do come back to play a prominent role in the story. The main villains are completely new, a set of twins who control a gang known as The Highway Men. Your allies, the former cultists and the Highway Men form the crux of the story.
The dialog is pretty terrible for most of the game. Far Cry games are never really meant to be taken seriously, and they tend to contain a lot of ridiculous elements intended to make people laugh. When you add a roster sidekick on missions, they like to talk randomly. Sometimes it’s an interesting story, but most of the time, it’s just campy garbage.
The game has a lot of female characters, enough that it felt as if it is pandering somewhat. It’s also missing a lot of the moral ambiguities one comes to expect out of the protagonist’s primary allies. There was certainly more of a feel good aspect to the main story missions, with the more questionable decisions coming mostly from the cult members later in the game.
New Dawn has all the elements seen before in other open world shooters. There are weapons to build and upgrade, bases to capture and animals to skin. The crafting system is very simple compared to other games. Animals skins can only be traded for parts or used in very specific upgrades. Bases can be raided multiple times for Ethanol, which is use for upgrading the home base of Prosperity. There is a primitive, hacked together, post-apocalyptic theme for most of the weapons.
Additional characters can be found to add to your roster with various skill sets. They’re incredibly helpful, although I only found about half of them before completing the game. Although there are no flyable aircraft like in other games in the series, there is a helicopter than can take the player on expeditions completely off the open world map. Upgrades to the expeditions can unlock the ability for you to get dropped somewhere with a wing suit. Skills are easy to build, and I was able to complete the entire game in 14 hours with 18 outpost captures.
The HDR mode on this game felt perfect. If you have a compatible video card and monitor, all the colors popped incredibly well. It’s sad this type of visual tech wasn’t around for the release of Far Cry 4, a game that would have benefited greatly from brighter colors in its setting. The aesthetic may not be for everyone, as it does give the game an incredibly bright and surreal vibe. It also makes sequences with The Bliss feel vibrant and haunting.
I really enjoyed Far Cry New Dawn. It’s not my favorite game in the series by any stretch, but I did like that it was relatively short. More complex parts of the game were removed or simplified and the story kept moving at a good pace. The upgrade system still held up; helping a player get through tougher boss fights with the right skills or weapons. It felt like a decently entertaining sequel, kept to the perfect length, with some rewarding redemption and closure to the original.