Far Cry: New Dawn is the continuation to Far Cry 5 that released to relatively high review scores, as you once again must take down a crazy antagonist or 2 to save a part of the world. Following on 17 years after FC5, New Dawn sees us in the aftermath of the nuclear climax, with the world seeing not so much change in the way of the landscape but instead of its people. Building up settlements, defending against raiders as well as the remnants of Joseph Seed are your main tasks in this new insane ride.
Without any real connection to FC5, New Dawn starts us off on a train bound for survivors who asked for our help. We are the captain of a group who specialises in building settlements, helping people live within a post-apocalypse. As our train heads to Hope County it is attacked by the Highwaymen, essentially a new version of the fanatics of FC5, who aim to take all resources and camps for themselves or destroy them if they cannot have them.
After barely surviving the ambush, our protagonist will make his way to Prosperity in hopes of still rebuilding it, which will take a back seat as we take over outposts, recruit specialists and defend against both Lou and Mickey, the somewhat repeated antagonists of New Dawn. The main story will see us mostly doing normal missions that seemingly have no consequence, with around 8 real story missions where we infiltrate, save members of the settlement and travel to New Eden.
New Dawn will take you around 8 hours to complete the main story, though there are plenty of side-quests, outposts, collectables and upgrades to complete that will increase that time immensely. There are a few choices dotted around the story, so a separate playthrough may be warranted if you want to experience different outcomes. Without a map editor or multiplayer similar to FC5 you may see a much shorter lifespan for this release.
New Dawn plays incredibly similar to FC5, feeling more akin to an expansion rather than a new game, possibly the intention with the lack of a number attached to the game. Like many FPS games, New Dawn has you aiming guns with the left trigger and firing with the right but also contains several melee weapons to swing around. Melee combat is not a big emphasis, though some enemies will be geared toward such with better quality bats or even shields.
As you play the game you will complete challenges, just like FC5, which earn you perk points to unlock or improve abilities. From skills that allow you to use grappling hooks to abilities that increase the tier of enemy you can stealth kill, perks will turn you into a well-versed killing machine. This way of progression still feels very limiting when it comes to playstyles, as if you want to play a stealth-only run you will be lacking perk points as you will need to use RPGs, machine guns and such to unlock other challenges for more perk points to unlock better stealth skills. While it does give you a good tour of the separate weapon classes or playstyles some players may be put off by being required to branch out of their comfort zones.
A good majority of the game will see you taking over outposts, small to medium sized complexes of shanty buildings filled with armed guards. If you have played any of the recent Far Cry games you will understand how these work, scout out the base, take out the guards along with the alarms and the outpost will become yours. In New Dawn, capturing outposts will reward you with Ethanol and Carbon Fibre, the former being used to upgrade Prosperity and the latter for new equipment. You can salvage any outpost for additional Ethanol and allowing you to retake the base at a higher difficulty for even more.
Aside from taking over outposts for Ethanol, you will be tasked with recruiting specialists around the map, from mechanics to scouts who help your base progress further. While these types of progression are often optional, New Dawn forces you to upgrade your overall camp to level 3 before advancing the story, meaning you will need to upgrade facilities 12 times and save 5 specialists to the base. Sadly a lot of the specialists don’t add much to the main base, though some will have some interesting dialogue along the way. Due to the effort they put into the base, these missions really should have been optional in my opinion as they don’t add nearly enough to warrant the time spent into obtaining them.
The difficulty within New Dawn is mostly consistent, with any ramps being due to your poor planning or a wrong step made within a stealthy approach. You will be treated to a stealth mission here or there, with some racing and bullet blazing missions thrown in too. Bizarrely the difficulty takes a major jump at the penultimate boss, where you will be facing 2 characters with extreme health, defence and array of weapons. Alongside the 2 main enemies the area will constantly spawn dogs, grunts and helicopters. The whole boss design goes against a lot of the previous encounters and adds way too much to the point it becomes an annoyance rather than a challenge, running between buildings for cover as enemies are spammed at you for up to an hour. After that, the final boss is a pushover in comparison.
Since New Dawn is set as a sequel to FC5 you can see a lot of reused areas, characters and mechanics, so if you weren’t too impressed with the previous game then New Dawn may be a miss for you. The added system of base building feels underdeveloped, with no real story aside from 2 cutscenes adding into the development, let alone it feeling like you’re just adding numbers into the base to allow for new crafting options. The game was kind of setup as a post-apocalypse game, but with a distinct lack of any survival aspects, the post-apocalypse feels like you’ve just shifted from a bustling village filled jungle to a more forested area with debris.
Overall, Far Cry: New Dawn gets a 5/10, with poor pacing within the story, unimpressive antagonists, reused mechanics and some slightly pointless ones, New Dawn just fails to move into a competent spot. The main character is idiotic, making the mute choice feel even worse as you cannot project yourself onto them, regardless of how overused the 2 antagonists feel within the series. Progression is stunted due to you being required to use all weapon types with some strange upgrades like a grappling hook being more suited to something you craft rather than unlock via perks. Boss designs leave much to be desired as well as the overall game feeling rushed and pushed out with profit in mind over unique style.