By Ronald Gordon
It’s back! In Far Cry New Dawn, the post apocalypse returns in a world where “power is the only currency.” This action-adventure/first person shooter from Ubisoft Montreal takes place after the events of last year’s Far Cry 5 in a place called Hope County, a lovely, bucolic area that managed to survive and thrive even after world-shattering bombing that yielded terror and death.
New Dawn’s story starts out with you, The Captain of Security, and your group, traveling around Hope County in a train that soon gets attacked. After barely surviving, you find yourself helping the people of Prosperity, the small settlement you were led to after the crash. You defend against the Highwaymen, the same people who attacked your train and killed most of your group. This murderous group of raiders and thugs are led by Mickey and Lou, tough twin sisters with blond braids with whom you have the privilege of butting heads every now and again.
I played about half the missions, during which I managed to save my friend who was captured after the train wreck. In addition, I tried to mold Prosperity into something better, but the twins attempted to destroy what’s been built – out of sheer anger and spite. After the fight, Prosperity suffers some losses and you have no choice but to look outwards for help, and where you find said help may surprise those who played through Far Cry 5. The only other people who may be able to help you fight against the twins and their Highwaymen are found in the cult of New Eden and their revolutionary leader Joseph Seed, who you might know as the aforementioned game’s main antagonist. However, getting Seed’s blessing isn’t easy. In fact, you could say that doing so is a bit of a trip, both figuratively and literally.
However, what makes New Dawn different from other Far Cry games is the new, light RPG aspect to its gameplay. As you play through the game, you’ll encounter stronger and tougher enemies, ranging from your average one bar Highwaymen to the powerful Enforcers, said the be the strongest in their ranks. As the enemies become harder to defeat, they’ll begin to drop bigger quantities of more valuable loot for you to pick up. You might even get a better weapon out of a tough enemy – if you’re lucky enough. I managed to get a Tier 3 Steel Bat after killing a Tier 4 Highwayman, so you could say I was pretty lucky in that regard. You’ll find better weapons and upgrades to use against opponents as you explore Hope County.
What also makes New Dawn different is the Guns and Fangs for Hire system, which is refined from Far Cry 5. And throughout the environs of Hope County, you can encounter a number of special and talented help that will aid you in your journey. These can range from your fellow trainwreck survivor Carmina Rye to a sharp eyed, elderly sniper named Nana, to even a giant hog named Horatio. Your allies can help you if you’re in a painful situation and even level up with the number of kills they get while travelling with you. As they grow in strength, your allies will unlock skills, such as shield breaking and armor piercing, which will help you during combat.
Gameplay aside, New Dawn is one of the most beautiful games I have seen. The graphics are stunning and the wildlife almost makes it feel as though this game world is better off being nuked if the environments will bounce back as well as they did. This is coming from someone who played on the original Xbox One with a regular flat screen TV, which means no 4K graphics or Xbox One X enhancements. The in-game music puts you in the mood while touring around the world, getting your blood pumping with a catchy beat when you engage in combat. I can’t wait for Ubisoft to release the soundtrack. I need something new to listen to while I write and believe me this game’s music is gonna be it.
While I have seen tons of Let’s Plays on the old Far Cry games, this is my first play experience; I can now say that I regret not playing through the series due to what I’ve missed. New Dawn has gameplay mechanics that can fit the play style of the person experiencing the game – whatever that may be. I personally chose to be the semi-stealthy Jack-of-All-Trades who switches to the good old run and gun method in times of crisis.
I also enjoyed New Dawn’s the dynamic of the twin antagonists Mickey and Lou. It’s compelling to see the share of power between the two and how they both use it to command the Highwayman and strike fear into the people they take over. Pair that with the fact that neither of them have a very friendly attitude towards you helping the people of Prosperity and will do a lot more than you expect in order to stop you, and you have a pair of antagonists you can’t help but deeply dislike and grudgingly respect. And those feeling helps to move your forward in the game.
Far Cry New Dawn is a game that I’d highly suggest for both those who follow the franchise and for those who haven’t played it the series before. New Dawn may be a sequel to Far Cry 5 but it doesn’t force you to know about everything that happened prior. Instead, it allows you to experience the story without needing any other backstory. It’s even a good game for those who don’t play that many first person shooters, like myself, because it can help you with an auto-lock feature if your aim is bad. The gameplay aspects are engaging and definitely something to explore yourself: as I finished mission after mission, I felt the possibilities for different play styles seem nearly endless.
Ronald Gordon is creating the City Tech College chapter of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.