Ubisoft is sending you back to Hope County in Far Cry New Dawn, which desperately needs your help because the world we knew no longer exists. 17 years after a nuclear catastrophe, people are trying to repopulate the area, but the so-called Highway Men are destroying everything they see. So it is high time to restore law and order in Montana.
Live long and prosper
Like a small Gallic village, the community of Prosperity tries to defy all obstacles and create normality. You start the game in this base and you have to improve it during the game – on the one hand by hiring specialists, e.g. doctors, or by using resources, e.g. ethanol. Personally, I’m a big fan of it when a created game world is used in several parts and a story is told in this way. So I was especially pleased when I just arrived in Prosperity and saw the familiar face of Kim Rye. I remember all too well the mission from Far Cry 5 where I drove pregnant Kim to give birth. And her daughter Carmina now stands by you as “help on call” in the fight against the Highway Men. Story-wise, this is a big plus for me, as it’s all about helping familiar people right from the start and I’m all the more lost in the game. The main and side quests are very similar to the game principle known from the predecessors. The quest givers are mostly funny characters and it’s nice when a game doesn’t take itself so seriously and makes you laugh.
Put your hands up!
For the first time in the history of the series, you’ll have to face two opponents, the crazy twin sisters Mickey and Lou. Their followers, the Highway Men, are destructive and a great threat to Hope County’s reconstruction. The controls and menu navigation hardly differ from the predecessor, so you can shoot straight away without any problems. In addition, a survival guide is at your disposal, where you can find interesting information about expansion and crafting. Yes, you’ve read correctly – in Far Cry New Dawn you now have the opportunity to craft! In the game world you’ll find the necessary materials, which you can hardly overlook due to their oversized representation. With the help of coils and feathers you can make your own weapons or vehicles in the typical post-apocalyptic look. To bring in a bit of pep and roleplaying flair, your opponent’s strength will now be represented by different bars. So you know if you can attack right away or if you should return a little later with better skills and weapons. It’s essential to expand your base to get better equipment in the fight against the Highway Men.
A true Country Flower Waltz
In the past 17 years Hope County has also changed optically – due to the absence of people on the surface, it has come to a super flower. This gives the whole area a fairytale-like appearance. Purple flowers cover the lush green meadows and in the bright blue sky northern lights – or rather radiation – can be seen in the middle of the day. But as beautiful as the natural world on the ground looks, especially the wide forests and oceans of flowers, it was the view upwards that made me stumble, because the whole sky is unfortunately covered with a striking grain filter. Far Cry New Dawn is in any case the opposite of colourless and even looks garish in places – which, however, stylistically fits well with the radiation and setting of the game. If you feel like hunting something other than the Highway Men in between, you also have the opportunity to go hunting in nature. However, not only tame bunnies and deer lurk here, but also some animals, which aren’t too well affected by the radioactivity. You can easily recognize them by their special appearance, but watch out, because the fights are quite demanding compared to the other confrontations. You can exchange hunted hides for materials in the shop, which is a lucrative way to raise money.
Want a ride?
A new feature is the expedition mode, which allows you to take helicopter trips to other areas. On unknown terrain, you can perform relatively simple missions, such as procuring a backpack from an enemy base and then escaping unharmed. The mode is fun and ensures a quick change of scenery in between. In order to capture the different impressions of the game, a photo mode is available as in the previous game. This has not only been improved in handling, but also extended by the feature to move your character into different poses. There are also some allusions to other titles from Ubisoft hidden here, for example the Jump of Faith from the Assassin’s Creed series. If you like to take virtual photos, you’ll have a lot of fun here.
Far Cry 5 was especially interesting for me because of the story around John Seeds Kult and of course I was very curious what happened to New Eden. And so much can be revealed without a spoiler – there will be a reunion with the cult! While roaming through Hope County you will always meet familiar faces, which you already know from the predecessor. Even though after 17 years there can’t be a reunion with Montana’s best dog Boomer, there are also helpful and cuddly replacements. The “Help on Demand” function has also been subtly improved, as your companions are now much more accurate than before. If your companion blesses the temporal, you’ll need to revive it with herbs from the menu – another new feature and a step towards RPG. Personally, I think this new way is a good one, and I’m excited to see how the Far Cry series evolves. If you like, you can play all missions online in co-op mode with friends and work together to rebuild Hope County. As with the direct predecessor, the game’s progress will unfortunately only be saved on the game’s host.
Double the fun
In my opinion, the two antagonists were somewhat weak. As heads of an army of madmen, they were a trace too tame and harmless for me – so I just couldn’t take the role away from them completely. But that was by no means due to the setting – at least the English version. I generally have such problems with German dubbing, often the lyrics are completely emotionless and are also translated spongy. Also with Far Cry New Dawn the German voice output is passable, but no highlight. The soundtrack is colourfully mixed, from techno sounds to hip-hop and chosen to match the bright appearance of the game. From a technical point of view, during my test phase, there were no bugs or image jerkers that would disturb the game, just a few funny deaths of opponents that wouldn’t spoil the fun.
There was a lot of discussion about why New Dawn wouldn’t be released as a DLC for Far Cry 5, but I think the decision to release the title as a standalone was a good one. The story is told with great attention to detail. Although there are some role-playing elements like the crafting system and the exploration mode, the core remains the same game. Fans of the Far Cry series will be satisfied, although I can imagine that there is already too much role-playing game in the shooter for one or the other. Of course New Dawn is more fun if you know the prehistory, but also newcomers will enjoy the newest offshoot. For me, a title that’s a hell of a lot of fun.