Ever have one of those moments where you just call it? Y’know, you’re watching the Super Bowl in sportsball and…uh…okay, sports probably isn’t the best choice here since I don’t know much about them. How about when you finish Far Cry 5 and (without spoiling anything) you kinda call the sequel a year or so in advance? It’s a good feeling. Also a good feeling: Far Cry: New Dawn, the latest in the long-running open-world telephone-tower simulator series from Ubisoft.
Again, without spoiling the ending to Far Cry 5: some pretty big stuff happens at the end of that game, and now we’ve got a post-apocalyptic Far Cry! You control a new character, a security chief for a roaming group of Mad Max do-gooders. As is usually the case in these games, they last about five minutes before the latest set of charismatic villains put them in the ground, where the dirt lives. Here it’s a sadistic set of twin sisters Mickey and Lou, and they mean business. As one of only a few survivors, you’ll need to team up with some rag-tag communities to build up a base of operations and take the fight to the marauding Highwaymen.
You’ve played Far Cry since the third one, right? Then you’ve got a pretty good idea of how this goes. The formula hasn’t changed all that much, after all, and indeed it’s kind of spread into every single franchise and genre on the face of the planet. Play Far Cry 3 and then play Breath of the Wild. I dare you. Anyway, this is more of that – you’ve got a giant open world full of stuff to do and the freedom to approach how you’ll do it in whatever way you see fit.
New Dawn shakes things up by being a bit more far-fetched than the usual pseudo-gritty pseudo-realism we see from these games. Example: your first weapon, rather than a gun, is a sawblade launcher that can miraculously ricochet shots off walls to take out multiple baddies at once. The whole game follows this trend. It’s nice. There’s all kinds of nice end-of-the-world nonsense to enjoy, like an early quest where you end up exploring an entire flooding bunker just to collect some drugged-up doctor’s stash. It’s like the best parts of the previous Far Cry games distilled into a single tasty whole – a box of Lucky Charms comprised entirely of marshmallows. Sorry, am I drooling? Building up your base in a similar style to Far Cry Primal is a pretty good time as well and adds a little longevity to New Dawn’s slightly shorter campaign.
Another way the genre gets shaken up is in how New Dawn approaches the post-apocalyptic aesthetic. There’s been plenty of games along these lines, after all, and they’re usually very…well, brown. Extremely brown. Sometimes gray. New Dawn, on the other hand, would very much like everything to be exploding, screaming pink. It’s all over the place. The “superbloom” flowers that saturate the landscape are pink. There’s pink graffiti everywhere. It’s a little shocking that enemies don’t spew pink arterial spray when you nail them with the sawblade gun. All in all it makes for an innovative take on this concept and a game that looks great. As always, you want to play on PC. Trust me. Oh, and it’s Far Cry, so the villains are interesting and their voice acting is on point.
At only $40, it’s hard to argue with Far Cry: New Dawn right from the start, especially if you’re itching to kinda-sorta continue the storyline from Far Cry 5. Even if it’s a little less content-rich than a mainline entry in the series, there’s still enough gameplay and satisfying baddie killing here to make this an enjoyable romp in a wasted version of Montana. If you played and enjoyed the previous “Wacky Far Cry” game, Blood Dragon, you’re going to have a great time with New Dawn.