‘Far Cry: New Dawn’ review: a blatant cash-in

“Far Cry: New Dawn” is a by all means good game. Polished all around with a great looking open world, it should be a satisfying experience. However as a sequel/expansion though, it is a lazy cop-out.

Even before releasing last year’s “Far Cry 5” is even a year old, “New Dawn” takes place around 20 years after a nuclear apocalypse happened, with the player running around the same location of 5, the fictional Hope County, Montana. You play as a new unnamed character, who must protect the inhabitants of the county from the Highwaymen, a country-wide band of thugs equipped with colorful outfits. They are led by the villains of the game, Lou and Mickey, poorly written characters whose sole motivation is to cause pain.

Seeing as New Dawn is a repackaged 5, I have to address that I did not like 5 to begin with. It was an experience that just felt empty: the story was lackluster, there was some missing content, and the gameplay was just formulaic.  

With New Dawn, a few of those problems are improved on. The story is a bit better, enemies are scaled by level, giving an added challenge, and weapons are as well, making the gameplay a bit more interesting with the apocalyptic setting, you have to scrounge for materials. You have to collect things all in order to upgrade your home base “Prosperity”: that means upgrading your weapon bench to get better weapons, and various other things in order to level up Prosperity.

That basically translates to grinding for one thing after another to unlock things, which is just as generic as it sounds, all with paid timesavers being shown clearly in the menus. Weapons do look different though:  they look weathered and suitably cobbled together. The only new addition to your arsenal of ranged weapons is the sawblade launcher, which is a crossbow that shoots sawblades.

For some, the vibrant palette and new features may keep the game fresh. However, it has to be discussed what was missing from 5 and added to New Dawn less than 12 months later. If one paid attention to 5 post release, Ubisoft did support the game, but to a very weak extent, with cash-in DLC and barebones content drops. When 5 initially released, it was missing some fan favorite things, seemingly small nitpicks, but ones that fans nearly universally called out Ubisoft for: a lack of a franchise staple machete, a bland selection of weapons, and just little things that amounted to a lot for many, (myself included).

That being said, it seemed all too convenient that almost all of these things wanted in 5, showed up in a $40 standalone addition, but never came to be in 5. Taking into account this practice, it becomes abundantly clear what the game is. An anti-consumer cash grab, that monetizes what should have been free to fans. While the animators and artists who spruced up the setting did an awesome job (as well as the composers with a brilliant soundtrack) there really wasn’t much else to appreciate about the game.