Far Cry: New Dawn — Good Shooter, Bad RPG
Far Cry: New Dawn was an interesting experience as it was my first time playing Far Cry and also the first time I’ve seen a Triple A developer put out a $40 game. The game was a fun romp through the re-skinned world of Montana that was featured in Far Cry 5, but lacks the longevity and depth that I’ve come to expect from an open world game, and usually will get with a $60 purchase. I think New Dawn is a game that comes with great value at only $40, but from here on out in the review I will no longer be mentioning its price tag; Hollow Knight was only $15 and I still graded it against the other full priced Triple A games I’ve played and it will be no different with New Dawn.
Montana is a beautiful open world with tons of hills and mountains leading to amazing views. I can’t decide if it’s more majestic during the day with the blue skies and green fauna or at night with the moon, the stars, and the northern lights up in the air. Unfortunately the game doesn’t give you much reason to explore this amazing world. Pretty much all the outposts, collectibles, and other points of interest will all eventually be marked on your map, so there isn’t really a point in traveling off the beaten path. Other than wild animals which you can kill for their skins there isn’t much that’s of use to the player out in the wild. This makes the world seem unnecessary despite its grandeur and beauty; New Dawn could have replaced its open world with a series of mission select menus and still retain most of its core gameplay.
New Dawn has a lot of RPG elements, but since it’s only about a 15–20 hour experience, a lot of these elements are dumbed down to fit with the brevity of the game. For example, you earn skill points to spend on skills, but there isn’t much specialization you can do with them so you don’t get the different character builds you would see in most RPGs. Enemies and weapons have been broken down into tiers, either gray, blue, purple, or gold, instead of levels. A gray gun will have trouble killing a blue enemy, a blue gun a purple enemy, etc. Most of your progression will come from upgrading from gray gear all the way up to gold; my problem with this was that though my weapons had gotten stronger, I didn’t feel that my character had got stronger. In other RPGs like The Outer Worlds or Borderlands it was the weapons in tandem with character skills and stats that truly brought home the sense of progression that keeps me glued to a game. New Dawn lacks the character side of this duo and my enjoyment of the game took a noticeable hit because of this.
Though New Dawn certainly has its flaws, when it comes to bread and butter Far Cry gameplay the game delivers a great time. Taking down outposts is easily my favorite thing to do in this game. I highly recommend you play through this game with a friend, as coordinating a take down with a partner gives you way more options adding to the fun. I played with my brother and was usually responsible for marking enemies and keeping an eye out with my sniper while my brother would sneak in and try to get to the alarms. The game definitely encourages stealth, as you get bonuses for beating an outpost without anyone triggering an alarm or without being seen, but going in hot is always an option. New Dawn also features “Expeditions” which are essentially super outposts. The game puts you in a massive sandbox and you’re tasked with retrieving something deep in enemy territory, then escape to the evac zone and await your ride out. They don’t require as much precision and planning as regular outposts since you don’t have to kill everyone, but the large sandbox offers even more approaches to completing the mission and some of the best content that can be found in the game.
Far Cry: New Dawn was a fun stealth first person shooter experience, but when it comes to the open world, RPG side of things it clearly falls short. Since this is the only Far Cry game I’ve played, I’m not sure if I’m taking issue with the entire Far Cry franchise or just New Dawn. Either way I acknowledge Far Cry to be an excellent video game series and will likely play the next entry or revisit an old one. I’d recommend this to any fan of first person shooters.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10