Far Cry: New Dawn Xbox One Review

Far Cry: New Dawn is a direct sequel to Far Cry 5 and takes place 17 years later. The end of the fifth game saw the world face nuclear warfare, after which is the setting for New Dawn. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. You can pick up the game on Xbox One, PS4, and PC for $39.99. New Dawn did not see the initial $60 release price like previous entries.

Post-Apocalyptic Stories

Far Cry: New Dawn is a post-apocalyptic take on the Far Cry formula. We’ve seen the developers break away from the standards of the series greatly in the past, such as with Far Cry: Blood Dragon or Far Cry: Primal. Each time has been to varying levels of success. Fortunately, New Dawn is a rather decent game. It includes some nice quality of life improvements over Far Cry 5 but suffers from a lack of including some other features. The standard tropes story wise are the same way as well.

You play as a customizable character. You have no voice during the game, but it will often show your appearance. I for one have been disappointed with the series’ decision to break away from using strong protagonists. Far Cry 3’s Jason Brody is one of my favorite video game characters, and watching someone with personality go through everything The Captain does, would have been far preferred. Even if the allowed minor character customization, but still gave your character life would have been preferable.

Oh Captain, My Captain

Your character is the Captain of Security for Thomas Rush and his group of problem solvers. Together, you go all over the country and help build communities, create safe drinking water, and deal with trouble makers. That’s what brings you all to Hope County. Carmina Rye finds you all and asks you to assist them with the Highwaymen that have been terrorizing their home. Thomas Rush agrees, but on the way there, your train is blown up, and everyone but the Captain, Thomas Rush, and Carmina Rye is believed to be dead.

You manage to escape with Carmina and group up with the resistance at Prosperity. However, the Highwaymen have captured Thomas Rush. Your goal from here on out is to rescue Rush, help upgrade Prosperity, and stop the Highwaymen and their leaders Mickey and Lou.

The New and Old Characters

While this series features an array of new characters, there are also a lot of returning faces from Far Cry 5. Among those people are Joseph Seed, the antagonist of 5, The Deputy, your character from the previous game, returns as “The Judge”. We also see others such as Nick and Kim Rye. We even get an Easter egg for Boomer. These characters are all done well. No major detractions came to their characters in this game. It was nice and refreshing to see familiar faces.

Now for new characters we also have a lot of people. The most important ones are The Captain, Thomas Rush, Carmina Rye, and Mickey and Lou. While The Captain is a blank slate character that adds nothing to the game, Thomas Rush is great. If they had to include a member from this group of people to be the main character, my first choice would be Rush. His character is a little stereotypical “selfless” good guy, but I would rather that than be mute. If they chose someone else, getting to play as Carmina would be great as well. It would fit in with the series putting unsuspecting and unprepared people into the thick of the world. Her father being captured by the Highwaymen could have also been used for greater emotional effect this way.

A lot of events happen in this game, where it’s clear they want you to care what happens. Unfortunately, without a character I can become attached to, and witness their reactions to said events, I was very reluctant to care.

Mickey and Lou

I want to talk about the game’s main antagonists separately. Mickey and Lou are twin sisters who head this section of the Highwaymen. They aim to take what they please, and put down any “problem solvers”, so power is very important to them. They hit the mark of the unstable and psychopathic villain the series is known for, but otherwise they felt like an afterthought. This was a huge disappointment. Far Cry is basically now founded on the idea of a unique, twisted villain. Far Cry: New Dawn just does not deliver on that expectation.

These women could have been great villains. Instead, it feels like they’re barely used. Most of the story goes on with them only being mentioned, before they pop up and do some big action. Then you blink and the game is over. Not only that, but they were a little dry, and even stereotypical at times. Sure, they fit the needs of a Far Cry villain, but they don’t do anything unique with it. They’re crazy, but nothing we haven’t seen. They’re tame even compared to some villains. They have an interesting backstory of being taken away from their mother by their father, and growing up with a life of crime, but this was barely touched on.

Overall, the twins are just blatantly your average Joe antagonist despite their potential. Not to mention the game even lacked mini bosses, something Far Cry is known for having, and that are usually rather great as well.

Action Adventure Thrills

Much like the previous entries in the series, Far Cry: New Dawn is an action adventure FPS. This game is fun. While the world can sometimes feel empty due to some long travel times, the story missions and various side activities bring an immense amount of enjoyment with them. This entry simplifies some aspects of the typical Far Cry mechanics, yet it doesn’t detract from the experience.

The Gun-play

The combat is engaging. The various kinds of weapons make for diverse and often strategic combat. The series continues its trademark survival aspects, adding some extra flair. Outpost capturing returns, which implements stealth-based combat as well. It plays nearly the same as Far Cry 5. There are some improvements, like enemy health bars, and visibly showing the damage done to enemies, but overall, go in expecting more of the same.

There’s also some new weaponry that helps show that this is the apocalypse, primarily the saw launcher. It allows you to shoot one or multiple saw blades at a time, that can bounce off enemies and other surfaces. Ricocheting the blades for unique kills is always a good time.

Side Activities

There’s a lot to do in this world. While it unfortunately scrapped the traditional hunting and crafting mechanics, there are still legendary beasts for you to hunt down. Acquiring animal pelts will allow you to trade them in for gun parts.

You can take down enemy Outposts like usual. But now you can scavenge them, allowing you to reap the rewards multiple times. The rewards in this case are barrels of ethanol. This allows you to upgrade your home base.

There’s also treasure hunts, expeditions, collectibles that are surprisingly useful, side missions, Guns For Hire, and so on. These all invoke various styles of game play that manage to diversify the game some and keep players from feeling bogged down.

The Crafting and Upgrading

Traditional Far Cry crafting is gone. Instead of crafting new equipment, such as holsters, you now have to craft your own guns. It isn’t very hard to acquire the parts you need, but there are various tiers of weapons, most of which are initially locked until you upgrade Prosperity. Some of the Elite weaponry can be a pain to get. And your weapons matter. Eventually most weaponry won’t be viable.

Since its the apocalypse, there aren’t exactly many vendors around. Most of the upgrades you used to craft in previous series entries are now found in the Perks section. New Dawn doesn’t have skill trees, instead it just has a skill square. You can get most of these skills at any time, and some you can upgrade multiple times. It simplifies the system, even though it already wasn’t very complex. Now, there isn’t a level system. Instead there’s various challenges you can complete that give you perk points. You don’t have to worry about seeking out challenges. I never even opened that menu until after beating the game and got through it just fine.

You can also upgrade Prosperity. The settlement has various sections that can be improved, such as your garage, weapons bench, training area, and so on. These give you various benefits, from unlocking higher tiered weaponry, to improving the health of your Guns for Hire.

The Power of Eden

As mentioned before, Joseph Seed makes his return. He’s just as maniacal as ever. Joseph believes you are the true shepherd of God. He allows you to eat one of the apples of Eden, which allows you to unlock some pretty neat abilities, and seems to give your character enhanced physicals when pissed off. You basically become the Incredible Hulk. Except you can also turn invisible, heal yourself by performing take downs, and even double jump. It adds a whole new level of fun to the game. It’s a good time. You unlock these powers on the same screen as your perks.

The Colorful Apocalypse

The world is gorgeous. While the graphics themselves are rather average for a AAA studio, the colors are well done. While it’s incredibly unrealistic for a game that takes place only 17 years after the apocalypse — I mean just look at the Metro series, which takes place 20 years after one — it works well. The game is essentially a re-skinned Far Cry 5. All the weapons for the most part are just rusted versions of the ones in 5. Even the wildlife is just like that. Slightly differently colored. That’s not counting the Elite animals you can hunt, that show more typical, grotesque mutations. The setting is the same but has the contrast up really high. So, while it doesn’t look bad, it’s far from being unique.

While the layout of the world is different, it has a ton of hills and forests compared to the farms of 5, I found this to be detrimental. It made travel a pain. It took a lot longer to get to places, despite the relatively small map. Plus, off-roading is basically a non-option. I tried to do it a lot. But in much of the map, it just isn’t possible with any level of speed or enjoyment.

When it’s all said and done, the game as an average, and typical appearance. If you enjoy bright and beautiful worlds like I do, then you will still enjoy the atmosphere a lot. But due to the lack of success in diversifying the game from Far Cry 5, many will be left disappointed.

The Surviving Tunes

The music in the game is generally well composed. The original soundtrack manages to fit the scenes that each song is included in very well. It isn’t a masterful soundtrack, so it doesn’t manage to elevate scenes by itself. It does however work with what the developers give it. At the very least it never becomes annoying. Which is a problem seen far too often, especially in games assembled as quickly as this one was. Nothing was jarring, and you could tell it was Far Cry just by listening to the music. Well, if you’re familiar with the games at least.

As for the radio music, it’s the same as always. Some songs are great, some songs are not. There’s a little bit of everything, so it mainly depends on your personal music tastes. I for one usually drive with the radio off. I typically get annoyed with video game radio stations, due to a lack of a library.

Managing to Act

The voice acting is okay. It suffers from detachment issues. Meaning, I couldn’t grow close to any situation that arose due to various reasons previously discussed. The voice acting didn’t manage to help that either. While the acting never took anything away, it didn’t manage to add much either. Regardless, the actors did a good job with what they were given. Many other aspects of the game just failed to help lift the game up. Don’t go in expecting to see an award worthy performance basically. Sorry, but Christopher Judge is not in this game.

Trying it Out Again

Far Cry: New Dawn has a high replay value. It manages to lure you into attack the same outpost two or three times, and even after completing the story, I found myself continuing to play. Since the game has so much content, I still had a ton of stuff to do. When it comes to starting over from scratch, behind Far Cry 3 and Far Cry: Blood Dragon, this would be my next candidate for the series. Meaning how likely I am to return to the game compared to other entries.

It isn’t the third best game in the series, but it has a 10-hour play time. If you ignore many of the side activities, skip cut scenes, and generally know what you’re doing that is. And due to how simple it is, it makes replaying it even more likely for me.

Reckoning Time

Far Cry: New Dawn is a rather simple, uninspired game, but it manages to capture an important aspect of a quality video game very well. Being fun. It isn’t the best in the series, and I would recommend playing Far Cry 5 before jumping into this. It’s a direct sequel to 5, so that background would help. Far Cry 5 is also generally a better game and is a more traditional Far Cry experience. But don’t let that stop you from picking up New Dawn. If you’re a Far Cry fan then chances are you will enjoy this game.

Despite it being a practical DLC to Far Cry 5, it manages to save face by being $40, rather than $60. It means Ubisoft is able to acknowledge that this entry is lacking in many areas compared to the standards the previous games have set.



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