“Far Cry New Dawn” aims too low, offering a boring expansion to its predecessor

Illustration by Sammy Newman

Jonah Schuhart, Contributing Writer

The newest “Far Cry” game is not the best. But “Far Cry New Dawn” is still enjoyable because it has the core mechanics that made the original so successful.

Ubisoft is one of the kings of yearly video game franchises. The company is a master of making the same game every year with minor changes — even if the quality does vary a bit. Some may hate this system, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s room in the world for these kinds of casual series, even if they are pretty similar.

In terms of gameplay, the combat systems are entertaining, whether the player uses stealth or goes in guns blazing. That means the majority of “New Dawn” is enjoyable to play, even if it is just more of the same content. The enemy-riddled outposts are a series staple, and they — like other side quests — can be replayed at higher difficulties for greater rewards. This adds a lot of replayability to the game for completionists.

Movement is also fun. The player gets a wingsuit, a double jump, a grappling hook and a zipline. So, with enough skill, the player can zip around enemy outposts like Spider-Man as they massacre guards with the slew of weapons provided.

The story, however, has serious problems. Everything is shallow. It’s like the writers never developed the plot beyond a few bullet points outlining the game’s events. Some of the dialogue is humorous, but there is zero character development, and therefore zero incentive for the player to actually care about the story.

The main villains — who are usually a selling point for “Far Cry” games — are more bland than ever. They get some last-minute development in the final act, but it’s shallow and the player never interacts with them enough to really care.

“New Dawn” also tries to make a grand point about how people should always have hope for the future. But the story does not invest in the player enough. So, when a major character hands the silent protagonist a beer as they stare off into the sunset, full of optimism, it feels more like two planks of sentient wood trying to imitate a dramatic human moment.

The only good parts of the story are the parts about the last game’s antagonist, Joseph Seed. I hated Seed in “Far Cry 5.” His motivations were complete nonsense and the game did nothing to oppose his ideals. “New Dawn” makes the character’s plotline interesting by giving him some real development, for once.

Overall, “Far Cry New Dawn” is a fun experience, but I’d hardly call it a full game. It’s more like a big expansion. It’s the same systems as the last game, but with a smaller map, a shorter plot and some new base-building and rocket propelled grenade mechanics. At least Ubisoft was smart enough to sell this game for $40 instead of $60. If you like “Far Cry,” or if you’re looking for something casual to play, it’s worth buying.

Rating: 6/10.

Overall: Not a bad game and pretty fun to play. But it’s superficial to the utmost degree.

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