The franchise is a Far Cry from what it used to be…
By no stretch am I a huge fan of the Far Cry franchise, but I’ve had more than a fair share of good experiences messing around with Far Cry 3 and its spin-off Blood Dragon… Yet, after seeing the new instalment, New Dawn, a question emerges; has it reinjected the franchise with vibrant life, or are the explosive colours just a thin layer of excitement draped over a bland and uninspired game?
Well, for a start, ever since the success of Far Cry 3, both Far Cry 4 and 5 followed a very similar template and gameplay style, and Primal being an honest, yet underwhelming shift in its approach. Whilst Far Cry 5 did have an interesting villain and unique environment. Far Cry 4 felt way too similar to its predecessor. Both games were also burdened with rather underwhelming additional content. With the Lost On Mars DLC for Far Cry 5 being a rather poor attempt at recreating the charm and enjoyment of Blood Dragon. With that said, New Dawn aims to deliver a different style and tone no more than Blood Dragon did before. Rather than the cyber punk parody, it opts for a Mad Max crossed with pink explosions… Basically RAGE 2 Lite.
So, what’s my initial impressions of New Dawn? Well, to start with the positives, the visual style is rather appealing. The environments are eyepopping and vibrant – The whole art direction is pleasing to behold. It captures the aesthetic of an apocalypse, mixed in with the beauty of a reclaimed American countryside. The gameplay is as tight as ever, although, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Unfortunately, the actual intro to the game just felt like a really weak imitation of Far Cry 3. The villains didn’t come across as intimidating or interesting, just spoilt and annoying – I didn’t really feel much of a connection to any of the characters, either protagonists or antagonists. Every character just felt like a catalyst for the next event to take place, or an exposition dump. Characters like Carmina just didn’t really show any personality. Maybe it was just her monotone voice in almost every conversation she has with your character but dear lord is she a dull character; I have to admit I generally only really find the villains interesting in Far Cry games, so when even the villains are a let-down, I find it hard to care about any character in this game.
I feel as though it’d be unfair for me to give a full review to this game as I just found it to be a rather dull, yet visually rich entry into Far Cry that, whilst providing a nice change of scenery, didn’t really expand upon the formula in any aspect. It didn’t have enough going for it to keep me invested in playing – There are so many games being released on a daily basis that are constantly providing innovations in the industry; Far Cry New Dawn just doesn’t offer anything over its predecessors, it takes very few risks beyond it’s visuals, which, as discussed, are gorgeous. If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic game that promises both a colourful aesthetic, as well as expanding upon its previous instalment, it’s probably best waiting for RAGE 2 to hit shelves later in the year. All of this isn’t to say that the game is bad on a technical level, it still performs great, and it feels satisfying to shoot your weapons and drive around the map as usual, but I only recommend this to those that are die hard fans of the Far Cry franchise nonetheless.