Review: Far Cry New Dawn

2023-02-08 / Mark Sowden

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Finished Far Cry New Dawn - didn't take me too long and thought I'd throw my thoughts out. Keep in mind there are spoilers here, so if you're planning on playing it yourself, don't read on.


Props here - performance on my machine was actually fantastic. I've played some newer games lately, most of them are starting to push my GPU to it's knees a little bit, but this I could crack up to 200% essentially and still have a bit of headroom to spare.

So yeah, I thought the game ran great. The only odd issues I noticed was an odd jitter now and then, possibly due to streaming? Seemed to happen during navigation and was sometimes more noticable when driving, but honestly, was usually okay enough I'd forget it's there.

Smaller scope is better! Maybe a little too small?

The game was short, for sure, and as I'll go into, I thought the main story mission left a lot to be desired, but at the same time I've got to say that the game was a lot more enjoyable with a smaller world to explore here compared to say Far Cry 5 which was, uh, tiresome. I also liked the mechanic of relinquishing each base to gain a higher reward for a bigger challenge.

It also gave me plenty of opportunity to do nearly all the side missions in the game (bar one which I apparently got locked out of at the end?) And I felt like the quality of those side missions were mostly okay too! But that also said, it did feel like there could've been more side content there? And I mean, proper side missions, not just, go here and take over this base.

It also would've been great to see more side missions that didn't necessarily involve unlocking a new companion.

Oh, there were also some really great details the developers had added to the world. Lots of little things I'd noticed that made me smile or go, "oh, so that's what that log was referring to! Neat!" I'd also really enjoyed some of the treasure-hunt quests in this as well, though some of them were painfully easy.

If I had some negative things to say about the game world though - more variation would've been nice and more interesting landmarks.

And now a rant about story...

There's a lot I could say about the story. I'll just focus on the things that stood out to me. Generally though if you want to skip this block of text to the end - it was awful.

I didn't care, as usual, for any of the characters we meet at the start of the game and interact with throughout. They're plain. There's no relationship we form with them. The relationship between some of the characters is forced down our throat in typical fashion, to which all as a player I can do is think, "okay, good for you."

"Major" character, that was apparently making a significant difference for people and was coming to save them all, dies and everyone in the game world is sad about it. Our interaction with them has been absolutely minimal. There's no drive for the player to feel any emotion or attachment. This is such a stupid issue I've seen when it comes to writing for games, over and over again, aaaarrghh!

And moving on from that, one thing that I thought weird were the odd flashbacks to the antagonists like, backgrounds? With the twins, there was a flashback to when they were kids and how their mum was trying to encourage them onto the right path - one of them stays back and promises their mum or whatever. Anyway, this actually played very little if at all into things. What am I supposed to take away from this? It seemed like they were setting it up for something, like my expectation following it was, "ah, maybe they'll start to disagree with each other?" But no!

Later on we see another between Joseph Seed and his son, Ethan, which just unnecessarily underlined the relationship between the two - we already know his son is an asshole. What am I supposed to take from this? Am I supposed to feel sympathetic towards these characters? Why should I?

Both of these just seem odd to me. These are horrible vile nasty people. So perhaps I'm an idiot, but it really didn't click with me what this was supposed to be telling me.

If you wanted to flesh out their backgrounds, it was a very odd way of doing it. If you want me to feel sympathic towards them, why should I? I'm not sure if the game was trying to pull a, "look, things aren't as black and white as they seem." But when you have these characters going around killing hundreds of people, no, sorry.

There's also this weird feeling that I'm just riding along a track I don't necessarily want to go down when it comes to the story; this isn't too unusual obviously, particularly for the series, but especially after the fifth game it felt really fucking weird to be helping out Joseph Seed and New Eden. On top of that, it felt like the game was validating Joseph Seed's side by having us acquire superhuman abilities from a magic tree. It's explained to us that we don't have a choice - but for myself as a player to meet Joseph Seed and just happily go along with him, and his son, just felt strange.

An argument to be made here is that, we're a completely new character in this game. We've had no prior experience of Joseph Seed. But near the start of the game it's already alluded to how he was an evil man. So I don't know, just what the fuck was going on here?

And so at the end of the game, big shock, we kill Joseph Seed. What frustrates me about it, is this fucked up human being gets to decide for us when and how he dies, and it's basically being framed as a mercy by us for him - yes, he's distraught as his grand plan has crumbled and he realises, "wait, am I the bad guy?" But in light of the above, again, it feels like the player is just his pawn here. If it were up to me I'd have pushed the guy down the waterfall and beat him with a club.

Final score

Anyway, yeah sure, let's give it a score. If you enjoyed Far Cry 5, you'll probably enjoy this. Writing is terrible however, so don't expect much of an engrossing story.


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