It's a whole new ball game... if they had ball games in the post-apocalyptic world.
Picking up years after the cataclysmic events of 5, New Dawn places you in the middle of a settlement called Prosperity, a community of post-apocalyptic survivors who’ve done a remarkable job at thriving in a new world. That is, until the scavenger-like Highwaymen decided they wanted Prosperity for themselves. Your character reads the resistance against the Highwaymen and their leaders, a pair of diabolical twins, at the same time trying to build Prosperity and its resources.
Like Far Cry: Primal was to Far Cry 4, New Dawn reuses the same general geography of Far Cry 5. While locations look drastically different, lush with mutated flora and fauna, the real difference between Primal and New Dawn is the latter is recognised as a direct sequel by Ubisoft. I found this out almost immediately, jumping into a three-hour play session and forgoing the rebuilding of Prosperity to instead chase after the ghosts of Far Cry 5′s antagonist Joseph and his crazy New Eden cult.
Making my way to the island where Far Cry 5 began — and rather surprisingly, ended — I quickly learned that Joseph’s opportunistic behaviour meant that New Eden had grown strong as the result of the new world order. Even more surprisingly, I learned Joseph had left his flock and that I was putting into motion a plan to take over the group from Joseph’s son, Ethan. Was I now a bad guy? I don’t think so; like everyone in the area, I was merely adapting to survive.
While the continuing narrative is engaging, changes to the gameplay seen in Far Cry 5 are most welcome. In terms of combat, there are four tiers of weapons and armour that make all the difference; go up against a level 3 enemy with a level 1 weapon and you’re unlikely to live to see the next day. Level 4 enemies? Well, like it or not, but Ubisoft’s James Rediger told Stevivor they’re “meant to be taken on with a friend,” though co-op action sadly favours a host, and host only, with story progression.
While Far Cry Arcade doesn’t make a reappearance in New Dawn, players have the chance to visit new locales thanks to the expedition system. In it, players are flown to a remote area somewhere in the USA and asked to extract much needed materials. In fact, anything you do in the game, from extractions to story missions to outposts is about scavenging, building up enough resources to build or upgrade weapons or Prosperity itself.
To aid in that quest, a huge change to outposts comes in the form of escalations. If you’ve liberated an outpost, you can either claim its limited resources or effectively hand it back to the Highwaymen, raising the stakes. Choosing to hand back the outpost means it essentially resets, though it becomes more difficult to reclaim it; enemies level up and alarm locations are randomised, as examples. Should you retake the outpost, you’ll be rewarded with more resources than the level before. It’s risk versus reward, and you definitely need the rewards. Good thing Far Cry 5‘s Guns for Hire make a reappearance; from what we learned, there are eight to choose from in all.
My three hours with the game flew by, whetting my appetite for the full game. I’m extremely keen to jump in next month, eager to remove the blemish that the New Eden cult has placed upon Hope County… or what used to be Hope County, that is.
Far Cry: New Dawn heads to Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 on 15 February.