It hasn’t even been a year since the release of the excellent Far Cry 5 and here we sit with what is know as a ‘narrative sequel’ in our laps, Far Cry New Dawn.
Bursting with colour, in almost pop art style, there is a psychedelic look and feel to this iteration of the hugely popular series.
Spoiler alert: The story is set 17 years after the events of Far Cry 5. After the nuclear exchange known as “the Collapse” devastated the world, survivors attempt to rebuild the community in Hope County.
Their efforts are threatened by the Highwaymen, a roving band of organised bandits. With few other choices, the survivors form an alliance with New Eden - the remnants of the Project at Eden’s Gate - despite knowing that they may represent a greater threat than the Highwaymen themselves. The Deputy returns from FC5 as does main protagonist Joseph Seed. You take on the role of Captain and form part of a group that travels the country assisting other survivor groups in need.
I should say from the get go I am a huge Far Cry fan who still finds the exploration and progression system of the franchise utterly engrossing in FCND.
They say familiarity breeds contempt. And that certainly seems to be the case looking at other reviews since FCND launched on PS4, XB1 and Windows earlier this month.
It is true, to a degree this does feel like a DLC expansion. Not enough has been done to change the environment and make it interesting enough for a standalone title.
Personally I welcomed the diluted RPG element as I am not an RPG fan - but that will undoubtedly grate on a large section of gamers.
Unfortunately it seems indicative of the wider game too. Everything just feels a bit diluted and the usual time and care put into Far Cry titles is missing.
The storyline and narrative leaves a lot to be desired too. The reworked openworld is cool and fun/rewarding to explore in equal measure.
And there are some superb new elements to make things interesting. Human superpowers eventually make combat thrilling and the expeditions are the game’s crowning achievement as they really offer Ubisoft the chance to show off their best-in-class world design.
There are so many ambitious ideas in New Dawn but it seems they were not fully realised as they would have been with a bigger timeframe for the latest release.
With the next generation of ever more powerful consoles looming on the horizon perhaps we are seeing the first seeds being planted of greater things to come in the next couple of years.
Far Cry New Dawn is still a thoroughly enjoyable playthrough. I imagine Far Cry games always will be.
I guess what takes the edge off here is the nagging feeling that it could and probably should have been so much more.