Those who played Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 to completion know it concluded with a Hope County-consuming mushroom cloud and a vindicated cult leader. While Project at Eden’s Gate’s Joseph Seed was right about the End of Days, the prophesying “Father” couldn’t predict what would come next for the rural Montana county and its inhabitants. Thankfully, Far Cry: New Dawn is eager to answers those questions.
Serving as both a sequel and standalone adventure, New Dawn picks up 17 years after Far Cry 5’s shocking final act. In the nearly twenty years since the bombs dropped, Hope County has not only survived the harsh nuclear winter, but has begun to bloom again. As such, the game doesn’t feature the sort of dreary environments typically representative of post-nuclear war worlds, but rather sports a vibrant setting marked by lush foliage, blue skies, and pretty flowers.
Still, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops on the other side of the apocalypse. Scarce resources have forced the hopeful survivors to defend themselves against the scavenging Highwaymen, a new enemy faction led by twin sisters Mickey and Lou. The sinister siblings – and their menacing, motocross gear-outfitted followers – take what they want, even if it means killing anyone brave (or dumb) enough to get in their way.
Players assume the role of a new protagonist, flown into Hope County to help even the odds against this growing threat. As in Far Cry 5 though, fans aren’t tasked with taking back the world all by themselves. In addition to supporting co-op play, New Dawn brings back Guns and Fangs for Hire. Because much of the population’s been wiped by World War III, however, players can only have a single AI ally join them at a time.
Luckily, these new companions can more than hold their own on the battlefield. Nana, for example, a senior citizen sniper with a tongue as sharp as her aim, can pick off distant targets with precision, while wild boar Horatio is perfect for up-close mauling. Those who prefer to fight alongside man’s best friend can enlist Timber, an adorable/deadly Akita; as an added bonus, dogs can now hop into vehicles and ride shotgun – with tongues and tails wagging – on their way to missions.
While fans will have access to a few gun-toting, fang-baring friends, weapons and gear are far more scarce since the world essentially ended. As a result, they’ll have to scavenge for parts, such as springs, duct tape, and circuit boards, to craft makeshift death-dealers. On top of featuring cool, hand-crafted looks, these new weapons pack quite the punch. The circular saw blade launcher, for example, works as advertised, but can also be upgraded to fling multiple projectiles simultaneously. You’ll need the extra firepower though, as New Dawn also introduces tiered enemy types – including new Enforcers – ensuring much tougher encounters against even non-boss adversaries.
Players can also tweak their weapons at a new home-base dubbed “Prosperity”, a safe, hub-like camp that also has dedicated spots for healing, cartography, explosives, and expeditions. The latter vendor offers something entirely different for the Far Cry franchise, the opportunity to explore beyond the primary open-world. Specifically, players can hop in a chopper and fly to dedicated sandboxes in California, Arizona, and Louisiana. These remote areas each sport unique biomes – like Louisiana’s crocodile-filled swamps – and tend to be more dangerous, but also contain the best loot.
Expeditions seem tailor-made for co-op, but players are welcome to tackle them solo with an AI Specialist by their side. Regardless of how you conquer these varied locales, you’ll want to brave them for the best upgrade resources. In addition to leveling your weapons to take on higher-tiered enemy types, you’ll likely want to be well-armed when facing wildlife that appears to have woken up on the wrong side of the apocalypse; Ubisoft isn’t sharing details on these potentially mutated beasts, but based on the snarling cougar – whose fur’s been replaced by a coat of mangled moss and rocks – we’re guessing they’re not friendly.
New Dawn is building on Far Cry 5‘s solid foundation, evolving its formula with fresh features, such as makeshift weaponry, expeditions, and a familiar world that’s been drastically changed. While it’s forging its own, standalone path though, it’s not forgetting the fans who survived Hope County and its cultists. The game features tons of cool call-outs to Far Cry 5, from your base camp being a severely transformed version of John Seed’s sprawling ranch to new Specialist Carmina being the grown-up offspring of Nick and Kim Rye. Fan-favorite Far Cry 5 characters, like Pastor Jerome and, of course, Hurk, also return.
Whether you’re craving a fresh adventure or are just tired of exploring post-apocalyptic environments, New Dawn welcomes you to a whole new Hope County when it hits Xbox One February 15.