Seventeen years after Far Cry 5, survivors attempt to rebuild following “the Collapse”, a nuclear event that wiped out huge swathes of the population. The small settlement of Prosperity grows, and soon attracts the attention of the local hoodlums. The Highwaymen - fearsome bandits lead by twins Mickey and Lou - have set their sights on Prosperity's assets, and will stop at nothing to take it for themselves. But word reaches the villagers of a man called Thomas West, travelling the country with his own band of followers, helping people rebuild their lives with great success. They enlist his services, but things quickly go wrong...
From here, it's your job to rebuild Prosperity and reclaim Hope County from the Highwaymen. Along the way we'll meet several familiar faces from Far Cry 5, as well as partaking in many of the same gameplay elements present in the main series. Clearing hostile outposts rewards the player with ethanol, which sort of functions as the game's currency, being necessary for upgrading Prosperity and unlocking the workbenches within. Previously cleared outposts can be “scavenged” for extra ethanol, but new (and stronger, at least for the first three runs through each outpost) enemies will return to the area and can then be cleared out again for additional rewards.
Then there's all of the usual looting, hunting and crafting that we've come to expect from the series - collect everything you find, because you never know when you might need it. “Guns for Hire” return to lend a helping hand, forming a large part of the actual missions in the game. Amassing a team of comrades takes almost as long as playing through the story campaign, which seems slightly strange as you can only ever use one hired gun at a time. You'll quickly realise the dog is the best one and none of the others will get a look in!
Expeditions are new to the series, taking the player to various areas away from Hope County. As nice as these diversions are (swampy fairground, space station crash site, that sort of thing), there's very little to do there. Find the package, hold the enemies off for a couple of minutes until the helicopter arrives, then you're immediately whisked back to Hope County. We don't even get to fly the helicopter ourselves.
New Dawn's apocalyptic setting is a nice departure, although very little is actually done with it as far as gameplay goes. Humans are still alive and vehicles and weapons are still functioning - most places even still have steady power supply - so really what we're looking at is Far Cry with extra burned out buildings. Where 2016 spinoff Far Cry Primal dramatically deviated from the series by going back in time to the prehistoric ages (forming what for our money is one of the best games in the entire series), New Dawn has no such aspirations, choosing to stick rigidly to the formula that has been in play since 2012's FC3.
All in all, New Dawn is very much a Far Cry game. It's safe to say that if you're a fan of the series then you'll be right at home here, but if you're not on board already there's not much here that would convince you otherwise.
FAR CRY NEW DAWN / DEVELOPER & PUBLISHER: UBISOFT / PLATFORM: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW