Encouraging Variety in Far Cry New Dawn

With Dragon Quest Builders 2 finally put to bed I was looking for a new game to fill its slot. Far Cry 6 is coming this Autumn and I realized at some point I’d picked up Far Cry New Dawn for cheap so figured it’d make a good candidate.

New Dawn is the sequel-of-sorts to Far Cry 5, which I played so long ago that at this point I’ve forgotten many of the details beyond Greg Byrk’s portrayal of violent cult leader Joseph Seed. Well that and lots of psychedelics (in the game, not in me…at least not this time).

Anyway New Dawn has an interesting game system I wanted to talk about today. I’m not claiming New Dawn invented the idea but it was new to me. It has to do with the Perk System.

New Dawn is basically an open world first person shooter, but there is some character progression via Perks. Perks are generally passive skills like the ability to move faster when in stealth, or the ability to carry more weapons or ammo. Since they are passive they seem at least technically optional, which may become important later in our discussion.

You unlock Perks via spending [surprise!] Perk Points. So far, this is all bog standard stuff. But what is a little different here is that you earn Perk Points via completing Challenges rather than (for example) gaining experience or spending currency.

OK so what are Challenges? Challenges feel a little like Achievements. You’ll complete a lot of Challenges organically. For instance I completed a challenge to defeat 3 bears because the bears in this game are mutated psychopaths that aggro on you for no apparent reason. “Jeez Mr Bear I was just walking down the road minding my own business, and now thanks to your anger-management issues you are dead and half my ammo is gone.”

I promise, I’m getting to the point.

Now let’s talk quickly about weapons. You can craft weapons in New Dawn, and weapons come in various quality tiers. At the start of the game you can only craft Tier 1 weapons, then you spend scavenged resources to upgrade your workbench and now you can craft Tier 2 weapons, and so on. (Crafting weapons also costs scavenged resources, and I should point out that you can also loot weapons from enemies.)

Back to Challenges. There are quite a few Challenges having to do with defeating X enemies with weapon Y. “Kill 5 Highwaymen with a Level 1 Melee Weapon” (Highwaymen being one of the main baddie factions in the game.) There seems to be one of these Challenges for each tier of each weapon type.

This means if you’re a completionist that wants to check off every Challenge (and earn all the Perk points) you need to craft (or find) one of each weapon type, at each quality tier, and use it to kill some enemies.

I chose my words carefully when I said this was an “interesting” system because I’m not sure that I actually like it. Maybe I do. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. I tend to gravitate toward certain weapon types in games like this. I rarely choose to use a shotgun, for example. If a game offers a bow I will absolutely use it. But New Dawn is pushing me out of my comfort zone and I think that’s a good thing. It’s worth noting that I haven’t noticed any Challenges that require a large number of kills. They seem more aimed at getting you to at least try different weapons for a brief amount of time, not about forcing you to use a gun type you don’t like for hours and hours.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to be more open-minded about games. When a new game throws something new at me and my gut immediately says “Oh hell no!’ I try to stop, take a breath, and give this new thing a chance. That’s definitely the case here, and after that initial resistance (“Shotguns stink! Rocket launchers are crass!”) I think I do like this system.

I also think it is important that (I’m fairly sure) you could beat the game without Perks, or certainly without ALL the Perks, and you’ll earn a certain number of Perk Points organically as you play. So if this “use all the weapons” system truly bothers you I think you could just ignore it. I wouldn’t let it prevent you from trying the game if Far Cry is your kind of thing.

3 thoughts on “Encouraging Variety in Far Cry New Dawn

  1. I dunno — I tend to like systems like this. I do like being nudged out of my comfort zone at times. It’s the same way with whole game genres, like first person shooters. I think — nah, I hate the very idea of that. And then I try one and… kinda see where they’re coming from. Someday I may even try a team death match game, like Overwatch.

    Outriders gave me lots of weapons and mods to try out; there were lots of options before I settled on the one that was right for me. It’s good to try new things 🙂

  2. Sis and I LOVED Far Cry 5. First game in a long time we played to the end, then replayed several more times again to the end. Did I mention we loved it? We had high hopes for New Dawn and were really disappointed. It had so much potential from a story point of view, and failed to deliver at the same level as 5. The story and voice acting in 5 was so intense. We seriously started to question our own morals and ethics by the end, it was that compelling and immersive. We really hope Far Cry 6 does as good a job as 5, and not the half-hearted effort of New Dawn. 6 can have this game mechanic, but they better deliver on the reason for being alive. My two cents. And on a personal side note, so happy to see a new post! Miss you! And probably my fault for not checking in sooner. 😀

    1. Far Cry seems to kind of alternate. Far Cry 4 was followed by Far Cry Primal which used the same map but didn’t really have the same production values (though it was fun enough). Then Far Cry 5 which was great, I agree. Then New Dawn which again uses the same map as FC5 and some tweaked assets and doesn’t have the same production values. It’s almost like every other game is made by the Journeyman Dev Team or something.

      Considering that got Giancarlo Esposito as the big bad in Far Cry 6, I’m pretty confident it’s going to be back to those high production values of FC4 & FC5!

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