A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Far Cry New Dawn is a first-person shooter for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. The game is set in the United States about two decades after a nuclear war. The customizable protagonist fights to protect a peaceful community led by a caring and optimistic family from murderous roving marauders, using guns, explosives, knives, and bows and arrows to bloodily kill hundreds of enemies. Plot threads touch on ideas of fatalism, religion, and confidence in humanity's better nature, with the latter eventually prevailing (albeit by violent means). Players will encounter scenes that involve smoking, drinking, and hallucinogenic drugs, plenty of strong language -- including the F-word, N-word -- and dialogue containing frank sexual terms. Parents should also know that players can spend real money within the game to gain instant access to powerful late-game weapons.
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What's it about?
FAR CRY NEW DAWN is a direct sequel to Far Cry 5, revealing what came after the nuclear apocalypse that ended the previous game and concluding the tale of primary antagonist Joseph Seed, leader of a militaristic religious cult. Set once again in Montana, nature has largely recovered since the bombs fell nearly 20 years ago, and a community called Prosperity is thriving in the new world -- that is, until it's discovered by and must defend itself from a band of murderous marauders. Players take on the role of a nameless, silent hero who comes to help the community, but it soon becomes apparent that the task will require some help. After some debate, the struggling group agrees to request aid from Joseph Seed's mysterious cult, located far to the north. As all of this is happening, players engage in activities typical of the series, exploring the countryside on foot, in cars, and by helicopter, looking for supplies and resources, violently liberating enemy-controlled outposts, growing a roster of ally companions, and helping people being harassed or imprisoned by bandits. To gain access to better gear, players must collect ethanol -- the primary source of energy since the bombs fell -- to upgrade facilities at their home base and access special missions beyond Montana in other parts of the country. A multiplayer mode allows a second player to join and take on missions cooperatively.
Is it any good?
Think of this installment of the popular action franchise that has been reduced to its core elements, which shows what refined gameplay over time can provide to a series. Indeed, the reduced price of Far Cry New Dawn is indicative of its size and ambition. It's less a true sequel and more an enormous standalone expansion featuring dozens of new missions and outposts with a few familiar characters and locations thrown in. That does mean, though, that any issues players may have had with the previous game are still here, such as a too-simplistic crafting system, an unrealistically overpopulated map crowded with roving enemies, and some very repetitive missions and activities -- though the puzzle-like treasure hunts, which typically involve a bit of thinking, do a nice job of changing up the game's pace.
It's tempting to think of Far Cry New Dawn as a game geared for existing fans who simply want a bit more of what they enjoy, but it's also perhaps the most accessible entry-point for players new to the series. Its shorter length, smaller map, and simpler ambition means there's less for Far Cry rookies to wrap their heads around. It's neither intimidating nor overwhelming, but instead easy to get into and over almost before you know it. It's also enormously polished and playable, showing little sign of the bugs and glitches normally associated with open world games. There's also an empowering combat system that feels terrific from the first skirmish and just gets better as the game goes on, thanks to tight, intuitive controls and some imaginative new weapons. Consider Far Cry New Dawn as a bite-sized Far Cry sampler that will give you a taste of everything the series does well as well as a feel for what it still needs to work on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. Is the impact of the violence in Far Cry: New Dawn affected by the game's solitary focus on violence? Did you encounter any problems in this game that you thought the main character might have been able to solve without violence, perhaps through negotiation, stealth, or some other means?
Do you enjoy playing games like this alone or with a friend in co-op mode? How do the two experiences compare?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
- Release date: February 15, 2019
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Mild Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: May 25, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.