Tuesday 19 March 2019

Far Cry New Dawn review: A shadow of its former self

(XO/PS4/PC) **** Age: 18+

Far Cry New Dawn
Far Cry New Dawn
Far Cry New Dawn
Jump Force
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Scarcely 11 months have elapsed since Far Cry 5, yet somehow time has telescoped enough for Ubisoft to churn out another instalment in the open-world shooter series. The explanation is clear enough when you realise the bucolic setting of Hope County - think Trump heartland - has been repurposed for (sigh) a post-apocalyptic version.

Lack of narrative imagination aside, this doesn't mean grim, grey landscapes, but rather ultra-vivid colours (even the shotguns are bright red) and a low(ish)-tech environment in which scrounging and crafting take precedence.

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Ubi has form on this front (2016's Far Cry Primal went all prehistoric on us yet was still a repackaged spin-off. See also the bonkers FC Blood Dragon from 2013).

But while New Dawn might be a lazy way to fill the release schedule, it still has the chops to entertain.

It adheres to all the enjoyable Far Cry tropes (camps to conquer, beasts to skin, garbage to scavenge, rednecks to, um, kill). A reworked skill tree and some RPG elements (that seemed better suited to stablemate Assassin's Creed Odyssey, alas) differentiate New Dawn from FC5.

Yet there's little truly fresh here that would win over doubters of the formula (and it is clearly a formula).

With regular glitches (characters wandering off or getting stuck) and the comparatively underdeveloped storyline, you might wonder whether this Far Cry is not the bright New Dawn it should be.

Jump Force

(XO/PS4/PC) *** Age: 12+

Jump Force

Call it homage, crossover, spin-off, what ever you like, but the only reason beat-em-up Jump Force exists is the popular Weekly Shonen Jump manga - now in its 50th year in Japan - and its bulging cast from anime series such as Naruto and Dragon Ball.

It certainly isn't worth it for its nondescript fighting and limp storytelling via dire cut-scenes. Anime fans will possibly relish the depth of the roster and chance to take favourite characters for a spin. But set alongside genre kings such as the recent Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Jump Force punches below its weight.

There's novelty in the three-on-three battles but this is a game that wastes its potential on a shallow, inconsistent fighting system.

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