Ok, Stadia is better than I gave it credit for.

It’s still doomed.  I mean, I have had a TERRIBLE track record for predicting what technologies are going to take off and which are destined for history’s rubbish bin, but boy howdy does Stadia have a lot working against it.

Maybe I’ll be surprised and it will find a nice niche to fit into.  I could see it taking off with people who only buy Nintendo consoles but who still want to play a nice AAA now and again.  Maybe?

Anyway, I finished Far Cry: New Dawn tonight, and it FELT like playing on a local games console.  Except for a couple of times when I decided to try playing on WiFi, I never felt like I was getting a second class experience from streaming.

I tend to get sucked into Ubisoft-style games, and this was no exception.  All told, I spent nearly 22 hours playing a game that howlongtobeat says SHOULD be an 11 hour game if you’re able to stick to story missions.

Apparently the 93% Story Progress Thing is a known bug.

But sticking to story missions would be kind of missing the point of the game, since really it’s yet another Big Ubisoft Game that gives you a map covered in all kinds of fun things to do and sets you loose.  There are partners to recruit – including an adorable yet murderous boar named Horatio – bandit outposts to take over, ruins to scavenge for resources, and frequent dynamic events for the game to throw at you every few minutes just to spice things up.

There are also some mostly-optional side missions (“expeditions”) involving getting into a helicopter and leaving Hope County to steal huge chunks of resources from the Highwaymen, who are a bunch of motocross-armored bandits who represent the Big Bad of the game.  These expeditions don’t make a ton of sense sometimes – I’m supposed to believe that we flew all the way from Montana to Florida to raid a beached aircraft carrier? – but they’re all fun little chaos sandboxes that let you explore environments that wouldn’t have fit into Montana without a significant amount of handwaving.

Far Cry: New Dawn is, of course, a sequel to Far Cry 5, and that was one of my favorite games of 2018.  I was a bit surprised by that at the time, actually.  It was the first time I’d played any game in the series and I did not have high hopes for how it was going to treat its setting.

To expand on what I mean by that: One of the very earliest posts on this blog has me raving about how Nazis and Zombies are the perfect video game enemies because there are absolutely no organizations – that anyone takes seriously – that are either pro-Nazi or pro-Zombie.  You are not expected to open a dialog with a zombie.  You are allowed to simply blow its head off, and nobody will object.

Far Cry 5 DID have crazy drugged-up cultists – and I’m not aware of any Crazy-Drugged-Up-Cultist Defense Leagues – but it also had a bunch of, well, very rural Montana residents and I was happily surprised when they weren’t treated like a bunch of inbred hicks who needed saving from their backwards ways.

Far Cry: New Dawn continues that.  It’s very much a rural vs. urban conflict story, and it’s very respectful of the rural side of the conflict.  There aren’t many stories that do that – the only other big one that’s coming to mind is the Hunger Games series – and I appreciated it.  I spent some years living in extremely-rural Nebraska, and while some of the stereotypes about rural life DO have roots in truth, it’s also a good thing to remember that urbanites would be a lot hungrier without those “flyover” states.

I appear to have gotten on a bit of a soapbox there.  My apologies.

Getting back to the actual game parts of the game:

Far Cry: New Dawn mostly reuses the map from Far Cry 5, though of course it’s set 17 years in the future of that game and reflects what might happen after a nuclear war & winter.  As a result, there are a lot of times when you’re running around and run into a familiar location… just, you know, lightly blown-up and burned-down.  Some of these are used to great effect, particularly a mission that has you re-entering a huge cultist bunker complex that you last saw while you were shooting your way out of it in the previous game.  You also meet several of the major characters and get to see what has happened to them.

Weapons also have an after-the-bombs-fell aesthetic to them, with all sorts of bits bolted or strapped on.  I found some of them to be a bit on the silly-looking side, but they almost all made satisfying bangs and felt good to use.

I spent a lot more time on foot than in FC5, running from map marker to map marker, because I didn’t really get on with the vehicle controls in this one and because it seemed very easy to get hung up on obstacles.  I failed one mission, which involves driving a car that couldn’t stop without exploding, simply because I got stuck on a rock and couldn’t get out of the car to fix it.  So that’s a point against the sequel, and I’m going to add that post-apocalyptic Montana was kind of… pretty? but at the same time a little dull.  Hope County seemed to have much more character in the original game.

Also the last two fights of the game are just mind-numbingly bad bullet sponge bosses, with human enemies soaking up hundreds of bullets before falling over and delivering Final Villain Monologues.

So let’s call it an eight out of ten? I mean, I don’t actually consider anything I write on here to be an actual review but I would consider this a solid 8, especially for the two dollars I spent on it.

 

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