While visually and mechanically impressive, it’s not hard to argue that Far Cry 5 lost the plot a bit regarding, well, plot. A confused mass of nondescript, non-denominational cults with no clear ideology, and a stinker of an ending soured many on the otherwise-solid open world shooter.
With the upcoming DLC – each one a self-contained story in a new setting – Ubisoft have a chance at turning that perception around, although given how unflinchingly bleak the trailer within for the Vietnam war-themed Hours of Darkness looks, there may be a bit of a wait yet.
Sometime before Far Cry 5 launched, Ubisoft announced a trio of self-contained DLC stories. Rather than go the usual route and have addons bolt stuff arbitrarily onto the main story, each of these packs is a mini-spinoff in the vein of Far Cry 3’s Blood Dragon, although likely a bit shorter. While the next two packs planned (set in a zombie apocalypse and on Mars in the far future, respectively) look a little more tongue-in-cheek, it seems they’re playing it straight with Hours of Darkness here.
I must admit that I’m a little wary. There’s a surprising amount of room for tone-deafness in depictions of the Vietnam war, and considering how tonally wooly the base game was, I don’t entirely trust the current Far Cry development team to deliver anything more than a vague imitation of things they’ve seen in the likes of Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon. That said, I’ll be very glad to be proven wrong – that’s the great thing about being a pessimist; When you’re wrong it’s reason to celebrate.
In an interesting divergence from the original game, completing Hours of Darkness will unlock two additional playmodes. Survivor mode gives the player a very limited loadout, primarily expecting them to scavenge for equipment as they go, while Action Movie mode will kit the player out with plenty of Things That Go Boom. Again, perhaps a little thematically troublesome, but I’ll withhold judgement until I’ve seen it in action.
One thing that is worth celebrating for sure, though, is that each of these DLCs will be adding their assets to the Far Cry Arcade level editor, so you’ll have a new set of weapons, enemies and props to use in your custom levels. Now that folks have had some time to get to grips with the toolkit, some genuinely impressive levels are being produced, including a few that look like nothing seen in the base game.
Hours of Darkness will be be available either to buy individually when released on June 5th, or as part of the £26/$30 season pass for Far Cry 5.