Far Cry New Dawn: tips for taking back Hope County (again)

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As I said in my review, Far Cry New Dawn is basically Far Cry 5 again, only on a smaller scale. There are a few changes to how things work, however, such as enemies, weapons, and outposts, plus new features like a home base you can upgrade and expeditions that take you outside of Montana's Hope County.

Here's a guide to help you handle everything the game throws your way.

Enemies and weapons now have ranks

Not all enemies in New Dawn are created equal, and neither are all weapons. There are different ranks of both now. Don't worry, you won't run into a level 30 baddie in Hope County like you might in Assassin's Creed: the ranks are limited to 1, 2, 3, and Elite. The higher the level of the enemy, the harder it is to hurt them, especially if your weapon has a lower rank than they do.

You can tell an enemy's rank at a distance simply by looking at them: the cooler their armor looks, the higher their rank. Plus, if you have all the UI options enabled, you'll see their segmented health bars and a little gold crown icon if they're Elite.

Your weapons have ranks, too, which determine how effective they are against the rank of your enemies. To unlock higher ranks of weapons, you'll need to upgrade your workbench in Prosperity and craft higher-tied weapons with the materials you've scavenged. More on upgrading Prosperity a bit further down.

Outposts can be immediately repopulated for tougher challenges and greater rewards

You don't have to wait to clear all the outposts to restaff them with enemies. The moment you liberate an outpost, you can head to the Scavenge table for a quick reward of additional ethanol (see below). Scavenging immediately turns the outpost back over to the Highwaymen, but each time you do it, it gets more challenging: higher ranked enemies, more alarms, and deadlier reinforcements. The rewards increase, too, especially the amount of ethanol. Just be prepared for a challenge.

Ethanol improves your base, and here's where to find it

To upgrade the various zones of your base, you'll need ethanol. A lot of ethanol. Most of this will come to you when you liberate outposts, especially when you then repopulate them with tougher bad guys.

But you can also find ethanol being driven around in big tanker trucks by the enemy. If you can take out the driver and any support vehicles without blowing up the truck itself, you can commandeer it and drive it to Prosperity or any other outpost you've liberated, where the supply will be added to your stockpile. In theory, at least. Remember the roads are packed with trigger-happy raiders and you're driving an enormous flammable gas tank. Unlock the repair perk so if the tanker does catch fire you can fix it before it blows.

You'll also encounter regular airdrops in New Dawn. This isn't battle royale, so the drops will always land near you. If you hear a plane overhead, just stop and wait for a minute. Highwaymen will show up to claim it (or act like they're trying to claim it, anyway), and once they're dealt with you can loot the drop for materials and extra ethanol.

Expeditions are like huge outposts with infinite enemies

Expeditions are new in Far Cry, and they'll take you out of Montana to other parts of the country like an aircraft carrier on the coast, Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, and an amusement park in Louisiana. You access expeditions via the chopper pilot at Prosperity or from your menu, and they serve as huge outposts you can raid for extra supplies. You're looking for a specific haul of loot somewhere in the outpost (though you can take whatever else you find, too). The catch is, the package you're after has a GPS attached to it, so once you've grabbed it, even if you've been completely undetected thus far, the bad guys will not only know you're there, but they'll be able to pinpoint your exact location.

The chopper will extract you a few minutes after you've collected the package, but an endless supply of enemies will follow the GPS to hunt you down, meaning you'll need to stay alive against waves of Highwaymen until the helicopter arrives. There's also a bit of randomization, so the package, enemies, and extraction zone won't always be in the same place on subsequent visits.

Where to find circuit boards

When I'm crafting stuff in New Dawn, the material I'm usually hard up for is circuit boards. Everything else (springs, gears, duct tape, and components) is extremely plentiful, and locations you find on the map will even display the type of components you'll find there, and how many there are. Circuit boards, though, are a bit harder to come by.

The best place to find circuit boards are on Expeditions, from airdrops, and by trading elite (and undamaged) animal skins either at your crafting bench or with any of the wandering traders. Titanium can also be a bit hard to find at times, but enemy supply trucks and locked safes are the best places to look.

The UI is super duper customizable

This is a Ubisoft game so there's tons of information on the screen, but there's also an amazing amount of UI options you can mess with in the menu. You can toggle just about everything on and off. Your reticle, enemy detection meters, health indicators, explosive warnings, the compass, object glow, damage numbers, icons for friends and enemies, objective markers, tutorial hints... pretty much any part of the UI can be tweaked either to give you less clutter or more of a challenge. And if you don't know what a particular interface option is, it shows you an example right in the menu. It's fantastic.

This woman knows everything

As you play you'll see the same woman popping up here and there all over the map. If you spot her (often at liberated outposts), drop what you're doing and talk to her. She's always got a tip on a treasure or bunker or a place of interest that's got loot and perk-point magazines and other valuable stuff. Seriously, I don't care if you're on fire at the time—if you see this woman with the cap and sunglasses, run up and chat with her and put out the flames later. She'll never steer you wrong.

Spend your first perk points on weapon slots

As soon as you begin playing you'll start receiving perk points from combat, challenges, bunker discoveries, rescuing prisoners, and other activities. I know it's tempting to immediately unlock the wingsuit or improved takedown skills, but you should start by unlocking weapon slots. You only have two to begin with, and that's simply not enough for a game like Far Cry. You'll want room for the sawblade-slinging crossbow, a good shotgun, a sniper rifle, and a pistol so you're ready for anything.

There's a great photo mode

Similar to the latest Assassin's Creed games, there's a photomode in New Dawn that lets you pause the game, fly the camera around in 3D space, add filters, change the time of day, and pose your character. This is the Ezio pose, if you couldn't tell. I added the Far Cry logo because I think this would make an excellent box cover or poster. Have fun!