Need to know
What is it? An add-on for Far Cry 5 where you fight giant bugs on Mars with your pal Hurk.
Expect to pay £10/$12
Reviewed on Intel Core i5-6600K @ 3.50 GHz, 8 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 980
Link Official site
We now have conclusive evidence of dick jokes on Mars. From a gun called the Nut Hugger to an ability called the Cock Blocker to a mission to locate a detached human penis, it's been officially confirmed that the red planet can support dozens of dong references. Unfortunately, Lost on Mars, the second add-on for Far Cry 5, doesn't support much else.
This time around you play as pilot Nick Rye, one of the companion characters from Far Cry 5, but the star of Lost on Mars is definitely Hurk Drubman Jr. Hurk's body has been dismembered by arachnids ('big ass space crabs', as he calls them) and scattered around the planet, with Hurk himself spending most of the adventure in the form of a hovering, star-spangled 'Brobot'. After teleporting you to Mars, Hurk becomes your enjoyably chatty sidekick, commenting on the proceedings as you try to collect his scattered remains and acquire power cores to reactivate an alien AI he's become smitten with.
While Nick doesn't have access to his plane, that doesn't mean he can't fly. Using a gravity belt that gives you a few seconds of vertical propulsion, and 'space wings' that let you glide, you'll be able to get Nick into the air where he belongs, at least until your power depletes or gravity brings you back down. Belt-boosting and wing-suiting has its uses on Mars as arachnids can detect your footsteps on the sand (like Half-Life 2's antlions) and especially since Ubisoft's climbing tower puzzles make an unfortunate comeback in this DLC. The gravity belt makes for long jumps and you take no fall damage if you miss, so the towers aren't a major challenge. Scaling them is still pretty tedious, less like parkour and more like long, slow jumping puzzles with a few hazards thrown in. Nick and Hurk both point out the annoyances of towers in the DLC, but Ubisoft making jokes about how shitty it is to have to scale towers doesn't change the fact that we still have to scale a bunch of towers. After Far Cry 5 replaced towers with its far more enjoyable bunker stash puzzles, I'd hoped we'd moved on from this tower business. Alas.
The arachnids, meanwhile, are like Far Cry 5's homicidal wildlife and human enemies rolled into one: the grunts swarm straight at you to bite and claw, but there are also specialized classes like sniper crabs and armored crabs, as well as boss queens with an inordinate amount of health and the ability to disable your weapons and gravity belt with their projectile spitting. Those variations don't make them fun to fight: ultimately, they're just screeching monsters with a couple of simple attacks and some pretty poor AI. At one point I fought three queens at the same time, though none ever approached me directly, choosing to let me whittle down their health at range from a platform I was standing on just a few feet above the sand. How are they going to take over the earth when they can't figure out how to climb steps?
Great weapons have always been a highlight of the Far Cry games, but here, with the whole of science-fiction to use as reference material, Ubisoft doesn't get terribly creative. Laser pistols, blasters, and sniper rifles mostly feel tame and joyless to fire (they go pew-pew-pew, basically), with the exception of one shotgun that does major splattery damage up close. Even the shapes of the weapons are dull, with each pistol, rifle, and shotgun looking almost identical. There's a cute grenade that summons a chicken that will distract the space crabs, and robotic powergloves that let you punch monsters into goo as a finishing move, but otherwise the arsenal isn't inventive enough to make the repetitive bug fights feel interesting or exciting.
Lost on Mars mercifully doesn't take long to finish, perhaps five or six hours, but still winds up feeling like a series of sluggish fetch chores in a mostly uninteresting Martian environment. There are a couple fun surprises I won't mention that tie into some of Far Cry 5's unsolved mysteries, but the DLC otherwise boils down to a simple loop: fight bugs, kill a queen, collect a core, scale a tower to activate it, and repeat, picking up Hurk's missing dong and man-boobs along the way.
I'm actually pretty fond of Hurk at this point: he's crass and crude and almost never stops talking—something I would normally find irritating. But he's a good-natured, non-judgemental guy and is so unfazed by the ridiculous situations he finds himself in that it's hard not to enjoy his constant company. And I'm glad he's here: Hurk's running commentary is the highlight of Lost on Mars.
I appreciate that Ubisoft isn't just cranking out new Montana missions for its DLC and is instead trying to provide new playgrounds and settings, but if you're not a big fan of Hurk, there's not much else here to recommend.