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Far Cry 5: Hours of Darkness review roundup — “Can easily be beaten within 20 minutes”

Far Cry 5: Hours of Darkness review roundup — “Can easily be beaten within 20 minutes”

By Alex Avard 05 June 2018

Here’s what everyone thinks about Hours of Darkness, a bitesized chunk of distilled Far Cry 5 fun

A game called Far Cry 5 came out a little while ago. You may have heard of it. I only bring it up because Ubisoft has launched the first of three expansion packs for the game today, Hours of Darkness, which can either be purchased separately for £9.95/$14.99 (so long as you own Far Cry 5) or downloaded by Season Pass owners for free.

Hours of Darkness is set during the Vietnam War, and completely indulges in the cinematic «‘Nam» aesthetic defined by Apocalypse Now: Huey choppers, 70’s rock music, the whole shebang. There’s an entire new map to explore, albeit one that’s about a fifth of the size of Hope County, along with a barebones story and handful of gameplay tweaks that adapt the Far Cry formula to its new napalm-caked setting.

You can 100% the thing in about five hours tops and, having finished it myself, I was fairly satisfied which what was essentially the best bits of Far Cry crammed into a purified experience. The focus on stealth gameplay is welcome, given how Far Cry 5 implicitly deviated from that tradition, and it shows that the core Far Cry gameplay loop of moving from A to B, liberating every inch along the way, can pretty much work in whatever setting Ubisoft comes up with, narrative justification be damned.

Don’t ask me, though, have a look at what everyone else has been saying about Far Cry 5: Hours of Darkness so far, and see whether you think it’s something worth picking up to ease you in to the oncoming storm of E3 2018 games.

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Far Cry 5’s Vietnam-era ‘Hours of Darkness’ DLC coming June 5

Ubisoft announced today that Far Cry 5 will be headed back to the Vietnam war on June 5. Alongside a short teaser trailer, the company revealed Far Cry 5’s «Hours of Darkness» DLC will be rolling out on June 5.

It’s hard to know exactly what to expect based on the 38-second trailer, but one thing’s for sure: it looks pretty brutal. According to the description, players will be tasked with escaping from behind enemy lines in «war-torn» Vietnam on a mission to get their squad to the extraction zone.

Far Cry 5 launched in March and is the first entry in the franchise to be set in America. The game put players in the shoes of a new junior deputy in Montana, who arrives just in time to take on a fanatical doomsday cult. Just like previous entries, Far Cry 5 is as brutally violent as ever.

If you have yet to give the game a shot, it’s available for $59.99 on Xbox One with Xbox One X enhancements in tow. However, it can occasionally be found for cheaper if you shop around; it’s currently $44 on Amazon, for example.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

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Far Cry 5: Hours of Darkness DLC Review

The first DLC for Far Cry 5 sees you leave America far behind, and head far behind enemy lines, after your chopper is shot down over Vietnam. Gone are the wide open plains of Montana, replaced by subtropical foggy hills in Hours of Darkness. Your mission is simple — get to the extraction point three kilometres away. Of course, it’s not as simple as quick marching over to the landing zone. There are anti-aircraft artillery there which will need taking care of — oh, and scores of the fiercest guerilla fighters that America has ever seen.

Luckily you are, or rather future Hope County resident Wendell Redler is, hardly powerless against the hordes of angry Vietnamese civilians-turned-militia. Oh yeah, that guy in the main game that wants those lighters? You’re playing as him during the war in Vietnam. To aid you in your fight, along with the weapons you’ll find, various grenades you’ll pick up and health packs you’ll make, you also have certain abilities. To unlock them, you need to kill the Vietcong stealthily — if someone noticed you, you lose your perks until you unlock them again.

Kill one person, you can move faster in a crouch and it automatically tags enemies within 10 meters. Kill a second, and your fall damage is reduced. After a third falls to your silent bamboo stick of doom, it automatically tags any enemy about to detect you, and makes predators more likely to ignore you. The final perk extrends auto tagging. Obviously, these are all very useful, and not having to scavenge herbs as in the main game is certainly a plus.

Since you weren’t alone in your chopper when Charlie shot you down, your fellow soldiers have been scattered to the winds for some reason. It’s up to you to save Joker, Moses, and Yokel, who will then be available as Hired Guns. Unless the die, which results in them being dead forever — no cooldown timers for these guys! I’ll admit, I called out “No!” when the third one bit the bullet…

There are also multiple South Vietnam prisoners to liberate, NVA Commanders to kill, AA guns to blow up, lighters to retrieve from shot down pilots, and propaganda announcements to stop. In all, this three kilometre stretch of Vietnam is absolutely packed with things to do. There is plenty to see, too, with a load of tunnels to check out. One of them is even full of Agent Orange.

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Oh, yeah! There’s a cloud of Agent Orange at one point, which in case you don’t know what that is, it was a chemical agent used to kill all plant life in a given area, and sprayed by helicopter. It’s long-term effects have caused birth defects and ruined people’s lives to this day. Other than make you a little woozy, it doesn’t really have much effect in-game (except where it drains your health in that tunnel I mentioned). It’s kinda disappointing that not even your teammates (if you’ve rescued any, and if they survived) really say anything about it.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the game was being able to call in an airstrike, in areas without AA guns. Once you’d destroyed those, you have five airstrikes that you can call down anywhere, using your binoculars. But once you’ve run out — just get some more by rescuing a POW or finding some intel! You can only ever have five at a time, but they’re great. Because I have the “Mega Potion” hoarding mentality from years of RPGs, I used them sparingly at first. Once I bit the bullet and tried using them more often, I got quite worried whenever there were AA guns in the area, and I couldn’t use them.

Need an NVA Commander killed? Call in an airstrike. That base looks too full of Vietcong? Airstrike. Don’t want to bother creeping up on that guy? You bet that’s an airstrike. So versatile!

I had a lot of fun for the four hours it took to complete Hours of Darkness, and will probably revisit on the Action Movie difficulty. Sure, I lost all three of my companions well before the extraction point, but at least I got back alive! For whatever that’s worth…

Far Cry 5 — Hours of Darkness (Reviewed on Windows)

A real eye-opening experience, for someone not well versed in the Vietnam War outside of Forrest Gump, it’s a welcome change to the main game, and that’s coming from someone who really enjoyed the main game! If you’re looking to creep around a jungle blowing things up and snapping necks, then come to Vietnam. If you weren’t a fan of the main game, this probably won’t change your mind.

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