By the time we got out the world’s first Far Cry 5 review, I had already purchased the season pass to Ubisoft’s creation. A rarity for me I assure you. The trailer for the pre-order goodness actually sold me on the crazy content still to come. However, the least interesting part of the season pass was easily the Hours of Darkness DLC. This isn’t to say I wasn’t anticipating it though. It just didn’t look as entertaining as the other side story adventures. Still I was hoping it would be a gritty satire or maybe a grim look at an ugly war underneath it’s unoriginality. Unfortunately, this DLC was a standard shooter romp that we’ve all played before and it wasn’t that much fun either.
Hours of Darkness tells the story of a group of soldiers heading into Vietnam via helicopter. In cliché fashion the chopper gets shot down and the warriors are separated. It’s up to the player to make your way to an extraction point set up for Americans, rescue your allies (if you so choose), and if you want to destroy anything in your wake. There’s not much else in the plot department nor the characters themselves. I know this is downloadable content, but I can’t even remember the main character’s name while writing this and I don’t care to read up again and find out. Don’t expect to look at these guys as nothing more than stereotypical soldiers on the battlefield.
Gameplay is classic Far Cry and if you’ve played the base game you will know what to expect. How the guns handle, the open world map, the weapon wheel, explosives, etc. The only differences here are the stealth attributes, airstrikes, and a lack of any RPG progression or skill points. This new stealth process isn’t terribly in-depth as it will give you abilities based on how many stealth kills you accomplished, up to four. When this happens and they light up on the bottom right side of your screen, you’ll be able to see enemy locations, get automatic pop-up markers, and basic, simple things like that. I never really paid attention to it after I got a trophy related to stealth and I found myself going in guns blazing for the majority of my two and a half hours of game time. The airstrikes were actually fun to use. You earn them from taking over outposts or defeating commanders and can aim fiery death from above wherever you want.
The tiny world of Vietnam here isn’t brought to life well either. I mean there’s mustard gas patches around the map, but the scenery screams generic jungle area. Plus, everything is the same shade of green or brown so it doesn’t impress in any regard. Same with the enemies or NPCs. They all look alike and are stupid as dirt. I couldn’t tell you how many just ran right in front of me, with no plan, to get shot. Or how they failed to hide behind things properly. The experience wasn’t particularly challenging because of this until the last mission. Except it was difficult because the game just throws enemies at you on a hill. Nothing extravagant or bombastic. Just people rushing at you to be shot.
Also, for some reason Ubisoft made it so that the fellow soldiers you rescue can die extremely easily and stay that way. Which makes no sense since you can rescue all of them pretty early on and lose them all before you reach the other side of the map for that extraction. If you can keep them alive long enough they act like basic companions like those from the base game except they’re less special. Hours of Darkness would have honestly been better without them because they only added useless to the disappointment.
Lastly, there are two new modes you unlock once you complete the game. I didn’t personally play them as I was fed up long before I reached this point. One basically increases difficulty by giving you less health and inventory space and the other gives you more explosive capabilities without limits. There are trophies for going through them, but again I found no point even as a trophy whore.
Far Cry 5: Hours of Darkness PS4 Review
Hours of Darkness is a very disappointing start to Far Cry 5’s season pass. I knew this would probably be the least entertaining of the standalone stories, it’s just that I didn’t think it would be so generic and unoriginal. There’s no story or worthwhile characters in an already bland and uninspired world. If you have the season pass then you might as well play it. Those who don’t might want to wait and see how the other DLCs turn out. As it stands now this standalone story is just a generic as you can get shooter in a dull area.
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Reviewed on base PS4.