A bit of buyer’s remorse creeped up on me by the time I had finished Far Cry 5’s first DLC, Hours of Darkness, and wrote up the review here for it. I don’t buy season passes often for games because I usually reserve that practice for a select few titles I know I’d enjoy. Ubisoft convinced me otherwise with their trailer to take the plunge on what appeared to be one of the best season pass purchases possible. The Vietnam DLC that released two months ago immediately perished the thought. It was boring, bland, and just a quota to meet for post-launch, story expansions. Luckily, I can tell you dear reader that the regret has turned into mild satisfaction with Lost On Mars. It brought back more of Blood Dragon vibe with fun gameplay, unique weapons, and an enjoyable red planet to explore.
Lost On Mars takes place in an undisclosed period of time during the main game. Everyone’s favorite redneck, Hurk, (who likes to zipline and feel the night air on his rump) was transported to the fourth planet from the sun. Some less than fortunate things occurred and Hurk orchestrated the abduction of Nick Rye (also from the main game) to help him out. You play as the recent father and wake up away from Earth with a story of a super smart A.I., someone being bodiless, and alien spiders/space crabs that want to destroy your home in the galaxy. You’re then instructed to fight your way through these Tremors knockoffs in order to activate key Mars infrastructures so the aforementioned A.I. can regain its power and “help protect the Earth.” Also, you have to literally collect an assortment of body parts so you can put who you’d guess back together.
One of the best features for Lost On Mars are the satire, B movie level cheese, and the self-awareness in tone and dialogue. It’s everything one would want from the Far Cry series since Blood Dragon. The clear, in your face subversion of expectations you’d expect in a sci-fi setting mixed with the random and sometimes gross commentary made me chuckle more than a few times. Even away from Hurk’s inability to keep his mouth shut, Nick’s dry wit and sarcasm complete a package duo I didn’t know I wanted. His ability to speak for the player in ridiculous and farcical situations deserves applause and definitely carried a bulk of the DLC. Especially in the face of such obvious things that the game itself ignores.
Gameplay is much more fun and toned up than the previous post-launch release. The alien spiders themselves do have a decent variety of designs, but not much in the way of how to defeat them. However, this takes away no enjoyment from this five to six-hour adventure. Especially since you can avoid them in open world combat completely as long as you don’t walk on sand. Wasn’t lying about the Tremors joke. Your choice of weapons scream Far Cry as things like rifles, pistols, shotguns, and grenades have been revamped in typical sleek, shiny, sci-fi fashion. Best of all none of them require ammo and only have a cool down period that’s determined based on the eight suit upgrades you can purchase. Naturally, since this is space you’re going to have a space suit right? Well, on Mars and the lower gravity your suit can jump higher, glide with rocket boosters, and includes a wing suit for good measure. Again all determined based on upgrades which you can buy with, and I quote, “space jizz” from canisters and alien corpses.
The world itself does offer a good variety of structures and environments although I did notice a few reused assets. The Mars landscape is covered in browns, blues, and yellows with bright white buildings clearly noticeable. It captures the scenery perfectly, even in a basic sense, which Hours of Darkness failed at miserably. There’s a few different structures you can make your way too in order to complete story and side missions and most will be pretty straight forward. Get to the top of a tower to sync the area, defeat this alien Queen, turn on a mechanism to give that A.I. more power, and clear out enemies. While not exactly ground breaking I did enjoy the good ol’ Far Cry fun. One particular set of missions though was really unique. Nick would enter a noxious crater and hallucinate a conglomeration of Mars and Earth settings with objectives that break the mold a little bit. It also didn’t hurt that at the end of each one you would receive a power core. These are scattered elsewhere in the map too, slightly tie in to the story, and can be sold for a fine price at stores later on.
While better than its predecessor, Lost On Mars is by no means perfect. Way more times than I could count jumping/gliding up a rock or wall of some kind sent me flying backwards and drained all my suit’s boost. Quite annoying when you’re exploring or running away from a hectic battle and all the enemies have toxic projectile attacks. There’s also a handful of neat, funny gadgets and weapons that I never felt the need to actually use. They weren’t terribly effective for my playstyle and I already had my fill of goofiness from our two handsome leads. Lastly, even though I had no problem with it, I can see some people who will be annoyed with the slight repetitiveness on offer here. Gameplay dynamics don’t change terribly and being a Far Cry fan I didn’t mind it. Same can’t be said with everyone though.
Far Cry 5: Lost on Mars PS4 Review
Lost on Mars brings back Far Cry 5's take on satire, ridiculousness, and most of all fun. It doesn't quite live up to Blood Dragon, but it's certainly better than the awful Vietnam Hours of Darkness DLC. Gameplay is enjoyable and refined for the setting and the story and dialogue are nothing if not bemusing for our hero Nick. Traveling around the enormous crater is fulfilling and enjoyable and I couldn't wait to get back to it when I took needed breaks. If only there was a bit more diversity and lack of technical issues. Then this DLC could stand with the best of them.
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Reviewed on base PS4.