Far Cry 5: Lost on Mars DLC Review

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Even Hurk’s goofy humor can’t save this dull DLC.

Bazooka-toting good old boy Hurk is the funniest character in Far Cry 5, and the Lost On Mars expansion is basically a 10-hour comedy showcase for his hillbilly humor set to some forgettable alien blasting. While Far Cry is usually known for open worlds with a lot of gameplay systems that mix and swirl together to create spontaneous insanity, the barren wasteland of Mars doesn’t provide opportunity for much of anything interesting to happen. But hey, there are some pretty good Star Wars prequel jokes.

While Far Cry 5 tells a story that – at its heart – is pretty serious, we’re in straight up goofball territory here. A cheap-looking opening cutscene establishes how you, playing as the pilot Nick Rye, and Hurk arrived on Mars to prevent an alien invasion, and how Hurk became the second talking severed head sidekick in a game this year. After that, you’re sent about the straightforward work of shooting Starship Troopers-style alien bugs and collecting body parts.

Exit Theatre Mode

The new enemies like to burrow into the ground and attack if you step on loose sand. That means you’ll be jumping around from rock to rock, Tremors-style, to avoid it. Thankfully, you’re equipped with a “gravity belt” – henceforth referred to as a jetpack because that’s what it is in everything but name – that lets you fly for short amounts of time. Jetting around is pretty fun and creates opportunities for aerial gunfights, and that’s perhaps the most inventive gameplay mechanic Lost on Mars comes up with. So it’s a bummer that enemies are constantly taking your best toy away: way too many of them can spit acid that grounds you for a while.

When you’re on the ground, Lost on Mars is a very basic first-person shooter with few surprises.

And when you’re on the ground, Lost on Mars is a very basic first-person shooter with few surprises in store. The aliens are your usual grunts, tanks, big boss, and flying archetypes. The liveliest thing about them is a bug where many of them don’t want to stay dead – they shiver and shake in the sand, like the engine just can’t decide what to do with a dead arachnid.

Blasting away at them is the only way to deal with the threat because Lost on Mars completely strips out the stealth gameplay. My favorite thing to do in Far Cry games is sneak into outposts, taking out enemies stealthily one at a time. But while stealth was featured prominently in the previous DLC, Hours of Darkness, it isn’t an option here. Stealth executions aren’t even available when it finds ways to pit you against human enemies, leaving typical shootouts that quickly become tedious.

Among the laser versions of the standard pistols, shotguns, and rifles, the only gun that stands out is called the, erm, Nut Hugger. It’s a ray gun that fires homing lasers. Locking onto enemies from a distance makes some of the battles against the giant queen arachnids a little less frustrating.

So the nearly non-stop color commentary from Hurk’s disembodied head is the real draw here. He’s one of the funniest video game characters in recent memory, and he’s there every step of the way, decidedly unfazed by the whole ordeal of zapping bad guys and collecting body parts across the red dunes of Mars. But of course, you could enjoy all of those jokes by watching a Let’s Play, so without respectable gameplay to back him up even Hurk can’t save this one.

The Verdict

Lost On Mars is a strange choice for a Far Cry 5 expansion, and this risky change of scenery doesn’t pay off. While it does feature a hilarious fan-favorite character, I just wish the gameplay was as inventive as the dialogue and gun nomenclature. It’s too bad Ubisoft couldn’t find a way to make an alien world feel more interesting than the Montana countryside. Even with the addition of a jetpack, lasers, and alien bugs this planet feels dull as red dirt. If you didn’t buy the season pass, the trip to Mars hardly seems worth it.

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