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Far Cry 5: Hours of Darkness DLC Review

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Far Cry 5 is an awesome experience and its Season Pass is set to extend this joyride beyond Hope County into other avenues of gameplay. The first of the three large DLC packs planned for the game is Hours of Darkness, a Vietnam-set short campaign where you take on the role of a captured Vietnam War veteran and Hope County resident known as Wendell Redler as he gets captured on a routine mission and has to get to the extraction point while facing the Vietnamese soldiers and strongholds along the way. 

Hours of Darkness is more like Hour of Darkness in this case as the campaign is pretty short. Almost just over an hour of gameplay as you explore the Vietnam valleys and take on optional side missions such as taking down a handful of commanders, blowing up anti-air cannons, freeing outposts from the army. The DLC feels like Far Cry but at the same time offers a few different mechanics to make it seem like you are a lonely soldier in a war-torn jungle. You often feel powerless against the enemies which lead you to take on a more silent approach when tackling outposts and killing groups of wandering squads. 

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As you could sprint to the extraction point in just under half an hour, it's the side activities that keeps Hours of Darkness so entertaining. As I explored the jungle more and more side activities opened up to me. Saving a P.O.W would add them to my roster of Guns for Hire. The only problem here is when they died in battle they were dead for good, unlike the main game's cooldown period. You can also call down rockets from an airstrike while taking on outposts but every now and then an anti-air cannon would prevent this and you would need to head into a compound and destroy the cannons before being able to use the feature again. 

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While the side missions are not as deep as say Far Cry 5's story missions, they offer a decent distraction from the main mission which is to just get to your extraction point. The game in a way also forces you to take a silent route. Unlike Far Cry 5 that features a deep weapon system, Hours of Darkness being set during the Vietnam War has weapons you would expect to find during that time. These include old-school shotguns and machine guns. They also lack the power and ammo of the usual weapons you are used to in the main game so often you feel a bit weak against the enemies.

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This is where the new Survival perk system comes in handy. The more you stay in the shadows and remain undetected, the higher the perk tree will rise. Each kill you get will unlock new stealth features like moving faster while crouched, auto detecting enemies around you, and even seeing animals and predators on your screen without having to pull out your binoculars to spot them. Stay on the silent route for long enough and it makes it very easy and enjoyable to get through the hardest parts of the game. I found a bow and arrow in the early minutes and just used that throughout my entire gameplay session with the DLC.

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The issue, however, is that if you are detected or make a noise you lose all the perks and you will have to build it all up again from the bottom of the tree. They are not permanent at all and there is a risk factor involved in every decision you make. Often I had to build it up from the bottom again as I was spotted travelling to an outpost. This made capturing the outpost much harder than usual due to the lack of perks. 

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Hours of Darkness offers a bite-sized Far Cry 5 meets Rambo experience that I did enjoy. It is something you spend two to three hours playing, collecting all the lighters and breaking propaganda speakers and wiping the map clean and never go back to. Sure, once you complete the game you unlock two more difficulties but there is no reason to head back into the DLC unless you want to experience it again on a harder playthrough. 

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For R189 it is not a bad asking price for a unique Far Cry-like experience. While it is no match for the main game's excitement, I do think that if you loved Far Cry 5 then you will enjoy this too. It is like a mini-game that moves in its own direction while still keeping things as Far Cry-like as possible. 

This review was conducted based on a review code sent to us by Ubisoft.

Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 5 June 2018 | RRP: R189

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