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.
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)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
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.