Far Cry 5 didn’t know whether it wanted to tell a serious story or a silly one and, in the end, it settled for barely telling a story at all. Lost on Mars—the second piece of DLC in Far Cry 5‘s season pass—knows it’s silly and milks it at every opportunity. It’s hilarious at times, which is just as well because humor is the thing this DLC has going for it.
A short comic book style cutscene shows Nick Rye get teleported up to Mars to help Hulk out with a little problem, namely that he’s stuck on Mars and his body is scattered in pieces around the planet. There’s also the small matter of an impending alien invasion. A convenient AI called Anne tells Nick that the Martian arachnids plan to invade Earth unless Nick can restore the AI to its former glory.
The moment when you step out of the station and onto the surface of Mars is understated and momentous at the same time. For a brief moment, as I took my first floaty jump on an alien planet, I thought this DLC might end up being something special. And then the gameplay abruptly paused for Ubisoft to continue its tradition of shoving text-based tutorials at you every few seconds. Owning Far Cry 5 is a requirement to play Lost on Mars and yet Ubisoft likes to assume you’ve never played a Far Cry game before, or indeed any other video game in the past ten years.
One of the early tutorial screens tells you not to walk on the sand because it will attract the attention of arachnids. After some careful first steps, I quickly forget about this “floor is lava” thing because the arachnids spawn in randomly and attack on sight. It doesn’t make a lot of difference whether you go on the sand or not.
The novelty of being on Mars wears off once you notice how repetitive all the assets are. There’s a good reason the surface is all red rock, but do all the buildings and enemies need to have that copy and paste feel to them? Hurk even jokes about it, for all the good that does. The weapons are unoriginal as well, looking like they’ve come straight from a Mass Effect game. The enemies don’t react to whatever type of laser you fire at them, so none of them are satisfying to fire.
Far Cry 5 made a big deal about abandoning towers, so it’s disappointing to see Lost on Mars bring them back. Technically they’re puzzle towers, although the puzzle is just jumping to the only platform you can reach until you get to the top. It’s slow and devoid of any risk because you have a jetpack that largely prevents you from falling and makes the jumps too easy.
The rest of the quests are equally boring. You collect energy crystals which are obtained from defeating queens. These queens are mini-bosses of sorts and there are fifteen of them in total. In one battle you have to defeat three at once which I thought might be a tough challenge until I noticed none of the queens were bothering to attack me. I think this was by design, but the enemies bug out quite a bit so it’s hard to say for sure. There doesn’t seem to be any AI in the aliens at all. They just spawn in and throw attacks at you. Once you have the energy crystals, you can power up consoles which means defending robots while they make the necessary repairs.
My entire four hours with Lost on Mars felt like I was doing the collectathon cleanup after finishing a bigger campaign. You collect twelve parts of Hurk and a load of energy crystals and that’s about it.
It’s a good job Nick takes Hurk’s head everywhere with him, because Hurk is the only good part of this game. His immature humor is strangely endearing. Hurk calls enemies space crabs, you use space bandages to heal, and collect space jizz as currency. When Hurk becomes your robot companion, he names himself Brobot and dresses in typically patriotic American fashion. It’s that kind of game.
Lost on Mars‘ only redeeming feature is the humor and even that won’t be to everyone’s taste. There’s no variety to the enemies or indoor environments and the campaign is especially disappointing, being no more than a quest for collectibles. It’s hard to understand how DLC that takes you to Mars with a funny sidekick can end up being so unbelievably boring. Lost on Mars is another piece of skippable content in a season pass that is looking like a waste of time.