I full enjoyed my time with the Far Cry 5 campaign and world that picking up the Season Pass was simply a no brainer for me. I have already been rewarded with the Far Cry 3 Remastered edition for free with the Pass and now I was looking forward to the first of three actual DLC packs for the game with Hours of Darkness which takes the action back in time to the Vietnam Conflict.
The DLC will put you in the role of Wendell ‘Red’ Redler, who many will recognise as a character you meet during the main campaign of Far Cry 5 who is always talking about his time in the Vietnam conflict and Hours of Darkness puts you back into one of his many stories for this DLC. The action begins Wendell in a helicopter gunship with his squad patrolling near the end of the conflict when their chopper is shot down and Wendell and his surviving team are captured. A surprise air strike provides an opportunity to escape and players will find themselves now lost in enemy territory trying to find a way out.
The first task you have once you have escaped is to return to your helicopter’s crash site in order to retrieve your gear. It also allows you to make contact with your own HQ who provide you with the location of an extraction zone that you must work to get to so you can escape. The extraction really is the main goal of the DLC and the small region it is set in will put many obstacles in your way as you explore and navigate around the jungle environment. Which by the way is visually fun to be in especially at night as the trees and high grass areas make it possible to really focus on a more stealthy approach which is a nod back to the original Far Cry games especially when you can activate perks with every stealth kill which will allow you to track enemies through walls and approach more quietly but will lose all perks if you break stealth or are discovered by enemies.
Now it does have to be said that you can quite literally complete this DLC in one hour if you simply head straight to the extraction point and get out but just because you can does not mean you should. The DLC provides bonus objectives to accomplish on route to the extraction from disabling AA gun nests, assassinating Vietcong Commanders to gain intel whilst weakening the enemy and also freeing captured POWs. Some of these POWs will actually be some of the surviving members of your squad and once releasing can then accompany you as your companion just like in the main campaign you can equip partners to help you fight. These objectives are dotted around the map and can be discovered simply by the natural exploration of the map. By collecting or completing all these challenges you will upon completion of the DLC unlock two new modes including a survival one with a perma death style to replay the DLC with adding some replayability to it.
But this is pretty much the same gameplay as the main campaign with just less to do in terms of fighting and it only took me just under three hours to 100% the challenges and complete the add on campaign. But as the first DLC content of the Season Pass it does the job nicely for me. I loved the more focus placed on being stealthy though you can go full guns blazing if you choose to. The design of the region is amazing especially when you uncover the secret tunnels that enemy Commanders will try to both hide and escape though. It does capture the tone and sense of the Vietnam conflict in this little slice and it is a very different tone from the main game campaign though keeping it far more serious then I expect the next two DLC content drops will have as settings. The unlocked modes for finishing all the challenges does give this more replayability than your first play through and you can play it fully co-op with a friend as well but it is still at best an up to three hour campaign.
Hours of Darkness is clever in putting the player in the shoes of another character of the main campaign which then enhances that story even more such as instead of seeing Wendell as an old man telling war stories you have now with this DLC, lived through one of those stories. Though there is not a lot to it with it being so short, it is the first part of three content drops with the season pass and one that already gives you the Far Cry 3 Remastered game as well so that for me at least gives it a pass for being that short.
It was also refreshing to get to a play stealth style throughout and was a great reason to revisit the world of Far Cry 5 whilst building excitement and hope for the next drops from the Pass in the months to come.