Platforms: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $14.99 USD – Available Here $39.99 Season Pass– Available Here
One of the best parts of almost every Far Cry game happens to be the villain that players will need to face down over the course of the game. However most of the time, these core villains either only make a few brief appearances or, especially in this case, end up being replaced by a far less charismatic one in the second half of the game. As such when it was revealed that Far Cry 6‘s season pass would allow players to step into the shoes of the villains from past games it came as not only a surprise but something many looked forward to and Ubisoft is starting with their strongest foot forward here by placing Vaas Montenegro as the first villain DLC in Vaas: Insanity.
It is worth noting that, although Far Cry 3 came out nine years ago, if players haven’t had a chance to check it out yet then there will be some spoilers regarding the fate of some characters discussed here.
That being said, Vaas: Insanity begins during the final confrontation between Vaas and Jason Brody with the fight ultimately leading to Vaas seemingly being stabbed to death. Vaas awakens only to find that he has instead been trapped inside of his own mind with his sister Citra taunting him and ordering him to gather the shattered pieces of the dragon blade should he ever hope to escape from his shattered mind. With strange events around nearly every corner as players delve deeper into the mind of this charismatic but broken villain it will be nearly the true definition of insanity trying the same thing over and over again expecting things to change as the saying goes.
Vaas: Insanity already had a lot going for it simply by taking perhaps one of the best villains the series has seen so far and putting him front and center but it expands upon it even further by giving Vaas a lot of backstory as we learn more about his past as a child, his interactions with Citra and her manipulations, and even what happened before and as he met with Jason’s gang of friends. These “memories” serve not only as collectables but also help paint a fresh picture of an already solid villain. While the story doesn’t try to redeem Vaas, as he is still truly past the point of no return, it does show that there are methods behind the madness and also how he ended up players eventually meeting him in Far Cry 3.
Of course this is all painted through Vaas’ unique perspective but he often remarks throughout the story that he knows exactly what he is doing, even if the portrayal is as crazy as one would expect from the character. This means that not only is there a solid story told through Vaas’ mission to escape his mind but the character is also developed far further than players could have possibly hoped, helping make Vaas an even better villain than before. It is also worth noting that players should aim for the hardest difficulty once everything is said and done for a bit of extra content.
As we already touched upon, one of Vaas’ favorite sayings was that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results and therefore placing him in a roguelite FPS makes for some great irony while also delivering a far different feeling game than what Far Cry usually offers. That being said, those expecting a full roguelite experience may be a bit disappointed here as Vaas: Insanity only pulls things off partially in that regard.
Vaas begins his time in the center of a fittingly small island with only a pistol and some small healing vials to his name with players needing to complete challenges to unlock additional weapons, earn cash from slaying enemies or opening treasure chests and then using said cash to buy permanent upgrades, and unlock extra perk slots to try and survive the chaos that is roaming the island. Every time Vaas dies players will lose all cash (unless upgrades are purchased to hold onto a certain amount), buffs, and weapon mods that they may have had on them during a run. This includes dropping any of the dagger pieces that they may have gathered throughout the course of their run.
These dagger pieces are easy to locate as each of the three is located at the end of a bloody trail on the map where players will need to face down a difficult challenge set in a place that was near and dear to Vaas in some way, be it a signature location that he killed someone important or something else personal. These battles tend to be the most difficult part of Vaas: Insanity so players will need to prep to make sure they are ready. This includes buying permanent unlocks that increase Vaas’ total health, additional gadgets such as randomized grenade types, more weapons, more healing syringes, etc., and randomized perks that can be obtained from chests or slain enemies.
Cash is also used to upgrade a weapon chest though it is here that the roguelite element begins to fall apart. While Vaas will lose his current cash, weapon mods, and buffs upon death, nothing will actually change on the map. Any location that was previously found will still be shown exactly where it was previously, all weapons will remain the same with only the mods being different, and the story will remain the exact same every time. This means that running through a previously viewed memory to acquire extra buffs or challenging another mission to obtain a dagger piece will play out the exact same way every time with no variation which can be rather annoying and takes some of the enjoyment out of the process, especially since weapons will always remain the same with only slight variations.
This is especially true should players choose to replay the game once they have already escaped from Vaas’ mind once. After initial completion of Mind Level 1, players can return at a harder level of difficulty going all the way to Mind Level 5 to put their skills to the test but even at harder difficulties everything remains in the same place with enemies only dealing more damage as a result. This makes the replayability of this dark and twisted story far less than one would hope as, once it is cleared the first time, players have already seen nearly everything there is to offer.
Visuals & Audio
With Vaas: Insanity being set inside the drug addled and broken mind of Vaas, Ubisoft was able to really take advantage of some of the more crazy design elements they may have been holding back on. Sharks can fly purposefully through the sky, animals made of lava can tear through the environment, and twisted portrayals of Jason and other memorable moments can appear throughout the land. These unique elements are truly some of the better parts of exploring what this DLC has to offer.
It must also be said that it is great to hear that all of the voice actors have returned to reprise their roles here, especially when it comes to Michael Mando’s portrayal of Vaas as the character truly shines as the spotlight here once again.
Creating a roguelite style FPS centered around the shattered mind of one of Far Cry‘s most charismatic villains was a great idea and has worked in many ways but faltered a bit in some regards. Not only can the game’s roguelite elements be too basic to really vary up the gameplay but the fairly short runtime of the story is a bit disheartening as well. That isn’t to say that there isn’t plenty to see here, especially for those looking for more of Vaas, as this DLC delves deep into his mind in more ways than one.
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