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 Far Cry‘s signature phrases comes from the third game in the series, with Vaas explaining that the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing expecting things to change and well, with Far Cry 6’s DLC it appears that Ubisoft is going that route. Far Cry 6‘s latest piece of DLC, Pagan: Control once again follows the same footsteps as the first piece of content, only this time instead of placing players inside the crazed mind of Vaas we find ourselves inside the cold calculating head of Pagan Min, facing down his past thoughts and demons in yet another roguelike experience that changes little from the first DLC.
Now although it has been many years since Far Cry 4 was released, it is worth noting that various plot details and the ending to the game will be discussed as it pertains to various events that occur within the DLC so those who have yet to play the original should be wary.
Pagan Min envisions his family having a happy meal around a dinner table only for that happiness to be disturbed by an individual that looks just like him, claiming that it is who he really is. Pagan finds himself tasked with undergoing a series of trials to recover three pieces of a golden mask to restore his self-image. In rather interesting fashion, since Far Cry 4 offered players with a variety of ways to approach the game’s ending, both between the far superior secret ending and the choice given to players at the end of the actual game, Control has to play something of a balancing act when it comes to describing exactly what is happening with Pagan.
Could these be the final thoughts upon death or simply a horrific nightmare that Pagan has yet to wake up from? Either way Pagan: Control gives players a deeper look into the history of Pagan’s rule over Kyrat, his conflict with the Golden Path, and even some extra insight into his personal relationships with Ajay Ghale’s mother and other key figures. These moments may not be quite as interesting as learning about the twisted tale of Vaas but can still be rather informative, especially since more than a few memories reveal just how Pagan became the man he ended up being in Far Cry 4. In similar fashion to the first DLC, there are a few small variations to the game’s ending including a bonus scene should players complete a run on the hardest difficulty though this time around the reveal, while surprising given the circumstances, feels far less worthwhile.
Mechanically Pagan: Control plays almost the exact same as Vaas: Insanity as players are tasked with retrieving three pieces of an object, this time a mask to restore Pagan’s “Image,” all while earning currency that can be used to purchase various things that will help unlock permanent upgrades to Pagan’s arsenal. This time around the currency is “respect” and while a few unlocks have been changed around a bit, such as automatically marking targets when nailing a headshot, most remain the same with players needing to unlock additional weaponry through challenges on the map and upgrading the weapons at the locker should they feel the need, as well as perk slots that can be filled when various perks are obtained from slain enemies or opened chests.
Once again, everything in Pagan: Control must be completed in one life. Death or even quitting outside of a safe room will result in players losing all progress in collecting the mask, any respect they have earned (unless a limit perk is unlocked), and perks they have obtained in their current run. In similar fashion, everything will still remain revealed on the map with players still being able to know the location of any challenges, core missions, and even memory locations should they need to re-complete them. To lower the replayability further, outside of the weapon mods being slightly different each run the weapons themselves remain the same every time, meaning that if the shotgun isn’t to your liking this time, it won’t be getting any better. The gunplay is still as solid as ever but it is unfortunate that the roguelike elements are kept to a bare minimum here and very little has been changed between DLCs.
Obtaining the mask pieces in Pagan: Control once again places Pagan against some of the bigger moments in his life and it must be said that these are at least far more varied than they were in the first piece of DLC. In a way this was both surprising and a bit of a let down as at least one of these encounters felt far too simple to be treated as one of the three core missions players must complete. That being said, the side activities such as memories and delusions of Pagan’s mind are just as interesting and unique as one would expect. This includes the irony of climbing an upside down tower and a bit of replay value through certain memories that can only be seen once per run and will change depending on player choice and are some of the best highlights of the DLC.
Visuals & Audio
Whereas Vaas’ mindscape was bloody and often made no sense, Pagan’s is filled with gilded statues, prideful visages of the man himself, and glorious looking buildings set against a backdrop filled with enemies that this time take on the appearance of the Golden Path and some nearly untouched looking animals. The map this time around does appear to be even smaller than what was offered in the Vaas DLC but, as mentioned before, there is some more variety to be had here when it comes to exploration.
One must truly compliment the fact that the voice acting for Pagan Min remains as strong as ever with Troy Baker returning to reprise the role as he fits the character perfectly. Other characters are handled nicely enough though, as mentioned, a few scenes do feel a bit phoned in.
Far Cry 6‘s second piece of DLC brings us Pagan: Control in what still remains a fairly solid roguelite FPS that focuses once again on a charismatic villain but unfortunately happens to retread far too much of the same ground as the previous DLC. While offering new story context for fans of Pagan is great, barely expanding on any of the roguelite elements remains a troublesome pattern that makes this DLC worthwhile for fans of Pagan but mostly a retread for those who have already seen Vaas: Insanity.
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