I never really thought of Far Cry as a series ripe for the roguelite treatment, and Far Cry 6’s Control DLC doesn’t do much to convince me otherwise. This looping gauntlet offers an interesting exploration of one of its more complex villains, Far Cry 4’s pink-suited Pagan Min, but Control’s small-scale open world doesn’t deliver the same free-form fun as the base game (or even other expansions) from Far Crys past).
The concept will be familiar to anyone who has seen Inception, Dreamscape or really even a mildly sci-fi adjacent TV show or movie in recent memory – you take control of Pagan while imprisoned in a prison of his own. mind and must complete a series of trials to help restore his “sanity” (or, more accurately, his delusional self-image). To do this, you’ll need to collect the three shards of his golden mask (yes, it’s a bit on the nose, I know) from around the bizarre version of a Kyrati valley that has become his subconscious home. It’s not clear if this is a hallucination during his death throes or just some kind of weird dream (although, if I recall correctly, the canon lore is that Pagan survives at the end of Far Cry 4), but the concept feels like a natural extension of the trippy sequences that have become a series staple.
The world itself is a neon-splashed trip down memory lane for fans of Far Cry 4 – of the floating temples and massive gold statues that dominate the map.
yellow stones gone golden paths, to the stylized recreations of recognizable locations such as Pagan’s royal palace or the dilapidated home of FC4 protagonist Ajay Ghale’s mother. While it can certainly feel like seeing a lot of recycled material, the design team certainly nailed the look of this mental monument to Pagan’s hubris. That could still have degenerated into an otherwise forgettable slog between combat encounters, but what really sells the delusion is the return of voice actor Troy Baker as the lead villain and a clever, insightful script from the story team led by Nikki Foy.
It’s fascinating to get a sense of how Pagan Min viewed the events of Far Cry 4, especially in contrast to all the hours I spent listening to his propaganda broadcasts in 2014. The control could have done with a more in-depth refresher. about what actually happened at the end of that game, but it’s a good way to delve into the importance of the family drama that preceded it and Pagan’s sense of self. It all makes for an interesting exploration of the villain’s true nature, made even more ambiguous by the increasingly unreliable story you get of Pagan conversing with his inner demons (which are some of Baker’s best moments, though his delivery is always great) by means of). There may be some aspects of his personality that are more obvious than others – he’s definitely still a narcissist with a flair for the dramatic – but after the roughly five hours it took to roll credits the first time, I came away with a decidedly more nuanced picture of the character that went beyond the stereotypical “charismatic psychopath” I remembered.
Outside of his story moments, however, Control kind of stumbles into Pagan’s luxe loafers. His take on the roguelite formula is pretty standard: you have one chance to complete all three combat trials and then survive the final challenge. If you die, you start over with nothing – although you can use currency (in this case ‘Respect’) you gain during runs to buy permanent upgrades that will make you stronger and your limited arsenal more powerful on your next attempt. It’s an interesting use of Far Cry’s mechanics in theory, but the limitations demanded by the roguelite concept mean this DLC relies heavily on pretty basic gunplay and little else, which isn’t necessarily Far Cry’s strongest suit.
That trademark Far Cry sense of freedom and the ability to approach its open-world systems with a wide variety of tactics is therefore almost completely missing here. There are only nine weapons, all of which (except your gun) must be unlocked by completing challenges on the map (which I’m guessing is about a quarter of Far Cry 6’s Yara). Those unlocks are persistent, which is handy, but once I was able to run with an assault rifle, a grenade launcher, or what may be Far Cry’s slowest shotgun, I was equipped well enough that I never felt compelled to use other guns. unlock. You can still freely explore and tackle any activity in any order, including the three main objectives that unlock the final challenge, but your options end up feeling rather limited. You can’t manipulate wildlife, and with no vehicles to speak of, you can really only choose whether to run with guns blazing or try to keep things stealthy – and that’s only if you manage to get one of those. throw the random weapon loads that happen to come with a silencer.
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Like many roguelites, you start with a bare arsenal and use currency looted from chests or defeated enemies to unlock upgrades and gear that last through each run. Some of these are really valuable, like letting you carry extra healing kits, unlocking gear like the grappling hook and wingsuit, or giving you the option to keep some of the currency earned during a run after you die. However, others hardly seem worth it by the time you’ve saved enough money to unlock them. Definitely Me could be Spending 6000 points to unlock ATVs near safe houses, but at this point I’ve already discovered all the teleporters that zap me around the map. The best use of cash has always been to unlock an extra power-up slot for the buffs that drop from chests and enemies across the map, but there are only 8 of them, so eventually my upgrade decisions became a lot less exciting.
What ultimately convinced me that the roguelite format wasn’t right for Far Cry was the lack of variety. It took me four or five cycles to complete my first run, and given the repetitive nature of its open-world activities and the recycling of the few “boss” characters (on the lowest difficulty, you’ll find one of them a minimum of four times with little to no variation) encountered on each run, I unfortunately found I had no real drive to revisit much of Control.