Pagan: Control is the second DLC for Far Cry 6 and this time another series antagonist is featured, namely Pagan Min, the tyrannical king of Far Cry 4′s fictional Himalayan country Kyrat.
As with the previous DLC, Insanity, you find yourself playing as the bad guy as part of their own delusion so here you’ll be playing as Pagan while his mind serves as the slightly twisted play area. It’s a much smaller area than Far Cry 6‘s main setting and is based on Kyrat but with a slightly surreal flavour. Much like with Vaas’ headspace in Insanity, you’re dealing with basically the inner workings of a psychopath, so expect things to look a little strange.
Where the previous DLC was set at the moment of Vaas’ death which set up the narrative of him reliving his life over and over to make sense of it (while tying in nicely with his famous ‘definition of insanity’ quote), it’s a little less clear what is going on here. You’re looking for three pieces of a golden mask which will help you, as Pagan, to hide your faults. There’s some stuff in there about trying to save his family and a struggle with his own dark side, know here as “The Tyrant.”
But regardless of what it all means, what you get here is very much a retread of the previous DLC with the same rogue-lite set up and all the same mechanics. That is to say that you’ve got three main objectives (here it’s the mask, in Insanity it was the three pieces of the Silver Dragon blade), some side stuff, weapon cases to unlock (and upgrade), permanent traits (via the same mirror as before) and a heap of temporary upgrades.
The map is similarly sized, although we preferred the layout of Insanity‘s map as it just felt a bit natural in terms of how it was laid out and where the objectives were, and really it all just plays out exactly the same. On the plus side this means that you get a much-needed bit of difficulty at the start (Far Cry 6 is great but it’s arguably far too easy) as you’ll have less health and a none-too-impressive pistol that can’t even kill in one bullet if you land a headshot.
But as you kill enemies you’ll earn ‘Respect’ which functions exactly the same as the ‘Cash’ in the previous DLC. This can be used to upgrade your pistol or can be invested into extra health, better healing, improved highlighting of enemies and other traits. As you pick up temporary upgrades, you’ll have to decide to either equip them (although you’ll need to spend Respect to unlock additional slots) or sell them.
If you die, you’ll lose any temporary upgrades and most of your cash, although there is a trait upgrade that lets you keep more of it after death. If you’ve played Insanity, that will sound very familiar because those are the exact same traits as before. The weapon types are also the same and so are the temporary upgrades. It’s functionally the exact same game.
Where the repeating rogue-lite loops of Insanity made perfect sense and were a fresh and exciting way to explore the character of Vaas, here it’s a little disappointing. Pagan’s story doesn’t lend itself to the format. It works well enough and is married to Far Cry 6‘s fantastic gun play so fundamentally this is all good but we’d have liked to have seen Ubisoft try something new with this DLC.
One of the Far Cry 3 DLCs was quite linear, removing the open-world aspect, and that might have been a good direction to go here. Something where you charge ahead echoing Pagan’s impulsive mindset. But just doing a retread of Insanity does feel like a missed opportunity.
However, the extra time spent in Pagan’s mind is pretty entertaining. Running around in his flamboyant pink suit, wearily telling people to fuck off for throwing grenades at him and quipping away in his best Stewie Griffin voice makes Pagan a fun character to play as. Troy Baker is clearly having a lot fun voice acting him too. And the setting with its neon hues of pink and blue do make this version of Kyrat a joy to look at. It’s simply stunning at times.
Fans of Far Cry 4 and the series as a whole should enjoy how these DLC pieces fill in parts of the overall story (there’s an ending that links Pagan’s story to the events in Far Cry 5) and we’re happy that they are really just a few hours long rather than making us do 15+ hours when we spent so long finishing Far Cry 6. So these do work as fun additions to the main game. But when we saw the running ghost enemies make a reappearance after freaking us out so much in Insanity, we couldn’t help feeling that this bit of DLC needed a few more ideas of its own.
+ The high-quality Far Cry 6 gunplay shines through
+ Pagan is a fun character to explore