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Review: Is Far Cry 6’s Pagan Min DLC ‘Control’ worth buying?

Control is the new Far Cry 6 DLC from Ubisoft that allows players to finally take on the role of the iconic villain Pagan Min.

Fantastic villains are a crucial part of the Far Cry series, equally as important as their gorgeous open worlds and seemingly endless array of weapons, and Far Cry 6 was no exception. Giancarlo Esposito’s portrayal of the murderous dictator Anton Castillo stole the show, helping to mask the fact that the game’s formula was starting to show signs of its age.

In hindsight, it’s almost a surprise that developer Ubisoft hasn’t already explored the concept that belies Far Cry 6‘s latest DLC packs (Insanity and Control): letting players step into the shoes of the charismatic villains that previously terrorised them. And if you’re going to go down that route, well then Pagan Min should be at the front of the cue.

For those that aren’t familiar with Pagan Min (the unhinged antagonist of Far Cry 4, and now the protagonist of the Control DLC) I’ll give you a brief run down of what to expect. Min was the heir to a Chinese drug cartel before he decided he was destined for greater things, fleeing to the fictional nation of Kyrat (think Nepal) to let loose.

And by let loose I mean mount an assault on the struggling nation’s power hierarchy, eventually claiming its throne through a combination of Machiavellian manoeuvres and psychotic violence. Yet I probably should note that, despite Pagan Min’s indefensible behaviour, he comes across as a rather charming and somewhat sympathetic character.

far cry 6 control dlc
Image: Far Cry 6: Control / Ubisoft

Possessing a quick wit, stylish wardrobe, tenacity, and a surprisingly hospitable attitude, Pagan Min is the kind of character that is a joy to write; and as Far Cry 6‘s Control DLC proves, an absolute joy to… well… control.

His running commentary as you progress through the game is a real highlight, and proof that unreliable narrators can work well in a video game context.

New Far Cry 6 gameplay mechanics

But what exactly is that context? Far Cry 6‘s Control DLC is a roguelite shooter that takes place in the sandbox of Pagan Min’s narcissistic mind as he tries to come to terms with the pain and suffering he has caused those he purportedly loves. It’s an interesting scenario that gives the developers the chance to take the Far Cry series into a new and decidedly surreal direction.

Littered around the relatively small open world map (at least compared to Far Cry 6) are a bunch of challenges and missions that either progress the story by exploring the past exploits of Pagan Min or unlock new permanent weapons.

far cry 6 control dlc
Image: Far Cry 6 : Control / Ubisoft

During each run of the Control DLC you will also gather ‘Respect’, which is essentially in game currency that can be used to unlock permanent character abilities and perks; such as increased health, faster reload speeds and more gadget slots. If you die then your run ends, you lose all mission progress, and the vast majority (or all of) of your currency is lost.

This might sound a little daunting, but rest assured it isn’t likely to be a serious obstacle to your progression. If you managed combat situations in Far Cry 6 then the Control DLC won’t provide any insurmountable threats. Despite being a pretty mediocre first-person shooter player I completed the game’s main loop without a single death.

Final thoughts on the Control DLC

And herein lies the main problem with the Control DLC; despite being an enjoyable romp with a few nice moments there isn’t much about the game that lends itself to a roguelite framework.

The story missions, despite being well executed from a narrative perspective, don’t offer any gameplay that warrants repeated playthroughs. Yet doing three of them is necessary to complete each new loop. It should be noted that a few of the challenges (‘Thicker Than Water’ for example) do change a little depending on choices you make, but these changes aren’t particularly noteworthy.

 

All things considered, Far Cry 6‘s Control DLC has enough charm and innovation that I’d recommend it to fans of the series without hesitation. It even provides an interesting blueprint that Ubisoft would be wise to examine again, perhaps with greater scope and resources. However, for all its promise, and perhaps because of it, I was left hungry for something more substantial.

Far Cry 6‘s Control DLC is out January 11 on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC. It will also be available as part of Ubisoft’s Far Cry 6 Season Pass.