Pagan: Control is the second DLC for Far Cry 6, once again diving back into the mind and backstory of one of the arch-villains from Far Cry games past. The first DLC, Vaas: Insanity, had you playing the iconic Far Cry 3 villain as he tried to escape his own mind. It was structured like a roguelite, where you’re likely die and restart time and again, but unlock upgrades that persist between lives as you play. It was a clever idea that allowed Ubisoft to revisit and add a little backstory to one of the franchises favourite villains. Pagan: Control is basically the same thing again, but this time you play as Pagan Min, the villain from Far Cry 4.
It’s just like Ubisoft to come up with a good idea and then immediately do it again and, presumably, again when the Far Cry 5 themed Joseph Seed DLC releases later this year. If you’ve played Vaas: Insanity, you’ve got a good idea of what to expect here. Basically you play as Pagan Min, trapped in your own mind and tasked with finding a way out.
This DLC is themed around control, specifically Pagan’s attempts to control everything and everyone around him, and as you explore the mindscape (new word, just go with it) you’ll find memories of past conversations exploring his relationship with estranged wife, Ishwari Ghale, and their daughter. That will have a lot more meaning for anyone who saw the ending of Far Cry 4.
As you gallivant about the map, you’ll be shooting at slightly glowy Golden Path members and collecting Respect that can be spent on upgrades. These can be as simple as unlocking a gadget slot, unlocking the camera so you can properly recon an area, or increasing your health, but there’s also things like tagging nearby enemies after a headshot that can be very useful. You can also upgrade your weaponry for more attachments, once you’ve found them on the map and beaten a few waves of enemies to unlock them in the first place.
When you die, you lose all you weaponry and powers, but keep any character and weapon upgrades you’ve unlocked. You can get a leg up on your next attempt with the ability to keep some Respect after death. Again, this is all practically identical to the system from the previous DLC.
You will definitely need to upgrade your weapons as Ajay Ghale is out there and he’s got a three segment health bar and some nasty guns. He shows up when you’re clearing safehouses, which allow you to upgrade your abilities and guns away from the dinner table that serves as the game’s starting area. Yes, it’s that dinner table. Ajay also shows up during some of the bigger missions to ruin your day, shouting typically threatening things at you. He’s a bullet sponge you just have to hit and run until he’s down, something that only reminds me that Far Cry isn’t exactly Far Cry anymore, that and the pistol that doesn’t kill with a headshot when you first get it.
The map of Pagan’s mind is naturally themed off Kyrat, the fictional Himalayan setting of Far Cry 4, and features plenty of familiar landmarks and some gold trimming. It looks very pretty, taking advantage of being inside a lunatics mind to create some impossible landscapes, such as the upside down radio tower that, yes, you have to climb. This time it’s ironic, though. There’s a few frustrations, such as waves of enemies spawning around you whilst you’re still in a fierce firefight with the previous wave, and the night time being dreadful if you fire your gun even a single time, as screaming, explosive ghosts swarm you from all around. You can’t skip time to reach daylight, either.
Pagan: Control is… pretty good. It’s just a bit underwhelming as it retreads the formula from the first DLC, albeit with a different villain to play as that might be more or less to your liking. The roguelite idea seemed to make sense in Vaas’ insane mind, but just doing it again here diminishes some of that novelty. It’s like one good idea is being stretched across more than one DLC.