Pagan: Control is a fantastic look into the mind and history of Far Cry 4’s villain, Pagan Min. You certainly see how events from his past has shaped him into who he was.
Far Cry 6 Pagan: Control releases tomorrow, January 11 and it was a pleasure to play through, though I had minor issues with the roguelike nature of the gameplay loop. The graphics of Far Cry 6 are just so good, so to be able to play in a world inspired by Kyrat from Far Cry 4 is more of an awesome thing. Secondly, Pagan Min is such a great character to explore and we are given glimpses into his past which was a fascinating insight. Without spoiling too much, amongst other big revelations, we get to see the origins of some of his classic lines from Far Cry 4.
To prepare for this review, I went back and started a new Far Cry 4 campaign to remind myself of what Pagan Min was like. Troy Baker is a phenomenal voice actor, and his portrayal of Pagan Min is superb. There are times where he is just straight up maniacal, and other times his smooth and almost calming voice puts you on edge as you don’t know if he’s being sincere, or if he’s building up to attack you in some way. I always laughed when he killed one of his guards and in doing so, got blood on his shoe. We see why he is that way about his shoes in Pagan: Control, amongst learning many other things about him and his past.
Like the Vaas: Insanity DLC before it, we play as Pagan Min as we explore exotic locations with those fluoro pink, yellow and blue smokey colours that were present in Far Cry 4. You start with just a pistol and must find enough power essence and clear points of interest to unlock new weapons, upgrades and character traits. When you kill an enemy unit, a puff of neon smoke erupts and they leave behind some power essence, some ammunition for the weapons you’re carrying and occasionally a health syringe.
This is a roguelike experience, so if you die, you will lose everything you’re carrying and all the powers you unlocked. Depending on the traits you have unlocked, you may keep some essence when you start again. The pistol is always free, you just have to remember to grab it from the armory before heading down the ‘golden path’. There are a number of locations you can visit and most are control points that, once cleared, will unlock a new weapon for you to use. As you start to survive for longer periods, night will fall and then you’ll have to deal with spirits that will race towards you when you get close to them. You’ll want to kill them quickly (they only take one shot) as they will explode if they touch you. Survive even longer and a storm rolls in with snow falling.
There are some safe houses you can take over and these will save the weapon and power on your current character run, but will reset all mission progress, so it’s a bit of a trade off. There are also some mini statues spread through the world and these feature some of Pagan’s classic lines from Far Cry 4, albeit in a squeaky voice. Shooting or collecting them will add them to your collection. There are also notes and other collectibles to find which will give you more insight into the lore of Kyrat, Pagan and his familial relationships.
There are three main memory missions which will give you a mask fragment and a cutscene giving you memories of the past. Once you collect all three mask fragments, you’ll be able to ‘escape your mind’, but not before having to defend against waves of enemies and bosses. After you complete the first wave, you are given the option of escaping now or continuing to take on more difficult waves.
Once you complete the Pagan: Control DLC, you will unlock the next mind tier and can start a new run at a higher difficulty. Higher difficulty means better rewards. My final run took me about 1 hour 20 minutes, and I took my time with it, so better players will be able to fly through the first few tiers I would imagine. I took my time to find all map locations and learn which guns I liked the best (SMG was my favourite) which helped me to plan my final completion run. I did have a couple of game crashes which were frustrating given the roguelike nature of this DLC.
I was about 2.5 hours into my run, being methodical and trying to clear the whole map in one run, only for it to crash and I had to start from scratch. I ran a game files integrity check which stopped the crashes I was getting, so hopefully those were just unique to me. It meant I had to restart a few runs, so in total I played Pagan: Control for about 6 hours, though as I mentioned above, you can complete a run in an hour or so. I really enjoyed exploring Pagan’s world though, so I took my time with it.
Overall, Pagan: Control is a fantastic look into the mind and history of Far Cry 4’s villain, Pagan Min. You certainly see how events from his past has shaped him into who he was. He is one of my favourite villains from the series so it was great to get a deeper dive into his past which revealed why he is the way he is. With varying difficulty levels, this will tie us over for content until the final DLC in the villainous trilogy releases sometime in February. This will feature Joseph Seed from Far Cyr 5 and I’m eager to see how his story plays out.
This review utilised a key provided by Ubisoft ANZ. Pagan: Control will release on January 11, 2022 via the Far Cry 6 Season Pass on PC, Xbox and PlayStation.