Vaas, Far Cry 3’s famous villain, has an equally well-known speech about the definition of insanity. As he tells it, “Insanity is doing the exact same fucking thing, over and over again, expecting shit to change. That is crazy.” So it seems perfect that Far Cry 6’s first DLC starring the charismatic villain tosses him into a roguelike shooter within his own twisted mind, forcing him to do the same things over and over. The end result is a fun, weird, and curious experiment that sadly loses most of its momentum too quickly.
When Ubisoft first announced its DLC plans for Far Cry 6 including bringing back villains from previous games and building expansions around them, I was intrigued. While the baddies in Far Cry tend to be the focus of ads and marketing campaigns, they often aren’t seen much in their respective games. So bringing some of them back and letting them chew up the scenery and be evil for a few dedicated hours sounded like a plan to me. And starting it off with Vaas, still one of the franchise’s most iconic creations, was a smart move.
What I didn’t expect was that Far Cry 6’s first DLC would be an odd, experimental roguelike. As someone who hasn’t really enjoyed these types of games in the past, I was worried that I’d bounce off this DLC shortly after starting it. But, instead I had a great time, well at least for an hour to two.
The setup of this new Vaas-focused DLC is nearly as strange as the expansion itself. (Spoilers for Far Cry 3 to follow.)
After getting stabbed and left to die in Far Cry 3, Vaas is bleeding out and dying and inside his mind, which means that things are getting... wild. Apparently, when you are in the final moments of your life, your brain creates a custom roguelike shooter for you to play before you end up wormfood. Regardless, that’s why you are “trapped” inside your own mind, hunting down cash and new guns to defeat your sister Citra, a character also from Far Cry 3.
If you haven’t played Far Cry 3, I think a lot of this DLC will probably not make much sense to you, though the game does spend a few minutes setting up the important bits so you won’t be completely lost.
To defeat Citra you need to track down three items, complete challenges, and then bring the items back to the starting point. Here, you’ll create a dagger that will be used to prove to Citri that you are a big, tough warrior. However, this will be tricky at first because you only start with a pistol and a small amount of health. Luckily, you can earn cash by killing enemies, finding chests, or completing activities found within the mind of Vaas. Using this cash you can upgrade new weapons you find out in the world or upgrade your stats and abilities. As with many modern roguelikes, you keep your upgrades when you die, but lose your cash and current items and weapons.
Well, at least, that’s what the game says. I don’t actually know what happens when you die in this DLC because I never died. The combat of recent Far Cry games is pretty easy to begin with and this DLC is no different. During my first run, I found an SMG early on and after upgrading it and my health a bit, I was able to complete my first run in about an hour. It was a blast, exploring the weird world inside Vaas’ head and learning more about who he is and his past with Citra, his family and outsiders was cool. (I’ll also admit that I’m a bit of a Far Cry nerd so maybe it’s only cool to me.)
However, after beating my first run, I woke back up as Vaas at the start of his mind once again and that’s when this DLC ran out of steam. The problem is that the first hour or two during your first run are great, filled with twists and revelations and exploration. But once you go again, you realize that locations on the map aren’t randomly generated. The main quest objectives also don’t change. Sure, the enemies get harder and do more damage as you up the “mind level” of each run, but the bulk of DLC doesn’t change. That’s a bad recipe for a roguelike shooter. Halfway through my second run, I found myself bored of it all. Perhaps jumping up the difficulty could help, but I’m just not sure I care enough to keep going.
It’s a shame, because I do like the idea behind this DLC: take the core engine and gameplay of Far Cry 6 and do something strange and different with it. I hope the future DLC packs for FC6 are meatier than the first offering. I’d love to see each one try something new and different, separate from this DLC or the main game. Even if they don’t quite land, I’d gladly take more stuff that tries something different and fails over boring DLC that just adds combat arenas or cosmetics.
If you love roguelike shooters and already own Far Cry 6 and especially if you are a big fan of Far Cry 3, this new DLC might be worth checking out. For everyone else, perhaps wait and see what the rest of Far Cry 6’s DLC looks like before buying into the game’s season pass right now.