A strange Roguelike, but too short

Close-up of Vaas from Far Cry 6's new DLC, behind him a red background and blue, ghostly copies of him.

Picture: Ubisoft

Nonsense, Far Cry 3s famous villain, has an equally well-known speech on the definition of insanity. As he puts it, “Insanity is doing the exact same shit, over and over again, and expecting the shit to change. It’s crazy.” So it works perfectly Far Cry 6‘s first DLC starring the charismatic villain throws him into a rogue shooting game in his own twisted mind, forcing him to do the same things over and over again. The end result is a fun, strange and curious experiment that unfortunately 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 extensions around them, I was fascinated. While the wicked are inside Far Cry tend to be the focus of ads and marketing campaigns, they are often not seen much in their respective games. So bringing some of them back and letting them chew the landscape up and be evil for a few dedicated hours sounded like a plan to me. And starting with Vaas, still one of the franchise’s most iconic creations, was a smart move.

What I did not expect was that Far Cry 6‘s first DLC would be a strange, experimental roguelike. As someone who has not really enjoyed these types of games in the past, I was worried that I would jump off this DLC shortly after launching it. But instead, I enjoyed myself, at least an hour to two.

The setup of this new Vaas-focused DLC is almost as strange as the expansion itself. (Spoilers for Far Cry 3 to follow.)

After being stabbed and left to die in Far Cry 3, Vaas bleeds out and dies and inside his mind, which means things get … wild. Apparently, when you are in the last moments of your life, your brain creates a custom rogue-like shooting game that you can play before you end up with worm food. Either way, that’s why you’re “trapped” in your own mind, chasing money and new weapons to defeat your sister Citra, a character also from Far Cry 3.

If you have not played Far Cry 3, I think a lot of this DLC probably will not make much sense to you, even if the game takes a few minutes to set up the important bits so you will not be completely lost.

To defeat Citra, you must track three objects, complete challenges, and then bring the objects back to the starting point. Here you will create a dagger to be used to prove to Citri that you are a great, tough warrior. However, this will be difficult at first because you only start with a gun and a little bit of health. Fortunately, you can make money by killing enemies, finding coffins, or completing activities found in Vaa’s mind. By using this money, you can upgrade new weapons you find around the world, or upgrade your stats and abilities. As with many modern roguelikes, you keep your upgrades when you die, but lose your money and current items and weapons.

Well, that’s what the game says, at least. I actually do not know what happens when you die in this DLC because I never died. The battle in the latest Far Cry games is pretty easy to begin with, and this DLC is no different. During my first run, I found an SMG early, 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 strange world inside Vaas’ head and learning more about who he is and his past with Citra, his family and outsiders was cool. (I also admit that I’m a bit of one Far Cry nerd, so maybe it’s just cool for me.)

A large head buried in the sand, surrounded by smaller heads, with all of them covered in blood.

Screenshot: Ubisoft / Kotaku

But after beating my first run, I woke up again as Vaas at the start of his mind again and that was when this DLC ran out of steam. The problem is that the first hour or two during your first race is amazing, filled with twists and revelations and exploration. But when you go again, you realize that locations on the map are not randomly generated. The main quest objectives do not change either. Sure, the enemies get harder and do more damage as you get up to the “mind level” for each run, but the bulk of the DLC doesn’t change. It’s a bad recipe for a rogue shooter. Halfway through my second race, I was tired of it all. Maybe it could help to jump up the difficulty level, but I’m just not sure I’m worried enough to continue.

It’s a shame, because I like the idea behind this DLC: take off the core engine and gameplay Far Cry 6 and do something strange and different with it. I hope the DLC packs of the future for FC6 are more meaty than the first offering. I would love to see each one try something new and different, separate from this DLC or the main game. Although they do not quite land, I like to take several things that try something different and fail over boring DLC ‚Äč‚Äčthat just adds battle 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 may be worth checking out. For everyone else, maybe wait and see what the rest of Far Cry 6 ‘s DLC looks before buying itthe game’s season card right now.

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