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Far Cry 6 Control review - A benevolent king or corrupt tyrant?

Far Cry 6 Control puts you in the shoes of a familiar antagonist (Image by Ubisoft)
Far Cry 6 Control puts you in the shoes of a familiar antagonist (Image by Ubisoft)
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Suryadeepto Sengupta

Ubisoft’s Far Cry series has always been peppered with exotic locations and three-dimensional complex characters weaved in an intricate narrative. The franchise has evolved steadily over the years, redefining and perfecting its open-world action formula.

The latest iteration of the franchise, Far Cry 6, perfectly encapsulates the “Far Cry” formula and builds on it to present one of the best titles in the series. The game received high review scores, including by us at Sportskeeda.

As part of the title's expansion, the developers at Ubisoft Toronto decided to take a look back at the franchise’s history and expand upon the previous titles’ antagonists.

The first of the proposed expansions, Far Cry 6: Insanity, explores the story of Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3, while the second expansion, Control, probes the duality of Far Cry 4's Pagan Min. The final expansion, Collapse, will explore the beliefs of Joseph Seed from Far Cry 5.

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Control aims to flesh out the backstory and the character of Pagan Min, the ruler of Kyrat from Far Cry 4. But is it able to do justice to the character, or does it fall short of excellence?


Far Cry 6 Control review - What’s a man to a King, what’s a King to a God

Warning: Far Cry 4 spoilers ahead!

Of all the Far Cry titles, I've always been partial towards Far Cry 4 The setting and the protagonist felt surprisingly familiar, yet exotic, whilst the story presented a unique narrative, often unexplored in mainstream media.

The age-old concept of the protagonist fighting for the good whilst the antagonist stands against everything righteous, is called into question once you realize there is no winning side.

(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)
(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)

Throughout the game, Far Cry 4 presented the player with the choice between two leaders of Golden Path, Amita and Sabal, as the alternatives of Pagan Min. Both hold opposing views, yet drive the beautiful country of Kyrat towards its demise.

After the ending, Far Cry 4 left me thinking. While Pagan Min wasn’t perfect, he was a far better leader who could have led the country to a better future.

Far Cry 6 Control presents players with a rogue-like experience, in a world similar to Kyrat, yet expanded beyond reality to project a more mystical feel. We take on the role of Pagan Min to find the three pieces of his mask and expand on his story.

Dive into the twisted mind of Pagan Min. The new Pagan: Control DLC is coming January 11. https://t.co/2hIr1xoPkc

To overcome the Tyrant and emerge as the King (Setup and world design)

The game kicks off at a mountain peak where Pagan Min, along with Ajay Ghale, Ishwari, and his daughter Lakshmana are having a family supper. That's when the main antagonist of the expansion is introduced, and it is Pagan himself.

The game brilliantly portrays the duality of Pagan Min. We play as the man trying to find Ishwari and Lakshmana to build his family, while the person standing in the way is the darker version of Pagan, the tyrant, lost in his own sins.

Similar to Insanity, Control is also a roguelike experience where we have to go through three major memories of Pagan Min, expanding on his character and finding a part of his golden mask.

(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)
(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)

The world is filled with enemies of the Golden Path doused in the colors of Holi and rocks with Shlokas written in Nepali, which when translated can be referential to the ongoing narrative. The soundtrack also implements Nepali and Tibetian instruments, giving it a very authentic yet mystical feel compared to Kyrat.

Grass fields with elevated rock formations, upside-down structures, and hints of gold make the world a treat to explore or just stand still and take in the beauty.

One thing that stood out a bit was that the world sometimes felt a bit barren and strangely dead, yet hostile. Perhaps the world design could have benefited from a bit of neutral fauna, which would have made it feel more alive.


Ishwari and Lakshmana (Story and characters)

Far Cry 6 Control beautifully expands on the story of Pagan Min and his duality between a man wanting his family and a tyrant lost in power. The ending of Far Cry 4 uncovered the relationship between Pagan and Ajay’s Mother Ishwari, as well as what she meant when she said, “Take me to Lakshmana.”

Under all the flamboyance and unfazed cruelty of Pagan Min is a man who is scared for the love of his life and his daughter. But it’s his tyrant self who drives them away from Pagan.

(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)
(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)

In one particular mission, as Pagan, we have to make our way through a reversed bell tower, from where his darker thoughts are explored. Taking down the tower signifies Pagan getting rid of those thoughts and taking a step closer to redemption.

The narrative approach is certainly commendable and expands on the character of Pagan Min. However, the total length and depth of the story feels unsatisfactory. Though what is present is quite good and does add new layers to the Far Cry 4 story, the expansion would have certainly benefited from further exploration of Pagan’s character.


Power of a Tyrant, the sin of a Man (Gameplay)

Roguelike is an interesting formula to explore in the Far Cry series. Previously, Insanity went that route, adapting it perfectly to the Far Cry formula, and Control is no exception.

You’ll start off with a simple pistol and syringe to earn more respect, which can then be cashed in for more upgrades and complete missions to unlock more weapons. Throughout the journey, Pagan is teased by the Tyrant and encouraged by Ishwari and Lakshmana.

(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)
(Image Screen captured in Far Cry 6 Control)

While the final objectives are available right from the outset, it might not be the best idea to attempt them first. Instead, players should take time to explore the world and earn respect to unlock powers from the mirror, which are presented as deadly sins. The naming of the powers is a beautiful metaphor, where Pagan has to give in to his sins to rescue Ishwari and Lakshmana.

It should be mentioned that while Far Cry 6 Control’s roguelike gameplay is quite fun, it might feel a bit repetitive to some players, especially those who don’t have prior experience or understanding of rogue-like gameplay.


Conclusion

After a couple of days of spending time in the world of Far Cry 6 Control as the King of Kyrat, it left me wanting to replay Far Cry 4 from the beginning, this time with a new understanding of the narrative brilliance presented in that story.

Far Cry 6 Control is certainly worth playing, especially for fans of Far Cry 4. However, it does not offer enough value to warrant its standalone price, so perhaps wait for a sale if you don't have the season pass.

Far Cry 6 Control Review (Image by Sportskeeda)
Far Cry 6 Control Review (Image by Sportskeeda)

Far Cry 6 Control

Reviewed on: PC (Early Access code provided by Ubisoft)

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC (Ubisoft Connect, Epic Games Store)

Developer: Ubisoft Toronto

Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment

Release: January 11, 2022


Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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