One of the more commendable aspects of Ubisoft’s approach to game development in recent years has been a willingness to experiment with DLC. From the educational element of Assassin’s Creed’s historical tours to the broad and sweeping changes across Immortals Fenyx Rising’s various DLCs, developers have been awarded the freedom to do interesting things that often rise above simply slapping on more of the same content we find in the base games.
Far Cry 6 follows a similar route, going into roguelike territory with the Vaas: Insanity DLC, the first part of the game’s substantial season pass. In Vaas: Insanity, players will be running around a small island, gathering up pieces of a dagger that acts as a key, and will open the route out of Vaas’ mind. All the while, Vaas is tormented by Citra, his sister, and Jason Brody, the protagonist in Far Cry 3, and presented here as some kind of demon that exists solely to torture Vaas.
There are two main areas that the Insanity DLC needs to shine for this experiment to work, and for the most part, it does both well. First, it embraces the roguelike concept, bringing in basic systems that players will associate with the genre while also leaving paths of forward progression between rounds. Secondly, it does a reasonable job of exploring the, frankly, strange relationship between Vaas and his sister. The entire point of featuring Vaas in a DLC like this is for players to get to learn more about the character and what makes him tick, after all.
Players will start with just a pistol and a map that needs to be explored. By taking out enemies and opening chests they can find more ammo and cash for upgrading weapons and traits. New weapons are unlocked by completing challenge shrines. Once unlocked, players can then purchase them from a weapons locker that can be found in safe rooms. Weapons are lost upon death but, but traits and weapon locker progress are retained, which gives players access to a slowly moving power curve that will allow them to get further on each run.
The DLC also features a range of difficulties but these can only be unlocked by progressing through them in order. At first, a player’s primary concern will be uncovering the map. This will reveal where to find the three parts of the dagger that they need to progress, some secret encounters, weapon shrines, and safe rooms that will allow them to spend their cash.
The map itself will not change between runs, but as players progress through the difficulty levels, tougher enemies will appear on it. This is where balance becomes a little shaky, as the difficulty jump between levels can be somewhat intense.
The bigger issue present in this small slice of DLC is that it lacks polish. While fun, it feels like a mod, something a small team of enthusiastic fans would put together after work and on weekends. Random frame drops in certain points of the map combined with some general roughness in some aspects of the world’s design combine to make this feel like much less of a finished product than some people might expect. The map feels slightly claustrophobic, with different biomes and areas all crammed together. It’s also a fairly short experience, just a small part of the overall content that players can expect from the season pass.
Ironically, despite trying to plow a very different furrow to the base game, that same rule applies to the Vaas: Insanity DLC that many folks use for Far Cry games in general. If you enjoy the combat then you will enjoy this. While it is interesting to see Far Cry explored through the lens of a roguelike, it all adds up to little more than a few hours of reasonably repetitive entertainment which is unlikely to bring any new players into the Far Cry fold.