Far Cry 4 arrived back in November and pro9mptly became one of my favourite games of the year for its impressive scale and the sense of enjoyment you could glean from figuring out how to kill fairly dumb enemies in inventive ways.
After milling through the main missions and hunting down many rare animals to slaughter in pursuit of a fancier wallet, I was eager for even more content. So I picked up the Season Pass to discover what delights were left to discover in Kyrat.
First a note on what’s actually available in the Season Pass – which I expanded on here. As of right now, the extra content includes The Syringe Mission (which has been available since the game launched) and a new mode called Escape from Durgesh. So Season Pass holders have yet to see the Hurk missions which were pre-order bonuses, the muiltiplayer Overrun mode and – of course – the great beasts due in Valley of the Yetis later in the year.
In this stand-alone mission, Ajay is sent off the main world map to race Pagan Min’s forces to the top of a mountain in order to stop him from getting the recipe for a rare power-up type thing.
You’re transported to a particularly snowy area which gives you plenty of stealthy options for taking out several groups of Min’s forces as you make your way up a mountain. The setting does make it feel quite distinct from the rest of the game, and there are some fun environmental elements – basically you can shoot icy outcrops to make them drop on enemies.
As with the rest of the game, there are plenty of options for how to take out enemies but if (like me) you played this mission when you were already quite levelled up, it provides little real challenge. A helicopter encounter near the end of the level is probably supposed to be terrifying, but I finished it off with a single sniper shot. Then walked away from the explosion in slow motion. Natch.
I ran through the Syringe in about 10 minutes, so its definitely more of a mission to check out at the start of the game and there’s no real replay value. But given that it was basically just an extra day one titbit, it’s perfectly acceptable content.
ESCAPE FROM DURGESH
And now for something completely different. Taking place after your extended stay in Yuma’s holistic centre, you awake atop a tower to a message from Pagan Min. Which is a little creepy if you already killed his ass at the end of the game.
Anyway, in this slice of DLC you’re again transported to a new map (roughly half of the main map) and stumble into the light with a unique set of restriuctions and parameters. All your skills and weapons are gone, and you only have 30 minutes to get to an extraction point to get the heck out of Dodge.
That already makes it pretty interesting, especially if you’ve gotten used to taking on Outposts a mini-gun and grenade launcher. You have to re-learn the early lessons in Kyraty survival as you try to survive long enough to gear up in order to survive a 10 minute long pitched battle at the end of the session while you wait for a chopper.
There’s more to it than that – Pagan will chime in from time to time with missions for you to take on. Complete these and you’ll get a little extra help at the end of the level – like some animal cages to use against enemies, explosive barrels or gun emplacements. And completing minor objectives (like picking up posters) gives you more time on the clock, making it pretty easy to continue the killing.
Oh and once you die in Durgesh, you’re dead – you’ll have to start back at the top of the tower with the timer reset. But, in an interesting touch, your skill progress and weapons earned in the previous continuous playthrough will be intact.
It’s a bit like permadeath for dummies – you can run all over the map and collect ever weapon you want, unlocking skills and taking out weaker enemies then suicide before the timer runs out. You’ll respawn back at the start much stronger and with another 30 minutes to tool up for the final fight. An option to reset your stats to zero would appeal to some players, with the mode fairly easy to conquer, provided you’re willing to put in the time necessary to unlock plenty of help.
Another tip for Durgesh is to play with a friend – co-op is always more fun and your partner can bring you back from the brink of death if needs be.
So far, the Far Cry 4 Season Pass is doing a decent job of keeping the game in the minds of players but not really much more than that. The Syringe mission is very short and while I enjoyed Durgesh more than many others (the reaction online has been pretty negative) your mileage with it will depend on your interest in conquering scoreboards. Like many others, I’m holding out for the promise of Valley of the Yetis, where we’ll get some new enemies and hopefully a good chunk of extra story content.
The Far Cry 4 Season Pass is available now and the Escape from Durgesh DLC can be purchased separately.