Far Cry 3: A chronicle of idiocy
The following article contains spoilers
If Ubisoft should be congratulated for anything in Far Cry 3 it should be for creating such a catastrophe of a lead character. Jason Brody’s descent into ‘finding himself’ begins with a prologue that tight ropes subversive brilliance. MIA’s Paper Planes brap-brap-braps as we’re introduced to stereotypical American rich kids living the highlife. Leaning towards parody, there’s a suggestion this will turn stereotypes and the cringe-worthy term ‘dude-bro’ on their heads. As the group of fumbling pillocks conclude with a sky dive so does the apparent attempt at intelligence. You can’t be ironic on purpose.
As Alice in Wonderland quotations flicker during loading screens, letting you know just how literary and deep all of this is, the excellent mechanics are marred by story developments that are frustrating for a number of reasons. Firstly, Jason Brody. Sporting cream chinos, he’s a walking haircut, produced on the conveyor belt of the faux-American high life. I wanted him to die.
“Family can be like that”His brother, Grant, believes that the army trained him to kill the enemy by banging their heads three times off some bamboo, rather than how to shine boots and do what he’s told. He lets you know this in a stunning throwaway line of exposition. He also has loads of money. He tells you about that too. Because you’re only his brother and therefore probably didn’t notice he was in the army and is loaded. Family can be like that.
It then develops that the island you’re stranded on is in a heated battle. Pirates led by the only decent character Vaas Montenegro are taking over the land through a reign of terror. This is interesting, as upon leaving a dark and dank hut your new best mate Dennis quips about how beautiful the women of the village are. They’re partying in skimpy clothes, music playing and coloured blubs lit. Jason agrees that they’re pretty hot. Hot girls are more important than dead family. That’s an important moral. Subversive.
So, pirates invading an island. Natives doing everything they can to attract attention. If they weren’t all so busy dancing or driving around then it wouldn’t be left to this utter arsebuttock to be given a tribal tattoo and assault rifle because he fell into some water, then saved from drowning by immigrant Dennis. Why Dennis suddenly puts his life and trust in a weedy kid is never explained. No, wait, it is: you’re white and rich. To help find the friends still missing, presumably captive by Vaas and his men you’re told to go shoot some people.
An initial objective is clearing an outpost. It’s easy; why the three natives armed with weapons couldn’t have done it themselves is unknown. They have loads of tattoos too, which means they’re highly skilled. But Mr Brody’s haircut hovers above the grass like some woven shark waving in the wind. Which is great. With all the pirates shot dead you discover a female friend of yours has also escaped. These pirates aren’t proficient. And she escaped without the need of a brother that was trained to kill and someone to pull her out of the water. But she isn’t the ‘true warrior’, or whatever garbage spilled from the locals’ mouths. Because girls can’t use guns and save people. It’s science.
The white middle-class romanticism of hunting and going back to nature is pathetic but that gets a free pass for now. Thanks to Jason’s ability to go from never killing anyone to wielding a rifle with deadly accuracy in eleven and a half seconds, he’s brought before the female leader of the rebellion, Citra, a Rihanna knock-off with a less aggressive forehead, to do some killing in exchange for the possibility of bonking. Am I thinking this is borderline racist because I don’t have the guts to call a game outright on it…probably. It left me feeling uncomfortable either way.
“The soulless reality TV cast” As the soulless reality TV cast are rescued, Jason tells them about who has died in the struggle. Following a castaway sorry this supporting cast are soon talking about job prospects back home and drugs. Perhaps this is meant to make the audience question their loyalty to this way of life, using Citra as a flashing beacon of sex to leer you away. What it does do is test your patience repeatedly as it fetishes the frat-boy behaviour.
The story should have followed Vaas more closely, showing his rise through the ranks and his descent into madness. In turn, it would be revealed that in many ways he began like Jason, kidnapped by the pirates, then accepted and promoted upon displaying cunning and resilience. To kill a tyrant you have to become a tyrant. When you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you. Instead you burn a weed field with flamethrower as a dubstep track wibble-wobbles away and Brody screams ‘this is awesome’.
What fascinates me outside of all this is how we, as gamers, are willing to immediately disregard or ignore any problematic issues because we can shoot a pig with an AK47 and the graphics are nice. In the end, any promises of an interesting story or commentary are unsuccessful and the only interesting character is disappointingly cast aside. Far Cry 3’s story is rammed so far up its own arse its head peers back out from its mouth. It’s Shipwrecked with guns.